What is Road Rally?

Road rallies typically fall into one of three event styles. 

Read on to learn more.


Road rallies fall into one of three event styles:

Timed – Scoring is based on correct arrival time at checkpoints, with penalties for early or late arrival. Checkpoint locations may be known or unknown. Events are held on open public roads. Examples: TSD (time-speed-distance), Monte Carlo, Tour (TSD with no traps), Course (TSD with traps). 

Gimmick – Scoring can be based on completing an answer sheet with information found along the route. A specific maximum amount of time or completion by a specific time of day may be specified. Events are held on open public roads. Examples: A&B, Course Marker, Photo, Map Clue, Poker Run, Hare and Hound. 

Performance – Racing against the clock. Scoring is based on fastest time over a closed course. Cars need to be race prepared with roll cage, harnesses, helmets, fire extinguisher, competition license, etc. Examples: Rally Cross, Club Rally, Pro Rally. 

There are many regional variations of these basic forms. Some rallies are timed in seconds; some in hundredths of a minute. Some events specify average speeds or the exact time of day you are expected to arrive at an identified location. 

Route instructions may be written out plainly in words in sentences, cryptically encoded in abbreviations and defined terms, drawn in diagrams and pictographs, or your route may be highlighted on a map or indicated by markers along the roadside. 

There are a few things events calling themselves road rally have in common: 

• An entry team consisting of a vehicle, a driver, and a navigator

• A start location, a route, and an ending location 

• Rules of the game and route instructions 

Cascade Geargrinders Road Rally Program 

This guide is focused on TSD road rally, a game of precise timekeeping and navigational course following, as offered by the Cascade Sports Car Club Geargrinders Road Rally Program.  

Cascade Geargrinders road rallies are conducted in accordance with the current version of the Road Rally Rules (RRR). Supplemental rules specific to an event may amend or augment these rules. 

Cascade’s Saturday Series rallies are entry-level, appropriate for beginners, while still being challenging for rally veterans. Saturday Series rallies may be tour-style or “lightly trapped” containing some easy rally challenges.  

Saturday Series rallies begin and end in the Portland, Oregon, area. The rally route may be from 60 to 100 miles long. 

The first car starts on Saturday mornings at 10:01 a.m. and finishes in three to four hours. Cars leave the start at one-minute increments. A short break may be included mid-rally.  

Roads used for the rally route are paved public through roads. 

Mileage is provided for most course-directing route instructions. 

Timing and scoring is in seconds. An app used by each team times and scores the team as they pass GPS checkpoints.  

The goal is to accurately drive the prescribed speeds, pause the specified durations, and correctly follow the indicated route so you are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Teams best able to stay on course and on time will be most successful. 

Click here to continue