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If money were no object
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the end of another FANTASTIC Northwest event, we were stuck waiting for results again.

This is not a knock on the people who produce the results!!

This is a quest to find a more efficient way.

I have not been involved in this process so I do not have first hand knowledge of how it currently works.

Of course there are always expensive options like found in this link <http://www.justbajan.com/cars/motorsports/articles/rallytiming/>

I think with all the tech geeks here we should be able to come up with a reasonable solution.

This is intended to be a positive and productive post. If you don?t have anything nice to say, don?t say it ;)


Steven Perret
Car# 226
Driftin4 Racing
[email protected]
 

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I agree totally. The organizers work their butts off to put on an event, the last thing they need is to spend another 3+ hours working on scores. All that seems to do is get the competitors pissed, which then they start pointing blame. There has to be some way to make this process easier, without costing an arm and a leg. Thanks again to Simon and all the volunteers to make a great day of playing in the woods.

Doug Dreith
Car#254
PGT IMpreza 1.8l AWD
 

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A relatively cheap and quick way is the use of Bar Code hand held terminals. Like the ones you see people checking stocks in grocery stores.

1. Each time card has a bar code with the car's number.
2. At the control the bar code is scanned, the time is typed, and obviously written on the card.
3. The terminals are collect and the content downloaded to a computer, processed and printed.

One can make it more sofisticated depending on how much is the budget, like. Have the time downloaded directly to the handheld terminal, Radio Wireless Network, etc.

A fund could be created out of the entries and two or three set ups could be available for a nominal fee to cover shipping/insurance for the fund members or rented to others.

I'm sure there is someone among us that can do this integration.

Later,

CS
 

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Just a few thoughts about how we are with scoring now: [ul] [li] Obviously, Rally America isn't going to show up uncompensated at every (any?) club rally, with their scoring team and satellite uplink.[/li] [li] Nor are we going to get the Canadian team that Doug Robinson recommends. [/li] [li] If we are going to guarantee scores going up, we need to work with the tools we have now. [/li] [li] Scoring is done at the event. Awards are handed out. It may drag out to 2 a.m., but it does indeed get done. [/li] [/ul]
The tools we have that we can link together to get scores on the web are: [ul] [li] the laptop computer our scoring team uses [/li] [li] the final Excel spreadsheet file with all the scores [/li] [li] a phone uplink of some kind, cell phone or the twisted wire in the big empty building we have the chili feed in [/li] [li] a location on the website for the Excel file set up ahead of time [/li] [/ul]
I realize that an Excel file isn't optimal, but it's much better than nothing. We can create a PDF printout of the file, but we should focus on getting the other stuff in place first. Wait on the PDFing until people start to whine and complain about the Excel file.

andy
 

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http://www.rallyscoring.com/

Jean-Georges Marcotte looked pretty slick at Maine Forest.

They offer the software that they used.

Don't know how much either cost, but it seemed to be very quick. We were looking at nearly live results during the rally at a terminal set up in the service area.

Rob
 

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Jean-Georges Marcotte

Jean-Georges Marcotte does many CARS National events. There is none better/faster.
 

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RE: Jean-Georges Marcotte

Mike Giebault has a great scoring program he created. It is used on Prescott, Gorman, Treeline, Rim of the World....and just recently COG...check with him on how this could help....

Denise McMahon
 

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Fellow NWerners
Go find the post from Derek Bottles posted about how they do sailboat racing scoring when they bobbing around in the middle of Putrid Sound or the stinkin Pacific, so simple _I_ could undrstand the whoile process.
I did see on event scoring at a Swedish event, self scoring using clothes line and times on strips of paper (remember paper?).
Each ccompetitior just clipped his scores into the place it belonged, 15.27 nestle right between 15.25 on the one side and 15.32 on the other.


John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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There seems to be more than enough techno nerds involved in this sport to produce a very nice timing / scoring / posting / event logistics program. With a small influx of cash the hardware could probably be acquired. I would be happy to help with whatever I can.
 

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RE: Jean-Georges Marcotte

excel and manpower are the safest bet -- been to a lot of events with fancy sytems that crap out.

KISS

That said, after the Cadillac Forest Rally got their system sorted out results were on the web before cars arrived to the awards party (but it still seemed like quite a wait at the awards - maybe it was not...)

The CFR system might be worth investigating.

Mike
 

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RE: Jean-Georges Marcotte

Um....

I have created a web-based integrated registration and scoring application. It can handle all registration & scoring activities including
- entering a registration
- identifying missing information and creating follow-up letters for competitors
- creation of check-in sheets for actual registration (if you want to go paper & folder based at the event)
- annotation of registration with notes, etc.
- Wait list competitors
- Withdraw competitors
- creation of start list based on seed or speed factor (with the ability to reorder as you see fit)
- creation of one or more reseeds based on stage scores (again, you can change as you see fit)
- enter stage scores, penalties, dnfs

Reports include:
- Current registration list
- Start List
- Reseed List
- Problem registration list (incomplete entries)
- Detailed stage scores
- Summary stage scores
- Follow up letters
- Required ClubRally seminar attendees (based on seed)
- Express and non-express registrtaion listing

At Sawmill we ran this with 2 computers connected to the network so we could run 2 lines with both registrars updating information.

