Rally - Primer for TSD Rallies, approx 22 pages

INTRODUCTION TO ROAD RALLYING
Mario Barbacci
Richard A. Lerner
Barbara J. Staudt
Chuck Weinstock
April 1989

* Modifications by Bob Glickstein, March 1990
* HTMLed by Esther Filderman, March 1993
* Revised to ".doc" format from web site download and edited by Jim Morton, Carolina Jaguar Club, July 2006

...in which our heroes make feeble attempts to explain the mysterious activities that have kept them away from home and family for many a Sunday -- or so they claim.

If you take a Sunday afternoon drive through the back roads of Western Pennsylvania, you might have noticed some folks driving around, making turns and speed changes for no apparent good reason. Often you will see them stopping at intersections with looks of complete consternation in their faces. If you get close you might overhear discussions along the following lines:

Driver: There was no grass on that triangle, so it was right to turn left at the T.

Passenger: Ah yes, but the MRD in effect said to keep turning right at T until we see the third sailor with a cowboy hat. We saw three sailors, didn't we?
Driver: The last one was not a sailor. That was an admiral. It does not count...does it?

Passenger: Hmm. (Craning neck to see the admiral/sailor.)

What you are observing is a typical rally in progress, with a driver/navigator team in steady state (that is, lost).

1. What is a TSD Rally?
A TSD rally consists of a set of instructions specifying a route to travel, and a speed at which to travel. A team, consisting of a driver and a navigator, attempt to travel the specified route at exactly the specified speeds. A TSD rally is not a race; traveling too fast results in penalties as does traveling too slowly. The rally routes generally travel over lightly traveled rural roads in the scenic countryside.

Rallies are generally around 60 miles long and take about 3 hours to complete. Registration usually begins 1 hour before the rally. The rally usually begins at a fast food eating establishment and ends at a restaurant, so you should expect to spend the entire afternoon rallying.

Most of this paper is devoted to describing the basics of rallying. There are sections at the end describing common traps, more advanced timing calculations, example route instructions, and a summary page.

2. The Basics of Rallying
There are basically six parts to rallying: starting, odometer calibration, course following, checkpoints, DYLs and speed calculations.

2.1 The Start
At registration, each team is supplied with instructions defining the rally route and any regulations specific to the rally. Both team members should read everything carefully and ask questions. The rally master and others are very willing to provide explanations. However, if you ask questions specifically about the rally, the rally master may choose to answer with only "yes", "no", or "does not occur". It is important that you register early to give yourselves ample time to carefully read the instructions and make sure that you understand everything. Often teams go to a nearby fast-food restaurant and read the instructions over lunch.

At some point you must set your (digital) watch or clock to the official time of day. It is important that you leave checkpoints at the official departure time. If your watch is off by 30 seconds, you may take the right time to traverse a leg, but you will still end up with a 50-point penalty, because all timing is done using official clocks. An official clock will be available at the registration location. Note that timing is done usually in minutes and hundredths of minutes, not seconds. If the official clock displays 02.30, the time is two minutes and eighteen seconds past the hour (0.3 min * 60 secs/min); the hour is not shown. Once you have set your watch and are sure that you have no more questions (of course, questions have a way of popping up once you are on the road), you are ready to start out on the rally.

2.2 The Odometer Calibration Zone
The first part of every rally is an Odometer Calibration Zone (OCZ). The OCZ allows each team to correlate their odometer with the odometer used by the rally master. This is important since an instruction may have you turn at a specified mileage. Even if your odometer is accurate, the rally master's may be off significantly and you may miss the turn. Also, as we will see later, scoring is computed based on the rally master's mileage.

An OCZ is about 10 miles long and is generally extremely simple, with very explicit instructions. Before beginning the OCZ, you should zero your trip-odometer, or note your odometer reading to the hundredth of a mile (just guess), at the marker designated as the start of the rally. At the end of the OCZ you are told what the official distance was. Compare your mileage with the official mileage to get a calibration factor. The equation to use is:

Odometer Calibration Factor = Your OCZ Mileage / Official OCZ Mileage

Then, for the rest of the rally multiply each (official) mileage in the instructions by this factor to get the mileage that your odometer will read when you are at the official mileage.

