Final Draft, submitted to the Council 5/4/03

Guidelines for Rallymasters


Section I – Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide an understanding of the NWRC’s philosophy when writing a rally.  Everything in the document is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule.


Section II – All Rallies

It is NWRC's philosophy to write rallies in such a manner that it is an enjoyable experience for the participants.  An ideal rally is one in which every car finishes, and the scores are nicely spread out according to experience and class.  Average speeds can be maintained by the driver, rather than through the use of mathematical calculation.


The rallymaster is responsible for and in charge of all aspects of his/her rally.  These responsibilities may be delegated to other club members, but final control is in the hands of the rallymaster.  These duties should include (in no particular order):

            *           Ordering dash plaques

            *           Laying out the course

            *           Typing the instructions and having them printed

            *           Typing the handout slips and having them printed

            *           Having the pre-check and club checkout

            *           Measuring the course and doing the calculations

            *           Coordinating workers

*           Securing permission to use the finish location and getting assurance they will remain open long enough for the rally to arrive, eat and scoring and trophies to be handed out.

            *           Obtaining trophies

            *           Running pace on the day of the event

            *           Placating irate rallyists at the finish (as time allows)

            *           Publishing results


The primary objective of the rallymaster is to present a safe and clean course on which contestants can compete.


The rallymaster shall ensure that the event strictly adheres to the letter of the General Instructions.


Safety should be the highest priority in preparing a course.  Urban development continues to increase the traffic on the roads we use, resulting in greater potential for conflict with local drivers.  We want to avoid creating situations that might cause competitors to have accidents, such as running through residential areas or crossing busy highways.  Roads with excessive traffic and residential streets should be avoided.  Remember that FREE ZONES do not help contestants stay on time if traffic prevents them from maintaining the required average speed.  Where these hazardous conditions cannot be avoided, the rallymaster should make them as safe as possible by allowing the competitors plenty of time to complete those Sections.  Try to arrange that these obstacles are crossed during a transit or covered by an adequate pause.  The course should use good, relatively smooth roads only.  Any rally using unpaved roads should be advertised as such at least 30 days in advance of the rally.  If a few marginal sections of road are used, the speed set for those sections should be slow enough to permit passage without damaging a car.  Signs used should be visible at rally speed and it should not be hazardous for contestants to slow down to read the text.  They should be reflectorized or well lit for night rallies.  It should not be the object of a trap to miss a poorly visible sign.  When setting speeds, take into consideration potential problem conditions such as icy bridges, roads covered with wet leaves, children and animals.  Add adequate pauses for signals, busy stops and other likely delays.


Experienced and knowledgeable members of the sponsoring club should check out all rallies prior to the rally.    If the sponsoring club does not have a sufficiently experienced checkout crew available, the rallymaster should contact the NRWC President at least 3 weeks prior to the checkout.  The NWRC President will arrange to have an experienced crew check out the rally.  The instructions should be considered 'final' but accept that changes will be needed to correct the issues found during the checkout.  Final measurements are not required for a pre-check; mileages taken from a car’s stock odometer will suffice.  However, official mileages and calculation times are required for the club checkout and should be provided.  The checkout crews will be looking for the following (in no particular order):

            *           Is the course of the advertised mileage and duration?

            *           Are the instructions written in accordance with the General Instructions?

            *           Are all traps in accordance with the General Instructions?

            *           Are all planned off-course possibilities protected by something other than a pie-plate?

            *           Are the speeds reasonable?

            *           Are all signs clearly visible and quoted correctly?

            *           Are adequate pauses provided where necessary?

            *           Are instructions clear and unambiguous?

            *           Are the control locations safe and appropriate?

            *           Will the competitors of this event feel satisfied at the end of the event?


Measurements for all on course and planned off course routes are to be taken and calculated.  Take mileages for all instructions even if there currently is no speed change associated with it.  The on course route is to be measured in one CONTINUOUS leg measurement including distance through checkpoint zones.  Off course may be pieced together.  A reasonable standard is to measure to the nearest hundredth using the non-driven wheel.  Be prepared to mark with paint, should no good landmark exist, the EXACT in and out marks of each checkpoint.  Official measurements should not be made until the course and route instructions are finalized.


