A great rally ride can be undone with bad paperwork and poor reading comprehension. Beyond simply riding and taking pictures, successfully completing a rally requires you to follow instructions and provide clear, concise documentation to earn points.
Your perspective changes when you’re standing in the pouring rain in the middle of the night trying to fill out a bonus log sheet. Easing the burden on the administrative work where you can is key. Coming up with a system or a plan for yourself may take some of the pressure off when you’re on the clock.
The Rally Book
Many rallies will send you the rally book and/or bonus listing in advance. When it comes, read the rally book. Every page. Then read it again. And maybe once more for good measure.
By reading each page you will absorb an awareness of everything that is on the table before you. By re-reading it, you will inevitably pick out some detail you missed on the first pass. You’ll be surprised what details will stay with you about a bonus later on down the road.
Go through the rally book and pick out all of the opportunities it presents to earn “free” points. Things like:
- Points for sending a text
- Point for making a phone call
- Points for having a sticker placed somewhere
- Points for declaring your route
- Points for taking a selfie
- Points for farting
- Points for a bonus photo that isn’t time/location specific
- Points for buying something in a gas station
Plan to do those. They’re easy money!
Extra Rest Bonus Points
Each 24-hour rally will require you to stop and take a mandatory rest bonus. If you don’t take and properly document your rest, you will DNF.
Sometimes a rallymaster will add an incentive for you to rest longer. For example, they will say something like:
The mandatory rest bonus is 3 hours. Earn an extra point for every minute you rest beyond the 3 mandatory hours, up to 6 total hours maximum.
So they’ll “pay” you for resting up to an extra 3 hours. Here’s where the math comes in – you should determine whether you would earn more points resting or more points riding. If you were to jump up and head out after the mandatory 3 hour rest would you pick up as many points in the next 3 hours as you would snoozing for an extra 3?
For a middle of the pack rider like me, I often earn more resting. For riders who have aggressive or tightly timed routes, they can’t afford to dilly-dally and have to get going. Be realistic and thoughtful around your time to rest. Sometimes more rest equals more points.
The Rally Book – Administrative Work
Over time, I’ve settled in to some routines regarding rally paperwork that help me.
- When the rally book and bonus log sheet come, I pre-fill any fields that I can on my computer before I print them.
- Examples: Name/Initials/Rider Number on every page
- Print 2 copies of the rally book
- Print 3 copies of the bonus log sheet
- Keep the extras copies separate in case I need them later
- Examples: waterlogged papers, lost pages, torn, ripped, illegible, cross-outs & scribbles, not enough room to write, having an extra log sheet for a friend who lost/tore/messed up/doesn’t have room to write
- Keep the extras copies separate in case I need them later
- Highlight the bonuses I think I will go for in the rally book. Paying attention to 10 things is easier than 100.
Bonus Breadcrumb Flashcards
For me, too much information can be just as bad as too little. I use a process that tells me only what I need to know, when I need to know it. Though I have an awareness of everything that needs to get done, directing my focus to one thing at a time keeps me centered. Thinking about A to B works better than considering A through Z.
Once I’ve settled on a route, I use a stack of index cards on a ring to write each bonus, in order, on a single card. I include the bonus name, date, what I estimate my time of arrival to be, and any other helpful notations to remember about that bonus. Do I need to do something immediately after logging the bonus? Do I need to make a special notation in my log sheet? Is it part of a combo and I need to remember to do something specific to satisfy it? I make a note of it on the card.
I stick my index card stack in my tankbag window so it’s always visible.
If you have room on your card, cutting up an extra rally book and taping the actual bonus entry would probably be helpful.
When I get to my bonus location, I look at my index card. It helps me see what I need to do satisfy the bonus and if I’m on schedule. When I’m done taking my photos and logging my bonus, I flip to the next index card and set off.
I do create index cards for non-location specific bonuses like the “free” bonus items. I slot them in the general timeframe in which I want to do them. For example: if there is a call-in bonus between the hours of 11am and 1pm, I’ll put that call-in bonus card in the roster closest to 11am estimated arrival time. That way when I flip to the next card after finishing a 10:xx am bonus, I see my 11am call-in bonus and can pull over the satisfy it.
Double Check Your Work
When you get to rally HQ before the paperwork turn-in deadline, you should double check your work. I also sometimes use part of my rest bonus stop to double check my paperwork up to that point.
Having a checklist of things you need to do or verify doesn’t hurt.
- Bonus Log Sheet
- Does every entry have a date, time, odometer entered?
- Are the dates/times correct?
- Are the entries in the order in which you visited them?
- Is your name/initials/rider number on the bonus log sheet?
- Does every entry have a bonus name? Is it correct?
- Did you log your rest start AND rest end?
- Did you log the “free” bonuses? And are they in the correct order?
- Is your name/initials/rider number on every sheet?
- Do you have any non-bonus photos on your camera? If so, remove them.
- Do you have the correct maximum number of photos per bonus?
- You may be allowed a maximum of 3 or so photos per bonus. Extras will be a point penalty.
- Do the photo timestamps coincide with what you entered on your bonus log sheet?
- Do you have your Start receipt? Did you write your odometer/bonus name on it?
- Do you have your Rest Start receipt? Did you write your odometer/bonus name on it?
- Do you have your Rest End receipt? Did you write your odometer/bonus name on it?
- Do you have a receipt to satisfy a bonus? Did you write your odometer/bonus name on it?
- Did you have to buy something to satisfy a bonus? Do you have it with you?
Of course there is no right way to prepare or organize yourself. Losing points at the scoring table because of paperwork is a heartbreaker. Also not taking advantage of easy opportunities to earn points is silly. These things are just my way of trying to avoid that – advice from a middle of the pack rally rider.
Every rider has a method that makes sense to them. For the first time rally rider, you’ve got a lot on your plate figuring out how everything works. Anything you can do to ease the process along is good.