Your Mileage = Official mileage * Calibration Factor
= Official mileage * (Your OCZ mileage / Official OCZ Mileage)

If your odometer reads 9.60 miles at the end of the OCZ, and the official mileage is 10.00, your calibration factor is 0.96. If a route instruction is referenced to mile 2.00, you should execute that instruction when your odometer reads 1.92 (0.96*2.00). Note that you should always try to read your odometer in hundredths of miles. Assuming you have a tenth-reading odometer, the accuracy with which hundredths can be guessed is surprising.

2.3 Running the Odometer Calibration Check
Somewhere in the rally instructions, you will be told when to start the rally and how much time to take to complete the OCZ. From this information you can determine at what time you should leave the end of the OCZ and start the competition portion. For instance, a rally might start at 2:00pm plus your car number in minutes and require 20 minutes to reach the "End OCZ" instruction. If you were car number 5, you would leave the OCZ and start the actual timed portion of the rally at 2:25pm. Beware of traps here. Some common timing traps are described in the section on Traps.

Unless the rally instructions say otherwise, you can start the OCZ whenever you are ready. You can give yourselves some extra time at the end of the OCZ by starting it early; later you will learn a use for this extra time. Remember to wait at the end of the OCZ until the proper departure time.

2.4 Course Following (route instructions)
The primary goal of rallying is to follow the route laid out by the rally master. At the start of the rally you are given a sequence of instructions, most of which specify the turns necessary to follow the route (the rest provide additional information such as the speed to drive). A typical instruction will tell you in what direction to go and when to apply the instruction:
25. Right at T.
[This means turn right when you reach an intersection that looks roughly like a T. You must be on the road that is ending to use this instruction.]

26. Left at STOP.
[This means turn left when you encounter a stop sign that requires you to stop.]

27. Straight at "stop".
This means go straight when you see a sign that has the word "stop" written on it. This could be a stop sign, a bus stop sign, a sign that says "Stop at Joe's", etc.].

1.63 28. Left.
This means go left when you have gone 1.63 (official) miles from the last time you zeroed your odometer. The mileages are written in the margins, to the left of the instruction number.

The route instructions must be executed in ascending numerical order; watch for instructions written out of numerical order. More importantly, one instruction must be completely executed before its successor may be begun.

Words that are quoted refer to signs. A sign may be quoted in its entirety, or only partially, but quoted words should be obvious, not fine print. Capitalization and punctuation may be different than on the sign, but the spelling must be identical. Instructions with unquoted words refer to landmarks, like church, red mailbox, etc. It is extremely important to read instructions precisely. For instance,
5. Left at stop.
may mean something different than
5. Left at "stop".
6.
The first refers to a stop sign that requires the rally car to stop. The second refers to any sign that includes the word "stop", including stop signs.

Similarly,
6. Left after Smith Rd.
may mean something different than
6. Left after "Smith Rd."

The first indicates that you should turn left after passing Smith Rd. The second requires you to make the first left after a sign that says "Smith Rd". This may cause you to turn on Smith Rd. if the sign appears before the road at the intersection. Many rally regulations contain a glossary that precisely defines such words as "at", "before", "turn", etc. These definitions must be followed precisely by the rallyist.

A route instruction may be referenced to an official mileage, noted in the left margin next to the instruction (see instruction #28 above). These instructions must be executed within a tenth of a mile of the given mileage. Remember to correct all mileages for your odometer. Do not execute this instruction before you reach the mileage. If you are fairly confident that you have reached the mileage, but you cannot make the turn (e.g. you are not at an intersection) you are probably off course. You should retrace your steps looking for mistakes (see the section on off-course excursions).

The route instructions will also contain non-course-directing instructions. These instructions do not direct your course of travel. The most common of these specify speed changes (CAS instructions) and pauses. These will be described later, but for now, note that all non-course-directing instructions should be executed when their minimum conditions are met; if you are told to CAS 40 at "Tavern", change your speed at the sign, not the next intersection.

Another common instruction is the mileage reference. These instructions are often used to verify that you are on-course, particularly during the OCZ. The following instructions are mileage references and do not instruct you to make any course directing actions; do not turn at mileage references.

2.23 3. M.R. "Bedford Lane".
[Look for sign containing "Bedford Lane" at 2.23 official miles.]

6.40 8. Church.
[Look for a church at 6.40 official miles.]

2.5 Course Following (main road determinants)
Route instructions make up only one part of course following. In addition, each rally lists main road rules that specify which direction to go at each intersection. Common sense might tell you to continue straight until an instruction tells you to do otherwise. Another way of stating this would be: "at each intersection, the main road goes straight". This type of rule is stated as a main road determinant (MRD).

