In the main there are three different types of sections on a road rally: Transport Sections, Regularities and Special Tests.
Transport sections are there to get you to and from the competitively timed regularities and special tests. They allow you enough time to comfortably travel to the next control, and if you are quick even get fuel, but you still have to remain on your scheduled time so don’t take too long or you’ll incur lateness.
This is where the skill comes in. A regularity section combines a navigational test with accurately maintaining a set average speed at the same time. As these take place on open public roads, the average speeds set are limited to a maximum of 30mph (in the UK) and crews are expected to drive in accordance with the law. Along the route you will come across a number of secret Intermediate Time Controls (ITC’s) where you will be timed to the second. Assuming you have taken the correct route and maintained the correct average speed you will arrive at the ITC at an exact number of minutes and seconds. If you haven’t then your penalty is based on the number of seconds you are either early or late.
Multitasking is the order of the day and the skill is being able to work out the route and navigate along it correctly whilst also calculating your average speed at regular points and adjusting your speed to ensure it’s correct. However, your average speed has to be worked out manually by the use of speed tables and a stopwatch and you CANNOT use any other mechanical or electronic device to help you (which historically is how rally crews had to do it).
Speed tables use a matrix of figures to enable you to work out how long it takes to cover exact distances at set average speeds.
Timing begins at the regularity start where you are counted down to start on an exact minute. Your appearances at ITCs within the section are recorded to the second including the regularity finish. Once the regularity has ended and your time recorded you enter the transport section to the next control working to your scheduled time, or due time if you have dropped time
On paper you may think this is easy, but the combination of testing country roads, challenging navigation, secret controls, junctions, tractors, cattle grids, mud covered roads and the british weather, means you’ll have loads of fun trying to stay on time.
Regularities take a while to perfect and require a lot of teamwork but are extremely rewarding when you get them right. We haven’t enough space here to explain how to master them, but full details can be found in our free guides below which you can view and download.
Jogularity is a system developed by innovative rally organiser John Brown for the ‘LE JOG’ – the Land’s End to John O’Groats classic reliability trial.
Since then it has been adopted by other event organisers and adapted in to a number of other forms. The principle is that it simplifies regularities without making them any less competitive, and as such are perfect for novices.
The format uses either tulip diagrams, or written descriptions to identify landmarks or junctions along the route. Alongside these are distances and the exact time at which you should arrive at these points based on the set average speed. Secret time controls are then positioned at any of these points.
The benefit for beginners is that you can do them with less equipment and it doesn’t take too long to get in to the pattern and flow of how it works.
In between regularity sections, events frequently take crews on to private land to take part in a short driving challenge where they have to achieve the quickest time possible. These Special Tests are very exciting and vary enormously depending on the location (e.g. airfield, car park, forest track, farm yard, country park) but they all include the negotiation of a sequence of cones. Failure to follow the correct route or manoeuvre, or hitting a cone results in additional penalties being added to your time. They are timed to the second and begin at the start line by being counted down to the start of the minute given to you by the marshal. Your time stops when you stop astride (and NOT go beyond) the finish line.
Your result at the end of the event is a combination of time penalties incurred during the regularities and special tests – plus any additional penalties if you have gone OTL.