What Is A Rally?

A car Rally has been described as an extremely large board game: public streets are the board, and your car is your playing piece. In each car, the driver and navigator(s) carefully follow instructions that direct them along a given course. There is a friendly competition at the finish to see which teams followed the course most accurately.  PCA Rallies come in various shapes and sizes, but they are all non-racing events held on open public roads. Rally teams include friends, couples, and entire families.  Usually a Porsche is required for our club events, but on occasion (read bad weather) any car will do.

At the start of a rally, you will be given at least two sets of instructions. The General Instructions are the ground rules for the event, containing definitions, priorities, and other information. In needs to be emphasized that the General Instructions are very important because they may contain particular ground rules or definitions that are needed for using the Route Instructions.  The Route Instructions direct you along a course from the start location to the finish location. You will not get lost if you simply (“simply” has various definitions depending on experience.) follow the Route Instructions (in accordance with the General Instructions) in the obvious manner. Other types of instructions can interact in various ways with the General Instructions, with the Route Instructions, and with each other. Sometimes there are tricks to get you off-course, but not hopelessly lost.  Most rallies may have checkpoints along the course, where you stop your car and interact with rally personnel, who might throw some more additional instructions your way.  Note that the “vocabulary” or word definitions used in rallying are fairly consistent.  All of the important definitions used in an AMR rally will be provided in our General Instructions for that rally.  Full details on Rally Rules including all Definitions and Abbreviations are in Section V of the AMR/RMR Event Rules 2014 which is on our website amrporsche.com.

In a Gimmick Rally, you solve puzzles and try to avoid being tricked. The only time constraint is a deadline to be at the finish location. In a Timed Rally (also known as TSD or Timed, Speed, Distance), you try to stay on time, arriving at a different checkpoint locations neither early nor late.

In the Alpine Mountain Region we have been conducting only Gimmick Rallies for the past several years.  However, our neighboring Regions (and Parade) continue with the TSD rallies so information regarding same will be shown in Part 2.  The format for the AMR Gimmick Rallies may be somewhat different from any which are run by various Regions and other car clubs.  To wit, we generally run the rally as a fun/social event beginning with a meeting/briefing to go over the General and Route instructions, then run a short 2-3 hr rally and end with a luncheon at a familiar restaurant.

A Gimmick Rally is full of puzzles and tricks. Your score is based on information you record on your score sheet, which shows how well you solved the puzzles and avoided being tricked. No speed or time is involved, other than a deadline to be at the finish location. Teams can be divided into classes based on previous rally experience, with separate awards for each
class.  There are literally dozens of variations of gimmicks which can be used. They can be all of one type or combined.  Examples of the most popular ones used by AMR are shown below:

Spelling and Quotes
Here’s an example of an easy gimmick: a misspelled street name. Let’s say that you are driving on Apple St (see sketch point 1) and your current Route Instruction is “Turn right at Smith” and you come to Smyth Street. (pt 2) According to the General Instructions, the word “Smith” must appear on a sign where you do this Route Instruction, but the word “Smith” does not appear on the “Smyth St” sign.  You should continue straight until you see the Smith St sign to turn right (pt.4).
A and B—-A or B (Dual Part Route Instructions)
This type of Route Instruction has two parts. In an A or B, You do only the part that can be done correctly first. In the Smith vs. Smyth example , part A might be “Turn right at Smith” and part B might be “Turn right at Jones”. Those who missed the gimmick would turn right on Smyth Street. Those who caught the gimmick would continue to the next intersection, where they could turn right on Jones Avenue, which is parallel to Smyth Street. Notice that this puts everyone on one of two parallel streets, working on the same/next Route Instruction (which would work on either Smyth Street or Jones Avenue, and could bring the two routes back together such as “Turn Left on Pear St.). However, those who missed the gimmick recorded “A” on their score sheets, and those who caught it recorded “B” instead.  The other dual type, the A and B instruction is easier, you just complete the A part first before you can do the B part.  The important operative word in this type instruction is “complete”—so this can be tricky as well.

Questions and Answers
Various Questions are interspersed among the Route Instructions. At the appropriate points in the Rally, you record your Answers on the score sheet.  In our sketch example , the question “What streets meet at the first intersection you encounter?” might appear after the “Turn right at Smith” instruction. Assuming that Smith Road exists somewhere past Smyth Street, waiting for “Smith” would give you a different (and correct) answer to the question than turning right at Smyth would.  In practice, street names are rarely similar enough for a Q & A Rally to use misspelled street names in Route Instructions like this. Instead, a misspelled street name might be used in a question, such as “What streets meet at the first intersection past Smith?” If you encounter Smyth Street (but not Smith Street) while trying to answer that question, then you would be unable to answer the question, and would fill in your score sheet accordingly.

Scavenger Hunt     Similar to Questions and Answers but the questions are based on looking for things along the rally route, such as “What is the name on the mailbox at 123 Smith St”?

