I’ve seen race rules that are 3 pages long and set in small type. They cover wheel location, building materials, lubrication, sportsmanship, and even list allowable construction methods.
This is madness.
All this complexity is going to lead to mistakes, arguments, and more problems than you would believe.
When creating complicated rule sets, people tend to create many rules are subjective or are difficult to enforce. How do the race inspectors examining wheels ensure that they weren’t lathed? Are they weighing each wheel? Visually, lathed wheels can appear to be completely stock. Some races have prohibitions on cars from previous years or on pre-cut cars. The intent is to keep kids from using last year’s car. I agree with the intentions — building the car is part of the fun. But who can tell for certain which cars are pre-cut or a re-paint of their older brother’s car? Rules like this should be presented as guidelines that should be followed instead of rules that should be enforced.
The problem with trying to create a rule to cover every possible situation is that you can’t possibly think of every possible situation. Even baseball, which has hundreds of individual rules — including ones to cover things like animals getting onto a field or a ball getting stuck in your sock — understands that the rules can’t cover everything (they made a rule to cover that problem). The more complicated you make your rules, the more impossible they will be to enforce. You’ll introduce conflicts, ambiguities, and loopholes — just look at the US tax code.
Simplify your rules. It will make your race more enjoyable by far.
This is the second in a series of articles aimed at race officials. In the series you’ll learn why complicated rules hurt the kids and the integrity of the race.