Sports Car Club of America

Road Rally

Road RallyTwo people (a driver and a navigator) in ordinary cars make up a rally team.

A RoadRally is traversed over public roads within the legal speed limit. The challenge is to drive on time, arriving at points along the route neither early nor late (it's NOT a race). Each team needs a simple watch which can be synchronized to match official time, as well as something to write on and with. Interior lighting (map lights, a flashlight, etc) is also a good idea for night rallies.

After receiving and browsing the route instructions, cars start at one minute intervals. The first section, a short 10-15 mile route, is called the "Odometer Calibration Zone," and is used to calibrate the rally car's odometer to the official mileage used to measure the course by the rallymaster. After this section, the competition really begins, as you must follow the course using the instructions in the route book, as well as the general instructions that govern the rally. Meanwhile, you must also stay on time, based on the average speeds given in the instructions at various points through the routes.

A Contest of Precision

At various points, unknown to the competitors, timing controls (checkpoints) will be encountered. Since the rallymaster knows the exact distance and speeds you should have traveled to reach the checkpoint, the "perfect time" of arrival can be calculated. You are timed at the moment you reach the control, and will receive penalty points for arriving either early OR late. You are then given information about the last leg, as well as a time to start the next leg, and a clean start to challenge the clock. This is a contest of precision, not a race, and each leg is scored separately. If you are early or late at one control, you cannot make up for it by being late or early at the next. At the conclusion, scores for all legs are totaled, and the lowest score wins (just like golf). Sound easy? Well, just as in golf, it takes practice to get very good scores.

Regardless of how well you score, rallying is a lot of fun if you like to spend time in your car, see some scenery and spend time with congenial people. Rallies usually end at a location where munchies and beverages are available. You can join the rest of the crowd in discussing how the event went and how you did, while waiting for the final scores to be calculated and trophies to be awarded. 

Events For All Levels of Experience

A Touring rally is a time-speed-distance contest with straight-forward course following. There is never a deliberate attempt to lead the contestant off course, and typically redundant/confirming instructions are provided if there is an apparent opportunity to get lost. Since there is less challenge in staying on course, the competition usually either tests the driver with challenging roads, and/or tests the navigator with precise calculations. A typical National Tour rally with a minimum of 24 controls is won with an average of less than one point per control, and often with less than 10 points total (or a total error for the day of under 6 seconds!).

A Course rally is also a time-speed-distance event, but requires logic to determine where the course goes, as well as the skills to remain at the assigned average speed. These contests emphasize mental agility as much as on the road skills. The ability to think quickly is necessary, often described as "Chess on wheels." If you are a "puzzle" person, then Course rallying is for you. Scores are generally higher as navigating the course correctly by solving the "traps" laid by the rallymaster plays a much bigger role in final scores than very accurate timekeeping.

A GTA rally is not a time-speed-distance event, but following the course may be as challenging as a Course rally. Or it may be simple, but finding certain signs and landmarks may be the challenge. From knowing Santa’s reindeer on a Christmas rally to finding the oldest gravestone in an old cemetery at night on a Halloween rally, GTA rallies have a wide range of formats and challenges.

Upcoming Events

Date Event Location Region
10/26/2014 Misery Bay Lake Erie Covered Bridge Rally Burger King Misery Bay Region
10/26/2014 Milwaukee Kettle Moraine Colors Roads Milwaukee Region
10/26/2014 Mohawk Hudson Ghosts & Goblins GTA Rally Public Roads Mohawk Hudson Region
11/1/2014 New England Covered Bridge Tour Rally Jackson Gore Resort New England Region
11/1/2014 Cal Club Highway Robbery National Course Rally La Quinta Inn Cal Club Region
11/2/2014 Cal Club Turkey Traps National GTA Rally La Quinta Inn Cal Club Region
11/7/2014 Cal Club First Friday Niter Social Rally Mission Hills Cal Club Region
11/8/2014 Milwaukee The Blacke TSD Rally Arrowhead Lodge Milwaukee Region
11/8/2014 Kansas City East to Easton Tour Rally Public Roads Kansas City Region
11/9/2014 Southern Indiana Davis/Sonntag Rally Hardees Southern Indiana Region
11/9/2014 Kansas River Run Tour Rally Public Roads Kansas Region
11/11/2014 Finger Lakes Winter Tune UP TBD Finger Lakes Region
11/22/2014 South Jersey Bucks County Explorer Tour Rally Hampton Inn South Jersey Region
11/22/2014 The Great Pumpkin Challenge roads St Louis Region
11/22/2014 The Great Pumpkin Challenge St Louis Region
12/5/2014 Cal Club First Friday Niter Social Rally Mission Hills Cal Club Region
12/6/2014 Land O'Lakes Yucatan Winter Course Rally Yucatan Winter Rally Land O'Lakes Region
12/6/2014 Detroit Pavement Ends Tour Rally Claddagh Irish Pub Detroit Region
12/13/2014 Arizona Border S'Rita Run Course Rally Public Roads Arizona Border Region
12/13/2014 Arizona Border Scenic Vistas Course Rally Public Roads Arizona Border Region
12/14/2014 Arizona Border Curve Error Course Rally Public Roads Arizona Border Region
12/14/2014 Arizona Border Low & Green Course Rally Public Roads Arizona Border Region