New to Regularity Runs?


Do you fancy moving on from the scenic tours to something a bit more challenging – the apparently complex world of regularity? The forthcoming Winter Series of Regularity Runs, organised by the Blackpalfrey Motor Club of Kent, is one way to ease yourself in. As in previous years the events are aimed at those new to rallying. The idea is that you can progress as fast or as slowly as you wish. There is fun but no pressure.

Most of the map reading/navigation information is provided by email in advance of each event so nearly all the detail can be plotted onto the map at the dining room table. If you are confused, don’t worry – you have contact details for the organiser who will be happy to provide friendly advice or clarification.

Although regularity timing targets are provided at the start and during the course of each event there is no need to tackle these until you are practised with your map reading. Even then it remains optional. This means you do not have to invest in a tripmeter etc. until you feel you are ready for the bigger challenge.

Start venues provide breakfast facilities and a chance for you to note that you are not the only novice or beginner. The Sunday morning format allows for a first hour of navigation at which point there is a break for coffee. Here there is the opportunity for you to seek advice from the organisers, or from the one or two experienced entrants who are out to get some practice, perhaps in advance of a bigger event. There is then a second hour of navigational practice with the finish located where it is possible to continue socialising and have lunch.

Where possible, the routes follow quiet roads and lanes in pleasant countryside with surfaces that are definitely non-damaging for a cherished classic car. Be assured, there is never the need to travel any faster than a safe speed for the road being used. The organisers recognise that the route is shared with walkers, cyclists, horse riders etc as well as other motorists. Safety is paramount.

Results are provided at the finish and, for Club members, points can be earned towards the Blackpalfrey driver and navigator championships. For dates of events see Winter Series 2017-18

Navigation and Regularity

There are many ways of defining the route you have to take on the rally, most of which require plotting onto the map.  Most of the popular methods are covered in the Historic Rally Car Register's Navigation Handbook, which you can download and print from the link below.  Grid references, spot heights, tulips, herringbones, etc. are all explained.  This handbook was written by Andy Gibson, one of the founding members of Blackpalfrey and one of the foremost navigators in the country.  We always use the Ordnance Survey 1:50000 Landranger maps and you can learn a lot by studying a map with reference to the map's key.  The information on navigation can be found on the Historic Rally Car Register's website.  There you will also find information under the Getting Started Tab on Historic Car Eligibility, Car Preparation, Timing and Documents.

Something you'll need when you want to accurately control your average speed is a set of speed tables, giving you time vs distance for a wide range of average speeds.  Quite good enough to start you off is the Average Speed Table that you can download and print off from the link below.

Rally Tripmeters

You don't need a special tripmeter in your car when you start rallying. If you're a newcomer to rallying, a major achievement on your first few rallies will be to find your way around the route without missing any marshalled controls or code board route checks. Maintaining the required average speeds so that you arrive at controls precisely on time will not be important. Indeed if the navigator gives up concentrating on the route to check the mileage and time, it's quite likely to result in a missed junction. Better to be on the right road at the wrong time than on the wrong road at the right time!  

After doing a few rallies and you decide that you want to be up with the experts on timekeeping, you'll then need to fit your car with a supplementary tripmeter, a device that can be accurately calibrated against the organiser's measured mile or other calibration distance before the start.

A few historic rally organisers will only allow the use of additional tripmeters that are period mechanical instruments, such as the Halda Tripmaster or Twinmaster. Unfortunately, as these have not been manufactured for decades, they are in great demand and command very high prices. Much more reasonably priced are the Brantz or Terratrip electronic devices and the basic versions that just have a dual display of distance only (not any form of speed) are widely accepted now. These are also a lot easier to calibrate than the Halda for which you have to change cog wheels to get an accurate reading. Installing these electronic tripmeters requires fitting a pick-up to detect rotation of the speedo cable or a pick-up on a wheel hub that gets electrical pulses from passing bolt heads on the wheel hub.

GPS Tripmeters

Rally tripmeters are now becoming available with a GPS sensor to detect car movement, with the obvious advantage of a much simpler installation. However most historic rally organisers have categorised GPS tripmeters with sat-navs and hence don't allow them to be used.  We may have to go along with this for our Hughes Rally, but a GPS tripmeter would be OK for our Sunday morning Regularity Runs.

If you have a smartphone (Apple or Android) and search the app store, you'll find several rally tripmeter apps that use the phone's GPS sensor, but there are very few historic rallies that would allow you to use them. However, if you're a novice on one of our Regularity Runs and don't have a tripmeter fitted in your car, you may be permitted to use your phone with one of these apps, so long as you get the prior approval of the organiser of the event and can show him that the app does not display your average speed.

Tripmeter Calibration

Here's a tip for setting up your Brantz or Terratrip if you don't have an accurate measured mile available but do have a smartphone with a GPS tripmeter app that displays distance to 1/100 mile precision.  Find a main road which goes for several miles without any sharp turns or roundabouts and from a standing start in a layby you drive several miles to another layby where you stop and read off both the mileage travelled (on the smartphone) and the calibration mode reading on the tripmeter. You must zero and take readings while stationary as GPS mileages do significantly lag when moving.  Then just divide the number on the tripmeter by the GPS measured mileage and you have an accurate calibration figure to set into the Brantz or Terratrip. In theory you should be able to do this with a satnav instead of a smartphone, but I haven't yet found a satnav that will display mileage travelled to better than 1/10 mile precision.  

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