A list of active MRDs define how to proceed through intersections that are not specifically described in the route instructions. The general instructions for each rally indicate the active MRDs and their priorities. Typical MRDs include the following:
Straight as possible
The main road is the road that is most directly ahead.

Left at T
At a T, the main road goes left. Note that an intersection can only be considered a T if the road you are on ends and you can go either left or right.

Protection
The main road is the single road leaving the intersection that does not have a stop or yield sign, excluding the road on which you entered the intersection. This is a very common MRD and causes a lot of trouble for novices. In particular, if you see the back of a sign requiring oncoming traffic to stop or yield, look very carefully for signs on the roads to either side. If exactly one of them does not have a sign, that is the main road by protection.

Likewise, when approaching a T from the base (your road ends) look for stop or yield signs. Remember, you are expected to be able to recognize these signs from the back by their shapes (even if mostly hidden by trees, etc.).

Onto
If a route instruction tells you to follow a road using the term "onto" and its name or number, then the main road is the road leaving the intersection with that name or number. Watch for jogs to the left or right of the "onto" road.

It is very important to consider the MRDs at each intersection, and to apply them in the order specified by the rally master. It is also important to consider the next route instruction at each intersection. Unless specified otherwise, you should consider route instructions and MRDs in the following order:
1. Execute the next route instruction if it is referenced to a mileage, at that mileage.
2. Execute the next route instruction, only if it takes you off the Main Road as defined by (3).
3. Follow the main road, as defined by the MRDs.

Unless otherwise instructed, a course-directing route instruction that is not referenced to an official mileage may only be executed if it forces you to leave the main road. If a route instruction directs you in the same direction as the main road, then going through that intersection constitutes use of a MRD, not the route instruction. For example, suppose the MRDs are:
1. Right at T.
2. Straight as possible.

Suppose the next route instruction is "Right at stop". Now you come to a T with a stop sign. You should turn right, using the MRD "Right at T". Since the main road goes the same direction as the route instruction specifies, you are using the MRD, not the route instruction. After the turn you are still looking for a stop sign at which to turn right. Now if you reach a crossroad with a stop sign, you should go right there using the route instruction. If an instruction has a mileage to the left of it, in the margin, this rule does not apply. When you arrive at the mileage, you execute the instruction regardless of the main road.

If an instruction simply says "turn" it means that you should leave an intersection on a road other than the main road. Thus, if you approach a T and have the MRDs mentioned above the main road goes to the right; to execute the turn instruction you must leave the main road by turning left. You can execute a turn instruction only if there is a unique road to the left or right other than the main road.

2.6 Off-Course Excursions
Even experienced rallyists occasionally find themselves off-course. For first time rallyists this may be their steady state. Not to worry! Once you realize that you are off-course, you should simply retrace your steps, inspecting your decisions at every intersection, until you find your mistake or reach a point that you know is on-course. You need not worry too much about timing, as you will most likely get the maximum penalty anyway. It is a good idea, however, to try to correct your odometer. Simply record your mileage when you turn around and when you regain the course. Double this distance and add it to each official mileage until you next zero your odometer.

How do you know that you are lost? Here are some hints:
1. You get to an intersection for which no MRD or route instruction is applicable.

2. You pass the mileage attached to an instruction without being able to execute the instruction.

3. You drive beyond a call-back mileage (if specified).
The last hint refers to maximum distances between instructions or checkpoints specified on leg data slips or in the rally's general instructions. Not all rallies provide call-back mileages.

Do not get too discouraged when you get lost. Most novice teams get lost at some point in the rally.

3. Speeds, Timing and Calculations
So far, we have only explained how to follow the rally route. To get good scores you also need to arrive at check points at the proper time. This means driving at the correct speeds and accounting for Pauses and off-course deviations.

3.1 Equipment
Rallyists generally rely on some sort of equipment to help them maintain the correct speed. This equipment may range from calculators (single memory, non-programmable), tables showing the times it takes to travel distances at different speeds, a rally wheel (basically a circular slide rule designed for rallying), odometers that can measure to accuracies of .01 miles, and rally computers. Novice rallyists are most likely to use one of the first two methods, or simply run seat-of-pants (no equipment). In any event a good rule of thumb is to drive at the designated speed + 10% to compensate for stopping, turning, etc.

