Should I Run POR As My First Rally?

Is Press On Regardless® okay to run as my first TSD Rally?

Maybe. Do you have a spirit of adventure? Are you okay with some level of confusion and frustration? POR is intended to be the most challenging TSD rally of the year for the Detroit Region. It is typically run by experienced time-speed-distance (TSD) rallyists who already have a set of fundamental skills and experiences for competing in such events. As TSD rallies go, POR is more demanding than typical SCCA tour rallies (rallies that are straightforward TSD competitions without ‘tricky’ instructions intended to fool you into going off course). The pace is brisk, and it is not uncommon to encounter relatively complex intersections deep in the woods that require careful reading of the route instructions. Much of the rally runs after dark, with the pace picking up, introducing still more challenges to the task of staying on course and staying on time.

That said, in past PORs there have been a number of occasions when first timer rallyists launched their TSD rallying experience with this demanding event. You can too. But it will pay to be realistic. Unless you are quite exceptional you should expect that you will likely struggle some, that you will be confused some of the time, that you won’t be particularly competitive, and that you may occasionally wander off course and have to find your way back on. If you’re okay with that, then sure – come run POR!

Okay, I’m interested. Do I need a specially prepared car to run POR?

Nope. While POR does run on mostly unpaved county back roads and forest roads, the rally is not a stage rally where you’re trying to traverse these difficult roads at maximum speed. The rallymaster works hard to ensure that all roads used can be traversed at rally speeds in the average family vehicle without damage. Occasionally you will travel over sections that are unusually rough, stony and/or soft. The route instructions clearly call out those problem spots, and provide timing adjustments that enable you to slow down while driving over such sections and still remain safely on time.

It is strongly advised that vehicles with low ground clearance not be used.

Since a significant portion of the rally runs after dark enhanced lighting is a definite plus. Even just upgrading your stock headlights to some type of performance lighting will be helpful; adding a set of good driving lights is better still.

All right, I’m warming up to this. But just what IS a TSD rally anyway?

First and foremost, a TSD rally is not a race, is not a speed contest. It is instead a competition that requires precision skilled driving and driver/navigator teamwork to traverse the rally course at the provided legal speeds. At the start of the event each driver/navigator team is provided with a set of route instructions that describe how to follow the course. Included in these instructions are speeds to use while following the course. At unknown (to the competitors) locations along the route competitors are timed at their arrival at predetermined timing controls, or checkpoints. The objective, given the speeds to use by the instructions, is to arrive exactly on time at each checkpoint. For each unit of time (some rallies are timed in hundredths of a minute (0.6 sec), while others are timed in seconds) the competitor is late or early arriving at the checkpoint the team is given one penalty point. Perfect on time arrival at a checkpoint yields a zero score for that leg; 1 second (or hundredth of a minute) early or late arriving yields 1 penalty point. Like golf, low score wins. Note that arriving early is penalized just as much as arriving late; again, it’s not a speed contest.

Need more info to determine whether or not you want to run in a TSD rally, and what’s involved in doing so? There’s more about TSD and POR on the Running POR page, and you can check out Scott Harvey Jr’s excellent Beginner’s Guide To TSD Rally.

I’m fired up! I want to run POR! What do I do next?

Register to run! Head over to and search for ‘Press On Regardless’. Click the link for the rally and follow the instructions to sign up.

Then click here to bring up the page on running POR. You’ll find more useful information about how to prepare yourself and the car for the event, and how to actually run the event.

Come join us in running the historic and legendary Press On Regardless® rally, and good luck!