The application is database driven. This means that, for example, once you enter scores, you can slice and dice the results without having to re-enter information. The system spits out HTML pages so you can post the results right on your web site.

My intent was to offer this for FREE to any ClubRally event that asks. Nobody has asked as of yet. :-(

Because of the events at Sawmill, I was unable to fully test the scoring portion of the software. But, I'm pretty sure that part works just fine. And since I wrote the software in my spare time, I can enhance it as people see fit, especially since right now it represents my myopic view of registration and scoring. Other people, I'm sure, have other ideas of how it should work and I would love more ideas. Basically I love to write code like this. :+

So, if your event wants this software give me a shout. All you need is at least one computer (running Windows 2000 or Windows XP Pro) and a printer. Pretty easy stuff. And if your event is close to me (Philadelphia) I might just do registration and scoring for you the first time (since I can fix any issues on site...)
 

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your other left, you idiot
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scoring

THAT delay was due to a competitor inquiring why he received early/late minute penalty. We had to wait for the logs to come in (with the workers - who got in AFTER the competitors - duh) to verify the penalty (and sequence numbers helped to double confirm it).

NOW, if you have a work-around so that workers get in before competitors, we would all love to hear it.

>
>That said, after the Cadillac Forest Rally got their system
>sorted out results were on the web before cars arrived to
>the awards party (but it still seemed like quite a wait at
>the awards - maybe it was not...)
>

press on,
 

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If money were no object
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
daphne

U r my hero!

This is the kind of stuff that I think could help Rally out. A gracious person with the skills to help. If this system is something that can reduce volunteer/competitor stress, then lets look into it more.

I have volunteered in other racing many times in the past.
One is the "Ski to Sea" <http://www.bellingham.com/skitosea/> event held here in Whatcom County. There are 400 teams of 7 people competing in 7 stages. All of the teams are released at once, talk about a timing nightmare!! But still, results are fast and every one is happy.

I will let the "Old" Steve Perret tell you how the timing works since he has been the timing chair for several years.

Steven Perret
Car# 226
Driftin4 Racing
[email protected]
 

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RE: Scoring a performance rally

I have developed systems to score a stage rally so I have some real experience to share with you.

At Mountain Trials last year, we used a system on a laptop PC hosted at the service area. The scores were sent in from the time controls over the radio. This is a lengthy process and consumes air time which can clash with the operational efficiency of remaining stages. Scoring was done by a complete novice who had no prior understanding of how to score a rally.

At PFR, we had intended to use globalstar phones instead of the radio but that was not coordinated well and we did not start receiving scores until well into the rally.

Having looked at the fundamental reasons why scoring is such a problem, I've decided that often the biggest problem is getting access to the raw data.

At Mountain Trials a few weeks ago we had a new system. I've put a complete scoring system on a Dell Axim PDA (a $200 machine). It's hand held and can compute all the scores just by entering the basic timing info. This means it can be used by someone who does not understand how a rally is scored. Road penalties, seeding etc. are all calculated automatically.

After just a quick 10 minute training session, we gave the PDA to the course closing car as they are the first on the scene at each control when all the cars are through. It takes about 1 minute per 10 entries to enter the stage finish times (these are the most time consuming to enter as they cannot be defaulted).

The stage results, reseeds, overall results etc. are immediately available on the PDA screen. In our case, we were extremely fortunate to have a wireless Internet link in the course closing vehicle so the results were published to the Internet often within 10 minutes of the last car completing a stage.

If we gave each time control a PDA you would just save some typing by the person in course closing and be a few minutes quicker at publishing scores. You don't really save very much but introduce more work into the time control area and have additional hardware that will surely fail somewhere, sometime.

Everytime the closing car went through the service area, the up to date results (already computed) were downloaded to a laptop but for the most part the rally master got access to the results via the Internet like everyone else (albeit, he had access to more data than most).

Without the wireless connection we would have relayed the important data over the radio. As it happens, the wireless connection was not operating just before the 1st reseed so we read the reseed detail out over the radio and that worked fine. We did the reseed in time with every stage contributing to the result.

Unless you have reliable connectivity from the time controls, you need to put the system in the hands of people that are able to be on the scene as soon as possible. If you are relaying the times by phone or radio you should have an independent method of communicating that does not interfere with the execution of the event.

When I started this adventure, I couldn't understand why there were so few scoring systems. To any brave sole contemplating writing a scoring program, you have my sympathy. It is a very complex task to do it properly. The scoring and timing rules have been developed organically and fly in the face of logic. Sure, you can use Excel to add some times together providing someone does the scoring first and knows what to enter. In that case, the human is doing the scoring, Excel is just a fancy calculator.
 