3.2 CAS Speeds & Pauses
Speeds are usually specified in the route instructions with the CAS instruction (commence/continue/change average speed), but may also be specified on leg data slips and occasionally in the rally's general regulations. A CAS instruction simply tells you to start driving at a new speed.

Another common timing instruction is Pause. A Pause instruction tells you to stop for a specified amount of time. Examples of both follow:

33. CAS 35 at red mailbox.
[This means that you should Change Average Speed to 35 when you pass a red mailbox.]

34. Pause 0.5 minutes at each "No Parking" in the next 1.0 mile.
[This means that you should stop 30 seconds at each no parking sign in the next mile. There may be zero, one, or more such signs.]

The most important part of rallying, however, is staying on course. Points add up very rapidly if you fail to follow the course-directing instructions properly.

3.3 The basic time calculation
Keep in mind, in a TSD rally TIME IS THE ONLY THING THAT COUNTS. Mileage is only used to calculate official times. Do you remember this from some ancient high school class?

Time = Distance / Rate

The perfect/official time for a speed leg is the leg distance divided by the CAS speed you are given for that leg. But, your measurement of the leg distance must be corrected for odometer error, and you must convert miles, used in distance and speed, into minutes. So -

Official Leg Time (Mins) = Odo Distance (Miles)
Times Calibration Factor
= Official miles)
Divided by Speed
= Official time (Hrs)
Times 60 Mins/Hr)
= Offical leg time (Mins)
or
Official Time=Odo distance x ((Odo Factor x 60) / Speed)

Notice that all but the distance can be calculated once for any speed and reused. The result, which can be called Time Factor, of ((Odo Factor x 60) / Speed) is the number of official minutes it takes to go one odo-measured mile at the given CAS speed.

3.3 Recommended Practices
Computing the official time (perfect time if you had driven at the specified speed) is the same for open controls, DYL legs, or for checking your status at anytime between speed changes. Everybody may have his/her own preferred manner of doing this, but the method above is the one used by Jim Morton. It is preferred to the method in the original version of this paper because it has fewer calculations and Pauses can be treated as they happen.

Make yourself a worksheet using Excel, use it during the rally, and then fill it out back home to better see how the timing went. This text format precludes use of a table which makes a better presentation. Or contact this writer for a worksheet by e-mail.

Step 1 - at the end of the Odometer Calibration Zone, if possible, highlight all speed changes in the NRIs with a fluorescent highlighter.

Step 2 - Highlight all Pauses with a different color highlighter.

Step 3 - Next to each new CAS speed in the NRIs calculate the time factor, the result of ((Odo Factor x 60) / Speed), and write it next to the speed. Note that Odo factor*60 becomes a constant; it need only be calculated once and recorded somewhere. If you have Memory recall on your calculator, save it using M+, divide by speed and record result, use MRC to recall Odo factor*60, and divide by the next speed.

If you have calculated a Time Factor for a speed you may reuse it if the speed occurs again; don't do it twice. And "eyeball" your calculations for accuracy. The Time Factor for 30 mph should be about 2.0 (Minutes/mile), modified slightly by your Calibration Factor.

If you have a colored pen to record Time Factors next to CAS speeds all the better. If you can do this at the end of the OCZ all the better, which is a good reason to start early on the OCZ.

Step 4 - I highly recommend you record the odo mileage and the elapsed time as you execute each NRI. This shows that you have passed that point, it helps when you get off-course, and you can calculate your time error during the next speed leg.

3.4 Calculating Official Times
For example, suppose the NRIs include the following instructions.

1. Right at "STOP". CAS 30. Zero odometer
2. Left at T. CAS 33.
(3-6) Route instructions without speed changes)
7. Right after church. CAS 35.
8. CAS 40

Suppose instruction 1 is executed at odo mileage 0, instruction 2 at 3.75, instruction 7 at 11.59, and instruction 8 at 17.98.

Now you need to compute the time you should have driven at each speed, using the formula and worksheet.
*Note you only need a line for each different speed, not every
NRI which does not change your speed. Consider writing the
NRI range next to a line in the worksheet, as below.
*Of course, the start odo for each line equals the end odo for
the previous line.
*Time factor (official mins per odo mile) = Calibration factor
times 60 / CAS
*Odo Leg = Odo at end of speed leg - Odo at start of leg
*Offical Time in mins. = Odo Leg * Time Factor
*Cum(ulative) Time is sum of official times since this segment started.
*Obs(erved) Time is from your stopwatch. Watch out for minutes
and seconds vs. minutes and hundredths of minutes.
*Err(or) is Cum Time minus Observed Time.
@Note, you must use seconds or decimal minutes consistently
here, since Observed Time is probably minutes and seconds,
unless you have a decimal stopwatch.
@Note, here + Error means you are ahead but you can reverse
this convention if it helps you.

