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Rallies fall into two basic categories: Time, Speed, Distance Rallies (TSD) and Gimmick or Fun Rallies.  

TSD rallies are for serious competitors and involve a set of instructions given to the Driver- Navigator team that give very exact instructions as to turn direction and location and precise speed requirements.   At a number of locations along the route ( typically 7 or 8 at a Parade Rally) unknown to the competitors, there will be Check Points timing the arrival of each car to a hundredth of a minute.  The difference in the arrival time to the computed “perfect time” is the score.  The total of the errors from each check point is the score for the Rally. The lowest score wins.  It is not unusual to have winning scores of  2 to 6 (hundredths of a minute ) on a 5 hour Rally. 

Typical instructions on a TSD rally might be:

  • Instruction 86: Change average speed to 45.2 MPH 0.65 miles after passing “Slocum Realty” Sign on right.
  • Instruction 87: Turn right before “Ossippe Mattress Factory”  Pause 0.5 min and  increase average speed 12.5%

Note that the navigator would need to convert all of the Official speeds and distances for the car being driven since every odometer is different.

Gimmick or Fun Rallies are less complicated and come in a infinite number of variations.  The most common is for the contestants to follow a set of instructions that direct them along a route and at the same time are required to answer questions related to the route, such as information from signs or landmarks.  Other Gimmicks can take on the characteristics of a Scavenger hunt or the contestants might collect playing cards from checkpoints to assemble a winning Poker hand.  One memorable rally required us to bake a cookie from raw dough by the end of the Rally – Strategies included taping the dough in aluminum foil to the muffler or the catalytic converter.  944s could use their air conditioner compressors.

Typical gimmick instructions might be:
  • Instruction 15: Turn right on Maple Street
  • Instruction 16: What is the zip code of Freedom, Mass?
  • Instruction 17: What is the Phone Number of Slocum Realty?

Of course, it is necessary to stay on course. Some Rallies will have time or distance penalties to discourage competitors from constantly back tracking to find clues they think they have missed.