The Basic Roamer Company 
Internet Table-Top Rally Championship 2017-2018

Information: Introduction | Entry List | Regulations | Bulletins | Standings | MND

Rallies: Marking a Route | Q&A | The Nearest FarAway Place | Panglossian | Schoolfrenz | Thalamorph

Bulletin 35 (February 10, 2018 @ 23:10)

Thalamorph Rally

Thank Goodness, half way through the Thalamorph Rally and all seems to be well. So much so that I've managed to do some other TTR things I've been meaning to progress for a while ...

Statistics and World Rankings

I've now updated all the "World Ranking" statistics. Interesting reading. Start your tour here. There are tables showing event results, ranking points and a ranking progression. Please let me know if you spot any errors or can fill in missing results.

There are 92 events in the TTR history dating back to the Pathfinder Rally in 1987 with 591 competitors listed. Some early results are still missing, but there are complete results from the Cultivator 1996 onwards - the first event to be included to assess World Rankings.

The most prolific competitors are: Peter Robertson (53 events), Glynn Hayward (51), Gillian Goodlass/Alan Crabtree (49), Dave Bell (42), Dave Keetley (38), Stuart Lawrie (36), and Steve Barber/Robert Owen (35). A few names there that are still TTRing.

180 competitors have appeared in the rankings list. Here's the history of No.1's:
Martin Rea (first 3 rankings) then Colin Hensman (for 1 ranking), Jeremy Rodgers (1), Martin Rea (3), Mitch Fielding (2), Peter Robertson (1), Peter Cracknell (2), Malcolm Price (1), Mitch Fielding (1), Martin Rea (6), Ian Buxton (2), Mitch Fielding (3), Gavin Rogers (5), Gavin Rogers/Dave Bell (2), Dave Bell (2), Iain Tullie (1), Gavin Rogers (1), Ian Tullie (2), Gavin Rogers (7).

Gavin Rogers is the most prominent No.1 appearing at the top on 15 occasions.

Peter Robertson is the only previous No.1 competing in this season's Championship.

I happily remember peaking at No.2 in 2004 on the last National Postal Event, and thereafter having to commit my desktop mapping days to organising only.

Glynn Hayward is the only person to appear in every rankings list since they began.

After the Thalamorph Rally, Gavin Rogers will be deposed and will be replaced, probably, by Bart den Hartog, Nigel Parish or Keith Irvin. If you base rankings on the previous best 4/8 instead of last 4/8, Nigel Parish would already be No.1.

Where are the earlier stalwarts? Colin Hensman, Martin Rea, Mitch Fielding, Alan Crabtree? I hope they are still around and enjoying non-TTR activities.

Next Event?

I haven't done any arm-twisting yet, but I already have 5 volunteers, to contribute a route card to the next  event(s)? Date(s) to be decided but a 30-day event in May and August might fill the inter-Winter gap.
Volunteers so far: Bart den Hartog, Ian Canavan, Peter Rushforth, David Irwin and Bob Blackstock. With TT celebrities like that already any event has to be on your to-do list. 

What would a volunteer have to do? Choose a section of OS 1:5000 map (the standard is 13.4km x 9.5km). Design a route card to fit the map. Mark where the controls should be. Then, on the event conduct any necessary troubleshooting on your route card via the forum. I would act as your route card/route checker, set-up the necessary files and make my route design software available to you.
Call me (Keith?, Richard?, Steve?, Anthony?, Monica? et al) before I call you.

It's official. Table-Top Rallying is Cool. Click to verify via this interesting mapping app.


Bulletin 34 (February 1, 2018 @ 01:20)


We all have MMMs - map marking mishaps: the cat walks across your keyboard; your hand shakes in anticipation of dashing down a bumpy white; you drag or click in slightly the wrong place; your partner unplugs you from the Internet because you are ignoring him/her; etc. You can end up with a ruined route after seconds/minutes/hours of careful plotting. And of course you forgot to save at the crucial points!

There is a new experimental "Undo" button on the plotting screen to the right of "Just Exit". If one of the above has just happened, click the button, and your route will return to the pre-mishap state. If you breathe a sign of relief - SAVE - before you do anything else. It's only a one-step click/delete/drag Undo.

This new feature has been a swine to write, but I think you will welcome its inclusion. Invoke it sparingly; it uses a lot of resources and hasn't had any soak testing.


I've changed the point clicking rules slightly to accommodate the intricacies of a couple of Thalamorph Route Cards. You probably won't notice but if you are interesting in the minutae of operations here's what happens when you click on the map:
1) If you click within 50 metres of a (invisible/minor) geocoded point on your existing route and it's at least 25 metres from an existing user (red square/super) point, the invisible point will be upgraded to a super point i.e. one that you can drag around the map to, perhaps, stretch the route around a loop.
2) Failing 1), if your click is closest to the final point on your route, it is assumed that you want to extend your route to the new point. If that point is not close to a road, the point will be created at the nearest geocoded point on the nearest road, and the shortest (AP/Google) route drawn in-between.
3) Failing 2), if your click is more than 100 metres from the nearest super point, it is assumed that you want to extend your route to the new point. If that point is not close to a road, the point will be created at the nearest geocoded point on the nearest road, and the shortest (AP/Google) route drawn in-between.
4) Failing 3), you've probably clicked where there is no nearby geocoded point to attach to, so nothing will happen.

