As these are competitive events, the navigation steps up a notch. But before we get to the actual navigation, there are a number of other elements you need to understand. The first one being the different driven sections within an event:
Transport Sections – Non-competitive routes that take you from one competitive section to another. These are given to you in advance of your start time to plot on your map.
Regularity Sections – Competitive routes, which you will have plotted in advance from a series of instructions, or, you will plot from instructions handed to you at the moment you leave the start of the section (this is referred to as ‘plot and bash’). However not all instructions are plotted on to a map. Tulips, or a sequence of written instructions known as a ‘Jogularity’ (a style of navigation first used on an event called ‘LeJog’), are intended to be followed without the need for a map.
Special Tests – These are short competitive sections held on private ground and are driven as quickly as possible. The route, or course, is shown on a single diagram on a sheet of A4 paper. On this will be further instructions to show where to stop or change the direction of the car and references to navigate the car the correct way through various obstacles.
The whole of an event, from the start to the finish and all the different driven sections in between are connected by official control points. Each one uses different letters and numbers to distinguish what type of control it is and which one it is in the sequence of the event (e.g. MC2 – Master Control 2). Most control points will have a marshal present and they will almost always be a point where your time of arrival or departure is recorded. All these controls are given to you in advance of your start along with your transport sections.
However, not all controls are disclosed in advance. Secret controls, called ‘passage controls’, are used to check you are on the correct route. These are normally manned by a marshal who will record your attendance. If unmanned, a ‘code board’ is used instead, the details of which you must record as you pass. Controls in secret locations along the route that record your time (and direction of approach) are called Intermediate Time Controls (ITC).
Types of navigation
There are a number of different types to understand, but the benefit is, once you’ve got your head around them, they will cover most of those encountered on the majority of events. In fact the HRCR Clubmans events restrict the number of navigation types used to give everyone a better chance of being familiar with the instructions. Endurance events, which are in effect extended road rallies, tend to use the same or very similar navigation methods.
The most common types are:
- Grid References
- Tulip Roadbook
- Gridlines and Grid Squares
- Map Features
- Spot Heights
- London Rally Marked Maps
- Compass Directions
- Clock Face Directions
- Road Colours
- Junction Direction Acronyms
- Map Traces
You’ll find details of these in the HRCR Navigation Handbook and the HRCR Road Rally Novice Guide which you can view and download here.