Navigation and Timing Summary

The navigation skills needed vary with the type of event, and range from 'simple' on the Scenic Tours through to deliberately complicated on the competitive rallies.

A feature (and an attraction for many) is that relatively similar events will use different methods to explain their route. Many organisers use several methods, so you can chose the one that you are most comfortable with.

The following list is not exhaustive (as organisers continually look for new / better / more devious methods) but include (In increasing order of difficulty, or more interesting if you are that way inclined):

Descriptive Instructions - These are written descriptions of what to do at the next junction, such as 'At the T junction turn right onto the A38 SP(signpost) Exeter and Plymouth.' They will also usually include the distance to the next junction in miles and tenths of miles. This is possibly the easiest system, but if you go wrong, you may have trouble working out where you are!

Marked Maps - Some organisers provide you with a copy of part of (usually) an Ordnance Survey map that has the route marked on it. As long as your navigator can read a map this is fine, but this is not always the case!

Tulip Roadbook - Possibly becoming the most common method of route description, especially now that software is available to help produce very professional looking roadbooks. The name comes from the Tulip Rally, who were the first to use this system some 50 or so years ago. Tulip instructions are simple diagrams of a junction, where the leg you arrive on is marked with a ball, and the direction you need to take marked with an arrow. On Scenic Tours etc. the tulip will be accompanied by the distance from the last junction and descriptive information such as any sign posts or landmarks. 

Map References - Possibly the oldest form of providing route information using the UK's excellent Ordnance Survey grid reference system. You are normally provided with a six figure map reference, and information on what direction you are to arrive at and depart from that point. You will need not only the right (and most up-to-date) map but also a 'romer' which is a small plastic device to help you plot the reference accurately and also help you measure distances.

Map Traces - Less common now, but still used in some events. The organisers produce a tracing of the route which you overlay on your map. The more devious organisers may not tell you where the start and end are, but fortunately most do. 

Spot Heights / Herringbones / Gridlines / Compass / Clock Face Directions / etc.  - These are some of the more complicated and deliberately more difficult methods used on some of the more competitive / challenging events such as you find on the HRCR Championship rounds. 

If you want information on these methods, or on the easier route instruction systems, there is the excellent Navigation Handbook which was prepared for the HRCR Clubmans Rally Championship, and is available to download HERE.

Scenic tours are non-competitive and therefore timing is only used to spread the field out evenly and by including interim controls, the (usually one minute) gaps between cars can be maintained and convoys avoided.

Some events offer 'regularity' sections in which cars are required to maintain a given (usually low) speed between nominated controls. There will be 'hidden' controls to check that you are on time. The speed you are required to average varies with the type of roads used, but is normally between 20 and 30 mph.
The HRCR web site has more information.

'Easylarity' is a recent addition, which tries to keep the regularity timing and associated navigation relatively easy. A web site dedicated to easylarity is available HERE