With Covid-19 impacting what can and can’t be done in motorsport, a timing app has been developed and is being promoted as an alternative to needing as many marshals on 12 Cars.
With a test event being run locally, I agreed to navigate for James Hall in his MG ZR. With lots of events on in the weeks running up to the event, and having just started a new job, I didn’t manage to make a training session on how to use the app. I ordered the recommended mount from Amazon, spoke to others who had used it and read the instructions so I was ready to go.
The event had navigation as per a normal 12 Car, and started from a pub on the Sunday morning. It was plot and bash, so although we knew we were turning right out of the car park, we had to pull up quickly so I could ensure we didn’t miss a junction as I started plotting the section.
The app was easier to use than I expected, and I pressed to confirm passage checks as they popped up to prove we were on the correct route. When approaching controls, I’d been warned by others the control “areas” could be small and if you “overshot” the virtual control, reversing could see a wrong direction penalty given, but we didn’t have any issues with this.
As the event was plot and bash, but there were not any marshals to check envelopes had not been opened, we were given an A4 sheet of paper with a scratch card type material on it and far more navigation than we would need. Once we got to a control, the app (on a mobile phone) would tell me which letter I needed to use for the next set of navigation. This all worked well, until unfortunately none of us could get a control to “trigger.” I used the “cheat sheet” (i.e. scratched the foil) to find out where the next control was, and we headed there – but unfortunately it was the same problem again. I tried the help button on the app (no luck, turns out it was not connected!) so called the organisers. They told us which bits of navigation to use which we did, but later (and quite rightly) they decided to scrub the affected sections.
There’s more work to do with the app, but it worked better than I expected and it will be interesting to see how it develops.