SPANK Rally 2007

Fascinating Rally Concept

Kudos to George for a really unique and interesting rally concept.   Let me *attempt* to explain it the best that I can.

First of all, we were told before the rally that we'd be given all the bonus locations and it would be possibly to instantly get these locations loaded into our GPS units.   The goal here was to eliminate the "data-entry chore" of manually entering waypoints ...hence leveling the field.   This IMO was a great idea.

We would not get these waypoints until AFTER the riders' meeting -the evening before the rallly.

However, mid day before the rally a paper map was posted and it showed all the bonus locations, it also had some key-notes that we did not understand the relevance of at this time.  Some of the bonus location on this paper map had point values shown, however many did not.   It was important  to copy these locations manually onto your paper map.  This had some important information, and a good way to see where we'd be going, but for the most part it was a real "teaser".

After the riders' meeting, we were given all the (93) bonus locations electronically.  Most took memory cards and brought them up in their laptops, and then to their GPS units.   Plenty of techy guru's were on hand to help folks load they waypoints into your GPS should you need assistance.

I think everyone was amazed how swiftly the waypoints were converted to various formats (different flavors of GPS units etc) and available on USB memory cards.   These cards were passed around.   A few folks volunteered their laptops and skills to make sure that any non-tech folks had all of the waypoints in their GPS.   You'd guess some glitches, confusion and lots of time for this scheme??  NO!!!, this all took just minutes.   Amazing.

HUGE KUDOS to JERRY WHITE for spearheading the waypoint conversions.  AWESOME!

So, in short order, the night before the rally we all had all bonus locations in our GPS units.

GREAT!!??  Well, yes, we all had every bonus location inour GPS unit, but there was too much missing information to do much with them as far as routing was concerned.  For example, We knew that there were 2 legs to the rally and there was no way to know which leg each bonus location was on.  Also, most point values were not known etc etc ....there was too much missing information to effectively do any constructive routing.  This needed information would not be available until the rally packets were handed out just before the start of the Rally the next morning.

George hinted, NO, rather  he *PROMISED* that there would be no advantage to work out routes this night.  He wanted us to sleep, not burn the midnight oil working out routes.   I don't think any of us realized how true this promise was until the next morning ....when the "2nd shoe dropped" in the form of the rally packet and we quickly understood that this was going to be a real adventure!!

The rally pack instantly showed us that *yes* there were two legs to the rally with a mandatory checkpoint in between (no surprise).  HOWEVER, the real intriguing part was that the 1st leg of the rally consisted of 4 *soft* legs and we would be given the bonus location for each of the four legs INDEPENDENT of each other. For example in our initial packet was the bonus locations for the first *soft* leg, as well as the location of the three soft checkpoints.

There were three *soft* checkpoints.  At these checkpoints we would be given the packet/bonus locations for the next leg ...and so on.

We could go to any of the checkpoints in any order.  However, the order of the next packet would be consistent.  For example, it made no difference if I went to the "north", "center" or "south" checkpoint first, regardless of which I chose first, I'd be allowed to open soft leg 2 bonus locations.   ...And at the next soft checkpoint I'd be allowed to open soft leg 3 bonus location   ....etc

The bonus locations for all legs were scattered all over, not necessarily clustered near the checkpoint where you recieved them!!!

You could only claim bonuses that you had the open packet for, and the only way to get the packet was to go to a *soft* checkpoint.   This made for some crazy fun and extremely challenging routing.

While you could look down at your GPS, zoom out and see all kinds of bonuses, you could only claim bonuses that you had a packets for, and the only way to get that packet was to get it from a *soft* checkpoint.   So, we all found ourselves riding by bonuses that we could not (yet) claim.   We'd see far away bonuses worth lots of points that we could claim, but we'd  have to decide if it made more sense to go for those points, or aim for the next checkpoint which would open up more bonuses. 

Once you had an open packet for any leg, you could claim those bonuses at any time!    Krazy stuff!!! 

A very unique and interesting concept!

Riding around looking at your GPS, it was like playing PacMan'd ride around gobbling up bonuses ....but many were not available -at least not yet, not until you got to the checkpoint with the packet containing that particular bonus!

Not all 3 soft checkpoints were mandatory, in fact not any of them were, however without hitting them you'd be limiting the amount of available bonses in leg 1 of the rally.

AND, to make it even more interesting:  There was a 15,000 point bonus at each of the checkpoints if you got there during and "odd" hour.  (ie:  1:00,  3:00 etc etc)

This may  all sound confusing, but it really is not -and a simple concept to grasp especially once the wheels are turning.

In short, we had all the bonuses in our GPS units, but there was much thinking and planning to be done to make any use of them -if you wanted to score well.

If high scoring was not your priority, it was very easy to get to the checkpoints and in doing so you'd certainly run across enough bonuses to have fun and gain some points.

Perhaps important to note that all rally newbies finished this rally!!!  Yet veterans found efficient and high scoring routing very challenging.   Those two facts speak highy for this rally methodology IMO

Visual example:

In the map above, you will see four red circles, these represent the start (left) and the three *soft* checkpoints.    We left the start with informatiion on aprox 25% of the bonus locations (most of which are circled in blue) each of the *Soft* checkpoints we'd be given permission for aprox 25% more of the bonuses ...etc etc

Remember, this is for LEG 1 of the rally only.   We were REQUIRED to be at the MANDATORY checkpoint near Lake Arrowhead between 7:00 and 8:00pm where we would be given the packet for LEG 2 (most of Leg 2  bonus locations are NOT on the above map).

Hence, it was important to factor this into your plan as you could not ride around forever bagging these bonuses, you needed to get to the Start of Leg 2 in time, or you would be disqualified.

Fascinating to say the least IMO.