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Derby Made Easy!

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Chapter 8. Running the Races

Double Elimination - A Primer
There are many different ways to compute the winner of the racing portion of the derby. I firmly believe that double elimination is the best compromise between fairness and time while closely matching “real life” tournaments. The key to successful double elimination tournaments is keeping careful track of each heat. We have provided some forms that will make this task much easier.

Double elimination can determine first and second place ONLY! If you are using a third place, you cannot actually determine who came in third unless you run a triple elimination race. Sometimes, people use the losing car in one of the tiers as the third place winner. I think that 1st and 2nd is plenty since you will enter all the remaining cars in the other competitions.

Perhaps the most important part of tracking double elimination is to RECORD THE RESULTS AFTER EVERY RACE! During the excitement, it is sometimes possible to make an error, so always have two people filling out the forms.

Randomizing the entrants is accomplished by entering the names onto the sheet as the scouts move through the check in line. We use a different A Bracket form for each age group and enter the Cub’s name and number as they show up. This is a simple way to insure that there is a fairness to the initial lineup since no one in the judging staff can control the order. (The only exception might be to make sure that brothers are not racing against each other in the first heat.)

I suggest that you consider a “race” to be the best of two heats. Run the two cars and then switch lanes and repeat the process. If you get different results, run a third race with the lane assignment based on a coin toss. Record the winner of the race as the car that won two heats.

Fairness Issues
Fairness is an issue that always comes up in the race. Someone will decide that there is a “fast” side to the track; that a particular car has some advantage; that the starter did not put a certain car on the right way... and so on. In all my experience, I have never run up against a verifiable problem with any of these issues. the cars have so many variables that it is amazing that there is any consistency at all. I remember one race I helped with was outside and a strong gust of wind would occasionally blow a car off the track! If you prepare the crowd that the Judge has the final say and stick to it you will have no problems. I I strongly recommend that you use the two heat race as most “complaints” seem to start with the fast-lane/slow-lane concern.

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