-------(Recorded Info)--------| |--(Calculated Info)--|
NRI # CAS Odo Odo Odo Time Off. Cum - Obs = Err
Start End Leg Factor Time Time Time
1-2 30 0.00 3.75 3.75 1.92 7.20 7.20 7.75 -.55
2-7 33 3.75 11.59 7.84 1.75 13.72 20.92 20.5 +.42
7-8 35 11.59 17.98 6.39 1.65 10.54 31.46 33.0 -1.46

3.4 Pauses
Suppose NRI #9 reads as follows and it happens at 20.3 odo miles:

9. Left at corner of Main and Cedar. Pause 30 seconds

A Pause adds to the official time so just add a line and adjust the time. Note whether the pause is in seconds or decimal minutes. Then add another line to continue your calculation of the official cumulative time.

-------(Recorded Info)--------| |--(Calculated Info)--|
NRI # CAS Odo Odo Odo Time Off. Cum - Obs = Err
Start End Leg Factor Time Time Time
1-2 30 0.00 3.75 3.75 1.92 7.20 7.20 7.75 -.55
2-7 33 3.75 11.59 7.84 1.75 13.72 20.92 20.5 +.42
7-8 35 11.59 17.98 6.39 1.65 10.54 31.46 33.0 -1.46
8-9 40 17.98 20.30 2.32 1.44 3.34 34.80
9 Pause .50 35.30
9-? 40 20.30 1.44

3.5 Off-Course Corrections
When you go off-course you add mileage to the odometer total that should not be there. Without correction that added mileage will add to your calculation of the cumulative official time, resulting in errors.

You need to know how many extra miles you traveled! If you note the odo mileage at each NRI and the mileage when you reverse course to get back to the course you can determine, or sometimes estimate, the mileage error.

Suppose at NRI #9 you made the wrong turn and went 1.8 miles before turning around. That is 3.6 miles extra during the 40 mph leg, so make a correction as follows:

-------(Recorded Info)--------| |--(Calculated Info)--|
NRI # CAS Odo Odo Odo Time Off. Cum - Obs = Err
Start End Leg Factor Time Time Time
1-2 30 0.00 3.75 3.75 1.92 7.20 7.20 7.75 -.55
2-7 33 3.75 11.59 7.84 1.75 13.72 20.92 20.5 +.42
7-8 35 11.59 17.98 6.39 1.65 10.54 31.46 33.0 -1.46
8-9 40 17.98 20.30 2.32 1.44 3.34 34.80 36.0 -1.20
9 Off-course Correction from turn at NRI #9
20.30 23.90 -3.60 1.44 -5.18 34.80 41.0 -6.20
9-? 40 23.90 1.44

Notice what has happened. You keep using your actual odometer readings, because that is most convenient. But the 5.18 minute time interval associated with the extra mileage is not included in the official cumulative total, because the extra mileage is not part of the rally.

There is an alternative to ignoring the mileage. That is to ignore the time associated with that "bogus" mileage by subtracting it from the cumulative time.

-------(Recorded Info)--------| |--(Calculated Info)--|
NRI # CAS Odo Odo Odo Time Off. Cum - Obs = Err
Start End Leg Factor Time Time Time
1-2 30 0.00 3.75 3.75 1.92 7.20 7.20 7.75 -.55
2-7 33 3.75 11.59 7.84 1.75 13.72 20.92 20.5 +.42
7-8 35 11.59 17.98 6.39 1.65 10.54 31.46 33.0 -1.46
8-9 40 17.98 20.30 2.32 1.44 3.34 34.80 36.0 -1.20
9 Off-course Correction from turn at NRI #9
-3.60 1.44 -5.18 29.62 41.0 -6.20
9-? 40 20.3 1.44

3.6 DYL Segments
To compute the time it takes to traverse a DYL, you must record your odometer mileage at the start and finish of the DYL, as well as at every speed change. Using the above data, if NRI #9 had read as follows the official time for legs 1 through 9 would be 34.80 minutes.

9. Left at corner of Main and Cedar. End DYL

4. Controls
Controls are locations where your arrival is timed and your score for a leg is calculated. There are two basic types of controls:
A) open controls or checkpoints; and
B) Do-It-Yourself controls.

