RoadRally is a scenic drive with a purpose, a chance to enjoy a day with a friend, the least expensive form of motorsport and as one participant described it, “The most intense thing I have ever done.” There are several types of rallies, from the professional speed event on forest roads to an after-meeting scavenger hunt.
In the Texas Region we offer the popular GTA (Games, Tours, Adventures) road rally, sometimes known as a “gimmick rally”. Speed is not a factor in these events. Teams are given a set of route instructions. These instructions tell the team where to go so that all teams follow the same path to the ending point of the rally. Along the way, they must answer questions or solve puzzles as they compete with other rallyists. Teams are scored on how closely they matched the answers to the questions asked during the event. A variation on this GTA rally type is a Shortest-Distance Map Rally. In these rallies, we give you a map with several waypoints, you determine your route and drive to each location. The team who visits all the required landmarks in the shortest distance wins.
We also conduct Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) rallies, which are based on precision driving and route following. Instructions are provided that define the route and speeds to maintain. Scores are determined at a series of checkpoints along the route. Teams are to be “on time, all the time,” arriving at each checkpoint at precisely the correct time and receiving points for being early or late. Low score wins.
On occasion, we also conduct Treks, non-competitive driving events intended to foster social interaction among the entrants. Participants follow a pre-determined route using either a ‘convoy style’ or by using route-following information.
Texas Region rallies are not speed events, but usually run on fun-to-drive roads. They are also a test of rule following and logic. Following a course correctly is not as simple as you may think. Since these events are run on public roads it is easy to miss count the 3rd traffic light or turn right on Elm Street when you should be turning on Elm Road. That is why the navigator is an important part of the team.
We typically hold a virtual Rally School several days prior to a rally event, of value to First-Timers and Novices that are new to the sport. Experienced rallyists needing to brush up on the rules and tips for a particular rally find these schools useful as well. Simple equipment like a notepad, clipboard, and a full tank of gas is all that is required to give road rally a try. In recent years, we have incorporated GPS-based timing and scoring apps, as well as GPS odometers, to facilitate and enhance the rally experience.
RoadRally events normally end at a popular place to eat. There, the teams get together and share their humorous stories on how they tried their best to follow the instructions. The correct answers to the gimmick questions, or the shortest route in a map rally, are provided for all that might have missed some of the questions or want to compare routes.
This sport allows the entire family to participate, whether with younger family members in the back seat witnessing the competition, in the front seat as a Navigator (or if licensed, a Driver), with multiple team entries from the same family, or as volunteers to help conduct the event. Competitors often get to enjoy winding country roads and nature’s wonders, sometimes visiting locations of historical significance or even quirkiness. During the rally, the navigator and driver (often family members) hone their communication and teamwork skills while solving puzzles or learning precision driving.
Despite the perception by some unfamiliar with road rally that it lacks the thrill of a race or other high-speed event, a RoadRally event can provide a sustained adrenaline rush as you face crucial tests of precision driving, navigational skill and problem solving along a lengthy rally course. Think marathon rather than a sprint.
Rallies take a few volunteer workers to make it all happen. If you like event organization activities or just seeing the happy faces at the end, join us. These positions don’t take any special skills to help but are important to the success of the event. Rallyists who cannot run an event on the announced date can arrange to run it early, as a “check-run”. This is a great help to the organizers.