My Rally Board Set Up For A Time-Speed Rally

In response to a question about the rally board that I used in the recent Pumpkin Run rally, I decided to show the set-up that works for me.  As I navigate in other people’s cars I must have a set up that can move from car to car as easily as possible without relying on mounting equipment on the host car.

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Rally Board Set-Up For The Pumpkin Run Rally

The short distance time-speed table that I discussed in a post yesterday is taped to the clipboard on the right under the Route Instructions.  The clipboards are secured to the rally board by nut and bolt connections for firm but easily changeable configurations.  For this rally I installed a frontal board on the rally board to provide a good close mount for the Performance Chart and the allowable analog clock.  These items must be close and highly visible for this type of event.

My rally board set up is quite flexible, as I have different equipment mounts and I use plenty of industrial grade Velcro.  I frequently mount odometers, rally computers and clocks on my rally board depending upon the rules of a specific rally.  It works well for me.

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Useful Table For Time-Speed Rallies

As I was putting my navigation equipment away after the recent 2014 Pumpkin Run rally, I noticed a table that I use that others might find useful in other Time-Speed rallies.  I have a table taped to my rally board that provides the time taken to travel short distances.  This table is shown below.

Time-Speed-Distance Traveled Table

Short Distance Time Speed Chart

In Time-Speed rallies, the condition frequently arises where a car will arrive at a stop sign to execute a stop for, say, 15 seconds.  With allowances for time lost in stopping and starting, as I explained in a recent post about preparing a Performance Chart, let’s assume that the actual stop time at the stop sign is 9 seconds.  However rally competitors have to share the road with other cars and trucks.  It is not unusual for cross traffic to prevent the rally car from safely moving forward from the stop sign at the required time.  This will result in lost time waiting for a suitable opening in the traffic flow to cross the road.

An alternative to waiting, is to leave early and stop on the other side of the road.  This decision would be at the discretion of the driver.  The table above will help when it is decided to cross the road early at an opening in the traffic.  For example, say we are planning on waiting the 9 seconds before accelerating to 30 miles per hour  to cross the road and then follow the road to the next instruction.  However seeing heavy traffic, the driver decides to cross the road after stopping for only 3 seconds.  Suppose the road is built on a 100 foot right-of-way, then the car might travel 125 feet crossing the road and re-stopping at an appropriate location.  Re-starting 125 feet further down the road represents a time gain because you don’t have to spend the time crossing the road.  At 30 mph, re-starting 125 feet further down the rally route represents at gain of 2.8 seconds over stopping on the other side of the road.  Therefore the re-start waiting time would be (9 + 2.8) 11.8 seconds.  Therefore the “Go 30″ instruction to the driver would be given 11.8 seconds after first stopping on the other side of the road.  While the car is crossing the road, the navigator should be estimating the distance traveled crossing the road.

These decisions need to be made quickly and the navigator might not have time to look up the table and do the calculations before the car needs to move again.  When this happens, I would arbitrarily add 3 seconds to the originally planned stop time and tell the driver to “Go 30″ at that time.  Then once the car gets going, then look up the actual gain based on the table above and make the needed time adjustment further down the course.  For example, in our example above the proper gain for crossing the road is 2.8 seconds, but if the car waited the additional 3 seconds from the initial planned stop of 9 seconds, then the car would be running 0.2 seconds late.  An adjustment of 0.2 seconds can be made up at the next stop, for example.

Hopefully some other navigators will find this table useful.

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Photos From The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

The following are some random photos that I took at the 2014 Pumpkin Run rally that was put on by the Northeast Rally Club on October 17, 19, & 20, 2014 in Millsboro, Delaware.


The Rally Attracts A Wide Range Of Vehicles – A 1916 Hudson, A 1966 Mustang, And My 2003 Mercedes-Benz

The picture below of myself and Harald von Langsdorff was taken near the start of the practice rally on Friday afternoon.  It was nice to be able to rally with the top down.


Myself & Harald von Langsdorff With Our Mercedes-Benz

The car below is the Bitterman family’s 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook.  This has been a sad year for the Bitterman family as they lost a wife and mother when Mary Bitterman died earlier this year.  The Bitterman family have competed in many Northeast Rally Club events over the years.


The Bitterman’s 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook

The Mercedes-Benz shown below was clearly the fastest car in the event.  The 2014 all wheel drive Mercedes-Benz wagon had the factory AMG treatment with the owner noting that the engine had 580 horsepower!


