WCRA website promoting Stage and TSD Rally Sport in British Columbia
Page Updated: Monday, July 14, 2003

Without volunteers, there are no events.  Simple as that.  So, the WCRA truly appreciates the time and effort, the skills and abilities that volunteer workers bring to club activities.   So, you think that you would like to volunteer, eh?

Working an event is not nearly glamorous, really-just ask around.  There are times when it can be tedious and boring, uncomfortable and even dangerous.  It is, however, almost always a great adventure, and a lot of fun.  You meet new and usually interesting people, learn new skills, get to hang out with people with similar interests, and hopefully are made to feel "loved and wanted" by event organizers.  Competitors are your true and loyal fans.

Workers come from very different backgrounds and volunteer for many different reasons.  Some volunteers may have been pressed into service-they may have just been too slow to say "no!"  Scooped up by an enthusiastic companion, they find themselves parked in the dark, in the middle of February trying to balance a clip board and timing clock on their knees, their stomach rumbling, their bladder full, they're wondering how they ever got into this position.  If you would like a bit more information before you commit to work an event---read on.

Some volunteers are actively involved in rallying themselves.  Rally cars may be resting in garages awaiting repairs, or disposable income earmarked for entry fees has evaporated.   Drivers, co-drivers and service crews take opportunities to support events that they might otherwise enter.  For other volunteers, working an event is an opportunity to learn about rallying from the inside out.  People often start out working an event before deciding to become more involved in rallysport.  Navigators and drivers entering a competition are far better informed about time controls, and rules and regulations, having worked an event.  There are those volunteers who are no longer satisfied with spectating.  They want to be closer to the action and more actively involved.   Some volunteers are simply adventurous souls looking for a new experience.   I've got some extra time; this looks interesting---what is this rally stuff about?   Family members and significant others often show their support for their favourite rally enthusiast by volunteering for events.   They may be "along for the ride" but working truly beats the boredom of waiting and lets them actively share in the adventure.

A rally is a rally-right?

The WCRA sponsors and organizes both TSD (time/speed/distance) and performance/stage rallies and while there is some overlap, volunteers for these events are required to do different things.  At both kinds of events, volunteers do timing, registration, technical inspection and scrutineering, however checkpointing at a TSD rally, Heart of Darkness, for example, is quite different from working as a control marshal at a performance event such as Pacific Forest Rally.

TSD events:  Regularities, transits and checkpoints

Checkpoints at TSD events are time controls usually hidden along the side of a road somewhere along a regularity.  (Camouflage is not necessary)  In a TSD rally the teams aim to drive "perfectly" following the instructions (which they have not seen previously) written in tulips, driving at speeds suggested in the route book.  They aim to pass each checkpoint exactly at the time designated by their start position.  If a team passes a checkpoint early or late, they are assessed time penalty points; in the end, the team with the fewest penalty points wins.

Checkpoints consist of a team of driver and co-driver.  At least part of the rally route is driven as the checkpoints get into their positions, so, drivers working a checkpoint should have driving skills adequate for the conditions, and have their cars prepared accordingly.  Co-drivers need to be prepared to read maps and interpret the route book's tulips.

In addition to checkpoints there are also teams that "open" the event, driving the regularity ahead of the first car to make sure that checkpoints are in place, and teams that follow the last rally car, "sweeping" the regularity clear of vehicles that may have gone off the roads.   TSD workers need to be adventurous, survival-oriented and self-sufficient.

Performance events:  Special stages, transits and time controls

Whereas at TSD events, the checkpoints are on the move, leapfrogging ahead of the rally teams, at performance events, such as Mt. Trials and the Pacific Forest Rally, control crews and road marshals may stay put and or move only short distances within the course of the event.   Whereas the cars in a TSD pass by a checkpoint without stopping, at a performance event, the cars start and end a stage, stopping at a timing control.  Control marshals count down the cars, starting them usually at one-minute intervals and record their times as they end the stage in a flying finish.  In a performance rally, the teams are attempting to race against the clock.  The driver drives as fast as possible along an unfamiliar route as the co-driver reads out the directions from tulips in the route book.  The fastest car finishing wins. 

Marshals working performance events need to be adventurous, survival oriented, self-sufficient, reasonably confident and assertive.  While TSD rallies are held on public roads and the suggested speeds are usually below posted speed limits, the roads used for performance events are usually private, logging roads that can be effectively closed off and secured to allow drivers to drive at top speeds.  Safety is always the priority and volunteers are charged firstly with keeping spectators and participants safe.   Volunteers work as control marshals doing starts, flying finishes and timing. They work as road closure marshals and as safety marshals at spectator areas, and in service areas.  They drive sweep vehicles, so course opening and have even been seen on "moo" patrols to control cattle in open range areas.  Ham radio operators are the most desirable of volunteers in that without an effective radio net to monitor the course of each rally car, the event will not occur.

How do I volunteer?

Call me:  Betty Third,  betty@rallybc.com

You want to work a TSD? :  Come out and learn to checkpoint as part of the upcoming Novice TSD Events.  Inexperienced volunteers who want to learn to checkpoint will be paired with an experienced volunteer at each of the Novice TSD Events.  Spend the day, learn new skills and have some fun.  See if you like it-get some experience before volunteering for regional events such as the Goldigger or Thunderbird rallies.

You want to work a performance rally? :  Come out to the Workers' Orientations for Mt. Trials and the Pacific Forest rallies.  Unfortunately these are usually held locally, but if you live in the Lower Mainland, try to attend.  In addition to a general orientation to performance events, we will show you how to fill out time cards and run time controls.   A time control will be set up and you can practice starts and flying finishes.  If you are not able to attend an orientation, know that your work assignment will take into consideration your inexperience and that you will be provided with written information/instructions ahead of the event.  Each and every volunteer is important to an event and work is carefully assigned.  The notion that your job can be easily filled by someone else, should you change your mind and suddenly not show up is not based in fact.  Events revolve around volunteers as much as around entrants and rallies can be in jeopardy without enough workers.

Thanks for your interest.  Questions?  Just ask: betty@rallybc.com

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