4.1 Open controls (checkpoints)
At unidentified points in the rally you will reach a timing control, known as a checkpoint or open control. These controls, along with Do-it-Yourself-Leg controls described later, determine your score for the rally. Your score at an open control is the difference between the time it took you to reach the control and the time it should have taken you if you drove at precisely the specified speeds and stayed on course. A rallyist is penalized generally 1 point for each .01 minutes early or late, up to some maximum value which varies, but is usually around 300-500 points (3-5 minutes). The goal is to get the lowest score.

An open control is identified by a sign with the symbols for a check and a point (check-point, get it?). Just beyond such a sign a car will be parked on the shoulder of the road. You should drive past this car, pull onto the shoulder of the road, and walk back to the checkpoint car with your score sheet. You must not block the road at the checkpoint sign, as other cars will be entering the checkpoint.

At the control car a member of the checkpoint crew will write your arrival time and assigned departure time on your score sheet. The departure time is the time you should leave this checkpoint, starting the next leg of the rally. A departure time is usually your arrival time rounded to an even minute, plus several minutes. This departure time is used by the next checkpoint to calculate your transit time for that leg. For proper scoring, you must wait at the checkpoint until your assigned departure time and prepare for the next leg.

Some rallies specify in their general instructions that legs are timed from an outmarker to the next control. For these controls, the given departure time is the time you should leave the outmarker; you should proceed to the outmarker and wait for your departure time there. Again, do not block the outmarker; pull over either a short distance before or after it.

In addition to writing your departure time on your score sheet, the checkpoint crew will give you a leg slip. You should read this slip carefully before leaving the checkpoint. Most importantly, it will tell you the next instruction to execute. This may be different than expected, as cars which fall for a trap may use extra instructions to get to the checkpoint. The checkpoint serves to get everyone back to the same point in the instructions.

The exact format of a leg slip varies, but an example is below:
Leg: 1
Leg Mileage: 16.49
Leg Time: 45.23
Next Instruction: 22
Outmarker: STOP
CAS: 30
Special Instructions: Fire House Rd. does not exist.
Critique: A simple leg to get you started. No course following traps, but if you took the pause in instruction #16 you were 2 minutes late.

The above leg slip is for leg 1 of the rally. The official mileage for the leg was 16.49 miles. If the instructions were followed correctly, it should have taken 45.23 minutes to complete the leg. The next instruction to execute is number 22. The next leg begins at the next STOP sign. You should be driving 30 MPH when you leave the outmarker (the STOP sign). A special instruction indicates that Fire House Rd. does not exist, so if you ever encounter Fire House Rd. you should not consider it to be a road. Finally, there is a critique of the last leg indicating what the trap was.

Suppose you began the rally at 2:05 and the checkpoint crew timed you reaching the checkpoint at 2:52.03. It took you 47.03 minutes to travel the leg. This gives you a penalty of (47.03-45.23 = 1.80 min*100 = 180 points. Since falling for the trap would cause you to be off by 2 minutes, falling for the trap but driving the correct speeds would result in a 200-point penalty. Therefore, you probably fell for the trap, but drove faster than the specified speed, causing your penalty to be slightly less than 200.

It might seem easy to get a 0 penalty on a leg simply by going faster than the specified speed, stopping when you see the checkpoint, and waiting for the right time to cross the checkpoint. However, it is illegal to go slower than around 10 MPH in sight of a checkpoint. Breaking this rule adds a large penalty to your score (around 200 points), at the discretion of the checkpoint crew with no arguing allowed.

4.2 Do-It-Yourself-Legs (DYL or DIY controls)
Do-It-Yourself legs (DYLs) are legs that do not end in an open checkpoint. The instructions for a DYL are identical to a normal leg, except for an instruction that says "End DYL at ...". These legs are untimed.

Instead, you simply record the distances you travel at each speed and compute how long it should take you to travel those distances. You enter this time on your score sheet. The time is compared to the official time for the leg to get your score.

In general scores on DYLs are very low. However, DYLs may contain traps just as any other leg does. If you fall into a trap, you will travel the wrong distance and compute the wrong time, leaving you with a bad score. For DYLs, both the driver and navigator should be concentrating on staying on course. Maintaining the designated speeds is pointless.

