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rallies.info Results Service
rallies.info provides a full results service to all types of rally. We will take in Time Cards, and produce full results, both printed and online.
The results service has been running since 1989, when the Clerk of the Course of Beverley & District Motor Club's Armstrong Massey Rally asked me if I could write some software to calculate results on that single venue rally. The program was duly written, and the service was started. Over the following years, the program was modified to include calculating the road times on multi-venue rallies, and then subsequently made flexible enough to cope with road rallies, and most recently has been amended to allow endurance and historic results to be provided.
Types of Event
We can now provide a results service for the following types of rally:
- Stage Rallies (multi-venue)
- Multi-Use Stage Rallies (single-venue)
- Road Rallies
- Navigational Rallies
- Endurance Road Rallies
- Historic Road Rallies
How it works
All you need to provide is the Time Cards and Checksheets, and we will produce results for your rally. We produce interim results during the day, which can be printed out and put on notice boards, or can be photocopied and given out to competitors. The results are also available live on the Internet (on this website) as they are being typed in.
Frequently Asked Questions
I've answered below some of the questions which I've been asked most about the service, but if you have any more questions, do get in touch
How Live are your Live Internet Results?
The times are typed into database on a laptop computer, and every ten seconds a program copies them from there to the website, providing there is an Internet connection available. Typically, the delay in getting the time cards to results is much longer than the time taken to post them to the website.
Where do we need to locate the results service?
This depends on the type of event. The simplest is a single-venue stage rally, where results is located in or around Rally HQ and time cards are hand delivered from the card collection point. In these cases, all that is needed is somewhere to work. This can be in a building, if one is available, or can alternatively be in a caravan, or even in a tent or marquee if required (though it does have to be somewhere waterproof and reasonably windproof, otherwise handling time cards can get tricky!).
On a multi-venue rally, results is usually located in Rally HQ, remote from the Time Card Collection points and the Results Handout. See below for how these two challenges are dealt with.
On a Road Rally, or Endurance Rally, typically results will be mobile and will follow the event round. Although it's not the most convenient method, it is possible to run the results from the back of a car, and this is what is usually done on most road events. A normal Road Rally would see me collect time cards at a control about a quarter of the way through, typing them in as they are collected, and then relocate to the Petrol Halt where the first quarter results can be displayed. Results upto Petrol can typically be produced in enough time for crews to see them before they leave. Then a further card collect point will be arranged half way through the second half before moving to the finish venue to display results so far and type in the last time card. Of course, the geography of the event may mean different plans from this.
Do we need to provide electricity?
If results is located in a building, we will need to plug into the normal mains supply. However, if results is located in a caravan, tent, marquee or even in the back of my car, then I have an inverter which allows the computer equipment to be powered from the car.
Do we need to provide an Internet connection?
If there is a broadband connection which can be used, then this makes the Internet update quicker. I can connect to this via a Wireless network, or by plugging into a wired network. However, I am able to connect to the Internet using either a Vodafone or Orange mobile phone connection, so if there is signal for either of these two networks then I can connect.
If one location has no Internet connection, then the system will catch up the next time a connection is available.
How do we get times to you to type in?
This depends on the event. On a single venue, they are hand delivered (organisers children are good for this!), and on a Road Rally I generally visit each card collection point and collect them myself. However, on a multi-venue things are more complicated, as cards are usually being collected in different places at the same time.
In these circumstances, there are a number of ways to get cards back to me to type in. Probably the most common is via a normal telephone. To do this you need an operator at the card collect PC, and another in Rally HQ. The operator in Rally HQ is given Input Sheets, which look similar to the Time Cards, except that they typically have room for 4 or 5 competitors on each card. The person at the control then reads out the time over the phone, and the times are written onto the input sheet. The sheet is then passed over to results to be typed in. If you've got multiple card collects active at once you need to duplicate this setup. Note that I do not provide the staff or equipment for this telephone setup, this must be provided by the organisers.
Another way of getting results back to results is to fax the time cards across. This can either be to a physical fax machine, or if Rally HQ has a broadband internet connection, can go to a fax to e-mail service. Physical fax machines are the responsibility of the organisers to arrange, the fax to e-mail service is provided as a part of the results service.
