MIKE POTENCIANO - Time speed distance rally myths

With our upcoming Mabuhay Independence TSD Rally this June 9, we are happy that our annual event is attracting a lot of interest among our motoring friends and colleagues. Along with the interest, I am amazed at the many misconceptions of what a time speed distance (TSD) rally is.

TSD rallies are the best way to get the novice drivers’ feet wet since these runs are more about accuracy rather than speed. These are also the only events where route and time navigators are very important for a team to win. Family members can all join the event and be important members in winning a TSD.

Going to our third Mabuhay Rally, let us now dispel the myths about TSD rallies and set the record once and for all. Here are the myths about TSD rallies that we wrote about in 2017, and I promise it’s going to be a good read!

Myth 1: We need a full race/rally car

This is entirely false as the average speed that you are going to run is below the speed limit of public roads. There is no advantage in having a fast car especially if your crew can’t hear each other in a usually noisy racecar. You would only need a car that is easy to drive in traffic, comfortable for all the team members to sit in (means air-conditioning is important), street legal, with 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 point for every second the crew is late or early at a checkpoint, the crew should not get lost and overspeed. We have hidden checkpoints along the way to catch overeager 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 take a shortcut, as there are unannounced checkpoints through the course, 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 are useless because no gadgets, such as cell phones, are allowed to be operated inside the vehicle. This would 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 to 5 members inside the car. The ideal crew would be three members to act as driver, route navigator and time navigators. We give two road books per car about 10 minutes before take off, so it’s hectic at the start. Trying to concentrate on driving, finding your way with the road book’s tulip directions and computing for the perfect time would also not be good for one’s mental health. You would 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. These include, among othrs, cell phones, scientific calculators, GPS locators laptops, Ipads, smart watches, and any gadget that you can use to communicate with outside the car. The participants’ cell phones are put in a Ziploc bag, which is taped up so these can’t be used during the event. Only simple calculators, speed vs distance tables, digital cameras with no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capability, stopwatches and/or digital clocks are allowed.

Myth 7: It is slow and boring

People who are used to speed races would 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 a TSD rally, all the crew would have to work together, inside a very stressful environment, i.e., a car in motion. 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 the vehicle play a crucial role in making the team win. However, in my opinion, the timer is the most important, followed by 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. When we race in TSD events for the Mini Team, I take on the timer role, while Lindy Pellicer is the navigator with multi-titled race champion Milo Rivera as 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 would help a lot! We usually give at least one 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 that team 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 missing a checkpoint would double your demerits in no time.

These are just some of the myths that we heard about TSD rallies, and we hope we have cleared them up. The best advice that I can give is for you 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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