“It may be time to consider regularity sections again”
Since the outlawing of Targa Timing in 1988 the process of getting a result at a true 30mph average has always been a struggle for organisers. There are few lanes that lend themselves to be a straightforward test for top crews.
To assist in achieving a result, farmyards and short detours along tracks have become commonplace, however the assistance that these devices provide is likely to be largely lost as the MSA, complying with insurance requirements, take a strict approach to using any private land on sections timed to the second. In future, any section using the smallest part of private property will have to be timed to the minute. Organisers, who have been struggling to find a means of getting the top crews to drop seconds, will have a mountain to climb to get a clear result.
Leading crews have now reached a superb standard of competitiveness. A combination of skilled driving, excellent car preparation, almost faultless navigation plus flawless event management in the left-hand seat makes it difficult for organisers to put together a challenging route for them. On the recent Powys Lanes, the leading crew arrived at the petrol halt clean of any penalties, while their nearest rivals were snapping at their heels, with just a few seconds dropped. In contrast, even those in the lower reaches of the top 10 had dropped significant time at several controls.
Clearly to get a result some sections have to be timed to the second. Even if crews could be separated by minutes, it would be impossible to get a clear result for a 90-car field with only 30 minutes of lateness.
The reintroduction of tests next year may help organisers. Although there are restrictions on how tests can be run; they must precede the road sections of any rally and all competitors must complete any tests before midnight. Also, when tests have been used in the past, they have not always been well received and many crews are unhappy to use them as a method of determining the outcome of a road rally.
It may therefore be time to consider allowing the use of regularity sections on road rallies once again. They were banned from such events a couple of years ago after their misuse up to that point. Basically they were being used as timed to the second standard sections but without the restrictions that those types of sections entailed. If brought back they would obviously have to be closely policed to ensure that the positions of intermediate time controls aren’t known beforehand, that crews will be severely penalised for slowing or stopping within sight of a control and, maybe, even having varying average speeds to adhere to.
The Jogularity format would seem to meet these requirements; it’s a simplified version and wouldn’t necessitate the purchase of something like a Brantz timer to maintain the prescribed schedule.
This thought may not be palatable to some but it may be the only alternative to having rallies continually decided on engine capacity.