What is “Lateness”?

Sometimes called “Penalty-free Lateness”.

“Your given a target time to travel :n, any time taken after that target time is lateness.”

What does this mean in practice?

Before we can understand lateness, we need to understand how timing works

Let us say there is a 12 mile Road Section – you are given a specific amount of time to get from the the start of the section to the end of it.  Assume the average speed for the road section is 20mph, this means the time for the road section will be 36 minutes… and you get penalised for being early, or late.

If you’re early, you can wait outside the control, and enter on your “Due Time”

If you are late, you may take some time from your “Lateness” to off-set the difference: if you are 5 minutes late, you need 5 minutes from your lateness.

Likewise, if, for whatever reason (get a puncture, stuck on a rock, fell in a ditch), you are slower than the target time for a Special Stage, you may use some of your “lateness” to offset that.

How much Lateness do you get?

That depends on the event, for some events it can be 30 minutes; for others, it can be a little as 10 minutes.

How to I get more Lateness?

You don’t.

Lateness is replenished (you get the full whack again) at Main Time Controls (MCs). Generally, MCs are at the start and end of each day, but some events use short Lateness’ and have MCs at the exit of every service.

What happens when I run out?

That’s it… you’re out the game.

(well, unless the event has “re-entry” rules (like the Scottish Hill Rallies do) which allow a competitor to re-enter the event if they can exit a service on their “due time” (the time they should have left it, if they had been competing at the expected pace)


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How does timing work in a Hill Rally?

Hill Rallies, like their car rally counterparts, are all about timing – and time-keeping is a vital part of any teams performance.

There are three main Sections that the event is divided up into:

  • Special Stages are the actual competition. They are timed to the nearest second, and quicker is better.
  • Road Sections are the bits of road/track/route that used to travel from one Special Stage to the next
  • Service is when you can fix the car.

The whole event is basically a sequence of these sections, where there’s a Controls at each change: Start of event -> drive to A -> race to B -> drive to C -> race to D -> drive to E -> {service} -> drive to F –> etc…

The time card

The time card will help explain this:

An annotated extract from a time card

  • Everything is timed from car 1, and the very first time (in the top of the right-hand column, #1 – 11:01) is the time car 1 starts their event… the time they leave Main Control Zero (MC0.)
  • The next thing on the time card is Road Section 1 (RS1): There is a distance to travel (#2 – 0.86 miles), and a time to cover that distance (#3 – 10 minutes). As this is a Road Section, this is timed to the whole minute.
  • Having got to the arrival of the next thing, we’re told its Arrivals – and that we should expect to wait 3 minutes (#4) before we actually start
  • Next we get to the actual competitive stage…. highlighting the numbers from SS2 here for clarity: w
  • e have the length of the stage (#5 – 12.48 miles); the estimated time for the stage to be driven (#6  – 19 minutes); the actual Bogie time (#7 – the time to do the stage at the fastest permitted [average] speed – 14 minutes, 59 seconds) ; and the actual target time (#8 – 45 minutes)
  • Not highlighted in the picture, but present, is a service – it just has a fixed time… 45 minutes

Special Stages

Special Stages are the easiest to understand – they are what we are used to from Comp Safaris: You start when told, and drive as quickly as practical to the end of the stage – times are to the whole second.

Cars that arrive before the bogie time get the bogie time (and cause headaches for the organisers), and cars that are later than the target time get the target time, but need to use some “Lateness” to pay off the deficit

Unlike Comps, there’s no “I’ll catch the car in front, give him a 5 minutes lead before letting me start” – unless there is a real problem, cars get fired in every minute, and overtaking is an expected manoeuvre… this is why seeding is important.

Road Sections

Road Sections are where you travel from one control to another, and you’re not racing… Road Sections are timed to the whole minute.

See the Starts section of the Time Controls FAQ for details how how the timing there works, however the quote from the MSA Blue Book reads

For example: a car has a recorded time of 11.04.40 for the previous Stage Finish. The next section has a target time of 00:09 (nine minutes). It is therefore due at the next Time Control at 11.13.
The car arrives at the yellow advance Control Board at 11.08, stopping before the yellow board. The car is Permitted to enter the control zone at any time after 11.12.00. The Time Card may be handed in at any time between 11.13.00 and 11.13.59, and a time of 11.13 will be recorded.

The route to take for the Road Section is given in the  Road Book, and it is the navigators role to guide the driver along the road book route, and to keep to time.

Cars which are late for at an arrivals board get the time they arrive, and a penalty for each minute they are late… however rather than being excluded from the event, that may use some “Lateness” to pay off the deficit.

Service

Service is where the competing crew get to unkink, to relax, and for the service crew to fettle the car.

Service times are strictly limited, and cars need to report to the Service Out at the appropriate time

For example: a car has a recorded time of 12.01 into service, and a service time of 40 minutes. It is therefore due at the Service Oute Time Control at 12.41.
The navigator is on the ball, and gets the driver ready in plenty of time…. and car arrives at the yellow advance Control Board at 12.39, stopping before the yellow board. The car is Permitted to enter the control zone at any time after 12.40. The Time Card may be handed in at any time between 12.41.00 and 12.41.59, and a time of 12.41 will be recorded.

Lateness

See the Lateness FAQ for details on how Lateness operates.


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What do I need to enter a Hill Rally?