Finally, a recently introduced method of card transmission is via a scanner and e-mail. This requires the organisers to have good technical IT knowledge (though I can advise) but can be very quick with the right equipment. In this case, organisers provide the sending equipment and I will provide the receiving.
How do we get results to competitors?
Again, this depends on the type of event. On a single venue event, it's usually as simple as printing out the results and putting them onto a notice board somewhere.
On a multi-venue event, you will normally need to give the results out individually to competitors, who may quite often come nowhere near Rally HQ until the end of the event. In this case, the normal method is now to use someone with a laptop and a printer/photocopier, and print the results directly from the website. As mentioned above, results appear on the website only a few seconds after they are typed in, so this is the best method. Clearly this person will need an Internet connection, but this can be achieved quite easily with a mobile phone type connection.
If it's not possible to print from the website directly, then the alternative is to fax results. This is not as good a solution, as it relies on the people in Rally HQ sending updated results very frequently (often they are needed every 10 minutes or so), and this places an additional load on the Rally HQ staff. In addition, the quality of the printout is not normally as good as a proper printed sheet.
As a last resort, if neither of the above is possible, you might want to look at getting someone to drive the results out to the remote area, though obviously this will only work if it's pretty close. Of course, some events have the competitors visiting Rally HQ during the day, so results delivery by hand can be a practical option. You should note that the results service does not normally include bulk printing, so if you need enough copies for all competitors, either make sure you ask for this beforehand, or provide copying facilities yourself.
How big a rally can you cope with?
I've done events with 130 competitors, and with over 100 controls. I can also cope quite happily with multiple events running at once. At the other end of the scale, I've done road rallies with only 30 or so competitors. I've never found an event too big to cope with (yet!).
Do you know anything about rallies apart from results?
Yes. I've been an active member of Beverley & District Motor Club since 1987, and I've done all sorts of things since then. I've been Clerk of the Course of Single Venue, Multi-Venue and Road Rallies, and I'm an MSA licensed Clerk of the Course. I'm also a Stage Commander on various events, upto and including International (British Rally Championship). As a result of writing the results software, I also know the MSA Blue Book rather better then I ever wanted to!
What would you need from us before the event?
Before the event, I will need to get the results database set up, and plan where I'm going to be, and what's happening when. So, I'll need the following:-
- Final Instructions
- Entry List
- Example Time Cards
- Bogey and Target Times (if not on Time Cards
- Event Time Schedule
- Passes if necessary
Normally, organisers either e-mail these documents to me, or I download them from your website. I'm not bothered about getting paper copies.
What would you need from us during the event?
During the event, I need to get a prompt and reliable source of the following documentation:-
- Time Cards
- Check Sheets
- Damage Declaration Forms (both from retirements and at the end)
- Judge of Fact Reports
- Results Query Forms
- Retirements information from Radio Control
Note that by far the most common reason for slow and/or inaccurate results is slow delivery of these documents. It's quite common for the Course Closing car to keep all the Check Sheets until the end of the event, and then come in after results have gone provisional and drop 100 assorted report forms and checksheets on the desk. Please make sure that there is a way for these documents to get to results during the day, so they can be properly processed.
How long will the results stay on the website for?
I have no plans to remove any results from the website, as it's a useful and interesting archive. At the moment, results on the website only go back to 1997, but that's only because that's when the website was created. You can bank on them staying there for 10 years at least.
Is the system reliable?
The programs have been used on many many events over the years, and so they are unlikely to suddenly develop a fault. If a fault does occur, I should be able to fix it very quickly anyway.
I bring a spare for all computer equipment used on the day, and there is a backup Web Server in case the main one fails. Because the system constantly copies the data I'm typing onto the web server, this is a built in backup, and a replacement PC would download this data from the webserver before starting work.
The greatest chance for errors are in reading the time cards and typing them in. However, by checking the Timekeepers' Checkshets against what has been typed into the computer, most of these errors can be located and corrected. I also have an 'Unusual Times' report which can identify statistically odd times for investigation. This is particularly useful if there is not time to check all the checksheets (for instance right at the end of an event).
How much does it cost
I charge based on the time involved, and the work, so small events will be much cheaper than large ones. Please for my current pricing structure. Pricing starts from £125 plus VAT.