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RE: Scoring a performance rally

If we can get enough interest, this could be a perfect opportunity to define the rules and operations on a national club scale. Obviously this would be the first requirement to creating a scoring system that could be used by all.

This is probably a little too optomistic however .:'(
 

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does anybody else see the real problem

Rant mode on:

Exactly what are the responsibilities of the Performance Rally Department? And exactly what are the responsibilities the Director of Performance Rally?

I would think that the PRD should be the repository for the systems discussed above. Although I would never want to suppress creativity, do we think every event really wants to create a new scoring system?

I am sure there are a few systems based on the "I could do it better" plan, but really wouldn't it be great if when you as a new organizer called the SCCA to get the Rules for Organizers they sent you a list of all the people out there who have already done what you are trying to do...

I think we as a community have created so many new wheels we could profit on the art of the wheels alone. If only there was a central national office that was responsible for running rally. Oh yeah that is what the SCCA performance Rally Department would naturally take on as their responsibility. Just think how much easier it would be to sell Rally as Professional if it actually had paid staff to Direct and Manage the sport.

Yep I live in a dream world.

Rant Mode Off.
Mike
 

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Counter rant

As a technology professional, I certainly get frustrated with the lack of automation and support from Topeka. But as a business professional, I understand that the limited resources available to the PRD cannot undertake projects such as this. Given all the issues with licensing, etc. at the SCCA, I would say that they have their hands pretty full right now.

Those of us who participate on forums such as SpecialStage tend to be computer literate and many are involved in the IT industry. Because so many of us have the skills to create new systems in our spare time, it's easy to project our own skills and ambitions on the rest of the organization. I mean, come on, building a scoring system is pretty easy, right? Why the heck can't the SCCA do it?

Well, the reality is that it's not that easy. It requires domain expertise, meaning you need to run registration and scoring a couple of times to figure out how the system should work. It requires the technical expertise to design, develop and support the system.

I built a system that automates the way I work. It represents my myopic view of scoring and registration. It was easy to sit down and say, "OK, this is how it will work." Now if I had to build this system based on input from every registration and scoring team, it would take a long time and I probably would not be done yet. That's just the nature of consensus building. And that's one of the reasons large organizations take so long to implement innovation.

I could go on and on about why we are where we are as a community. But heck, that's not productive. Instead, I would propose that, as a community, we decide whether or not we want to implement a more global solution for our events. And if so, how do we want to do it? Perhaps it is time for all ClubRally organizers to get together and decide if we want to work together. And if so, let's come up with a plan of action.

There are a lot of really smart people involved in all aspects of rally. It's about time we all put our heads together and solved problems instead of just pointing them out.
 

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RE: Counter rant

My point was not for the SCCA to create anything.

My point was for the SCCA to keep track of all that has been created.

If they would just coordinate all that goes on we as a community would be three steps ahead.

I see the problem as a lack of recognition of what will help the community as a whole.

Your point is well taken, but not realated to my point.

Mike
 

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RE: Counter rant

Yeah, I know that was your point...I just felt like ranting. ;-)

But here's the thing. The SCCA doesn't use the systems that individuals build. By telling someone that they can use systems x, y, or z, some may interpret that as a recommendation. And a recommendation implies an approval of the systems. If a system then fails, people will go on complaining about the SCCA recommending crap systems, etc.

Another issue is that most of us have built systems with no documentation. (Well, I have been working on documenting my system, but that certainly wasn't the first thing on my list.) Therefore, reuse is difficult.

The issue you raise is important. I only question where the repository if information should be stored and who should be responsible for maintenance.
 

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RE: Counter rant

Having access to software that works is just one piece of the puzzle.

You have to know how to use it.
You need the equipment to be able to use it.
The equipment must be prepared for the event (are the batteries charged).
You have to collect the raw data and transport it to the scorer.
You have to publish the results locally (usually print it).
You have to publish the results after the event (usually a web site).
The equipment must be collected after the event.
The equipment may need repair after the event.
You probably need backup equipment (in case of primary failure).
You need to update the software when the rally master introduces new ways of doing things (especially ones invented during the driver's meeting, just before the off).

If you think the problem is just "how do we add up 10 stage times", you are not qualified to manage the scoring for an event. A co-driver has to calculate just one crew's times, and has quite a bit of time to do each calculation (relatively). You only have to look at the number of early/late penalties (even from experienced navigators) to appreciate this is a complex part of the business.

Oh, and I missed an important item... you need to find someone to do it who willing to complete the task while those around stand in judgement of the unreasonable amount of time it takes to add up a few scores. This is not a rant, I'm trying to help you understand why so few people are willing to step up and do this job more than once. It's a thankless task and, at best, you will not be accused of incompetence (publicly).
 
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