TSD or “Time Speed Distance”
Is a form of driving done on a designated course on public roads. Precision is key. You’ll need a street legal car, a driver and a navigator. That’s it. The rest is pure fun, and it’s perfectly legal!
For a nominal entry fee and almost no risk to car, life, or limb you get to drive the most scenic roads in the area and compete on the basis of precision driving and navigation. You are a team competing not based on the amount of muscle in your car, but on the sharpness of your minds and driving skill. But most of all, it’s fun – from the people and places to the competition and sense of discovery.
TSD Rallying is very different from most motor sports. Each car is given a set of written instructions and sent off at intervals on public roads. Each team tries to follow the course as well as maintain a given average speed, which is always legal. Sprinkled around the course are checkpoints where your arrival time is clocked. You are given a score based on how close you come to arriving perfectly “on time”.
These events are a lot of fun and appropriate for any type of vehicle – you need not have a sports car. Time-Speed-Distance TSD rallies take place on country roads with assigned speeds. The rallies generally run from March-September each year and many teams run the entire season to determine who is the best of the best by earning championship points. Be sure to mark your calendar on August 26th for our special rally of the year; “Mountains to the Sea Touring Rally”. This goes from the Portland area to the Oregon Coast with a barbecue and trophies at the end. The Mountains to the Sea rally is a daytime weekend event that is not tricky like a Friday Nighter rally is.
Follow the links below for information and our schedule and we’ll see you at the next event!
Here are some sample checkpoint and route sheets to give you an idea of what you and your navigator will be working with and from. A clipboard is a great thing to have onboard!
Some Rally FAQ’s:
Do I need a helmet? No
Do I need a navigator? Yes
Do I need any special equipment? – Not really. Pens, highlighters, watch and a clipboard should do to start.
The heart of our Rally Program are the “Friday Nighters”. Here’s a complete description of what to expect:
Generally held on the first Friday of each month, some schedule adjustments are necessary to avoid overlapping other rally events or major holiday weekends. The rallies are between 2-3 hours in length and require a driver and navigator, clipboard, writing utensil, stopwatch or watch with seconds and a vehicle. Hopefully it has an accurate speedometer and a tripset odometer so you can compare your mileage to the official event mileage. Most rallies are 100% paved, but sometimes there is a section of <25mph gravel and that is something we tend to announce ahead of time. (If you happen to be into gravel roads…there are other clubs, events and friends we can refer you to 🙂 The rallies start with an odometer calibration transit that tends to be about a half hour or so, to get us out of the city and away from traffic and signals. Then you’re given the exact speeds to travel and the real rally begins.
Each event ends in a different part of town and has a different flavor while adhering to the same format. The competition classes are arranged so that people with no experience and people with years of experience can have a fun time. Our Novice class is popular and almost always includes Novice Route Instructions. These provide additional tips and road names to help newcomers understand the format.
TSD rallying can be a challenging sport and that is what makes it fun. It can take quite a while to “get it right” but no matter whether you do well or not so well…you get to enjoy driving that fun car on fun roads and have an interesting evening in the country with fun people.
The mantra is “On course, on time” meaning you earn penalty points by arriving at checkpoints either early or late, and if you travel on roads not intended by the rallymaster. The rallymaster each month wants competitors to have fun, not get lost. This game is about rule following and each club has their own set of rules, but they follow a similar nationwide TSD format where you’re told where to turn and an average speed to travel. The average speed is called “CAST” (Change Average Speed To _) and the route is determined by using the rules and written instructions to interpret road signs and travel from one checkpoint to the next.
Starting out, the most important part is determining the correct road. It doesn’t do much good to be perfectly on time, traveling right at the correct speed….on the wrong road. The rallymasters setup “traps” to try and trick competitors, but loop them around so they come to a checkpoint or end up at a route control so they don’t get totally lost. That’s what makes the game fun — watching for misspelled roads, avoiding dead end roads, spotting a road name you’ve been looking for for miles – there it is!-and getting to a checkpoint and reading the critique and knowing “we did that, we did this, those were all the correct things to do!” Then you’re off again on the next leg, or on to the pizza and beer (or other restaurant) at the end. The Road Rally Rules specifically control what roads you would take and what roads (like dead ends, no outlet, etc) should be avoided. You put your rule knowledge together with the specific written route instructions each rally….and off you go.
Along the way there are checkpoints (minimum of 4) where you are timed in and given instructions on how to continue. If you mess up on one leg, that’s ok because you can do fine on the other legs. Lowest score wins, like in golf, and a zero is perfect. The closer you are to the perfect time (not going too fast or too slow, following the route precisely) the lower penalty and total score.
We have a Yahoo Group setup with message announcements (like a listserv) on when rallies are coming up and also discussions about past events and rule discussions. Go to groups.yahoo.com and search “Geargrinders” – you can join our group to be included in announcements.
The rallies start at the Lowe’s parking lot on Johnson Road and Hwy 224 (Milwaukie Expressway) at 6pm. Once everyone is registered, there is a driver’s meeting at 6:45 and then the first car is out at 7:01pm. The Friday Nighters are $25 per car, with a $5 discount for Cascade Sports Car Club members.