Complicated algorithm, but it seems to work OK. If you've got that, bear it in mind when you are plotting your route around close knit roads.

The Future

Well, three of my predicted volunteers have already put their names forward to co-create a future event.
No arm-twisting needed yet.

Thalamorph Rally

Everything is in place except the things I've forgotten. Get plotting on the practice Route Card 0.

Bulletin 33 (January 31, 2018 @ 11:00)


The Regulations, Marking a Route and Q&A have been revised to reflect, mostly, recent deliberations about subjects such as route card plotting/shortest route, cutting corners, map marking requirements and the hint system. Have a good read before you start the Thalamorph Rally.

Thalamorph Rally

The focus will switch tonight from the Schoolfrenz Rally to the Thalamorph Rally. Route Card 0 will be available for practice with the main event opening at 10pm on Thursday.

The Future

I dread to think how much time I've spent over the last five months writing, updating and tuning the software for the TT series. As always I've gone through the feelings of "this has to be the last time" because of the effort involved. But with your feedback and enthusiasm the software has evolved to produce a table-top rallying format which models the real world closely, is feature-rich, flexible and stable. I don't think there's much development work required to keep the navigating audience entertained in the future. Moreover, it is a means, by your generosity, of generating income for charity. Currently I am of a mind to run more events and I have already tentatively earmarked a series for winter 2018/2019.

If you shudder at the thought of waiting eight months between events I have an idea. How about an event or two between now and November? I'll host them but YOU create the route cards. 12 volunteers, each setting a route card, route and hints, which still allow them to take part by automatically dropping their own event from the 11/12. I have at least 12 keen competitors in mind (particularly the one that beat me into second place on an event last weekend); call me or I'll call you.

Bulletin 32 (January 21, 2018 @ 23:45)

Schoolfrenz is Over

The event closed at 22:00. I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Map solutions and Route Card solutions/commentaries are now available here.

Results are now provisional. At the time of posting (I think) there were no outstanding queries. If you discover any problems with the solutions or your marking send me a PM through the Forums. I hope to put a wrap on this event within the next few days.

Post any general comments or your critique direct to the Schoolfrenz forum.

Thalamorph is Almost Ready

Thalamorph starts at 22:00 on February 1 and runs until February 21. The rally focus will switch to the Thalamorph a few days before the start so that you can practice with Route Card 0.

There are some rule and map marking changes to come and you'll be notified when they are ready to view by the Notice Board and/or another Bulletin.

Plus the new Hint System is being introduced, so you should be able to tackle EVERY route card, albeit with extra penalties.

Canada Trophy

Kindly donated by TT competitor Roger Sanderson, Marcus Duyzend won the Canada Trophy on the Panglossian Rally:

"I can't remember ever having been awarded a trophy with my name on it before, so this is special. "

Bulletin 31 (January 12, 2018 @ 23:00)

Three software updates that will appear tomorrow:

Results Feedback

The table of Results Feedback that you see after submission will be included in the submission confirmation email that you receive. Another item ticked off the wish list.

The email will be formatted, so to view correctly "View as HTML", not as "Plain Text". If you want a record of previously completed route cards just go through a normal (free) submission to receive a new email.


There will be a new button on the Plot Route screen labelled Spy. If you are displaying the map in the highest 1:50000 scale, clicking the button will launch a Magnifying Glass. A kilometre-size empty square will appear top left of the map. Move your mouse pointer to the square and it will attach itself to the pointer. You can now drag the square across the map and you'll see a x2 version of the clean map (not your tramlines) underneath. This will be a handy tool when, from the Thalamoph Rally, you will be primarily marking your route at this level.

When you have finished magnifying, drag the cursor to the edge of the map to let go of the square and click the Spy button again.

I've tried Spy in many different scenarios, but since it is sensitive to each browser type, let me know if you experience problems.


When you click the Scale/Pan button you will now see additional scale information below the navigation tool.

Bulletin 30 (January 10, 2018 @ 16:00)

Cutting Corners (Mark II)

I've been forced into a re-think as a result of misbehaving competitors. No, misbehaving is wrong, more like cunningly clever competitors, far cleverer than me.

I've had to change a couple of the Master Routes. A few discovered shortcut whites at Street View which were not shown at 1:50000. Quite legal as far as rules go, but frustrating for me marking, and frustrating for you for not looking. One found a massive shortcut on a "road" (it looked like a gap in a tree line!), not on 1:50000, not on Street View, but AutoP(i)lot was happy!? Not what I intended at all. I know the offender's address, so if she does it again she will be visited by the TT police. Here's my solution, which also addresses the cutting corners issue.

There will be changes to the Regulations which take effect on the Thalamorph Rally. All route cards and master routes will only use roads that are visible and navigable by AP at 1:50000 scale, unless otherwise indicated. If you go to Street View and see a road or some kind of "tree gap" that you can't see at 1:50000, don't use it; it won't be used on the master route.

When passing through junctions you will be expected to mark a point somewhere before and after the junction (to become a rule not just guidance) to guide AP where to go, not at the junction. If AP takes SWR or LWR at the junction, triangled or otherwise - let it, that's what was intended. If you force an unnecessary SWR or LWR and incur time penalties, don't expect them to be cancelled.

That should really focus on, as intended, your navigational skills rather than the quality of your eyesight or how much you want to risk RSI by incessant clicking.