2014 Mercedes-Benz Bi-Turbo AMG Wagon


Pro Class Fourth Place Finisher Haverty/Pusey 1937 Ford Coupe

The 1969 Saab 96 shown below was crewed by the team of Bill Holmes/Steve Keller.  They had very good results especially taking into account that this was the first rally that Bill had driven in.  Steve Keller is a very competent navigator with considerable Great Race and similar event experience.  I had met Steve before at several of the Northeast Rally Club rallies and Harald & I have always enjoy his company.


1969 Saab 96

The lovely Camaro SS396 shown below was entered the Marcus boys.  They are shown standing behind the Camaro.  They also competed in this year’s Great Race.  These are great guys and they had an excellent rally finishing second in the SOP Class.


1968 Camaro SS396 Convertible

The 1916 Hudson Hillclimber shown below is a perennial top finisher in the hands of the Sharp family.  In this year’s Pumpkin Run rally they finished second in the Pro Class.


1916 Hudson Hillclimber

It is always nice to see the mid-1960s full-size Fords.  It seems to me that these cars were not preserved in large numbers.  The number of remaining mid-1960s full-size Fords seems far less than the full-size Chevys of the same age.


1966 Ford Galaxy

The Sunbeam Tiger shown below was entered by a Hagerty insurance executive with Jeff Stumb, one of the key Great Race staff members as the navigator.  During the rally they had some problem with the fuel system, but they were able to get it repaired.


1966 Sunbeam Tiger


1932 Chevrolet Sedan

The 1966 Dodge Charger shown below is another of the Bitterman cars.  This car sounded great with the big Chrysler V8 engine.


1966 Dodge Charger

As you can see from these few photos, there was a wide variety of cars entered in the 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally.  Harald and I enjoyed being part of this rally.

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Success At The Final Day Of The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

Harald von Langsdorff and I had a very successful final day at the 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally.  We scored another Ace by having a perfect score on one of today’s legs.  Again, we were the only Seat Of The Pants Class car to score an Ace.  And more importantly we won the SOP Class for the full today rally by a comfortable margin.  We also got a trophy for winning the SOP Class at practice rally on Friday.


Our Pumpkin Run Rally Awards

I will have more on the rally later this week, but right now I’m a little tired after having navigated in the rally in the morning and then driving the car home.  It was a very enjoyable rally.

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Day 2 At The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

Harald von Langsdorff and I had another successful day at the 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally.  Today was the first day of the official rally.  There were nine controls today and we had very good scores on seven of the controls.  In fact, we are leading the SOP Class or “Seat of the Pants” which means that we can only use the car’s stock speedometer.  Harald is getting used to driving my car and we are working well together with  course following and timing.

Also we were the only SOP Class car to score an Ace today, which means that we had a perfect score of zero on a leg.  We had a number of leg scores less that 4 seconds, so we believe that we have many of the rally issues sorted out.

Tomorrow is the final day, so we need to continue our current pace.  The rally starts at 7:00AM, so we need to get a good night’s sleep.

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Day 1 At The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

From the point of view of Harald von Langsdorff and myself the first day of the Pumpkin Run Rally was quite successful.  Today they held a practice rally and we won the SOP Class and were 7th Overall.  Our car ran well and we were able to get rust off for Time-Speed rallies as it has been about 6 years since we competed together in these types of rallies.

We had good fun and the Northeast Rally Club put on a great lunch and dinner.   We were able to renew some friendships and make new ones.  Tomorrow should be even better.


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Last Minute Change For Us At The Pumpkin Run Rally

Harald Von Langsdorff and I have arrived in Millsboro, Delaware for the start of the Pumpkin Run Rally.  Late this morning while getting ready to prepare our Performance Chart for the rally, we discovered that the water pump on Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 300 6.3 is on its last legs.  I drove my Mercedes-Benz 230SLK down to Millsboro to meet Harald, so now our plan is to drive my car in the SOP Class as I don’t have a wheel sensor to use on the my Mercedes, therefore we cannot compete in the Pro Class using the calibratable speedometer.  I have wheel sensors to fit other cars that I have navigated in, but not my own.

We just returned from doing some timing measurements to set up a Performance Chart for my Mercedes-Benz.  While we started thinking that it was rather late to be setting up the Performance Chart with our original plan, this problem with Harald’s car just makes things a little more challenging for us.

The good news for Harald is that Star Motors in Endicott, NY, about 300 miles from here on Harald’s way back to Ontario, has some parts and will be able to work on Harald’s car on Monday.  By replenishing the coolant water, it is thought that Harald will be able to make it to Star Motors.  I have been to the Star Motors shop in Endicott, NY and they are very helpful and capable of fixing older Mercedes-Benz cars.

I will provide an update on our progress after the practice rally tomorrow.


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