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Discussion Starter #1
We will be holding a meeting before the awards banquet to plan out
the next season of rallycross. We will be holding the meeting at
DeGidio's Restaurant in St. Paul. The same place as the awards
banquet that will be happening there at 6pm that evening. Here is
the address and phone for them:

Address
DeGidio's Restaurant & Bar
425 West 7th Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

Phone (651) 291-7105

Among the topics on the table (but not limited to) will be:

Schedule
Event Masters
Venues
Corrections to Regional Championship rules
New membership requirements

And of course, any questions that the competitors and/or volunteers
have.

This meeting is open to anyone (organizers, competitors, volunteers,
etc) interested in rallycross and all voices will be heard. We had
a hell of a good year this past season and I would like to see it
grow for next season. Please come out and join us in planning this
next season. I would like to get a schedule set up by the end of
the meeting with at least eventmasters as well as venues for all of
them if at all possible. We are going to need people to help out
organizing these events as well. It is pretty easy and there are
more than enough people to help you out with any questions you may
have along the way. Not to mention there are perks for being the
eventmaster (first in class points or paid entry).

If you have any questions beforehand, please post them up or email
me ( awd1dr at yahoo dot com ).

Thank you,

Erik Dahl
Land O Lakes Region Rallycross Chairperson
 

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Hi Erik,

Living so far away, I won't be able to make it up for the meeting, but as someone who was new to the sport this year and competed in numerous events held by four different regions I do have a couple suggestions.

You guys put together a very nice season with a good variety of courses that vary between technical and fast stuff on a couple different surfaces. Your events all run smoothly and have a great atmosphere. The only two things that I saw that could make the events even better were the timing and scoring and the event schedule.

At LOL events it almost seems as if timing and scoring is an afterthought. The times are posted only after the first and last sets, and asking for your time in between is seen as a nuisance. Every other region communicates each run's times to the competitors in real-time. Some have fancy electronic setups that have a times board that lists off everyone's times automatically, but others simply have an easel and a whiteboard or a posterboard where one volunteer makes a grid of entrants and runs. Timing and scoring radios the times as they come across, and that person writes them on the board for all to see. Most regions also have a person, sometime the same person who is posting the times, positioned so that after the run you stop by them and they tell you the time.

This is a HUGE benefit when in a competitive event. Immediate feedback as to the results of your efforts is vital for imprevement, in my opinion. Without it, you are flying blind and ultimate development is severely hindered. With your style of scoring only one out of each two run set, the timing feedback would make an even bigger difference as to strategy. While I enjoyed very much running with you guys this year, this one difference has me planning to focus on other regions' seasons next year instead of the LOL season.

The second suggestion would be that at least for me, as someone who drives 5-6 hours to the event, the event schedule can be frustrating. You get to the event and go through the flurry of activity to get the car set up, get registered, etc. You do one quick run set and then stop for an entire hour for a lunch break. That lunch break after barely getting started really seems to break momentum. I'd rather see the event start a half hour later and run straight through, or started earlier and get two sets in before and after lunch, or at least move lunch until after the second set. I'd easily trade an unnecessarily long lunch break for an extra set of runs and run it straight through. None of the other regions I've been to start as late and take a break so early or so long. This, combined with the timing feedback, makes for more focused, involving, and competitive events.

There is also the difference in scoring. You guys run sets of two runs and drop the worse of the two. Some regions do 4-6 runs in both a morning and afternoon session and drop the one worse run of the group. Other regions, and the National Championship, score all runs cumulatively without dropping any. Word from the SCCA is that they may be requiring this type of scoring for all National Series/Divisional events.

I know that this is a philosophical argument between those who want RallyCross to be AutoCross on dirt and those who want it to be a small scale rally event. Personally, I love the purity of the straight cumulative scoring, but I also enjoy the freedom for experimentation that dropping a run or two allows you. I like the model of only dropping one of every four or so. However, with the National events being scored cumulatively and especially if the Divisionals are going to be, it seems that scoring in any other way only serves to hurt your members development for running in those events.

Thanks again for putting on a great season this year. My wife and I both very much enjoyed running with you guys for the events that we were able to make it to. While the lack of timing and scoring feedback has us looking elsewhere for the bulk of our season next year, we're looking forward to making it up to run a couple with you. Especially Cannon Falls :).

Regards,

--Josh Armantrout
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Josh,

Thanks for the feedback. It's always appreciated, especially from those who have run elsewhere. We do get kind of used to a format after a while and it's hard to change that without outside feedback.

I think the problem that we run into with not getting scores up after each run set is that we are usually short staffed and as a result we need to keep things moving so we can get enough runs in. Also it's very difficult trying to tally scores with numerous people coming up and asking what their score was. I agree it's very nice to have scores in as close to real time as possible. But sometimes it's just not in the cards. Maybe we need to search out someone that would be willing to come to the events and do only timing and scoring and have no other duties while they are there. That might help in this issue a little bit. We do stretch some of our keys positions a little thin from time to time. But again, that's because we don't have enough people stepping up to help out in some of the key positions. We need more in depth participation from some of the members/competitors.

