A tiptoe through the tulips.

A guide to rally navigation using tulip diagrams.

If you want to have a go at rallying but don’t know where to start then there are many options. Rallying comes in many forms from simple navigational tours where the emphasis is on the social side of the event to full on historic stage rallying as seen on the Roger Albert Clark Rally.

We recently took part in the Mintex Rally recreation which is a non competitive event with rally stages. This is a relatively low impact event and within the reach of most classic car enthusiasts, though I would recommend some rally preparation such as sump guards, trip meters, competition seats and a roll cage.

A good entry into the sport is as a rally navigator. Good navigators are always in demand and your financial contribution is often limited to sharing the event costs without the costs of the car and any damage it may incur. Another good piece of advice is to join an appropriate club. I would recommend a local car club that organises the kind of events you are interested in, plus a specialist club that organises suitable events.

At the local club you should get lots of help and opportunities to get involved before making a big financial commitment. The specialist club will give you access to major events and often, training days where you can hone your skills.

This article concentrates on our experience of the rally tour where tulips are the most popular form of navigation. To learn more about rally navigation go to the Historic Rally Register where their excellent website provides a lot more detail. They also produce guides in PDF form and contact information is available at the end of this article.

We were issued with the Rally Route book at sign on along with a number of alterations that had to be transferred to the book. There will also be some notes perhaps relating to speed limits that may need highlighting. Tulips are so called because they look like Tulips in a simple graphic form.

To start with we will look at the route from Harrogate Rugby Club to the first stage at Dunscombe Park. It helps if you have a specialist trip meter so that you can measure mileage but if not you will be able to use the one in the car. However you will need to position seat so that you can see it without obstruction from the driver.

If we take the first instruction then your car is the round dot at the bottom of the graphic. The line is the direction of travel and the arrow is the next turn you have to take. In this case you travel along the road for 0.1 miles and turn left. On the right some additional information is included, in this case you are turning onto the A658. The note, 4 runs is to remind us that we complete the stage 4 times before exiting to the road.

From that turn you drive 1.5 miles and go through the roundabout taking the second exit. After each turn you move to the next graphic starting at the dot. It is worth saying that these directions are generally intended to get you to the next stage. They are not competitive and usually not tricky as the emphasis on you enjoying the event, not spending the day getting lost.

On the second page the diagrams look a little more complicated but the same principle applies. After travelling 0.3 miles you come to a major roundabout above a dual carriageway or motorway and take the first left.

As you complete each instruction put a large tick through it so that you don’t miss an instruction. If you follow the route twice add another line to make a cross. If you have time you can take the mileage of the car and add the distance travelled to give you the cars mileage when you need to turn.

As a back up I would also include the postcode of any destinations such as hotels, stages in country houses etc. This way, if you get hopeless lost or behind time, you can head straight for the next stage using your phone and then pick up the route again on exit.

I appreciate that this is a brief canter through the Tulip system but I hope it is enough to give you enogh confidence to consider a rally tour as a way to enhance your classic car enjoyment.




One thought on “A tiptoe through the tulips.

  1. The location of specific locations is a great idea for those lost using the navigation. The use of Postcodes is not entirely appropriate as in rural locations a postcode may cover several square miles. an OS map reference or w3w would be far more precise


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