This number should be entered in the Elapsed Time entry for the DYL leg on your score sheet. NOTE: if there were any pauses during the DYL, these must be added to your elapsed time after using your odometer calibration factor.

Rather than starting a DYL in the route instructions, many rallies will instruct you to start a DYL at an open control. This should be noted on the leg data slip. Timing for the DYL will start either at the control's timing line or outmarker, as if you were starting a normal leg.

If you are given a departure time to start a DYL, you must give yourselves a departure time at the end of the DYL. This time will be used as the start of the next leg. You compute this time by adding your computed elapsed time to the departure time at the start of the DYL. This value is the time of day when you should have arrived at the end of the DYL, if you had followed the speeds. Place this value in the Arrival Time entry for the DYL leg on your score sheet. Then, round up this value to the next whole minute and add five minutes. If this time is in the past, you may add enough minutes to let you start on time. Place this time in the Departure Time entry for the next leg on your score sheet. If the DYL ends the rally or ends at a rest break, they might not give you a departure time; just enter your elapsed time.

In the previous example, assume the DYL started at a checkpoint outmarker (where your odometer read 73.51) and you were given a departure time of 4:13. At the end of the DYL you would give yourselves a departure time for the next leg of 4:13.00+34.06+5 rounded up, or 4:53.

It is important to fill out your scorecard at the end of each DYL. If you enter the next open control without having filled out your scorecard, you will get the maximum penalty for the DYL. If you did not give yourselves a departure time at the end of the DYL, when you were given an departure time to start the DYL, you may also get a max penalty for the current leg, since there is no departure time with which to compute your transit time for the leg.

4.3 Free Zones
A free zone is a portion of a rally in which the rally master guarantees that there will be no checkpoints. In general, major highways are free zones. A rally master identifies free zones by the instructions "Begin free zone" and "End free zone". The main reason for free zones is to allow the rallyists to drive the speed limit rather than a lower rally speed on major roads, and to compensate for traffic lights.

It is a good idea to drive the speed limit through a free zone, noting any speed changes as above. When you reach the end of the free zone, and you have its odo mileage at that point, calculate the expected time of arrival, i.e. the official cum time to that point. Wait until that time before leaving; the next open checkpoint might be just around the corner.

5. The End
Rallies usually end at a restaurant in the vicinity of the start. Many people stick around, rehashing the rally, while the scores are being totaled. Hopefully, you will receive your trophies there, but be understanding as the Rally Master is often confronted with protests, complaints and unknowns that may drive him nuts.

6. Traps
From the description given so far, rallies sound pretty simple. There are rules to learn, and that takes a few rallies, but then what? Well, things generally aren't that simple. The goal of a rally master is to write instructions that contain traps. A trap is an instruction that is technically correct but easily mis-interpreted. Some common traps are:

6.1 Timing Traps
* Starting times - Watch for "Start at 2:01 plus your car number in minutes", rather than the more common 2:00.
* Transit Zones - Ignore pauses and gains within the OCZ or other transit zones, which give you a specified amount of time to reach the end. If you are told to take 20 minutes to reach instruction #10 and instruction #5 is "pause 1 minute", you still take only 20 minutes to reach instruction #10.

6.2 Course Following Traps
* Spelling - Spelling traps are instructions in which words are quoted, but spelled differently than on the sign. For example, an instruction might say "Right at Murraysville", and you may first encounter a sign that says "Murrysville". Be patient, don't turn. You should later find a sign spelled the same way as the instruction.

* Protection - A protection trap occurs when a stop sign is in an unexpected place, or is hard to see. For instance, a stop sign might be attached to a telephone pole, or be behind a tree. Falling into a protection trap means that the Protection MRD should have been used at the intersection but wasn't.

* Onto - An onto trap is similar to a protection trap in that it indicates a failure to apply the Onto MRD. In particular, the road you are "onto" may turn, and you would be expected to turn to stay on the same road.

* Overlap - An overlap trap occurs if you fail to complete one instruction before beginning the next. Instructions most likely intended as overlap traps usually say something like "CAS 30 for 1 mile". This instruction is not complete until after the 1 mile has been driven. Only then may you begin working on the next instruction.

* Blackjack - A blackjack trap is purely a psychological trick. It is done by putting a checkpoint within sight of a turn in the rally route. Novices especially may be tempted to go directly to the checkpoint, forgetting that an instruction or MRD requires them to turn away; or they may simply feel uneasy about turning away.

The above list is far from complete, but describes some of the more common traps. One challenge for rally masters is to include traps that can trick even experienced rallyists.