Talking of eyesight. The new-ish Zoom feature is your friend if you want to enlarge the detail of 1:50000 maps, but don't mark your route when zoomed. The OS software framework and co-ordinate system is designed to work at its naturally rendered resolution, not on a "blown-up" version. Your clicks will be incorrectly placed. However, on the Thalamorph there will be an alternative Magnifying Glass which you will be able to pan across a map if you want to see more detail.

Hint System

The new Buy-a-Hint feature is ready and will be deployed in test form shortly. I won't explain how it works because I want to see how intuitive it is to use. You'll see new columns on the Route Status screen soon, so please experiment and PM me on the forums with your feedback. Taking a hint won't cost you anything on the Schoolfrenz Rally, and anyway they are all nonsense!

Bulletin 29 (January 8, 2018 @ 20:45)

Cutting Corners

Oh, some of you are good, very good, extremely good ... better than me.

I'm talking about cutting corners at junctions. There have been several junctions pointed out to me where it is possible to force a shortcut rather than accepting the AutoP(i)lot route. Three on one particular route card. That's perfectly legal since, unlike previous events, any point you use is geocoded on the map. However, I do worry about your undercarriages driving over the bumpy grass. If you lose your exhaust you may be excluded for excess noise. Remember the whole plotting area is a Quiet Zone, so count yourself lucky that I can't be in more than one place at a time to observe any noisy behaviour!

It's not my intention that you spend ages examining every junction clicking furiously to find sneaky shortcuts that I might have included. The competition is about solving route cards and plotting them successfully on a map; I don't want you to be concerned with the vagaries or subtleties of AP.

On the Schoolfrenz Rally I will be including the shortcuts found in the Master Route and will personally re-submit solutions where the odd few seconds might make a positive or negative difference. For the Thalamorph Rally there will be a new rule which will be something like this:

At any non-triangled (I'll qualify shortly) junction, at the highest zoom level, the master route will be the route that AP naturally takes from a point before the junction to a point after the junction. This is best illustrated with an example.

1. Here's a junction at the highest zoom level:
2. This is the natural AP route through the junction:
3. This is where I have forced the route to cut a corner.

The valid route is 2. Let AP be your guide.

Here's another junction, but "triangled". It's "triangled" because there is a definite separator at the junction. In this case an obvious traingle but it could be just a a simple line acting as a separator.

1. Another junction at the highest zoom level:
2. This is the natural AP route through the junction:
3. This is where I correctly forced the route to cut a corner since there is a geocoded point there to allow me.

The valid route is 3. Override AP. If there was no shortcut geocoded point in 3, then the valid route would be 2.

A necessary rule I think, and one that should save you and me a lot of time.


A few people have asked which is the best browser. Well, generally I hate all browsers because they are a nightmare of inconsistencies when programming for them. i used to swear by Chrome because it was fast, stable and had lots of useful plugins. Not so these days in my opinion. Recent builds seem to have made it a bit shaky, so I just use it for the plug-ins.

I occasionally use Firefox, but for something called called Xinha - a handy HTML Editor not available elsewhere.

Edge gets the most use from me because of its integration with Windows.

I often go to IE11 to sort programming problems because its developer tools report errors that other browsers don't.

Opera I only use to make sure the TT stuff works there too.

There's a new kid on the block called Vivaldi, which came highly recommended. Its interface is a bit unusual but it does the job and is extremely fast.

My recommendation: stay with what you know rather than having to re-learn what each button or menu does. If you are feeling adventurous take a look at Vivaldi.

Bulletin 28 (January 6, 2018 @ 19:00)

The New Format?

Well, I like it, from a rally-purist and administrative points of view. Certainly less route-marking queries, and the occasional odd seconds penalty are now only wrong routes or uncorrected off-routers, which have reduced because of the marker positioning system.

Panic Envelopes/ Hints

Some of the Novices aren't happy because I've been aiming to separate those at the top with too many Master-type route cards. Uderstandably, as has been mentioned in the Forums, "buying" a hint to have the satisfaction of solving and plotting a route card would be a reasonable trade.

On the Thalamorph Rally I am endeavouring to make hints available when they are appropriate. For example, Route Card 0 on the Schoolfrenz Rally I could have removed the description of Digital Roots and had Hint 1: "The numbers are coded spot heights." and Hint 2: "The numbers are Digital Rooted. Google it!" Associated with each hint will be a number of minutes. Open the hint and you will have the number of minutes added to your penalty, but still with a maximum of 100 minutes. For example, the hints above might have cost you - Hint 1: 20 minutes, Hint 2: 30 minutes. Obtaining a hint and passing on to another competitor: Exclusion!


I know they are cheap and cheerful, but many medal winners seem reluctant to give me their postal address for despatch. I really would like to stop them cluttering my Crow cave.

Notice Board

Please ensure you read the messages on the Notice Board. It seems some competitors in their haste to get on with plotting have been skipping them based on some of queries I've been receiving. Here's a summary of the competitor-wide messages issued since Bulletin 27.

Bulletin 27 (December 24, 2017 @ 10:45)

Schoolfrenz Rally


There are several significant changes coming for the Schoolfrenz Rally. The key one, which will be largely transparent to you, is that all route points will be forced to be Google geocoded points. This has a major influence on how the internals of route plotting and marking works.

This is how it will affect you:

1) When you click to mark a via point, or drag an existing point, the resultant marker will position itself at the nearest (geocoded) invisible point on the map. You may not notice the small jump (always backwards) from where you clicked or finished dragging because there are many geocoded points on a road. The jumps will be greater on country roads where the points are more sparse. The jump should never be more than 0.1 miles. If the point is not where you wanted it
just drag your marker until it drops onto an adjacent point.

