|WHAT IS A MARATHON RALLY
A marathon rally is not a Sunday afternoon drive. Our events last about 21 days of which some will be rest days. Over the three weeks of the event you will cover about 10,000 kilometres, so you are driving on average about 500 kms a day - that's 300 miles in English.
There has to be a certain regime to keep everyone together and the event on schedule but you will see places the normal traveller never sees; you will meet some great like-minded people and will have many stories to tell. You may have bad days but you will have fantastic days as well. You will become a marathon man or woman.
We run three events in one:
The Rally is a special stage rally for cars prepared to FIA regulations and with the crew holding International competition licences. The eligible cars are modern showroom cars prepared to FIA group N regulations (under 2 litre, no turbos, no 4x4) and pre-'78 classics.
There are 2 or 3 special stages each day on closed roads and timed to the second. The rest of the day is a transport section at a relaxed average speed.
The Challenge is a regularity event for either pre-78 classic cars or 4x4 SUV's or other suitable modern car. No competition licence is required.
Normally 2 regularities are tackled each day where competitors have to try to complete an unspecified distance at a set average speed. The average speed and the actual distance gives an "ideal" time that the section should be driven in and the "penalty" is the difference between the ideal and the actual time taken. The rest of the day is a transport section at a relaxed average speed.
The Touring Challenge allows entrants to follow the same route but they can "do their own thing" taking time to divert to places of interest or take leisurely lunches. Any suitable vehicle is eligible. They must check in with the organisers each day.
On our very first event - the 1993 London-Sydney Marathon - our officials wore red polo shirts and were christened "Redshirts". The name stuck and on every event our team of 14 Redshirts are the senior officials.
They are split into two: the Road Redshirts supervise the stages and regularities, which are manned by local marshals. The Road Redshirts leave HQ in the morning up to 2 hours before you will and won't get to the next overnight till after the last competitor. Local marshals man the stages.
The HQ Redshirts - the Clerk of Course, Event Director, Rally Manager and Office Manager - look after the overall administration of the event, the results and the hotels.
They start you off in the morning and check you in when you arrive in the evening and they process the results of the event. To achieve this trick they use a light plane we charter for the event to travel from one overnight town to the next.
All Redshirts are there to help you and they expect you to ask if you have a question or a problem when they will do their best to help. Some of our Redshirts have been on every event we have run over the past 12 years and most have done at least 6 of the 7 events we have run.
The driving distance each day varies depending on a number of factors. Our chosen route relies on using towns with a suitable hotel, then we need to judge how slow or quick the roads may be. Normally we aim for no more that 600 kms but if the roads are slow we try to reduce this.
The time the first car leaves each day also varies depending on the distance to travel but is usually between 7 and 8am with cars leaving at 1 minute intervals. We expect the first car to arrive at the overnight halt about 4pm.
Some countries seem to build their roads out of potholes but we always try to select decent roads for you to drive on. Having said that we sometimes don't have a choice - if you want to get from town A to town B there may only be one road. The answer is to ensure that your car can cope with varying terrain (see Car Preparation)
Hotels will vary from excellent to adequate. Why? Because where we are going there may not be a Hilton or a Sheraton available. Also, we need an hotel with enough available rooms and parking to take the full entry. Sometimes there is not a large enough one available and we have to spread the entry between two or more hotels.
Whatever the hotel, remember that not everyone can have the bridal suite and room sizes and facilities can vary within the hotel.
WHAT IF I BREAKDOWN
The rally category is normally able to cope with this and service crews are there just for this purpose. Breakdowns amongst The Clowes Cup and Touring categories are much more rare.
Our teams of officials supervising the stages and regularities follow the same route as you and normally after the first stage or regularity of the day has finished one of them should be behind the competitors. Whilst they are not equipped as repair specialists they will try to help where possible even if that only means towing you to a garage. Competitors also try to help each other, as do the service crews.
It is useful to carry a satellite phone with you in case you need help where mobile phones don't work. However, because of the straight-line nature of the route it is necessary for the officials to keep moving and other than extreme circumstances they cannot stay behind for long.
Consequently, it could be that you slip behind whilst repairs are effected to your vehicle after which you have to catch up. If your breakdown is terminal then you need to get your vehicle to a port in order to ship it home. Whilst the officials have to keep moving we try to help by phone.
HOW DO I GET TO THE START AND HOME AGAIN
Your vehicle needs to be sent in a container to the start and again back home from the finish. We appoint a clearing agent at the start and suggest a shipping agent for the finish. We may be able to suggest shipping agents from your country.
You need to fly and we will suggest various booking options.
HOW LONG WILL I BE AWAY
To the duration of the actual event you need to add travelling time to the Start and back from the finish. You will need to arrive at the Start Hotel about 3 days before the event starts for pre-start paperwork, checks, briefing and welcome dinner and you must allow time to collect your vehicle from the clearing agents and check it over - say a minimum of another 2 days.
After the finish you need to take your car to the shipping agent and then fly home. Depending on flight times this would be an absolute minimum of one day but 2 will be more comfortable. Many people decide to stay on for a few days after the event.
