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Discussion Starter #1
Up front let me state that I have no commercial interest in this product.

At Targa Newfoundland this year cars will be fitted with the Rally Cat as a full scale test. This is a device that when activated will emit a signal that can be picked up by other Rally Cats within about 200 - 300 metres. Therefore if a car goes off or breaks down, then the Rally Cat can be activated and a signal will let cars behind know to slow down and be on the look out for the disabled car. At Targa the cars start at 30 second intervals with the fastest cars last, therefore cars close in a hurry. Note that triangles will still be used.

Also there is an overtaking signal that a following car can send to a car up ahead to let them know you are right behind them. This could be of use on dust stages (Targa is all tarmac, so it won't be tested in this manner.) when you can't get close enough to the car ahead to let them know that you are being held up by them. This happened to Keith Kreisler and I at Maine Forest. Due to a flat tire on Friday we lost some time and started near the back on Saturday. On a dusty stage on Saturday, we caught and passed one car, then caught up to another, but because of the dust we could not get close enough to let the car ahead know we were there. The dust was so bad that we spun (I was concerned as we got the car straightened up knowing that the car we initially passed was closing on us, could come out of the dust and hit us broadside.) and then we caught up to the leading car again, but to no avail. Other cars apparently lost significant time (Bacon/Watt) following slow moving dust storms. ( I can also imagine some abuses of this feature.)

Check out their website at www.rallycat.ca They have a decent video that explains the device. The fellow that developed this device was driving the '54 Healey that hit the P1800 Volvo. He decided that rally cars should not be running into each other and developed the Rally Cat.

I will post any personal experience with this device after Targa Newfoundland.

Steve McKelvie
Franklin, MA
Co-Driver Targa Newfoundland Car # 903
 

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this is very interesting. much better than the chrome horn that has been used in the past when wanting to overtake. i think colin did that at greece one year. and the safety factor is really cool.

hopefully it wont be abused.
 

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Sounds very good. It would have saved me one crash to avoid an idiot who did not make his triangles visible at Maine Winter '92, and another very near miss at '02 100 Acre Wood where the just-crashed individuals were busy looking at the condition of their car rather than bothering to put their triangles out. Both incidents were on blind left corners. (It might not be as useful at a dry STPR, where the back of the field drives in constant dust raised the preceeding train of cars.)

I'll read the info; it would be good if there was an indication of whether the emitting car was moving or not. If not moving, then one would know to slow down immediately.

And, of course, cost will be critical.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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From their website FAQ :

- not available for purchase (lease only)
- lease cost not specified
- replacement cost of CDN$ 1500
- "first warning" only for 3 minutes (to allow time for triangle placement)

Some notes / observations :
- all competitors and some marshals in an event need one for it to be effective
- this would make it mandatory, not optional, therefore lease cost becomes very relevant
- if the rally cat was destroyed e.g. bad off or a fire, the CDN$ 1500 replacement cost is significant

And it does have a big disadvantage : the emergency warning signal needs to be activated manually - which would not be possible if both driver and co-driver are unconscious

Overall, it does sound like a good idea; and if the cost and operational features can be optimized, anything that improves safety may prove to be a welcome addition.

HTH.


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Web site : www.SoCalRally.com
Sponsors : www.VwSpecialties.com www.Parts4VWs.com

Rally - I don't need no stinkin' epi pen to get my adrenalin rush !!
 

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organizers could rent them for the event and just add the cost into the entry fee's.
 

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Sure, and if it were to be used, that is the most likely and practical scenario. But it doesn't remove the fact that the cost of the lease of the unit is going to be something of great interest to the competitor, and the lease cost and effectiveness of the device is going to dictate how popular the device is.


=============================================================================

Web site : www.SoCalRally.com
Sponsors : www.VwSpecialties.com www.Parts4VWs.com

Rally - I don't need no stinkin' epi pen to get my adrenalin rush !!
 

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>And it does have a big disadvantage : the emergency warning
>signal needs to be activated manually - which would not be
>possible if both driver and co-driver are unconscious

Until this thread I did not know of such a device was in exsistance. After Rim of the World this year when we almost "launched" our selves off of Magic Mountain in the dark on one of Friday nights stages, it got me thinking about if that berm did not stop us and the fact that there was a camera crew standing right there, how would anyone have found us if we went off and down the side of the mountain into the valley?