2) All controls will be locked to a geocoded point. This means that the directional calculations that were required to establish if you approached and departed correctly will now no longer be required. For PCs as long as you visit the geocoded points before and after (this will automatically happen if you have travelled along the correct road) all will be well.
Beware, this does now give me the opportunity to sight PCs/TCs at junctions (previously not directionally reliable) so I'll be able to detect if, say, at a T junction you have turned right instead of left.
For TC1, I'll only be interested in the first point visited to check a departure direction and for the final TC the last point before, to check approach direction.

3) Off-routers created by clicking/dragging a point should be less because of the above scheme.

Timing Points

You will no longer have to mark Timing Points (TPs) on Regularity Sections because ...

Rally Format

Every route card will now be a Regularity in a similar format to UK National and International regularity events. Your route will start at TC1 and you will follow the navigation to the End of Regularity (EOR). On the way you will pass through undisclosed PCs and undisclosed TCs - timing points where you will be penalised for early/late arrival based upon the under/over distance you have travelled from the last TC.

If you miss a TC (maximum penalty) there will be no "time" due or time penalties at the following TC.

Unlike some continental events the time gain/loss at a TC will not carry forward to the next TC i.e. timing will be stand-alone between consecutive TCs.

The last TC will be well before the EOR so the concept of a flying finish introduced on the Panglossian Rally will be dropped. As long as you travel to around the EOR the final TC you will have no visitation penalties. There will be no scrutiny of your EOR (your last marked point). The EOR is there purely to determine the end of plotting.

Penalties are amended at TCs to max-out at 10 minutes i.e. not visited or wrong direction approach/departure (as defined above from geocoded points visited rather than angles), or incurring time penalties greater than 10 minutes.

Result Feedback

The Result Feedback after you have submitted your route will change. Below is an example from the Schoolfrenz Rally Route Card 0. Note that I followed the intended route and it EXACTLY matches the master route for distance and points on the competitive section. Directions are now merely shown as Y(right) or X(wrong).
I had more points beyond the perfect EOR, but no penalties for that.

Here is an example where I did less well. On the way to TC3 from TC1: I missed PC4 and TC2 (no cumulative distances shown for me). TC3 was visited correctly but no time penalties because of the failure at TC2. I took an unnecessary loop between TC4 and TC5: missed PC9, departed PC11 in the wrong direction (it was at a junction!) and thereby incurred lateness penalties at TC5.


ReDos will now have a finite number of submissions. The number of submissions will be shown on the route card and a running total will be shown on the Route Card Status screen. A ReDo value of 1 is effectively a non-ReDo - you have just one chance to submit your marked solution. When you have used up your ReDo allocation you will no longer be able to edit your route. However post-marking submissions will still be available in case a new master route is uploaded and re-marking is required.

Route Card Availability

Unlike the Panglossian, but like The Nearest FarAway Place Rally, you will not be able to view or print the route card until you have clicked the START button. This will start the clock for timing how long you took to solve and finally submit your solution, not just how long it took to mark on the map. Given the changes above I am expecting more clean sheets so tie-deciding time might be important.

Regulations, Marking a Route and Q&A

These will be updated to reflect the above before the Schoolfrenz Rally.

Bulletin 26 (December 21, 2017 @ 21:00)

Time's almost up!! You won't be able to login or save routes after 10pm.

The results will then become provisional. There will then be a day or so in limbo while I carry out some maintenance and upload route card solutions, master maps and commentary. I'm targeting to have the solutions/maps available from early morning on December 23rd. From that point you will have a few days to register GENUINE queries. I will not be able to comment on individual solutions because of the time it will take. You should already be aware of your penalties, and why, from your submission feedback and from the detailed analysis you can view in the results tables. Check your solution against the master maps. ONLY raise a query if there is something verifiably wrong with your penalties. Send me a Private Message via the Forums for any queries.

My thanks to the many competitors who have been generous with their comments and festive wishes.

As soon as I declare the Panglossian results final, the Schoolfrenz Rally and its practice route card, will be in place ready for the start on Monday, January 1st at 10pm. Keep watching the Home Page or Bulletins for an announcement or Login to view the Notice Board.

There are some significant and positive changes coming for the Schoolfrenz Rally. They've taken many hours to program. I hope you'll like them. Again watch for announcements.

My thanks to you all for the hassle, praise, but ultimately your help towards a worthy cause.


Bulletin 25 (December 8, 2017 @ 16:30)

New Messaging System

I'm about to roll out a new "Notice Board" which will appear when you Login. If there is important information which may affect your plotting or penalties a new message will be displayed. Read the message and click "Read and Login" to complete your Login. The Notice Board will assume you have digested the message contents and it won't appear again.

The Notice Board doesn't replace the Forums and Bulletins but will bring to your attention key aspects of the competition without you having to wade through other sources of information looking for things that might affect you.

The Notice Board also allows me to post individual messages for your eyes only.

Anytime Submissions

The ability to resubmit (not replot and resubmit) your route for marking (see Bulletin 23) satisfies one of additional features requested in Bulletin 21 - "Comment feedback after you've seen your route card results". If you hadn't commented before or wish to add post-marking comments please do so on resubmission.
If you've previously ranked a route card, resist the temptation to reduce your ranking if you didn't do as well as expected. You don't have to enter a rank everytime, the default value of 0 is always discounted. Your ranking helps to identify the type of route cards you prefer for future events.

