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Race Timer History

What follows is a brief history of the Race Timer system.

The concept of using computers for scoring motorcycle events was first brought to my attention at a meeting of the local motorcycle club - The Tidewater Dirt Riders - (, when we were looking for volunteers for the checkpoint at an upcoming event.  I thought - hey, here's a perfect application for a computer, so decided to take on the challenge.

That was the beginning of a TON of time spent since then, in the wee hours of the morning, adding features, removing bugs, and trying to make the system the best possible system for scoring motorcycle events.

Version 1 was a very basic scoring system. In version one, a user brought a laptop computer to trackside and manually entered rider numbers as they approached the checkpoint. It worked fine, but relied on accuracy at the checkpoint, and the system was limited by the speed a person could type as rider numbers were called out.  I felt accuracy could be increased by eliminating the manual data entry, so decided to pursue scoring by using barcodes on rider helmets.

Version 2 incorporated the use of a scanner and barcodes for capturing the rider data. This dramatically reduced the errors otherwise present when manually entering data...... especially as the number of riders continued to increase, making it more and more difficult for a single person to record rider numbers.

Version 3 first introduced the addition of a remote display, and "real-time" scoring. The system now provided riders with a display of their number, their class, what position they were in, and how far behind they were, to the closest rider in their class.

Version 4 added the ability to score Enduro events with the same software. Now, promoters hosting both hare scramble and enduro events could do all the scoring from a single piece of software. 

Version 5 incorporated the use of networking - providing promoters with the ability to maintain multiple scoring stations, with all data directed to a master database for the scoring. This marked a significant improvement, essentially eliminating the problem of a single scoring system not being able to handle an ever increasing number of riders.

Version 6 incorporated use of transponders. This significant enhancement radically changed the face of scoring an event. No longer was it necessary for riders to come to a stop as they passed the checkpoint. In addition, the use of transponders freed up the promoter from being tied to the checkpoint. A promoter can now start a race, walk away, and 2 hours later have all data recorded without having to be present for the entire period.

Version 7 first introduced several key elements of series management - including a full database of contestant information, the ability to email everyone in the database, and the ability to compute the entire series standings. This represents a pretty comprehensive change to the system - further setting the standard as the best scoring system you'll find.

Version 8 introduce some more uses for the database, primarily in being able to print labels directly from the database. This version didn't see much use though - since it also introduced "unicode". 

Some background ..... When computers were first being built, founded primarily on the microsoft implementation of the alphabet, there was no support for the unique alphabets of the arabic, russian, and oriental languages.  With a growing need for an international character set, Microsoft implemented "unicode".  The problem is that operating systems prior to NT weren't able to support Unicode, so with version 8, I was no longer able to support promoters using 95, 98, or ME.  I WAS able though, to create a system specifically modified for the older operating systems, but it was never distributed. At this point I was maintaining software support for 2 operating systems - the older / legacy systems, and the newer operating sytsems.  This became cumbersome, so I've since abandoned all support for 95, 98, and ME.  From this point onward, I'm only supporting NT, XP, 2000, and newer operating systems.  The reason for not supporting the older operating systems is their inability to support Unicode inherent in version 8.

In Version 9, I added the ability to not only calculate the results for specific races, but to also track overall series standings.

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