TSD Rally myths and facts

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MIKE POTENCIANO

Our upcoming Petron Bonifacio Day TSD Fun Run this November 26, has attracted a lot of interest amongst the motoring public. Along with the interest, I am amazed at the many misconceptions of what a Time Speed Distance fun run is.

TSD is the best way to get the novices’ feet wet since these runs are more about accuracy rather than speed. It is also the only event where route and time navigators are very important for a team to win. Family members can all join the event and be vital members towards winning it.

Going on our 3rd leg of the 2017 Petron Mabuhay TSD Championship, we are happy to have converted a lot of new enthusiasts that now enjoy the sport of rallying. The number of participants keeps on growing and soon, TSD will be a major player in motor sports.

Lets me now reveal what are the myths I encountered about TSD Rallies and debunk them once and for all. It’s going to be a good read!


Myth 1: We need a full race/rally car
This is entirely false as the average speeds that you are going to run are all below the speed limits of the public roads. There is no advantage in having a fast car especially if your crew can’t hear each other in the noisy racecar. You will only need a car that is easy to drive in traffic, comfortable for all the team members to sit in (which means air conditioning is important), street legal, a working odometer and reliable to finish the event.

Myth 2: Speed is king
Speed takes a back seat to being on time, all the time! Accurate computation of time and figuring your way around the course are the most important jobs. Since we give 1 demerit for every second that the crew is either late or early at a checkpoint, the crew should not get lost and over speed. We have hidden checkpoints along the way to catch the over eager participants along the route.

Myth 3: Local knowledge is important
While this is an advantage, in reality, it doesn’t matter! All directions are indicated in the road book and one should know how to read it. Even if the finish is mentioned by the officials, how to get there is another matter. You can’t shortcut the course as there are unannounced checkpoints, DIY challenges and trivia questions along the way so you must follow the correct route.

Myth 4: We should use navi apps
Google Maps and Waze will be useless because no gadgets, like cell phones, will be allowed to be operated inside the vehicle. This will negate the use of the navi apps and at the same time, stop other team members to call another mate to advise them of the secret time controls. It is of no advantage to use the apps as you don’t know where to go to and what roads to take before the destination.

Myth 5: I can do it on my own
Sorry but we require between 2-5 members inside the car. The ideal crew will be 3 members to act as driver, route and time navigators. We give 2 road books per car about 10 minutes before take off so it’s hectic at the start. Just trying to concentrate on driving, finding your way with the road book’s tulip directions and computing for the perfect time will not be good for one’s mental health. You will have an accident waiting to happen if you do all these things!

Myth 6: We need expensive gadgets
Most electronic gadgets are not allowed in the car like cell phones, scientific calculators, GPS locators or any gadget that can communicate outside the car. These include laptops, Ipads, smart watches, etc. The participants’ cell phones are put in a Ziploc bag and taped up so these can’t be used during the event. Only simple calculators, speed vs distance tables, digital cameras with no Bluetooth or Wifi capability, stopwatches and/or digital clocks are the tools allowed.

Myth 7: It is slow and boring
People who are used to speed races will find this format slow but the mental challenge is very high. When I race, I am the only one deciding on what to do. In TSD, all the crew will have to work together, inside a very stressful, moving car environment. I always say that if you and your loved one/s survive this event, then you are truly meant for each other. I have seen many couples that don’t talk and sit very far from each other after the event!

Myth 8: Driver is the most important member
I believe all the people inside play a crucial role in making the team win. However, in my opinion, the timer is the most important, next is the route navigator and then the driver. Computing the time required to get to a checkpoint is not easy especially inside a moving car. It is also hard to find a good timer and is usually the job that no one wants to do. When we race in TSD events for the Mini Team, I take on the timer role while Lindy is the Navi and multi titled race champion Milo Rivera is the driver. Bow!

Myth 9: No practice is required
With beginners assuming that TSD events are easy, they usually say they don’t need to practice. This is the biggest mistake a team can make. Most of the people are not professional rallyists so any kind of practice and pre-event briefing will help a lot! We usually give at least 1 briefing a week before the event and provide a practice route for all to do. As in all sports, practice makes perfect!

Myth 10: Let’s just follow the leader
Have you heard of the saying, “The blind leading the blind”? If you get lost, don’t commit the mistake of following another car instead unless you are sure that they can be trusted. Always try to work out where you got lost and try to trace the route from there. You should also go back to any missed checkpoint along the way as this will double your demerits in no time.

These are just some of the myths that I heard and hope this will clear them up. The best advice that I can give is to try not to get lost and enjoy the priceless moments with the family or crew. Godspeed and hope to see you in our TSD events soon!

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