A rally can be competitive or for fun. The objective of a rally is to follow a course, usually on public roads, to the precise detail specified in the rules. Competitive rallies dictate a certain schedule for the checkpoints along the way. Points are deducted by arriving at the checkpoint either early or late. Fun rallies may include a gimmick (poker rally, regional interest). Part of the challenge with a fun rally is to discover the intended route, which may require other skills such as solving a puzzle or looking for obscure reference points.
Rallies are run on paved roads at the legal speed limit. They do not cause excessive wear on a vehicle or place its driver/navigator at risk. They can be family events in which Sunday drives are made more interesting by a set of rules to get from the starting point to one’s final destination. Although rallying is a competitive sport, it is also a great equalizer. Dollars do not decide the outcome of class winners. Any car can compete on equal footing with the deep wallet guys. Unlike autocross or track events, winning teams have less than $50 invested in their competition package.
There are two major types of rallies: Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) and Gimmick rallies. Gimmick rallies come in all sorts of varieties: Poker, Hare and Hound, Fill-in-the-Blank, Scavenger and Photo rallies, to name a few. The rally at the Porsche Parade is always a TSD rally. A Gimmick rally is sometimes added to the Parade schedule.
No special equipment is needed to run a rally. Although some rallyists who run in equipped class at Parades or in SCCA level rallies have an onboard computer tied into their car’s drive train and front tires, all that is really necessary is a digital watch with stopwatch function, a clipboard, a pencil with an eraser, a map of the local area and a good cooler. This basic equipment is what is permitted in unequipped class. It is your basic “Seat of the Pants” rally equipment. Some rallies have a navigational class where simple calculators and prepared rally tables are permissible. Most locally run rallies are single class, unequipped.