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  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
checkered flag The Rally Corner
Impressions of a Rallymaster
by Paul Urquhart - Guest Writer
Paul Urquhart

The year of 2001 had some really good rallies and some that had problems. The following will be some of my impressions as to what makes a good rally and what can lead to a problem rally and how to have a fun rally.

As a rally writer, I can tell you that a lot of work goes into setting one up. For example, the Halloween Rally 2001 took 8+ weekends and over 400 miles of driving and untold hours typing and retyping the rally to get it set up. After all of that I still did not know if it was a good rally or a problem one. Only the teams that ran it and finished it could tell me that.

When only a few cars show up it is a big letdown for the Rally Master and even more of a disappointment when teams have trouble finishing the rally after all the hours of hard work that went into setting it up.

In the writing of a rally there are no rules to go by so the rally master must make their own rules. The rally master should try to be consistent throughout his whole rally so the rallyers can find that pattern and move through the rally without any problems. Things do change (road construction, signs move or change)and there are going to be problems with every rally, but if the rally master follows their own rules and thoughts the rallyers should be able to stay on track or work their way out of any problems that may come up.

As a rally master you must remember that you may be very familiar with the route that your using for the rally, but the teams have no idea as to where you have set up the route or the area that the route is running. So when you set the route up keep this in mind and give the teams ways or clues to keep them on track or to get them back on route. Clues can be using BOLD or Italic or a font change to show that the instruction is different or linked to something else. High traffic areas need to be easy and well instructed so that the teams can get through these areas and not lose a car or miss a turn, so try to avoid these areas of congestion. If you as the rally master change the rules or type of instructions in the middle of the rally you should let the rallyers know that the rules or instructions have changed. Donít make them guess, as it will just make them more confused and frustrated. If you have a long or complicated rally, give the teams a way to bail out. Not doing this can lead to a problem rally.

The job of the rally team is to get into the rally masterís head early in the rally and think the way that the rally master was thinking. As a rallyer you must start with an open mind and trust the rally masterís rules and instructions, donít read in things that are not there, donít make assumptions that there is something wrong with the route and try too change it on the fly. If you feel you have gotten lost, go back to a good check point and try again. Donít try to continue on and get further off track.

The main thing is that rallies should be fun and easy so that all of the teams and the rally master enjoy the day of driving. Try being a rally master or give a rally a try. Most of them are fun even if you get lost. They give you a chance to get out, drive and visit with others with some friendly competition as a bonus.


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