Noel’s second instalment on route planning.


What makes a good route? ---- The dilemma of a route planner

As a route planner I face many conundrums in achieving the main objective of an enjoyable route. What is a heavenly driving experience for one will be hell for another. It is an impossible task to please all participants throughout the whole route. Taking your pride and joy out for a drive (the car I mean you fool not your partner) of your own planning will probably give you at most only 80% total enjoyment. Now multiply that by 80 (our maximum entry) and you can realise what sort of balancing act route planning can be.

How long the total route?

Some of our entrants have driven 50 miles to the start and the same after the classic run. A 150 mile route may be acceptable if you live round the corner but personally with a pre-war car a 250 round trip in a day is very tiring and not in the least bit enjoyable. Over the years taking part and talking to other drivers at events 100 miles with a break in the run is about right for most people.

What type of road? – A, B, Unclassified

Each type of road has its merits but I think that traffic volume is the main consideration as far as route planning is concerned. Traffic queues are alien to classic motoring. A free flowing high level A road with sweeping curves is a joy in a Healey or TR but care has to be exercised with some unclassified roads but I don’t use OS ‘whites’. Most of our regulars will know of my preference for unclassified yellows (OS colouring) but recce runs on some of these have resulted in drastic route changes when it comes to the final route. Try driving a Trike down a 3 ply (grass down the centre of the road). Remember a lack of housing usually means that roads are dug up less and who needs traffic calming measures if you drive a classic. The final word is that we all know the state of UK roads

What do you expect from the lunch halt?

This is the one area of planning which causes the most heart searching by Tony and myself. Frequently in the past we have thought that the chosen location had something to commend it to most people only to hear noises of dissatisfaction. The first classic we organised did not have a specific site merely an area in the roadbook where various watering holes were suggested, the afternoon section beginning with a manned control. Car parking charges are something we have to consider and we have no control over the weather.

Does the Roadbook provide adequate and sufficient information for the safe navigation of the designated route?

Having used a number of different methods on other events and trialled some alternatives resurrected from rallying days I have come to the conclusion that the ‘Tulip’ is the clearest. I like to think that it gives participants sufficient information to follow the route in a safe manner. Significant ‘! CARE’ required are always identified during our route recce and clearly marked in the roadbook. Under no circumstances am I going to prescribe behaviour at these, you as driver are totally responsible for your actions during the event. One recent comment suggested all ‘Give Way’ signs were marked in the roadbook.  I was always told in my rallying days to regard these as ‘stand & give way’ and one occasion as a club steward I had to observe these during an event and report offenders who subsequently received a ‘Fail’.

Please remember these notes when you are on the run. If you are not the only one who feels that a particular part was not acceptable I will take this on board next year. Equally it’s nice to know which aspects of the route were good. You can always Email me through the web site.

Noel Sabin