In case you are unfamiliar with the 80% rule, this rule mandates a rider who is 80% of a lap behind the leader (in other words, there is less than 20% of the course between the slower rider and the leader who is coming up behind them), then the slower rider is pulled out of the race before the leader gets around to lapping them. The idea is to prevent a slow rider from impeading the leaders as they come up behind the slower rider(s). We understand the need for the rule in UCI racing and fully agree with its implementation in UCI professional events. To be fair, we can also see the use of the 80% rule when fields are large and handscoring by the officials is the only option available with out the aid of camera or chip timing. In those instances, officials may need the assistance of the rule to lessen the chaos that ensues as lapped riders start mixing in with lleaders. But we disagree with using it for USACycling amateur events when fields are small or when advanced scoring systems such as camera timing and chip timing are available.
A word about advanced electronic scoring systems. We hire One2Go Sports and Jon Gallgher's outstanding camera timing crew specifically to alleviate our officiating crew's challenging task of hand scoring our enormous race fields with multiple waves and multiple categories. One2Go has been coming to Jingle Cross for 10 years. They have a fantastic well proven method of camera timing which eliminates the need for hand scoring. It is so accurate that its also eliminates the need for 80% rule because laps are also counted by this system. Therefore, we know where all riders are no matter how many laps they have done and no matter how big the fields are.
We believe the officials at the Jingle Cross have always been the finest in the country. But they are human and our amateur race fields are huge and there are multiple waves of large fields all racing at once. Even the best official can't be expected to score these huge events by hand. Introducing the 80% rule creates further chaos as the riders are oulled at a location away from where the cameras are kept and the order gets confusing.
The 80% rule has been inadvertantly implemented on 2 occasions in the 14 year history of the Jingle Cross. Only 2 races were involved but multiple categories racing at the same time were affected. As race director, I will take full responsibility for these problems as I obvioulsy did not communicate our position to all officials well enough.
All clouds have a silver lining and good things grow from lessons learned. A thorough and well received lengthy review by USACycling paved the way for a full evaluation of the rule. CX Magazine has published an excellent discussion on the matter and USACycling formally issues a well written set of recommendations. We want to highlight three important points of the 80% rule guidelines: 1) the rule is an option in USACycling events and is not mandated by USACycling. 2) the use of the 80% rule is intended for professional racing and not intended for amateur events, and 3) The decision to use the 80% rule must be clearly communicated between organizers and officials.
We applaud Chuck Hodge and USACycling for taking the lead and addressing the very controversial 80% rule. We are very pleased to see USACycling create a more useful set of guidelines. We think the new guidelines will help officials and organizers implement the 80% rule in the context and manner intended whenever organizers and officials mutually agree its use is needed. However, we also want to re-assure our Jingle Cross guests that we have never intended to have the 80% rule at Jingle Cross and have absolutely no intention to use the 80% rule at the 2017 Jingle Cross or in the foreseeable future. We are fortunate to always get the most amazing officials at the Jingle Cross and we appreciate their incredible devotion, skill, and the time they spend working our events. We also realize it is unreasonable to ask these fine people to hand score a race with so many waves and huge fields. Likewise, we see no value to the 80% rule when camera timing is available. To be clear,theTelenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup and other UCI C1 and C2 races will follow the UCI mandated 80% rules when applicable, but there will be no 80% rule for any USAcycling amateur event at the 2017 Jingle Cross. Jingle Cross will useOne2Go Sports to score all 2017 Jingle Cross amateur events with camera timing. This will also eliminate any perceived need for the 80% rule in our amateur fields and also free our officials to attend to more important tasks.