Accurate TSD calculations are essential.  Check and recheck your calculations.  Always double check your final TSD sheet with hand calculations using the instructions as printed in the final version of the instructions.  Remember to add the pauses!  One recommended way to do calculations is using minutes-per-mile factors and calculating from speed change to speed change or control.  Round off to no less than thousandths (.001) and convert decimals to minutes and seconds only at the end of each leg.


Bear in mind: it is generally disapproved of to have a route control penalty and a time burn for the same trap.  The general consensus is that a time penalty on a trap should be about equal to a route control penalty in value.  This may mean messing with the leg time by adjusting speeds and/or adding pauses.  Remember you will probably want to make the traps all the same way within a leg (early or late).  If one trap would bring you in 30 seconds early and another make you 30 seconds late, the rank beginner may do better by making both mistakes than the more experienced competitor who only makes one.  You might also take into consideration that novices in general drive slower than experienced cars. An early trap may tend to favor the slow-driving novice who makes the course-following error and comes in with a good score.  We want all competitors to finish, but we don't owe them artificially low scores.


All rallies should have a pace car (course opening) and a sweep car (course closing).  The pace car should verify that all references being used are present and that all rally roads are open.  They should use emergency route markers if an error or missing reference is found.  The sweep car should also verify that all references used are present and that all rally roads are still open.  They should remove the emergency route markers as they go.

Special note:  the course should be set up so as not to rely on the usage of course markers to define the route.


Controls should stay open until closed by the sweep car.  Unless all cars are accounted for, the sweep car should not close a control until the latest missing car is max late, plus ten minutes. 


At Controls where contestants are required to stop at the control car (stoppage controls) there should be enough room on the shoulder of the road to get both the control car and the competitor’s car completely off the road. The control car should be on the same shoulder of the road that the control sign is on and within easy sight of the control sign.  At the control, a handout slip should be prepared for the contestant.  This handout slip should contain:

            *           Official time to have covered this leg

            *           Official mileage for this leg

            *           Next NRI

            *           Speed at the outcone

            *           Re-declare any Notes that are in effect

            *           Instructions to reach the outcone


At Route Controls the handout slip must contain the following:

            *           Whether the control is on or off course

            *           The amount of the pause for this control

            *           The next NRI

            *           Current rally speed

            *           Instructions needed to get back on course with the rest of the rally


At Controls where contestants are not required to stop at the control car (passage controls), the control car should be completely off the road.  For rallies using stoppage controls, the out time given to a competitor should be not less than the whole minute of the in time plus four minutes.


Instructions should be neat and easy to read.  Use a type and style that is large enough to be readable in a moving car, at night and using limited lighting.  Graphics should be unambiguous when compared to the intended sign.  All rallies will contain an initial odometer calibration transit of no less than 10 miles.  Mileages will be provided in hundredths of a mile for each instruction for that section.


The General Instructions should have provisions for time allowances.  Time allowances requested due to an error in the course (whether or not the problem is covered by emergency route markers) should always be granted.  All other time allowances requested will be granted at the discretion of the rallymaster.  Consideration should be given to events (such as accidents or emergency vehicles blocking the course) that were beyond the control of the competitor.


Rallies should not last longer than 12 hours per day, inclusive of all transits and breaks.


The rallymaster is responsible for the registration of the cars.  If you're lucky, somebody will be in charge of keeping track of the registration materials from rally to rally.  This includes registration forms, car numbers, general instructions, scorecards, release forms including minor release forms and the cash box.  Approved versions of these various forms may be obtained by contacting the NWRC President.  Registration will provide

dash plaques and have official rally time available to the competitors.


Be certain before the checkout that you have the permission of the finish location to end there.  Don't promise them more people than we can deliver, but also try not to grossly underestimate.  Be sure they are willing to stay open during the hours you will need to complete the scoring of the rally. It generally takes 90 minutes from the time of the last car’s arrival to the completion of scoring and presentation of the trophies.  Also make sure you have this or another location selected for the night of the club checkout!


After the event, the rallymaster must present the final results to the NWRC Statistician within one week.  The Statistician will relay the results to the NWRC Webmaster, who will post them on the website.