So I came up with a beacon or strobe light that could be powered by it self or by the cars battery. The main reason for bringing this up is the way it is activated. When the engine is started a latching/ timer relay is engaged. While the engine is running the relay stays latched "open" and the timer stopped. If the engine stops or quits (because of an accident) the relay "closes" and the timer begins counting down, say 15 seconds, if the key is not shut off (or master switch) or the engine not refired in those 15 seconds then the timer latches and the strobe/ beacon goes off. (if the beacon goes off for other reasons there is a master override to shut it off and put it back at the ready.) This should, hopefully, help sweep, saftey crew, etc find you much quicker.

Jim Wright
www.wrightontimerally.com
 

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Four tree two remember Andrew
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Jim:

When we formulated the NASA rules, we discussed the use of a marine strobe as a warning device. They can be picked up inexpensively, and at night they would be particularly effective, especially with cars coming up on disabled cars on the stages.

Wilson

>
> So I came up with a beacon or strobe light that could be
>powered by it self or by the cars battery. The main reason
>for bringing this up is the way it is activated. When the
>engine is started a latching/ timer relay is engaged. While
>the engine is running the relay stays latched "open" and the
>timer stopped. If the engine stops or quits (because of an
>accident) the relay "closes" and the timer begins counting
>down, say 15 seconds, if the key is not shut off (or master
>switch) or the engine not refired in those 15 seconds then
>the timer latches and the strobe/ beacon goes off. (if the
>beacon goes off for other reasons there is a master override
>to shut it off and put it back at the ready.) This should,
>hopefully, help sweep, saftey crew, etc find you much
>quicker.
>
>Jim Wright
>www.wrightontimerally.com
 

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I'm not really interested if lease is the only option. That gets compounded with any 'mandatory' aspect; we get into 'safety at what cost?' discussion.

Interesting about the manual activation. There are inexpensive 'g switches' avialalble that could be used as an alternate activation device.

Mark B.
 

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From the Rally Ontario email list

--- Michael Salter <[email protected]> wrote:
> A. The rental fee is yet to be finalized but it will
> probably be of the
> order of $100 for a one or 2 day event. In the case
> of commercial events
> probably the event organizer or events sponsor
> otherwise the competitor.


> Q. How are we supposed to hear the audio warning
> when we
> are driving unmuffled racecars with gravel noise
> from
> the underbody while wearing muffled Peltor helmets?
> A. Part of why I have been asking for input. We
> recognize that
> communicating with a crew under those conditions
> will be difficult. We
> have plans to us a bright LED strobe within the
> driver's field of
> vision. Any constructive recommendations?
>
> Q.Is it true the current system is not shock-proof?
> Has it been tested for heat, cold and dust?
> A.Somebody said "So you are asking after investing
> the time and effort?"
> Now it would appear that we have not spent enough.
> When is an
> appropriate time to request submissions?
>
> Q. Why change the current timing and scoring
> procedure/method?
> A. Because it is appallingly inaccurate, requires
> far to many people who
> could be better utilized and exposes some of those
> people to
> considerable danger.
>
> Q. What backup would there be if your timing system
> was
> adopted but scoring data was lost (individual car's
> data recorder error or power to its system lost or
> stage marshall's equipment malfunction losing the
> entire feild's data)?
> A.There are vulnerabilities in every system. But
> with this system every
> item of timing data is recorded without human
> intervention (error) in 2
> places by 2 separate devices.
>
> Q.How many competitors in N. America have been
> injured
> by a rallycar stiking a disabled rallycar blocking
> the
> entire road? Is the problem you've engineered for
> real
> or perceived?
> A.If that is the case perhaps we should just
> dispense with the warning
> triangles as well!

The reason most have not heard of it before is so far it appears unproven to work as each previous time it was announced to be tested at an event, the test were postponed as further development was deemed necessary.

Geez, thought you heard grumbling about the added cost of stagenotes, imagine if these rental fees are forced upon the competitors.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got back a couple of days ago from Targa Newfoundland. (Second in class behind the Paynter bros. in a Pat Richard Subaru Canada STI) The Rally Cat was provided (at no charge) to all of the Targa Class entrants.

The result was inconclusive. It was only used for the first two days of the event, mainly because the volunteer workers were kept busy just dealing with the timing paperwork and they wanted to focus on what they needed to do, the testing of the Rally Cat was secondary. Remember that at Targa the cars are separated by 30 seconds. There are few (if any rallies) in Newfoundland other than Targa and the workers have little experience, but are improving with each running of Targa.

