What are controls for?
Competitors must navigate to the centre of the control circle. They punch the control as proof of visit.
Finding the control is not the object of the sport, visiting the centre of the circle is, so having difficult to find punches leads to frustrated and unhappy competitors.
Finding a small box on a 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 scale map is an impressive achievement, it requires good planing and thought by the course planner. Yes, the planner should take the credit.
Remember that your control description must lead the competitor to the exact spot the control is located from the centre of the circle. In the event that the control is stolen or put out in the wrong location, the competitor must be in a position to decide it is missing and not merely "difficult to find".
You need to be careful in locating controls so that any mapping errors ( there will be ) are mitigated by your control location choice. The competitors should not be affected by any map errors when locating controls.
Competitors have found the Control Box
Remember the object of the sport is to visit the centre of the control circle, punching the control box is proof of visit.
The fact that other competitors find a control box does not mean it is positioned at the map location and control description point. Controls have been found by competitors 1km away from the correct location. A control located 50m away from the correct spot is still in the wrong location and therefore competitors should be awarded the points if they visited the control.
The control description sheet should have:
a. The control number (To correlate the map and box on control card)
b. The control map feature. e.g. Track/path junction, wood corner
c. The object the control is attached to.
d. The location of the control from the map feature. Give the bearing and distance from the map feature e.g.. Fence/Stream Crossing - 5m SW. Use a compass bearing, do not use left, right, up slope, down hill or along.
e. The control site value.
So typical control descriptions would read:
1, Track Bend, telegraph pole, 10m SW
2, Track/Stream Crossing, fallen tree 2m W
3, Edge of wood, Fence post 5m N of Gate
Somebody says "the control was missing" but other people found it!
The BMBO appeals process will go through these questions:
1, The competitor must report the missing control as soon as they finish/download.
2. From the competitors sequence of controls, is it likely they visited the contested control.
Answer NO to either 1 or 2 - the competitor is not awarded the control.
Answer YES - go through points A to C below:
A. Was the control box at the marked location on the map?
B. Was the control box at the control description point?
C. Where the mapped features at the control circle correct on the ground?
Answer No to any of points A, B or C - The Competitor IS awarded the control.
Answer Yes to all points A, B and C - The competitors in NOT awarded the control.
Control descriptions make or break the quality of an event. Your course may be excellent, the terrain fantastic, the event centre of the highest quality, yours maps laser printed to original quality, it may even be sunny.
All this will count for nothing if the competitors are frustrated by having to "hunt the punch" because they have not been given the information they need.
Accurate and unambiguous control descriptions are surprisingly difficult to produce. The competitor must be able to ride to the location designated by the center of the control circle, then find the control by reading your description.
Remember that your control description must lead the competitor to the exact spot the control is located. In the event that the control is stolen or put out in the wrong location, the competitor must be in a position to decide it is missing and not merely "difficult to find".
Highly visible controls are an added bonus. However marker tape may be removed, leaving the control difficult to locate if the description is ambiguous.
For example, a control is located at the end of a track in a forest, the description is
"Track end, 2m north, tree"
This description has identified the map feature, given the distance, direction to the control and identified what the control is attached to.
The following gives an example of what appears to be a reasonable description: "Track end, tree"
The organiser may feel this is adequate since once at the end of the track, he intends the control to be visible when it is put out.
Consider the result if the control is put out by somebody else and is not visible, or is stolen or put at the wrong track end by mistake.
The competitor will get to the track end by reading the map but be virtually surrounded by trees and would have no idea how far into the forest the control is. The control is located on a tree. The ambiguous control description has turned a good control location into a lottery due to a poor control description.