The No Ride Rally was a first for us, rally team and entrants alike. Did it go exactly according to the first imagined vision? No of course not!
It started with a simple idea: let's hold a rally just like a normal one but without the actual riding part. Would anyone, at all, even want to not ride such a rally? Well from a final field of 40 (comparable with the last few real rallies) 32 actually started and 21 finished. We thought we might get non-IBAers involved but apparently not. We thought we'd attract competitive rallyists and we did get some of them.
What went wrong? just like in a real rally almost everything went wrong. We underestimated the potential claims (overestimated our processing capacity); we needed multiple explanations before, most but not all, entrants understood what they were doing; We made classic errors with scoring/publishing; We discovered and fixed IT weaknesses; We made value judgements some of which got overturned on appeal.
What went right? Most things. The basic idea was sound, bordering on genius. The rally book covered everything it needed to apart from making it blindingly obvious that the rally would be conducted in real time. The bonuses covered a fair chunk of the country, this being especially useful to the overseas competitors. We attracted complaints at a similar rate to those experienced in real rallies. Just about all the entrants had grounds to whinge about something: too challenging, not challenging enough, too boring, too exciting, I didn't understand, I didn't think you'd see it that way, I disagree with this penalty. Most participants managed to avoid spending the weekend looking out the window wishing they could ride their bikes.
A virtual rally is and should be just like a real rally but without the riding. It includes all the important characteristics of a rally apart from riding: route planning, control of mistakes, persistence. Future virtual rallies need to make route planning much more challenging with multiple "good" routes, red herring routes, sucker bonuses, etc. The rally team needs to include a real-time intervention operator who can tweak buttons like "A9 impassable Perth-Aviemore".
Virtual rallies don't appeal to everyone. Some just don't like the tech involved, some just wanna ride their bikes come hell or high water. Nothing will ever please all the people all the time. This was the first one, I doubt it'll be the last.
Bob and Rally Team thanks for organising this Virtual Rally.
Some years ago I took part in 2 virtual rallies, run by an IBA member, they were excellent training for future rallies and included different challenges and combinations of bonuses. As a rookie at that time I believe they aided my planing abilities. It took some time for the entrants rallies to be scored due to the complexities of the bonuses. I appreciate that this will be the case in most rallies.
However, I am still waiting for my result. Whether that be DNF or low score.