Photo (PicTours)
At the start, you receive a number of photos. As you follow the Route Instructions, you identify photos that depict the view from your car and record on your score sheet the mileage along the route at which they occurred. A working odometer is needed.

Hare and Hound
The participants (“hounds”) try to find the route taken by the Rallymaster (the “hare”).  At each decision point the entrants have to guess which way to go.  They then travel their chosen route, looking for a landmark or sign.  If they don’t find it after a certain distance (it must be fairly obvious), they know they went the wrong way, must turn around, return to the decision point and try again.  Winners are determined by the lowest mileage traveled, which means the fewest number of incorrect guesses about the direction of the route.

Treasure Hunts (Map Clues)
You use clues and riddles to find streets or landmarks on the provided map. Then you lay out your own course to travel to these locations to gather the requested information for your score sheet.

No matter which of the above variations are used in a rally, the successful navigation along the rally route is still based on the General Instructions and definitions contained therein.  For example, do you know what “onto” means—or “T”?  What If some names are capitalized and some are in quotes?

A timed Rally requires you to stay on time. Your score is based on whether you arrive at checkpoints at the correct time, with equal penalties for arriving either early or late. The route and checkpoint locations may be known or unknown, and the Route Instructions may or may not include traps that make you early or late if you do them wrong.  Timed Rallies are written taking into account speed limits and traffic.  Departure times are staggered at the start, usually one minute apart. Each leg of the Rally is scored separately, so you cannot make up for being late at one checkpoint by being early at another. There is a maximum penalty per leg, typically between one minute and 5 minutes.  Like gimmick Rallies, timed Rallies have awards classes based on experience.  However, award classes in timed Rallies may also be based on your use of computational equipment. For some timed Rallies, such equipment (e.g., a more accurate odometer, a GPS receiver, or a Rally computer) can help you get a better score. Therefore, you compete only against others who are similarly equipped.

Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) Rally
You follow Route Instructions that direct you on a course at assigned speeds. You are timed when you arrive at checkpoints, which are usually at undisclosed locations. The correct time of arrival is based on the distance traveled and the speeds assigned. Upon arrival at a checkpoint, you are assigned an out time, the time at which you are to start the next leg.  Some Rallies use do-it-yourself checkpoints in addition to timed checkpoints.  When you arrive at a do-it-yourself checkpoint, you record the time you arrived (or wanted to arrive) on your scorecard. Your out time at a do-it-yourself checkpoint is a fixed interval (typically 2 or 3 minutes) after your arrival time.  The first section of every TSD Rally is an odometer check, where you are given a fixed amount of time to follow instructions to a specific place, and are told the official distance to that point. You can use this information to adjust your speeds or odometer readings to compensate for differences between your odometer and that of the organizers.  Some TSD Rallies include course-following or timing traps. These traps are similar to the tricks found in gimmick Rallies, and might cause you to take a longer or shorter route, or to drive at a different speed. Missing a trap would cause you to you arrive either early or late at the next checkpoint.  TSD Rallies are common throughout the United States, and range in length from an hour or two to multiple-day events covering many hundreds of miles. Every Porsche Parade has a TSD Rally (more competitive) each year, which usually
takes about four hours on the course.  Recently, the Parade has added a Gimmick Rally (more fun) as well and attendees can choose one or the other.

Monte Carlo (Tulip) Rally
A Monte Carlo Rally is like a TSD Rally, but there are usually no traps, and the course is typically faster (but still safe and legal, of course),
longer, and windier than one for a TSD. The instructions for some Monte Carlo Rallys use line drawings of intersections when they tell you to turn.  Some of these drawings resemble tulips, and hence the nickname for this type
of Rally.  Sometimes each leg of a Monte Carlo Rally specifies a minimum distance point (generally of the leg), and the checkpoint is guaranteed to occur after that point. Thus, you need to maintain the assigned average speed only after reaching the minimum distance point. Typically, each leg of a Monte Carlo Rally has no more than two assigned speeds: one before the minimum distance, and one after the minimum distance.

Pan-Am Rally
In a Pan-Am Rally, you are told in advance exactly when you are due at every checkpoint, but not where they are. Rather than instructions that tell you where to turn, you receive a set of maps and descriptions of the checkpoint locations. Each description usually tells you something about the checkpoint location (such as what road or roads it is or is not on) and from what direction to approach.
The instructions typically tell you the exact location and direction of entry for a standoff for each checkpoint. At the standoff, you will be able
to see the checkpoint, or will get more information about its location.  After you leave a standoff, you can drive at whatever speed you want (even creeping very slowly), but you are not allowed to stop until reaching the checkpoint.

Regularity Rally
In a regularity Rally, you set your own speed while following the Route Instructions, and are timed at unknown locations. Then you re-run the course one or more times and attempt to match those times.

Full details on Rally Rules including all Definitions and Abbreviations are in Section V of the AMR/RMR Event Rules 2014 which is on our website amrporsche.com.