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Richta Rally timekeeping - an introduction

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

This is the text of this Detroit Region Sports Car Club of America presentation.... not my writing

What is the Richta Competitor app, and why do I Need it?

In TSD road rallying your arrival is timed at numerous checkpoints along the rally route. Your score at each checkpoint is based upon how close you come to the rallymaster’s calculated perfect arrival time for that checkpoint. Rich Bireta, an avid TSD rallyist and professional software developer, has developed a suite of applications that leverage smart device and GPS technologies to time arrivals at a checkpoint location based upon the checkpoint’s GPS location coordinates. This eliminates the need for the rallymaster to recruit workers and manage the resources for manually staffing checkpoints, plus adding the benefit of providing competitors with instantaneous timing and scoring information as the competitor passes the checkpoint.

To compete in a TSD road rally using the Richta timing and scoring system you must use the competitor app from the Richta suite, the Richta GPS Checkpoints Competitor app, available for both Android and IOS devices. Running the app on a device while you are running the rally is required for you to be scored at the rally’s checkpoints. If you’re not running the Competitor app during the entire duration of the rally you will not be timed and scored at some or all of the checkpoints.

How does the Richta Competitor app work?

When the rallymaster lays out his or her rally course they use the Richta Rallymaster app to record the locations of the checkpoints they want to use. That checkpoint location data, along with other event data, is stored in a cloud-based database. Prior to running the rally you install the app, if you haven’t done so previously, then launch it and connect to the name of the rally event you’re running. The Richta Competitor app downloads the checkpoint locations from the cloud-based database and stores that data on your device.

As you run the rally the app uses your device’s internal GPS to track the current location of your vehicle. When the app detects that your vehicle location matches the location of one of the stored checkpoints it records your arrival time for that checkpoint and displays that arrival time and your score for that leg. When your device has network connectivity, via either wi-fi or cell data, the app will upload your checkpoint arrival times and scores to the cloud database, where that data can then be retrieved for scoring and results.

Note that network connectivity is NOT required to record passage of checkpoint locations, as this requires only the device’s GPS. However, it is essential that the app be up and running on your device – if it’s not running, your checkpoint passages will not be detected and recorded by the app.

What do I need to do prior to running a rally with Richta Competitor?

If you haven’t already done so, you must download and install the free Richta Competitor app on the Android or IOS device you’ll use for timing during the rally.

  • Go to the Google Play store on Android devices or the App Store on IOS devices and search for ‘Competitor Richta’ in the app store. Or, if you’re viewing this on your device, use these direct links:

  • Download the Richta competitor app to your device and install.

  • When installing the app you may get a prompt to grant the app access to your device’s location services – you must grant this for the app to work.

Once the Competitor app is installed on your device you will need to register the app for each rally you run using the Richta timing and scoring system. The rallymaster for your rally will provide you with the event name to register with and a password for access to that event’s registration. Here are the steps:

How do I run the rally using Richta Competitor?

Your rally’s rallymaster will provide you with the specific information you need to run the rally using the Richta Competitor app in the rally’s general instructions. But here are some considerations to keep in mind regarding using the app to ensure you get correctly timed at the checkpoints:

  • Because of processing demands the Competitor app must be the only app running on the device while you’re using it. Be sure to close all other apps.

  • In order to do its work the app must constantly access the GPS hardware on your device. This requires considerable and constant power consumption. You’d be smart to keep your device externally powered while running the rally.

  • Monitor the app – it should always be displaying on your device screen. If the app should crash for whatever reason, simply pull over and stop your vehicle at the earliest safe opportunity and restart the app. None of the GPS location data or your already passed checkpoint data will be lost, and you’ll be able to continue on. Take a time allowance if necessary to get back on time (time allowances will be explained in the general instructions). You do want to do this as quickly, safely, as possible – you don’t want to pass through a checkpoint while the app is not running.

  • Position the device for the best possible exposure to the sky – the GPS in your device needs visibility to the satellites it uses. Up on the dash with as much visibility as is possible through the windshield is good.

  • Mount your device in some fashion. You really don’t want the distraction of that thing sliding around while you’re rallying. One inexpensive and effective solution is a sticky pad, like this Stanley version on Amazon, and will work for most folks. This pad is shown in use in the image at the top of this page. There are numerous variations and vendors of these pads; feel free to shop.

  • As you pass through a checkpoint the app will ping, and and a new entry for the checkpoint just passed will appear on the list of passed checkpoints. You can see on the summary line your score and your actual difference in time from the rallymaster’s calculated perfect time for the leg. The rallymaster sets a maximum penalty score for the event, so if your time off exceeds the max value, you’ll receive the max value – but you can still see the actual time you were off. Tap the checkpoint entry and a dialog box will pop up with detailed information about that checkpoint timing

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