We passed one car while we had the Rally Cat. I pushed the horn feature, but I got no audible confirmation that it activated and in a follow-up discussion with the driver of the car that we passed, he said that they did not get the horn signal from the Rally Cat.

We did not come upon a disabled car that had activated the Rally Cat.

The clock on our Rally Cat drifted about 2 seconds per day as compared to the atomic clock.

The people that were from Rally Cat were very friendly and helpful. They are planning some modifications.

In my opinion the Rally Cat did not get a full and proper evaluation at Targa Newfoundland. I think that they should try using it on a few cars with experienced personnel. Tall Pines could be a good event to use as a further test. The device has great potential.

Steve McKelvie
Co-Driver Targa Car # 903
 

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Sure, because entry fees are so cheap these days already, really all you need to do is look for spare change between the couch cushions :+

Skye
 
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RE: From the Rally Ontario email list

We received an estimate of $300 per car per event,
based on a field of a couple of hundred cars.

Ivan Orisek
Rally New York
Rally New York USA
 

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RE: From the Rally Ontario email list

>We received an estimate of $300 per car per event,
>based on a field of a couple of hundred cars.

Geez, with the dwindling entries, today's entry lists are only a couple hundred cars shy of a couple hundred cars.

While $300 per event isn't going to break the bank of a Targa team who competes once or twice a year, $300 each event adds up quick to teams competing in a performance rally championship.
 

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Rally Cat fight

someone asked if there had been injuries from one rally car smacking another stopped on stage...sheesh, yes!

Gerry Brinkman @ RNY last year, for one

John C whacked a tree at Baie a few years ago (on co-driver's side, natch) when he came across a subaru wagon on its roof in the middle of the road...fortunately with no injuries

He and I nearly T-boned a Neon SRT on its roof mid-road at STPR last year on that nasty foggy nite stage...

more you go back, more injuries you'll find. I think it's fair to say that virtually EVERY active driver/team has had near misses.

Rally Cat sounds like it has promise, BUT there are a few major obstacles

--device still needs significant development--do YOU want to a rally cat guinea pig...?

--cost, as grumbled about above

--complexity, Rally Cat would need to have a tech team working every event to help ensure 100% reliability

--for system to work, you'd need total buy-in by every field of drivers and car owners...not bloody likely IMHO. all it would take is a couple of hold-outs and the system is not workable

But still, it's worth pursuing. How about if Rally Cat were able to integrate timing/scoring data (a la WRC-style timing transponers in each car) as well as safety, then there would be extra incentive to use it?

cheers,

Dave G




"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 
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RE: Rally Cat fight

<someone asked if there had been injuries from one rally car smacking <another stopped on stage...sheesh, yes!
<Gerry Brinkman @ RNY last year, for one

<John C whacked a tree at Baie a few years ago (on co-driver's side, <natch) when he came across a subaru wagon on its roof in the middle <of the road...fortunately with no injuries

<He and I nearly T-boned a Neon SRT on its roof mid-road at STPR last <year on that nasty foggy nite stage...>

The surest and the simplest way to entirely eliminate (save of those rare instances when the crew of the stopped car cannot exit the car) accidents of this type is this:

As required by the rules of any sanctioning body, if you are stopped on a stage, the co-driver (or the driver for that matter) must IMMEDIATELY run 100 years back and put a warning triangle on the correct side of the road. There is another car 60 seconds or less behind you. You do not have time to deliberate whether you want to put the triangle up now. If the car is blocking the road, the driver and the co-driver must also try to stop the following cars.

We will continue to strictly enforce this basic safety rule and
will not hesitate to hand out severe penalties for violating this basic safety rule.

Ivan Orisek
Rally New York
Rally New York USA
 

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RE: Rally Cat fight

>
>We will continue to strictly enforce this basic safety rule
>and
>will not hesitate to hand out severe penalties for violating
>this basic safety rule.
>
>Ivan Orisek

Thanks you Ivan. This is surely more cost effective.

>>We received an estimate of $300 per car per event,
>>based on a field of a couple of hundred cars.

SO we are talking $50,000 per event or more?? Or maybe $25,000 for an event with 50 cars? (Assumes price goes up to to $500 per car.) Seems a bit ridiculous. Is this really the pricing you have received, Ivan?

Mark B.
 
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