After reading this section, it may seem that a road rally could be extremely frustrating, and at times this is true! However, good rallies are constructed to be "fail-safe". This means that even if you fail to stay on course, you will still reach the checkpoint. This is done by having two paths that reach the checkpoint, one correct and one the path you would take if you fell for the trap. In a fail-safed rally, you rarely realize that you have made a mistake until you reach the checkpoint and see your score. Of course, it is still possible to get lost on fail-safe rallies. You must always be alert for signs and landmarks referred to by instructions.

7. A Rally Example
Just to give you the flavor of a rally here is an excerpt from a rally:

The MRDs (Mandatory Route Directions, see Glossary) are:
Protection
Left at T
Straight as Possible

A partial set of the Numbered Route Instructions (NRI), starting at #53, follows, some with and some without official mileages:

0.00 53. Begin official mileage at Stop, and turn left. CAS 30.
[This means that you should zero your odometer at a stop sign, and turn left at that intersection. Your average speed should be 30 MPH.]

0.58 54. Left on Pa. Route 981 before underpass (sign on left). Begin free zone.
[At (official) mileage 0.58 you should go left on 981. This turn should be before an underpass. A free zone is starting; there can be no checkpoints until the instruction "End free zone". Parenthetical comments are only hints. Here the hint is that the 981 sign is on your left.]

2.60 55. Left at Hope Memorial Lutheran Church.
[You should turn left at (official) mileage 2.60. The landmark should be at the turn.]

56. Left at "TO 70", may be redundant.
[Turn left at a sign with the quoted words included on it. "May be redundant" specifies that you should execute the instruction whether or not the main road goes left.]

57. Right after underpass. End free zone.
[Turn right after an underpass. The free zone is over; a checkpoint may occur at any time.]

58. Left after "SPORTSMENS". CAS 27. Pause 20 seconds at each black-on-yellow diamond shaped curve arrow sign prior to the next instruction.
[Turn left after the sign with the quoted word on it. Change your speed to 27 MPH. Stop (or reduce your speed) so that you add 20 seconds to your leg time for each sign as described.]

Between each pair of these instructions you may need to use 0 or more MRDs to stay on course.

9. Summary
We hope this has given you some idea of what rallying is like, but the only way to really understand it is to give it a try.

9.1 The Start
1. Register early and pick up the rally instructions.
2. Set your watch to the official time.
3. Read the instructions carefully and ask questions.
4. Prepare to run the Odometer Calibration Zone by driving to the start of the rally and noting your odometer reading.

9.2 The OCZ
1. Note your odometer reading at the start of the rally.
2. Follow the instructions to the end of the OCZ.
3. Note your mileage at the end of the OCZ and find a good place to pull off the road.
4. Determine when you must leave the OCZ (from the generals or instructions).
5. Compute your Odometer Calibration Factor (yours/official) and adjust all official mileages in the NRIs (official*OCF) to odo miles.
6. Highlight all speed changes (CAS) in the NRIs.
7. Highlight all Pauses in the NRIs.
8. Calculate the Time Factor for each of the speeds and note it on the NRIs.
9. At the proper time, leave the OCZ, driving at the assigned speeds (+10%).

9.3 Course-Following -- at each intersection
1. If the next route instruction is referenced to a mileage and you are at that mileage, execute the instruction.
2. Determine the main road-- use the highest priority, applicable MRD.
3. If the next instruction is applicable and does not follow the main road, execute the instruction.
4. Follow the main road.

9.4 Open Controls (Checkpoints)
1. Drive beyond the checkpoint car and pull off the road.
2. Take your scorecard back to the checkpoint car.
3. Get your departure time and leg data slip from the crew.
4. If outmarkers are used, proceed near the outmarker and pull off the road.
5. Locate the next instruction to execute from the leg data slip.
6. Leave when your departure time arrives.

9.5 DYL Controls
1. Note your odometer reading at the start of the DYL.
2. Note your odometer reading at each speed change.
3. Note any pauses or gains specified in the route instructions.
4. At the end of the DYL, compute the elapsed time based on your odometer readings.
5. Compensate with your Odometer Calibration Factor.
6. Add any pauses and subtract any gains from the elapsed time.
7. Enter the elapsed time for the DYL on your scorecard.
7. If you were given a departure time to start the DYL, compute a departure time for the next leg and enter it on your scorecard.

HAPPY RALLYING!