New to road rallying? Interested in rallying but not sure how to get started? A TSD (time-speed-distance) road rally is an event where a driver/navigator team follow a provided set of route instructions, specifying directions and (legal) speeds to travel, attempting to arrive at unknown control locations exactly on time. The sport requires skillful driving and mentally agile navigation and time calculations - it is both physically (in terms of driving skills) and mentally challenging. Sounds like it must be easy, but it turns out to be far more challenging than you might think.
Detroit Region SCCA (DR SCCA) events are conducted on an amazing variety of nifty dirt/gravel back roads that dot south central Michigan. If you haven't rallied before you probably aren't even aware of the many tasty back roads in the area.
Saturday, March 29 DR SCCA is conducting a one day (8:30 AM - 4 PM) annual TSD road rally school to help noobies (and near-noobies) become acquainted with the fundamentals of the sport. At the end of the class you'll be ready to tackle your first TSD rally event with confidence (if not necessarily event winning skills and knowledge - that comes with experience!). If you think you'd like to give TSD road rallying a go, this is an excellent way to get your feet wet.
DR SCCA is holding its annual TSD road rally school Saturday, March 29, at CJ's Lounge at the 8 Mile Rd exit (exit 53) of US-23, between Brighton MI and Ann Arbor MI. Click here for event flyer with directions to CJ's Lounge and an entry form. If you think you'd like to attend I encourage you to pre-register early to guarantee a place and to enable us to know how many copies of materials we need to produce. You don't have to sign up as a driver/navigator team - if you sign up by yourself, we'll do our best to team you with someone to run the practice events.
Below are some typical Q&As about the school:
Who would benefit from coming to the DR SCCA rally school?
Clearly folks who are interested in road rallying but have no experience with it will benefit most from the class. And these people are really our target audience. But if you've only rallied a year or two, maybe in just a few events, then the school might be an excellent refresher for you as well. Review your knowledge of the basics, and maybe pick a new thing or two.
What will the rally school cover?
The class is structured to cover the bases for all of the fundamentals of TSD road rallying. Class coverage will include:
- An introduction to road rally concepts and terms.
- How to follow the rally route using the provided route instructions and route following rules.
- Matching your car's odometer to the rallymaster's mileages.
- Basic road rally time keeping requirements and techniques.
- Checkpoint procedures.
And keep in mind that there's no such thing as dumb questions - only unasked ones.
Will I have a chance to practice any of the things presented in the classroom?
You bet. The class includes two short practice rallies. Although very short, the practice rallies include almost all of what you will encounter on a full length TSD road rally event. You'll have ample opportunity to practice what you learn in the class.
Do I need to have an especially prepared rally car?
Nope, not for road rallying. People compete in all sorts of vehicles, everything from VW Jettas to Subaru WRXes to Jeep Wranglers. Naturally a small, quick, good handling car will be more fun to compete with, but you can be competitive in just about any vehicle. The car needs to be street legal, with everything working and in good order - but other than that, no special preparation is necessary.
What do I need to bring with me to the school?
You just need a few basic items:
- A hard surface to write on in the car - a clipboard is perfect
- A time-of-day clock with big, easy to read digits, reading out in seconds. A digital kitchen timer will work - something like this West Bend timer can work nicely. You should be able to find these at Target, Walmart, etc. A wristwatch will work in a pinch for the budget minded.
- Pens and/or pencils. Not just one - bring at least a spare or two. Cars somehow eat 'em during rallying.
- A number of differently colored highlighters (for marking up route instructions)
- A four function calculator
- Some paper.
I hope we'll see you at CJ's Lounge Saturday morning March 29!
DR SCCA Road Rally School Chair