Route Card 3

Reference Bulletin 24: The "Novice" route card will be available this evening.

Bulletin 24 (December 7, 2017 @ 11:00)


There is a lot of important information being distributed via Bulletins and the Forums. It's clear from the enquiries I'm getting that many of you aren't keeping up-to-date. Some competitors still haven't registered for the Forums! Admittedly there's a lot to take in, but it would reduce my workload if you could check these resources before each session.

When I have the time I will introduce some kind of notice board that will pop up when you login to highlight any crucial information whch may affect your plotting or penalties.

Ordnance Survey "Tiling" Limits

Having cracked the Google Mapping quota problem early on by paying for excess use, the OS Tiling limits may become an issue. The free access to OS maps is capped at 100,000 tiles (which means kilometre squares) during a calendar day. The enormous activity on the TTRC saw this limit reached two nights ago at 23:50 which meant that for 10 minutes your OS maps wouldn't display. Last night just before midnight we hit 98,000. There is an in-built early warning message which will pop-up and warn you to save your work and restart tomorrow. This should only happen very rarely but if you experience it please be patient. Unfortunately OS don't have a modest pay-as-you-go charge for excess use like Google; to go over 100,000 a day requires a commercial licence which is £thousands.

Route Card 3

Sick of the demoralising hassle I'm getting from some about RC3 I will upload a "Novice" version in the next few days. It seems for an early route card some of you couldn't handle the subtleties it contained to deliberately test your interpretation and observation. Apologies for demeaning the two-thirds of competitors that scored well with the "Expert" version.
RC3 will soon show CONTINUE on the Route Card Status screen for those that have non-zero penalties. Study the revised instructions, re-plot/refine your route. You will have ONE opportunity to re-submit.

Bulletin 23 (December 4, 2017 @ 21:00)

Google Re-Mapping (Continued)

I've actually fixed (or rather worked around) this problem now, which lead to two possible situations: 1) erroneous wrong directions at some PCs and 2) "Flying Finishes" not always being handled correctly. Both were caused by the loss of Google geocoding points near controls.

Later tonight, when you've gone to sleep, I'll upload the changes. I've revised the Route Status screen so that you can now Submit your solution for marking at any time. You can do this already for ReDos, but you'll be able to re-submit COMPLETEd route cards too; just Submit - not Plot. If you've been disadvantaged by this problem, re-submit/re-mark and some of your penalties will disappear. For completed route cards, your finish timestamp will stay the same, so there won't be any increase in your elapsed time.

Map Marking

In sorting the above, I grabbed lots of your solutions and re-ran them on my parallel system. I was very impressed (in comparison to early TNFP plots) how good you are now at marking your routes: just enough inter-points, precision around triangles, fewer off-routers and I didn't see one straight-liner. What was a surprse is your favourite tramlines: lots of different styles in use. Fuzzy red and thin black were popular.

Bulletin 22 (December 3, 2017 @ 21:30)


I've disabled registration to the Forums. I'm getting 20+ malicious registrations per day and it's hassle to keep deleting them. If you haven't registered on the Forums yet (only available for bona fide competitors) then you will now have to email me direct to gain access. I will need 1) First Name 2) Surname 3) Preferred password 4) Email address, and I will create your record manually. Use my "ttr@" address.

I've had a few private complaints about using the forum to seek/offer route card solution hints. Please don't use the forums for that purpose during an event. It will obviously be frustrating for those that have already had similar difficultly and moved on. Feel free after an event if my commentary doesn't make everything clear like some did after TNFP Rally (thanks).

Preston Rally

I saw that a handful of TTRC contenders were out on the Preston Rally last night. I was at three IRTC finish controls, but I was a bit too busy to say Hello. I presume you found the navigation (even with laps of fields) less challenging than the TTRC, but the the roughness perhaps not as comfortable as your desktop PC?

Medal Winners

Could the medal winners in the last bulletin forward me a postal address to send them to. There'll be a slight delay in despatching, the supplier seems to have posted them into a vacuum and they are being re-done.

Google Re-Mapping

Every now and again Google go out in their GPS wagons and re-map the roads of the world. It may have happened on a few of the roads that make up some of the Panglossian routes (after they were created), because I've seen some unexpected WDs (Wrong Directions) at PCs. PCs are placed between two geocoded points on straight stretches of road so there isn't usually an issue. Without getting technical, if one of these points is lost and the nearest replacement is round a bend, it could be computed that your approach or departure is not within the marking tolerance, and you will incur a 5-minute penalty. It's rare, but can happen, and may have happened on a couple of the Panglossian route cards. On a Redo slightly moving your nearest point to the PC will cure the problem; on others you won't have the opportunity. However ... if you think you may have suffered such a non-ReDo disadvantage (sorry, no time to check everyone's solutions), email me at my "ttr@" address stating the route card and PC number, and if it's a combination on my list I'll check for you and give you a one-off ReDo opportunity. A tweak on the next event will workaround this problem.

