An age-old hurdle faced by rally organizers and rallymasters the world over is the availability and willingness of volunteers for checkpoints and other functions. Scoring a rally, even a relatively simple TSD/NAVEX/Regularity, is also a bit of a chore and while competitors are enjoying refreshments (and patiently waiting for scores) at the rally finish, the rally master is slaving away over bits of paper, worn-down pencils and a calculator to try to produce scores which will stand scrutiny and not result in protests.
Enter long-time SCCA Road Rally competitor and software developer Rich Bireta. Rich saw the need for something more automated and recognized the ubiquitous nature of smartphones amongst the general population. As most (all?) smartphones utilize GPS technology, why not develop a system whereby checkpoints could be set by GPS, rally competitors could use their smartphones to record passage of checkpoints, elapsed time between checkpoints could be measured and calculated on the same smartphone, and scores and results could be displayed almost instantaneously without the need of those bits of paper, calculators and all-too-frequent headaches? And all of this on a rally timed to either the second or tenth of a second?
Through a long development period with a number of SCCA clubs and with the assistance of the SCCA Road Rally Board, the Richta (an amalgam of Rich’s first name and the famous Curta Calculator used by rally teams in the ‘60s and ‘70s) System was developed and made public both as Apple and Android apps. The system consists of a Competitor, Rallymaster, and Scoreboard app. All are interconnected through the registered rally and everything is quite seamless.
Richta and the BAC
The BAC ran a short test rally in March 2021 with a few invited teams made up of club NAVEX “movers and shakers.” This test went well and through some trial and error and teams trying to break the system, we learned a lot and the general consensus was that it would be a good system to use on BAC rallies.Not only does it provide instantaneous scoring, competitors who have cellular data enabled on their phones can be tracked by the rallymaster on the Rallymaster app. This provides a safety benefit and an ability to redirect teams which may be otherwise irretrievably lost.
One of the major adjustments that competitors will have to make is adopting the practice of timing to the second and not to the minute. We’re aware of some pushback on this issue, but the advantage is that checkpoints can be placed anywhere on the route and it immensely reduces (if not eliminates) the potential for ties. Experienced teams and “zero-heroes” may have the most difficult adjustment to make, but we’re hoping they’ll realize the benefit of the system once they have a couple of Richta-scored events under their seatbelts.
So far in 2022, both the Lost in Lunenburg Winter Rally and the New Scotland Road Rally will utilize the Richta Rally system. We understand there may be a couple of additional events under consideration, and the Richta system lends itself well to shorter, Friday night or “social” rallying.
Meanwhile, please download the free Richta apps from either the Apple or Android app stores and see how they look. The links at the bottom of this page will take you to instructional documentation and presentations.
Current Richta documentation and release information is available here. The Detroit Region SCCA has an excellent how-to page on their website as well as more screenshots. Please give it a read!