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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Pacenotes (Our Magazine)

Pacenotes within Whickham and District Motor Club refers to our monthly magazine which details all of the latest news and gossip within the local, national and international motorsport world.

Pacenotes 18

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Pacenotes 1 to 12


Pacenotes (In Rally)

In rallying, pacenotes are a commonly used method of accurately describing the route to be driven in extreme detail. As well as dictating the general route to be taken, in terms of turnings, junctions, etc, all notable features of the route which might affect the way it is driven at speed are included. This includes the distance between each feature, the degree and severity of bends, adverse camber, crests and jumps, surface type and conditions, potholes, special instructions to the driver, etc.

In order that the sheer quantity of detail is useful to the driver, pacenotes are written in a tight shorthand which is read out loud by the navigator to the driver en route. There is no one standard for pacenotes, but in practice a number of typical standards are usually used.

The following explanations apply to a typical set of notes: (distances in metres):

MC1 100 KL2 100 KR2 200 SQL 100 KR4 50J!->R2+ (D/C!) 100 +SQR 400 F->CR->KL4 100 MC2


From Main Control 1 (start), 100 metres straight to a kink left, severity 2
100 metres, kink right severity 2
200 m, square left (90°)
100 m, kink right severity 4
50 m, Jump (caution!) into immediate right hand bend severity 2 tightens (caution, don't cut [the corner, due to hazard on the inside]!)
100 m, oversquare right
400 m, flat (maximum speed) into crest into kink left severity 4
100 m to Main Control 2 (finish)

This system uses numbers to describe the severity of bends, using a 5-point scale, with 1 being the gentlest of bends, with 5 being almost 90 degrees. The term "square" is used to indicate a genuinely 90 degree bend, and "oversquare" or "square plus" for even sharper. "Hairpin" is used for 180 degree bends or similar. Crews will generally have an understanding so the speed a bend can be safely negotiated is understood. A rally driver implicitly trusts his co-driver, and will fully commit to the information he's told.

When pacenotes are read, the co-driver won't translate exactly as above but will use abbreviations, such as 'K' for bend or kink. Distances are just given, the units are understood. The above notes might be read as:

100 K left 2, 100 K right 2, 200 square left, 100 K right 4, 50 caution Jump into right 2 tightens, don't cut, 100 oversquare right, 400 flat to crest into K left 4, 100 finish.

The co-driver reads the notes at a pace that the driver can have enough to go on, but not so far ahead that he will have forgotten it by the time he gets there. The pacing comes with practice and teamwork. The co-driver needs to get inside the driver's head, and may re-read notes that he thinks might have been forgotten, or for emphasis. Sometimes the driver might even ask for some notes again. The co-driver must also match up the notes to the route being driven - it's easy to lose your place, and the wrong notes are worse than no notes.

However, at Whickham and Distric Motor Club, our 'Pacenotes' aren't like this at all. They are our Club magazine, and we hope you enjoy reading them.

Ollie Currie

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