Bulletin 21 (November 28, 2017 @ 12:00)

The Nearest FarAway Place Rally results are final. Not too many queries, thank goodness. Many Congratulations to:

Overall Winner: Keith Irvin
Masters: 1st: Anthony Davies, 2nd: Bart den Hartog, 3rd: Mike Biss
Experts: 1st Keith Irvin, 2nd: Steve Brew, 3rd: Dave Collins
Novices: 1st: Frances Irvin, 2nd: Marcus Duyzend, 3rd: Rob Rhodes

I have sourced some simple medals for the class awards and a copy of The Nearest FarAway Place will be presented to the overall winner.

Many thanks to those that gave me feedback from Round 1. Candidate changes for Round 3 (no time to review and implement for round 2): Virtual "sealed envelopes" revealing hints to solve the difficult route cards albeit with a stiff penalty; Dropping no scores, or maybe just the worst score when compiling results; Comment feedback after you've seen your route card results.

One immediate change most will like is the revised marking for the placement of TC2.  Read the highlighted pieces in the latest version of Regulations. It introduces the idea of a "Flying Finish" at TC2 with a "stopping" tolerance of 0.1 miles.

Already implemented are some visual and operational changes in the Route Card Status screen; speedier tramlining of routes; and, hopefully, the demise of "straight-liners".

On Wednesday evening the focus will change from The Nearest FarAway Place Rally (results) to the Panglossian Rally(competition). The practice route card will be available immediately, and the competition route cards will be available from 10pm on Friday December 1st.

Bulletin 20 (November 22, 2017 @ 17:00)


Bulletin 19 (November 20, 2017 @ 19:00)

Time's almost up!! I've clocked over 3,000 route submissions and that will probably escalate as 10pm London time tomorrow approaches. Thank goodness for automatic marking.

You won't be able to login or save routes after 10pm tomorrow.

The results will then become provisional. There will then be a day in limbo while I carry out some maintenance and upload route card solutions, master maps and commentary. I'm targeting to have the solutions/maps available from 10pm on November 22nd. From that point you will have a few days to register GENUINE queries. I will not be able to comment on individual solutions because of the time it will take. You should already be aware of your penalties, and why, from your submission feedback and from the detailed analysis you can view in the results tables. Check your solution against the master maps. ONLY raise a query if there is something verifiably wrong with your penalties. There will be a new topic in the forum for you to do this. DO NOT mail me directly - the email will be ignored.

As soon as I declare the results final, the Panglossian Rally - well at least its practice route card, will be in place ready for the start on Friday, December 1st at 10pm.

Bulletin 18 (November 13, 2017 @ 17:00)

In the background I am revising (tidying-up) the screens you visit when studying, plotting and sumbitting a route card. Generally prettifying and making activities more accessible, but without changing functionality.

Well, we now have two "clean sheets" in the results and maybe a few more to come. Satisfying that everything was just about do-able for the top guys and gals.

The next two events are ready to go. There will be only two ReDos on the Panglossian Rally and one on the Schoolfrenz Rally now that you've got the measure of what to do, but there will be new practice route cards for each event.

Canada TrophyBest on route card 4 on the Panglossian Rally will win the Canada Trophy, which was kindly donated by Canadian competitor Roger Sanderson. The route card will be a bit of everything and quite long. Not difficult, so quite possibly quickest, cleanest will be having the trophy sent to them.

< It will probably look something like this.

I've added a new competitor profile for Keith Irvin. I was intrigued by this "newbie's" performance in cleaning the first 11 route cards and asked Keith to say a few words about himself (and his mother, Frances). He hails from Pittsburgh, USA so our North American cousins are certainly making an impact.

Bulletin 17 (November 11, 2017 @ 21:00)

We are at the half-way point of The Nearest FarAway Place Rally and the leader board is hotting up. Currently there is one US(!) clean sheet which would mean that the navigation/plotting was set at the perfect(extreme) level. In fact he can only be beaten if one of the non-starters so far races through with zero penalties.
But still so many of the paid competitors haven't started yet, 70 of the 180! You're leaving it a bit late.

I've heard that a regular event winner of the past, and our current world-ranked No.1, Gavin Rodgers, is too sidetracked to take part this season. Great shame.

I've taken your questions, answers and advice from the forums plus your submission comments, and consolidated them into a single Q&A document. A MUST-READ whatever stage you are at in the competition.

Bulletin 16 (November 5, 2017 @ 10:30)

Happy Guy Fawkes day.

Now I know remember why I had a 5-year rest between the TT series - the workload involved is running at about 23/7 at the moment! So far, in 4 days, I've received almost 2,000 emails, the bulk from route submissions. I've read all comments looking for anomalies or where help was needed. It's frustrating when I get the same route submission with the same penalties, seconds apart, from some competitors. Seems to be: tweak this, try again; tweak something else, try again; etc. I purposely made the first 3 route cards Redos so that you could get some "penalty-free" practice, but please, have a more logical approach to resolving problems before re-submitting.

The most common errors are: not detecting off-routers (zoom-in to examine your route closely); using far too many points (one between junctions is all that is required most of the time); not being precise enough for the last (TC2) point. I've directly helped a few competitors when they've got in a mucking fuddle and Redo was possible, but you are on your own and obviously have to be more careful from Route Card 4 onwards.

The forums are getting busy now too and I'm trying to respond to all queries as quickly as possible.