Another thing that limits us a little is funding for more high-tech devices for timing and scoring. We do kind of want to keep it a little low budget so we can keep the costs down for the competitors. But I know we have talked about looking into some more electronic ways of timing and scoring. If there are any suggestions or products that you or anyone else know of that might be usable, we are open to those suggestions.

As for scoring of the events, that is something that I have been thinking about and one thing I would like to discuss a little at the meeting. I want to get a concensus of what the membership likes and see what we can implement. The dropping of only one run out of 4 would definitely make people work harder to improve. But would that push them to improve too quickly and make mistakes? Who knows. But no matter what, we are putting out a product for our customers and we want to make sure that we put out the very best that we can. Getting feedback only helps to improve it and make it more enjoyable for everyone.

Thank you for this post Josh. We always enjoy when you and your wife come out to our events. You are a very competitive and competant driver and you two are both very nice people to be around and talk to. We hope very much that you guys can make it back out for some events this year. If you have any other thoughts or concerns, please let us know via this thread or email. The more suggestions we can get to improve our season, the better off we will be. I focused a little more on making sure we had a full schedule last year than anything else. I hope that we can keep the momentum going for this year so we can focus on more of the other issues that come up and make it the best we can.

Thanks again.

Erik D
 

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No problem Erik - I'm happy to help and glad that the thoughts are appreciated.

As to the scoring, it doesn't need to be real-time position tallies, but just a posterboard with the raw times and cones listed. People can figure out where they're at by looking at it. The value is both in knowing how you compare to others and in knowing the results of changes to your approach and setup between runs. The way that they do it in the Western Ohio Region is that the posterboard is the times called out by T&S but unofficial, and the board is positioned such that you can walk over and see it in-between runs. In Detroit they have you stop by T&S on your way off the run and they tell you your time, and then post a spreadsheet after each set. Nationals were more or less the same as Detroit, except that Pego wrote your times on a Post-it and gave them to you as you came through. However it's done, it makes for a much more serious and focused event.

I don't think that the actual T&S process needs to be any different, just that some priority and effort should be made to communicate the raw times (and basic cone count) after each run individually, and to somehow have an updated list of everyone's times visible as often as possible. For those events that we run, I'll bring up an easel and posterboard and volunteer my wife to post up the times as they happen if T&S will call them out over the radio (on a separate channel from race control, of course) or in person.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, one idea that we were toying with was kind of like a scrolling digital text board that everyone could see. We have someone looking to see how much it would be to make one and get it up and running. We could have it hooked up right outside of T&S and you could see maybe the last 2 or three competitors times with yours included in there.

The other problem that we run into with people checking their times between run groups is that it takes that much longer for them to get out into the field for their cone picking assignments when everyone is huddled around the posterboard. That's one of the other reasons why we haven't posted them until break time. We have problems getting people out into the field so we can get the next run set going.

It's definitely something to talk about at the meeting and get ideas and view points as to what we can change and make better.

Keep the suggestions rolling in guys!!
 

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A couple of thoughts from the timing and scoring end of things.

Having worked timing and scoring at many of the events this year, I would like to make a couple of comments. First, I would like to share how it normally works for those who may not know. The way we normally do timing and scoring is that I have been writing down the times and Mark Utecht (or whoever else is helping)has the watches. He hands me the watch with the time of the competitor who has just finished and I write down the time and hand it back to him. This is helpful as sometimes numbers can sound similar and it helps prevent writing down the wrong time. I write down the time, then look at it and verify before handing it back. After a run group/or as the switch between groups happens, I try to get the final paperwork going, to make things move more smoothly.

If competitors come and ask to see their scores while others are still running, it is very difficult to keep the times straight for those on course. Especially when there are two cars on course at the same time, it is all consuming to track who is on course and which car is finishing. If competitors come to see their scores in between run sets, it is difficult as I am often trying to compile the scores and put them onto the final time sheet.

Brent and I have been discussing this and he mentioned as you did using a radio on a second frequency...this will require at least one more worker and possibly two depending on how long the course is. It can be confusing as well, when there are multiple cars on course.

I think your idea of posting individual times on post-it notes is a very interesting one. As I type this, I am trying to figure out in my head how it would work...I am also trying to think how electronically we could do this without creating a lot of extra work for us. I think posting a spreadsheet after each run would be do-able if I brought my printer to the event. I will try to come up with some ideas prior to the meeting.

Thank you for your ideas. We want to work toward making it a worthwhile event for everyone.
 

