What are the most common scoring errors?
Scoring errors, their detection and correction, are a critical part of producing good results. Interestingly, when you ask most racers what they think the common errors are, they generally respond with scenarios that create penalties for racers, not understanding that the real issue is making sure that the data is correct is where the difficulty is.
Here's a non-scientific ranking of the top scoring error scenarios:
- Bad handwriting. It's common to have 1 and 7, or 4 and 9, confused. Other combinations, or just writing that was done very quickly under a rush of vehicles, also contributes to this problem.
- Missing times. The racer was at the control, stopped, was possibly timed... but nothing was written on the time card. Why, who knows? Hopefully the time is written on the log sheet. Sometimes it's the reverse, it's missing from the log, but it is on the card. Sometimes the time isn't written down in either case for some other reason, even though the racer was at the time control.
- Scribbled out numbers. Numbers that were corrected by the volunteer writing them can also be confusing, as it's often done quickly, and determining what exactly is intended is not always obvious.
- Transcription. Simple swapping of a 23 into 32. Sometimes only present in one of the documents, sometimes passed on to both.
- Wrong hour. This can be either the case of a 12 hour versus 24 hour time mismatch, or sometimes the sometimes the person just doesn't change the hour when crossing the 00 minute.
- Wrong car race number. Sometimes a car will be displaying a number on the vehicle that doesn't match up with what it is supposed to be racing under. Sometimes the number is inherently confusing, such as if you have a car with 07 on the side, and it gets recorded as 7.
- Incorrect vehicle sequence. When multiple vehicles arrive at the finish nearly simultaneously, especially motorcycles who can easily stop next to each other, it's possible to assign their times in the wrong order.
- Untimed finish. Most common for the first race vehicle, or the second or third vehicle in a group, the clock may not be triggered when the racer goes by. The volunteers might guess at the time (by triggering the clock and then subtracting a few seconds) or leave the time blank.
- Extra digits. Most commonly, the recording of seconds by volunteers at the arrival control, when only 'to the minute' accuracy is required.
- Non-continuous time reference. In this case one clock is used to time some portion of the field. For whatever reason, it fails partway through, and a second clock is used to time the remainder of the field.
- Missing digits. Most commonly, the hour will be dropped entirely. More mysteriously, sometimes a single digit will be missing from the minutes or seconds.
- Verbal miscommunication. If times are being transmitted over a radio, a "thirteen" can sound very much like a "fourteen", especially when a loud rally car is sitting right next to you.
- Incorrect human math. A few rallies use scoring software where the stage times are calculated by humans, and then entered into the software as complete stage times, which are then totaled by the software. These human calculations are sometimes done incorrectly.
- Missing race car number. Sometimes a time card will come in that has only times, and no number written on it.
- Total clock failure. The end result is the same as "Missing times" but the root cause is different, and the number of racers effected is generally larger.