The odd technical problems take some time to publish; it's not the fixing that's always difficult, but making sure there are no side-effects takes time to test. For example, iPad users couldn't set Timing Points - they can now, here's the workaround:
On an iPad (only) there is now an input box to the right of the Timing Point check box. Touch the Major Point where you want a TP; the (major) number of that point will be displayed in the control panel above the map. Enter that number in the new input box. Touch the Timing Point check box. The box will be briefly ticked and the newly-entered point number will be reset to zero. On the map you will now see a green-circle TP at your selected point. If you had an existing TP, it will be removed and converted to a simple point. Not ideal, but then the inherent cursorless design of an iPad isn't ideal for electronic table-topping.

The above will be posted on the forum and added to the Marking a Route document.

Bulletin 15 (November 2, 2017 @ 17:45)

There's a Google Maps service issue at the moment, so Login has been disabled while I investigate.

Should be fixed now at 17:45.

APOLOGIES. Because so many of you were busy plotting, Google triggered a capping to the number of route planning requests. The price of success. The "free limit" per day should have been sufficient, but the abnormal activity caused a shutdown. Now Google are going to charge me mega $ to keep the door open, my problem but YOU can help.

Looking at some of your routes, you are plotting too many unnecessary points. Points = pounds, or dollars in this case. Let AutoPlot do the bulk of route marking for you. Typically you only need one point between each junction to define a route. Not even that when you have a straightish route with no alternatives. THANKS.

Bulletin 14 (November 1, 2017 @ 20:30)

I'm Gobsmacked. Almost time for kick-off and 172 paid entries, £4,500 collected for the MNDA. THANK YOU everyone.

Good Luck.

Spotted that several still haven't got down to zero penalties on Route Card 0. If anyone would like me to tidy their markings before they do the main event, let me know via the comments on your submitted route. As you can expect I'm pretty busy right now but I'll try to help.

Bulletin 13 (October 26, 2017 @ 22:00)

189 entries, £3,500 and growing. £3,500 has been passed on to the MNDA.

5 days before The Nearest FarAway Rally starts. There's a reminder clock on the Login screen.

Nameless Bank Transfer Payees:
£25 from 312**916
£25 from 051**425

So that you can see what the OS District Maps look like (you'll need them later), I've made them available on the practice route card.

A few people have asked about how distance is calculated. So for the technical enquirers:
When you mark a couple of (major) points on the map, the start and end are sent to Google's Directions Service, which sends back a series of geocoded (minor, hidden) points linking the start and end via a driving route. These points are in the centre of narow roads, but left/right in the driving direction of wide/dual carriageway roads.
Each of those points has a latitude and longitude attached to it, which I convert to a an OS grid reference. This coveniently gives me "flat Earth" x/y coordinates to sum the distance between all the points from start to end.
It is possible to ask Google to supply its own computed distance but this service is capped due to licensing restrictions. Not that it makes a lot of difference, less than 0.5% by my measurements.

Bulletin 12 (October 23, 2017 @ 21:40)

178 entries, £3,200 and growing.

Registered users may now Login directly from the Home page.

I've removed the header and footer, and reduced the size of the title sections to give you a bigger map marking area if you only have a small screen.

Bulletin 11 (October 23, 2017 @ 11:45)

178 entries.

I've made a video!

I've been monitoring your attempts at plotting Route Card 0 and thught it would be useful to record my own marking. You can see the results by downloading this video. Play it directly in your browser, Windows Media Player or something similar.

Note that I let AutoPlot do most of the route drawing for me, and then I zoom in at the tricky junctions. The tiny triangle north of Goldhanger is the most difficult, but junctions on the event won't be so awkward. This junction was deliberately included to give you some practice. I do have the advantage that from experimentation I know exactly where to click.

In the video note the micro-adjstment I carry out to get the TP close enough to 10.000 miles.

If you find this useful I'll upload videos of other map-marking operations.

Bulletin 10 (October 22, 2017 @ 10:45)

174 entries.

My ambition was to raise £3,000 for the MNDA. If I include the unallocated payments we have now just exceeded the target. MANY MANY thanks for your generous support.

A few competitors have reported plotting problems, particularly on an Apple Mac, and in zooming in/out, hiding the route and deleting points. As I don't have a Mac to experiment on, I have implemented some new/alternative controls when marking a route. The Marking a Route section has been revised to describe them.
PLEASE READ ... and would all those who had problems come back to me with comments.

Bulletin 9 (October 20, 2017 @ 14:30)

166 entries.

I was saddened to hear today that Nigel Raeburn had died. Anyone who can remember the classic Motoring News Road Rally Championship in the 60's and 70's will know of Nigel's prolific navigational achievements with Will Sparrow.
I think I first met Nigel in 2005 when he was Clerk of the Course of the Tour of Cheshire Historic Rally. He was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
I worked with him when I was Clerk of the Course on Tour Brittania in 2008 and his rally organisational skills were outstanding.
He wrote for me a lovely article about the Cloverleaf Rally in 2007.
My condolences to his family and friends.

Bulletin 8 (October 18, 2017 @ 23:30)

149 entries.

There is a hamlet called Canada in Hampshire (MR 428726 117730). So what? Well, Roger Sanderson (self-tagged: geek, rallyist, geocacher, ham) is a Canadian entrant to our Championship (No.116) and has kindly donated some money for a "Canadian Trophy".
I pondered how to award it as I was designing the route cards for the second event in the series - the Panglossian Rally ... then I found Canada! So, I decided one of the Panglossian route cards would start there. In fact, I will make it Route Card 1 so it will be the first one you'll see at 10pm on December 1st when the event starts. It won't be a difficult route card, but it will be time-consuming. The competitor (but only a Novice or Expert) who finishes it first with zero penalties will have a trophy to display.
Thanks Roger.