Section III – Friday Nighter Rallies

These events are to be written with the Novice in mind.  Most of the traps used should be basic, and all of the traps used will be covered in such a manner that the Novices will successfully arrive at the checkpoints, whether they understand the generals or not.  Course directing notes should be avoided.  If a club wants to conduct a more difficult Friday Nighter, they do have the option of offering a second, simpler set of instructions for the Novice cars.  SOP and higher classes will be given the more difficult instructions. 


The rallymaster shall ensure that the event strictly adheres to the letter of the General Instructions.  Any deviations from, or revisions of, the General Instructions must be approved by the Council and publicized by the sponsoring club to the member clubs at least 30 days in advance of the event.


Friday Nighter Rallies should start with first car out at 7:31, although the rallymaster has the flexibility to delay the start or to start cars up to 15 minutes early as necessary to cover unforeseen contingencies.  The rally should consist of no less than one and one half (1.5) hours of rally time, inclusive of all transit zones, pauses and odometer checks.  The total length, including all transit zones, pauses, odometer checks and expected time in checkpoints (as well as extended out times,) should not exceed two and one half (2.5) hours.  The sponsoring club shall certify that the event will be run under the NWRC General Instructions and in accordance with NWRC Guidelines for Rallymasters.


Gravel Roads and residential streets should not be used on Friday Nighters.


Average speeds will be at or below the posted speed limit.  Any SIGNAL not in a TRANSIT, where the competitor could be stopped by the SIGNAL, should be accounted for with a PAUSE.  The only exception to this guideline is at a SIGNAL where the competitor could be reasonably expected to safely make a free right turn.


Clarifying comments (information that is in parentheses) should not intentionally mislead the contestant.


MBCU is a navigational aid for competitors.  It means May be considered unnecessary, not Must be considered unnecessary.  Correctly used, this term will appear on some instructions that are redundant with the through route, and on some instructions that are not redundant to the through route.  Whenever a competitor (those that understand traps and those that don’t) might think that the instruction is redundant to the through route, it is appropriate to use MBCU.


Take care not to over use ITIS and OR instructions.  These require looking for several things at once, making the rally more difficult.  Be careful not to overwhelm the novices.


Keep in mind that most often on Friday Nighters, competitors are dealing with nighttime traffic conditions and visibility.  Signs used should be prominent and, especially after dark, should be lighted or reflectorized.  Also be aware that signs immediately following an instruction may not be seen by the competitors because the navigator will not have read that part of the instruction to the driver.  This makes for a fine trap, but you will want to make sure that the competitors don’t get lost because of it.


Penalties for all the traps in the rally should be approximately equal.  We ask for a target penalty of 30 seconds per trap.  The rallymaster shall have discretion on the actual penalty used.


Route Controls  --  All Route Controls should have the same penalty.  Each Route Control should have a minimum of a 30-second pause to account for the time spent in the control.


Whenever a technical problem is identified at the finish of a rally, all possible steps should be taken to preserve the scoring of the leg.  Discarding of the scoring of a leg (a “thrown” leg) should be the last resort.  The rallymaster is empowered to do what is fair for all competitors.  The rallymaster’s judgement will be final. 


Section IV – Trap Rallies, other than Friday Nighters


Trap rallies outside of the Friday Nighter series provide an opportunity for a rallymaster to conduct a more difficult rally.  These rallies can use the Friday Nighter General Instructions, or any General Instructions the rallymaster chooses.  The rallymaster may incorporate every trick in the book.  Because of the complexity of these events, there will be a little more tolerance by the competitors and the council for traps that are used in spite of more than one wrong option not being “covered.”  Here again, though, the rallymaster should try to cover as many contingencies as possible.  If novices are invited to the rally, then the traps must be covered adequately to insure that the novices will complete the course without problem.


Section V – Touring Rallies, including Monte Carlo Style Rallies


Touring rallies differ from previously mentioned Friday Nighter or Trap rallies in their general format.  Unlike those rallies where using the Generals to find the course is the primary concern, the route instructions of Touring rallies provide a clearly defined route.  Touring rallies shall have no traps.  The competition shall be in timing only.  These rallies may use the Friday Nighter General Instructions, or any General Instructions that the rallymaster chooses.  Examples of Touring rally Generals can be had by request from the NWRC and it is suggested that new rallymasters get a copy.   Instructions may be provided in several formats, but one common requirement is that each instruction should have an accumulating mileage from the start of the section.  It is this mileage that should prevail as the primary course following element.  Some rallymasters choose to not provide mileages for all of the instructions. This is acceptable as long as the reference used is easy to see.

