Here is my two cents for whatever it's worth. As Chief Judge of the Carolina Jaguar Club I recently held a judges training session. As part of the training I divided the class into five teams of four. Each team had a leader with at least ten years JCNA judging experience.Their task was to judge two cars for cleanliness and condition only,on a team basis. Due to shortage of time and this exercise coming at the end of a long training session the teams did not fully complete the task.However all the teams did complete the score sheets for the interior of a 2005 XK8. My aim was to ascertain what variation of scores we would see,given that it was the same car ,on the same day,judged by teams of well qualified judges.The results for the interior only were 99.89/99.77/99.92/99.75. This equates to deductions of 1.1/2.3/0.8/2.5.These variations are disturbing to say the least and highlights the need for closer conformity in our judging standards. One persons 0.1 may be another persons 0.5 and when it comes down to awards time such differences can be devastating.Bottom line for me is ,if such variations can occur at club level,what chance do we have at Region level. So why don,t we all do as my long term mentor Jim Morton said "have some fun" Brian Myerscough.
Lots of subjectivty on condition and cleanliness. Not sure how to get around it.
As for cleanliness I judge obvious and bigger "dirt" more harshly than obscure and smaller "dirt". And if you know a particular model very well you know all the secret places that dirt hides....places a different judge might miss.
(Aside. One thing about cleanliness: with some effort anyone with enthusiasm can be a champion. No fat bank acount needed!)
If you're judging a black interior might miss tons of defects if the lighting is all wrong. The entire interior becomes a solid wall of black....can't see a thing.
I could go on and on.
This is like baseball. Sometimes the umps make calls that work against you. Sometimes they miss a call entirely and you get a freebie! If you play enough games it all washes out in the end.
I had no idea cleanliness was such a tight judging criterion - just as well I'll never compete! However, variation in low single-digit percentages seems totally expected and absolutely unavoidable? If anyone thinks human beings, even with all the time in the world and the highest possible level of training are going to do better (i.e. professionals, let alone hobbyists), I suspect they need to revise their expectations. I would guess it is quite impossible to ensure much higher consistency.
Meanwhile, being a devious sort, I'd probably add an extra category to concours competition and sort out this issue at a stroke. Why not include Driver Attitude as a judging criterion? :-)
Driver Attitude would be a simple objective go/no-go test and therefore not susceptible to judging variability. There would be two options: 1) Do you want to have a good time and be nice to everyone? 2) Do you want to reserve the right to complain about the judging?
If anyone ticked the second box they would first have to serve a year as a judge, which would probably remove the wish to complain about someone else's efforts in the first place. Simple! :-)
Any entrant who expects the impossible is doomed to eternal frustration - similar I expect to anyone who loves to drive Jaguars far, fast and frequently stressing about tar spots, stone chips or radiator bugs.