You need three things, to compete:

  1. A car
  2. A Competition Licence
    • Both driver & navigator need competition licenses
  3. Dosh.

The first two are pretty obvious, but the third one?

Yes – apart from the entry fee, you have: fuel; spares; accommodation; a service crew; getting there (and home again); and repairing the car again afterwards.

If you have competed in Competitive Safaris, then you’re most of the way there: you will have the Competition Licence, and probably the car (though you can do a Hire-Drive these days!). If you’ve never comped, then I suggest racing at an event or two would be a good idea: Driving a vehicle with over a foot of suspension travel is different to driving a taut rally car; and driving Cross Country is nothing like driving a defined road! (We’ve enticed a number of rally drivers into Cross Country vehicles over the years… and they find it very challenging; very different to what they’re used to.)

You will need to be a member of an invited club (which is pretty much any club doing Comp Safaris within the UK, or ours!)

If you need to get a Competition Licence, you need a “Non-race Clubman” or “Non-Race National B” (or better licence). For Cross Country events there is no difference, however if you want to use the licence for Navigation Rallies or Road Rallies there is a difference.

Navigators (in Hill Rallies) require a competition licence, however this can be anything from a clubman licence up to an international licence. Note, there is a specific licence for National ‘A’ Rally Navigators, of one wishes to go that route.


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Time Controls

There are two main types of Time controls: Starts and Finishes

Service-in and Service-out as basically starts, and Hill Rallies rarely use Passage Controls these days.

All Time controls follow the same colour code: Yellow is a warning that a Time Control is ahead; red is the actual control.

Finishes

Finishes are easy: the time is taken when you go through the “Flying Finish”

finish_layout_sml

As far as I can tell, the technique seems to be

  1. Tromp on the loud pedal when you see the Warning of Flying Finish (yellow checkered flag)
  2. Hang on to it until you’ve got through the Flying Finish (red checkered flag)… that’s the time you get for finishing the stage! Times are normally to the second.
  3. Deal with whatever problems you now have, and slow down in a controlled manner before you get to the Stop-line
  4. Stop at Stop-line and smile innocently at the marshals there
  5. Drive off sedately until past the decontrol board (orange circle with three lines through it)

Starts

Starts are a simpler in design, but tad more complex timing wise. You will have, from your Road Book, a defined time to get from the last time-control to this time control. You will lose a minute of Lateness for every minute you are late (or early) to this time control.

start_layout_sml

  1. Warning of Arrivals (Yellow clock)
  2. Arrivals (red clock) is the time you enter the “start area” and is measured in minutes, seconds are ignored.
  3. From the 2011 Blue Book:

    [P 35.2.3] At Special Stage Arrival Controls, no penalty will be incurred if the car enters the control area as follows:

    1. On a Target Timed event, the car may enter during the sixty seconds immediately preceding the target check-in minute, or during the check-in minute.
      For example: a car has a recorded time of 11.04.40 for the previous Stage Finish. The next section has a target time of 00:09 (nine minutes). It is therefore due at the next Time Control at 11.13.
      The car arrives at the yellow advance Control Board at 11.08, stopping before the yellow board. The car is Permitted to enter the control zone at any time after 11.12.00. The Time Card may be handed in at any time between 11.13.00 and 11.13.59, and a time of 11.13 will be recorded.

      Note that the time is taken from the recorded [Flying] Finish time, not the time the competitor leaves the stop line: By the time the stop-line marshal has marked your time-card, asked you how the stage was, and a detailed record of all the modifications to your car… you may have lost 3 minutes of your road time!
      This procedure will incur no penalty.
    2. On a scheduled time event, the car may enter the control zone during the sixty seconds immediately preceding the due time minute, or during the due time minute. The procedure to be followed is identical to that for a target timed event from the point of arrival at the yellow control board to the actual check in time.
    3. Between Arrivals and Start, you are in Dead Time. The arrivals crew will have given you a notional time for when you will be starting, however the start crew may delay that. In this Dead Time, you may change a puncture (or change [or remove] the windscreen) but you may do no other work on the vehicle.
  4. Start (furled flag in a red circle): When the start person says go, plant it!…. times a-ticking

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What is a “Hill Rally”?

A Hill Rally is a “Multi-Stage Rally” for Cross Country vehicles.

In essence, this means that the competitors drive a number of different stages, in a defined order, with set times to cover the non-competitive sections (the drive between the stages, and service)

A Hill Rally, like any other Special Stage Rally, is made up of three types of “event” for the competitors:

  • Special Stages are the actual competition: the bit where you drive as fast as you can, the bit where the drivers skill is paramount
  • Road Sections are the bits of road/track/route that you are guided along to travel from one Special Stage to the next
  • Service is when you can fix the car, and service time is limited… so don’t go damaging things too much!

At the end of the day, the competitor who manages to complete all the Special Stages in the fastest time wins the event.

How does a Hill Rally differ from a Comp Safari?

In a comp, the drivers are allowed to “walk the course”, to have a look at what they’re going to race over, and muse on the lines available.

In a comp, the drivers drive the same course time and again…. getting to learn the route, and to try different lines.

In a comp, the teams have time to fix problems: service time is as long as they need, limited only by the time required to get runs in.

None of this applies to Hill Rallies: no sight of the route before you set off; nothing to help you pace the car; at best, one repeat of a stage; and limited service time between stages

Hill Rallies are about preparedness, about endurance, and about your skill in reading the ground ahead.


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