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Oh - it would definitely require another person. Straight timing and scoring is a two person job even with a sophisticated electronic system.

In Detroit they have a nice big dedicated truck with a timing light system and they always have two or three people in the truck, plus one additional person who talks to them to get the time and tell the driver (they always route the driver past the truck on the way off of the course). In WOR they have two people working the lights, two writing down the times and calling them out over the radio, and one person manning the posterboard.

Either radioing the times out and having someone write them on a posterboard or handing out post-its and posting a sheet after each set would be great, if it can be done without too much disruption. It's busy enough for you two timing it all manually. It's hard with limited resources. Hopefully the fields keep getting bigger and there are plenty of people to go around.
 

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Oh - it would definitely require another person. Straight timing and scoring is a two person job even with a sophisticated electronic system.

In Detroit they have a nice big dedicated truck with a timing light system and they always have two or three people in the truck, plus one additional person who talks to them to get the time and tell the driver (they always route the driver past the truck on the way off of the course). In WOR they have two people working the lights, two writing down the times and calling them out over the radio, and one person manning the posterboard.

Either radioing the times out and having someone write them on a posterboard or handing out post-its and posting a sheet after each set would be great, if it can be done without too much disruption. It's busy enough for you two timing it all manually. It's hard with limited resources. Hopefully the fields keep getting bigger and there are plenty of people to go around.
Josh,

Do you have a feeling where they get these "extra" people from, that allow the events to more robustly staff timing and scoring in Detroit and the National event you refer to? More entrants than we get? Are the workers all competitors, or do some of these rally-xs use people brought in as dedicated workers? If the workers are all/mostly are competitors like in MN, do they staff some the other areas more lightly than we do MN, to allow more people on timing and scoring?

We'll keep trying to do better. It is easy to assume that "if I'm having fun, then everyone else must be too". I don't really care about my rally-x scores, and just use the events for goofing-off and pre-rally shakedowns, but I sure can remember the years where my rally-x scores and trophies were the most important thing to me that whole year. Thanks for the feedback.

Jim Cox
#558
 

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Hi Jim,

Detroit always has fairly large turnouts of both competitors, spectators, and volunteer workers. All of the people involved in Timing and Scoring are not driving, and they always seem to have 5-6 guys just helping organize and run the event (in addition to the T&S guys). I'm not really sure how they attract that many people to come out and help, but they all are having fun and happy to be there. I think a lot of it is spillover in both manpower and resources from their apparently quite large autocross program.

In WOR the only person there not driving is the person who is writing the times on the posterboard. All of the T&S guys switch off between sets.

At the National Championship they probably had roughly the same number of people dedicated to T&S and generally running things as they use in Detroit, but most of them were either from the SCCA home office or the local region.

I would think that the person who writes the scores down would have to come from the field. One less person shagging cones should be fine at most events, right?

Please don't mistake my suggestion for saying that I'm not having fun at your events - they're always well run and a ton of fun, and I appreciate your welcoming us up to join you!
 

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Josh, Am I correct in my understanding that you would be happy if you could see the scores after each run set, not necessarily after each run?
 

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The optimum is the posterboard method where after each run you see your time and can see everyone else's times too. Seeing your time after each run gives you immediate feedback while still in context as to what you did and or the course did differently and how that affected the ultimate goal of laptime. Seeing everyone else's times gives you a way to measure how well your performance is adding up.

At a minimum, it's good to see your times after each run, and then the group times after each set.

I should note that in addition to helping to make the event more involving individually, it also seems to foster more of a group camaraderie as everyone is able to watch the developing race as it goes on, see what's working and what isn't, pat each other on the back, etc. It's like the difference between watching a ski race (or any other type of sporting event) where they have announcers and scoreboards letting you follow the action versus watching it in silence with no scoreboards.
 

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Josh,

Thanks for replying. The reason I asked the question was to see if printing a spreadsheet after each run set would be effective. Trying to think on ways to make timing and scoring easier (such an excel program) as well. What ever we do, I don't want it to take away from seat time for the competitors; I know that this is important.

Too bad my kids aren't old enough to run back and forth :)...give them a couple of years :)

Carrie
 

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Anyone who can't make the meeting, but has suggestions/issues/concerns/brilliant ideas can e-mail them to me at mark [at] rally [dash] mn [dot] com and I'll see that they get added to the agenda.


Also, I have a program I was writing to handle rallycross scoring, weith the express intent of making it easy to use in the limited confines of a vehicle. It's about 75% there. It could be used to score an event as it stands, but has little provision for correcting mistakes, which is why I've never trundled it out.
 

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any updates on what came out of this meeting?
 

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Event master were found for all the events, Erik should have the schedule up soon. A lot of other things were discussed and a lot of things settled, but I'll let the official people cover those (since my notes all revolve around the online registration that I'm taking care of, and so I might get other stuff wrong).
 
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