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Author Topic: 12 car rallies - they make novices VERY welcome.  (Read 1260 times)
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DavidLaver
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« on: 11 March, 2014, 12:43:05 PM »


A few weeks ago I got deputised as a navigator for someone in a 12 car rally.  Having read the navigator's hand book and gone cross-eyed my expectation was low.  I thought that we might make the first control but after that we'd go over time, turn for home and photograph the others as they finished. 

How wrong I was...  We were made very welcome, given every assistance, and got round the whole rally without issue.

So what is a 12 car rally?   It is for "ordinary cars" (at the organiser's discretion - basically any car that doesn't look like a rally car) with no more than 12 cars to start over a short route of public roads, at low speed, with cars identified by number plate only.  Its a stealth thing with the minimum of intrusion to the public.  I think ours was about 40 miles starting at 8pm - all home for last orders, complimentary sarnies, awards and chitchat.  We got round in a 1965 Rover 2000 single carb without going over time so an Appia would be fine let alone Fulvias and Deltas and all the rest.  There was an MGF and MX5, Austin A30, lots of random hatchbacks.  For those with a "need for speed" up the sharp end talk was of getting airborne over bumps and someone cracked a pair of wheels on a kerb somewhere.  It CAN be treated as a road race but for us it was a gentle trundle.

Along the route are "manned controls".  At each of these you hand your card in for a time stamp and signature.  For the expert at each control you receive somewhat cryptic route instructions to get to the next control. For a novice they hand out a pack half an hour ahead of the start not only with all the navigation instructions but also with maps with the route already plotted.  More than that at most controls we got a hints and tips to keep us on track. 

Between the manned controls are "route boards".  These are A4 size with a code written on them.  You record the code on your card to prove you have been down the correct route.  We found all the controls, most of the route boards, stayed within time and finished half way up the results. 

They understand that giving the experts a decent challenge and getting novices started in the sport are two different things.   If I hadn't had my arm twisted I wouldn't have been there.  The lesson is not to be intimidated and give it a go...  "Novice" is a broad term, I expect in practice you remain a novice until you feel ready for the greater challenge of plotting a section at a time.  At that interim level, as they give the grid coordinates for each control, you could forget the "official route" and just make a bee line for the next control.  You'd not get the route boards but would stay within time.

Our rally was run by the Blackpalfrey Club starting and finishing just outside Maidstone in Kent.  There's a local championship between the area association of clubs.   They also run Sunday morning regularities where the timing is the essence rather than the navigation.  It was also good to see a busy calendar of autotests and autosolos (like an autotest but all forwards, a little more open and faster, sort of half way between an autotest and a sprint) all for regular road going cars at "beer money" prices without any of the licence and suit and helmet costs.

http://www.blackpalfrey.co.uk/

http://www.asemc.org.uk/calendarofevents.htm

Grass roots motorsport is still out there.

David
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David Laver, Lewisham.
DavidLaver
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« Reply #1 on: 11 March, 2014, 12:56:08 PM »


The official report:

http://www.blackpalfrey.co.uk/index.php/news/27-blackpalfrey-s-weald-12-car

...and entry list:

http://www.blackpalfrey.co.uk/index.php/weald-12-car

Here's that navigator's handbook:

http://www.blackpalfrey.co.uk/index.php/navigation-regularity

My other worries were car sickness and that I now need reading glasses.  With my only task being to follow the route car sickness was no issue and I managed without glasses.  Of all the torches we took to try the best was a pound shop pensized LED torch.  Ian being willing to stop for "a close look at the map" was key to doing without glasses or a "potti" type magnifier.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw=rally+roamer+light&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313&_nkw=rally+potti+light&_sacat=0

Anyone else here done a "12 car"?

David
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David Laver, Lewisham.
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« Reply #2 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:53:38 PM »

I did quite a few when I was with the Hart MC in Surrey/Hants. The main difference was that ours were held at night -  usually starting at about 10pm and finishing about 1am. They'd usually end up at a services somewhere for final scoring and a coffee. I think the idea was that it was safer around the rural lanes at that time, being able to see anything approaching around a bend by their headlights. We'd get the first plot before we left and the rest at each control. These could be a mixture of herringbones (rule for those: always imagine driving along the kerb opposite the 'fishbone' coming from the straight line - actually that sounds complicated but isn't really) and things like spot heights etc. Some were quite devious. There would also be control boards here and there that had to be marked down to prove we hadn't cut a loop out. At junctions we might have to go 'long way around triangle' - in other words turn right at the second road of a grassy triangle instead of the normal first. A night rally soon showed up what was needed equipment wise and a 'potti' was essential plus we all ended up with homemade overhead map lights. These were a box made out of card and taped for strength, a small neon 12v strip light and they just plugged into the cigarette lighter. The box just shielded the light from the driver. What a difference that made. They are grass roots and good fun and cheap too. There was a scrutineering of sorts and I do remember we had to mark up the battery earth lead in yellow. On one event I did with a borrowed car, both myself and my navigator realised the lead wasn't marked and we hadn't any tape. However we did have a banana and a tie wrap. The scrutineer just said, 'Well, it is yellow I suppose'. All was fine until about 30 minutes in when we looked at each other and asked 'What's that smell?'. As you say though, any car will do as all timing is based on legal speeds.
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1971 Fulvia 1.3S 'Leggera'  1999 Lancia Lybra 1.9JTD LX SW
DavidLaver
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« Reply #3 on: 11 March, 2014, 03:36:28 PM »


8pm was after dark.  Once out of town the only traffic we saw was rally traffic.  Any photos of those home made lamps?  Any photos?

David
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David Laver, Lewisham.
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« Reply #4 on: 11 March, 2014, 06:47:24 PM »

Unfortunately no photos of the 12 cars or the lamp. But from memory, I think they were 12v neon tubes with a built in rocker switch probably meant for caravans. They were about a 9"-1ft long. I made the box from some thick card from an art shop. So it's basically shaped like a Bacofoil box minus the lid. After I'd glued it I covered it in gaffer tape to make it sturdy. The sides were deep enough to aim the light down and not disturb the driver if it was needed on the move. Then it was just attached by elastic bands to the sun visor. Gives the most brilliant light for plotting then the potti can be used on the move. I'm sure you're aware you can get sockets for cigarette lighters with two or three outlets so the potti and lamp can be plugged in at the same time. That was it really - lamp, potti, romer, nice bit of board with bulldog clips for the maps, mobile phone for emergencies. Just the way rallying used to be.............apart from the phone.

As you say, people should give it a go. It's as much fun or as serious as you want it to be. You certainly don't have to be a Colin McCrae. Once a year our club would help to marshal on a serious all-nighter, starting around 10 and finishing around 7am. These were the serious teams in properly prepared Escorts etc. I remember being greatly impressed as I stood at my time check in the woods at 2am as the leading cars came in dead on their time. From their we'd have a bit of a rest then set off to man another control at about 6am. Once again, at a minute to six, you'd hear an engine and agan the leading cars all came in spot on their time. Incredible, and I bet not one of them had a banana tied to the earth lead.
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1971 Fulvia 1.3S 'Leggera'  1999 Lancia Lybra 1.9JTD LX SW
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