An example of a Touring rally format might be as simple as a numerical list of instructions, each with a mileage and an instruction.  The instructions can be very similar to the Friday Nighter style, but must not have any ambiguity as to the correct course.  A rally like this would look very similar to the odometer transit section of a Friday Nighter, but would also contain speeds.

Another example of an instruction format is the alpine (AKA tulip) format. An alpine is a simple diagram of an intersection of roads that provides a clear idea of how the competitor should proceed to follow the course.  When combined with the mileage, it should be obvious to the competitors when they should be looking for the intersection and which direction to leave that intersection.

Another aspect of touring rallies is the way in which checkpoints are setup.   Touring rallies can use either stoppage or passage controls.  Stoppage controls are those controls where the competitor must stop at the control car in order to be timed.  Competitors may also receive the information needed to continue with the rally. Passage controls have the control car along the side of the rally route timing cars as they go by.  The competitor does not stop.  For obvious reasons the competitors in an event using passage controls must have large and easy to read numbers displayed on the side of their cars.  If you restrict your control locations to only being on the right hand side of the road, you only need numbers on the right hand (passenger) side of the car.  These car numbers must be on the side of the car and not in the windows.  NWRC has a set of door numbers on magnetic material for this purpose.  Passage controls can be obvious or hidden as the rallymaster chooses.  Another aspect of passage controls is their ease of scoring.  Since each car is on a prescribed minute based on their car number, all cars should pass by in order on the prescribed second. 

In addition to Transit and Regularity sections, touring rallies can also have Monte Carlo sections.   They are in a sense a combination of the two.  A Monte Carlo section is a timed section that the competitors will be scored on, but there can only be a control car at the start and end of the section.  The point of a Monte Carlo section is for the competitor to follow the course from start of section to the end in a given amount of time.  This allows competitors a break from the constant pressure of staying on time in a regularity.  A window of 15 seconds is usually given on either side of that section time where the competitor may cross in or out of the Monte Carlo and still receive a zero score.

When rallymasters lay out a Monte Carlo section they should keep a few things in mind.  One is that a Monte Carlo section should not be use as a transit and visa versa.  What are the differences?  A transit section is a section where you are helping the competitors through a busy or difficult section of your rally where you don’t want them having to be concerned about being exactly on the clock.  Passing through a town or a particularly bad section of road surface is an example.  A Monte Carlo section should be free of urban congestion and residential traffic.

 A couple things to keep in mind when laying out your Touring rally are time and length.  Don’t let your rally get over 200 miles in length without a gas stop.  Most competitors understand that 200 miles is about the minimum they must be able to traverse.  Bathroom stops must be provided and time allowed for them. Generally, bathroom breaks should be as often as practical, with gas stops within the 200-mile range.  Be sure to clearly state both gas and bathroom stops in the instructions so that a competitor my look ahead for them.

When advertising your Touring rally, don’t forget that you must state what format of instructions you are using, whether or not you’re using Monte Carlo sections and what surface types have been used (paved, gravel, etc.).  You should also provide the general length and overall time of the event.  If the event is over four hours, you should include in the flyer information about any possible refreshment break, and whether there will be fast food available.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Section VI – Trophies and Dash Plaques


Competitors at Friday Nighter Rallies will be given one hard-backed dash plaque per car.   For rallies other than Friday Nighter Rallies, we recommend giving one hard-backed dash plaque per car, but this is up to the organizing club.


For Friday Nighter Rallies, separate trophies need to be provided for the driver and navigator of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place  contestants in the Novice and SOP classes, and 1st Place each in Masters and Unlimited. 


For rallies other than Friday Nighter Rallies, trophies should go at least 10% deep in each class up to 3rd place, with a minimum of one driver and navigator trophy in each.


No one will fault a rallymaster that gave out one too many trophies, but competitors will grouse about the one who gives out too few.  If the organizers have done their jobs well, the trophy as well as the rally will become a prized possession.