Bulletin 7 (October 17, 2017 @ 21:30)

148 entries.

I have three outstanding bank transfers I can't trace: £40 from account number 082**310, £25 from 312**916 and £25 from  352**317. Let me know so that I can tick your paid box and release the money to the MNDA.
I've now transferred a total of £2,000 to the MNDA. THANK YOU.

October 16-23 is National Map Reading Week! How appropriate - not that any of you need lessons.

A reminder email will be sent to entrants soon. Two weeks to the first event.

Bulletin 6 (October 13, 2017 @ 23:00)

143 entries.

I've finally made some progress on updating the World Rankings. I've added the last round of the 2010 series - the Thalamorph Rally, so just the four events from 2012 to include.

Here's a link to the results table for the first event. Obviously nothing to show for that yet, but you can see competitors' penalties for the practice route card. Still some non-zeroes to clear up so you are ready for the Nearest FarAway Place Rally on November 1st. Ask via the Forum if you having difficulties in obtaining a clean sheet.

Bulletin 5 (October 7, 2017 @ 21:00)

127 entries!

A PayPal observation: I set the entry fee as £26.09 because this meant the net payment to me/MNDA was £25 after Paypal fees. It seems this only applies to UK payments. Monies from the Europe are netting £24.87, and from US/Canada only £24.74. Ah well, I'll know next time.

I was very saddened to hear that Alastair Tullie (brother of Iain Tullie) had died this week frrom MS. Alastair had competed on a number of TT events and I fondly remember an incident on the 2005 Ilkley Jubilee Historic Rally which he helped organise.
That year Alastair was competing on TTR events and I was entered for the Jubilee. At signing-on Alastair gave me my event paperwork and I took it back to the car to inspect. Part of the route was pre-plot and I was shocked when I saw my route cards which were a page of random characters, as though the printer had had a blip when printing. I tried to make sense of the hieroglyphics, couldn't, and went back to signing-on. As I arrived the organising team were in hysterics. To get his own back on me for setting mind-boggling navigation on the TTR, Alastair had prepared a very special route card for me! I was well and truly conned and I still smile about the event and often relay the story to rallying colleagues.
My since condolences to Iain and the Tullie family.

Competitors are starting to play with Route Card 0. Several have stopped when they've marked the correct route but were left with a few "seconds" penalty. I have access to your solutions, so please ask (via the TT Forums) if you would like me to advise you how to be penalty free.

Not giving too much away, but here is the kind of navigation you should be practising for the first event:
1) Grid Lines, 2) Spot heights, 3) Pieces(PCs) of Route, 4) Map References, 5) Tulips, 6) Latitude/Longitude, 7) Grid Lines (coded), 8) Coloured Road Junctions, 9) Map References (coded), 10) Spot Heights (coded) 11) Not a lot to plot, but something to calculate pythagoringly, 12) Gradient Arrows (kind of).

I am pleased to welcome back The Basic Roamer Company as a sponsor for the Championship. Things have moved on considerably for Phil Matthews and his company from 5 years ago, and he seems to be able to supply just about any kind of navigational equipment you might want. The star product is a cordless Poti/Map Magnifier called the RoamerLite-C. I don't think one would be much help to you with on-screen plotting, but it's a magic device for those working with paper maps at home or in car.
Phil has kindly donated some money to the TTR funds and I will steer this to awards for event/class winners and the overall Championship.

Bulletin 4 (September 30, 2017 @ 10:30)

Almost 100 entries! I've now transferred £1000 to the MNDA - THANK YOU.
I have three outstanding bank transfers I can't trace. £40 from account number 082**310,  £25 from 098**327, and £40 from 043**655. If it was you, let me know so that I can tick your paid box.

A few registrations to the TT Forums have been rejected because they weren't from obvious entrants to the Championship. Please remember to use the username format FirstName.Surname

Bulletin 3 (September 27, 2017 @ 21:00)

I've just checked a few accounts and I already have £825 to pass across to the MNDA. THANK YOU for your £25's (or more sometimes). I have two bank transfers I can't trace. £40 from account number 082**310 and £30 from 443**477. If it was you, let me know so that I can tick your paid box.

Bulletin 2 (September 27, 2017)

WOW! As I write this there have been 66 entries already and the entry list hasn't been open for two days yet. Thanks for your early support and extra thanks to those that have paid already.

If you have any queries regarding the events, rules, route cards - anything related to the competition - please post on the TT Forums. That way any answer or adjudication I, or other competitors, provide, is for the benefit of all competitors.
I ("Crow") don't have the time to address individual questions. Don't email me.
The General Q&A Forum should be open now. If you are registering please use a username of FirstName.Surname so that I can check you are a bona fide competitor before authorising access. Otherwise the forum will attract random and  irresponsible people who want to promote all kinds of strange and illegal things!

The MNDA will provide token goodie packs to the first three in each class on each event. Any other prizes will have to be funded from my personal or a sponsor's pocket, since all the entry fees are being donated, gross, to the MNDA.
If you have access to any generous individuals or companies that could contribute to an awards list - please put them in touch with me.

Bulletin 1 (September 25, 2017)

This website has route cards and solutions from all previous Table-Top Championship events. If you are keen to study what's happened in the past click Site Map and take your pick of wealth of route cards that are available.