WHAT DOES THE ENTRY FEE INCLUDE
The basic fee includes a twin bedded room and breakfast for each night of the event from the time the flag drops to the finish. That means you need to pay for accommodation for the nights you need prior to the day of the start. Likewise for any nights after the day of the finish.
Also included are personal accident and medical cover insurance, an event clothing package and tickets for each crew member to the Welcome and Awards dinners.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO PAY FOR
Impossible to cover everything but apart from personal items the main costs will be: Getting your car and the crew to the Start and home again afterwards. Running costs and any repairs to the car, Carnet de Passage, visas, third party insurance, hotel accommodation before and after the event, food and drink.
HOW DO I PAY
There are several ways to pay the entry fee. The standard way is a deposit followed by several payments on fixed dates spread over about 15 months.
Or you can elect to pay by Bank Standing Order, or simply authorise Rally Office to debit your credit card with specific amounts on specified dates.
Any extras are normally invoiced about two months before the start.
The special stages an equipped with doctor/paramedic, ambulance and recovery vehicles as well as radio at start, finish and midpoints. Each stage start and finish is supervised by our Redshirt officials and the stage is manned by local marshals.
Side roads are blocked and hazards marked in the road book or by way of a bulletin/instruction.
The route is checked 3 days before we get there by our advance car and again on the day by our officials.
In the Rally category cars must be prepared to the technical regulation for the event. Being rally prepared they should be able to cope with any rough roads but extra care should be taken to ensure that the car is able to withstand the distances involved.
A TWE Vehicle Identification Form (VIF) has to be completed before the event. There is nothing sinister in this, it is to try and ensure that the rally car complies with the regulations and will pass Scrutineering - the last thing we want is for you to ship your car to the Start only to find it isn't allowed to start. VIF application forms are issued about 6 months before the start.
In the Clowes Cup and Touring categories preparation largely depends on what vehicle you have. If you have a 4x4 SUV (Toyota Land Cruiser and the like), it is pretty well ready to go straight out of the box. A good service, an extra spare wheel and tyre, red triangle, towrope, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and some basic spares and you should be ready to go. Take large containers for fuel and water
If you are driving a car, particularly a Classic, then we recommend all of the above plus raising the ground clearance to about 7", fitting a sump guard and underbody protection to pipes and fuel tanks.
Whatever the vehicle make sure you are comfortable in it - it is going to be your home for most days.
Most countries are demanding much more information about any person or article being imported. In our case this is for the vehicle and the crew.
You will need to apply for a visa for those countries requiring one and you will need a Carnet de Passage for the vehicle. We issue Guidance notes on which countries require visas and carnets. In the UK we co-ordinate obtaining a carnet through the RAC.
We will be asking you for lots of information regarding the vehicle - make, model, colour, sizes, Chassis, Engine and licence plate numbers, etc - and crew addresses, ages, nationality, passport numbers etc.
Apart from Guidance notes on various topics we issue a Newsletter from time to time and generally try to keep you informed of what is happening on the run up to the event. Our website also gets regular postings.
Check the website - www.twerally.com - and look at our last event (London-Sydney 2004) and see some previous Newsletters and Guidance Notes.
This applies to the rally only. Service crews are permitted or you can do your own repairs with or without help from local garages etc.
Servicing is allowed in most sensible places on the route and the no-go areas are identified in the road book.
A Service Entry provides its crew with all the same facilities (hotels, insurance, road books etc) as a competitor for a slightly lower fee.
HOW DO I NAVIGATE
The whole of the route will be shown in a series of Road Books (see example on next page) which show a diagram of every junction where a change of direction is necessary with distances measured to 100th of a kilometre.
To measure the distances each vehicle should be fitted with an electronic distance measuring device like a "Terratrip".
This measures distances to 100th of a kilometre (or mile) so you know where you are against the Road Book. Using it and a Road Book is much easier than map reading. Terratrip is not the only make of such devices and most of them have many other functions.
I addition there will be a full colour Map Book with the route to follow marked on.
|EXAMPLE OF ROAD BOOK
||WHAT DOES IT MEAN
The heading on each Road book page will show the start and finish points of the section, the total distance to travel and the time allowed.
The rest of the page is split into 5 columns and 6 rows. The "Total" column shows the distance you have travelled since the start of the section. The "Inter" column shows the distance from the previous instruction.
The "Description" column shows a diagram (known as a "tulip") representing a junction or other feature.
The solid dot at the bottom indicates the point from which you are coming and the arrow shows the direction of departure. For example, description 4 shows a roundabout at which you will turn left.
The grey vertical line to the side of tulips 5 & 6 means No Servicing.
The "Instruction" column gives information to help you identify the junction, the way to go or a warning (as in No. 2 - "Stop").
Finally, the last column tells you how far to the end of the section.
To measure the distances each vehicle should be fitted with an electronic distance measuring device like a "Terratrip" as shown
This measures distances to 100th of a kilometre (or mile) so you know where you are against the Road Book. Using it and a Road Book is much easier than map reading. They are easily calibrated to match our setting-up measured distance. Terratrip is not the only manufacturer of such devices and most have many other functions.