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Derby Double Elimination

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For double elimination do you set up your bracket where the winner of the losers bracket could possibly win overall?

Last year we had it set up where the winner of the winners bracket won, since that car had no loses. Then everyone left with 1 lose raced for 2nd and 3rd.

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There are several ways to do this.


One is to run the whole race in which cars must have lost twice in order to be eliminated--all the way to the finals. Any car that loses once is in the "losers bracket" (or "challengers bracket" to be more polite). To do this perfectly, you would need to use only a 2 lane track, which is extremely time consuming, and even then only definatively ranks the 1st and 2nd car.


Alternately, this process can be followed with more lanes, but once the final 4 (or 3) are detmined, then have a race off with those, alternating lanes until one car is clearly the winner. This system is good, as it does not require timely brackets, computer enteries and such. (Very important in a district level race with 80-120 cars!). It is good to record the final rounds on an overhead or bulletin board, to clearly determine which car is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.


We do not use double-elinination at the Pack level, as we are "small" enough (5-15 cars in a race) to run multiple computer races and finish with a finals. In larger races, I feel that d-e is the most effective method.



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Having run aces with Double Elimination and with multiple lane computer judging., I would say go with the latter if you can. I was our Pack Derby Coordinator for 4 years.


Look at it this way. 1/4 of your kids will race just twice and lose both times. For many this can be devastating. Sadly I have seen boys quit scouting because of this. A boy spends hours to make a car which they are so proud of only to "fail" in a matter of seconds.


With the ability to run 4, 8 or more times, the likely hood of losing every race a much smaller. My 3rd son for example this year in his first Derby lost 6 of 8 but was able to get a 3rd and 2nd in two of the heats. Tho he didn't come home w/ a trophy he did feel successful and is excited for next year and has ideas on how to improve his car.


I know not all packs have multiple lane tracks, but even with a 2 lane track there are other possiblities. Group the racers in 4 or five and run a round robin format to start. This way each scout will race at least 3 or 4 times and has a better chance for some success. After that then DE would work fine.


I'm not advocating "babying" the boys but instead affording them the opportunity to succeed in some form or another.

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We had a very large pack, 100+ boys. When I became CC, I looked at the Perfect-N method which use software to generate race heats that correct for match-ups and lane variations. I figured that if we could run one heat every 2 minutes it would take us something like 16 hours to run the race. Search Perfect-N and you'll find the sites with the details.


What did instead was, for each rank, we line the cars up based on the order in which they register. The first four car become the first heat, the next four the second heat and so on. Each heat runs four trips down the track, rotating so that every car runs in every lane. Points are awarded for finish (4 points first, 1 point for fouth) and the top two cars advance. The third and fourth place cars are "retired." This way everyone gets to see their car race at least four times. For the second round the cars are lined up again and the heats move forward. I think the top four cars from every rank advance to the Pack finals.


In theory, the three fastest cars could check in and race together in the first round. If so, the theoretical third place car would be eliminated in the first round. Unfortunately, that's somewhat the luck of the draw.


To somewhat lessen the agony of defeat, we had an old wooden track set up in a corner. Boy Scouts staffed it and the "retired" cars were free to run on it as long as they wanted. Mostly it was just open play, but occasionally the Boy Scouts would organize heats. All just for fun.

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We also use the Perfect-N-Type computer generated schedule for our pack, but we only run one age at a time (never 100 at once). With a 4 lane track, we can run 2 dens totalling 15 boys in about 20 minutes, each boy runs in each lane once. Given 1 hour for each group, we can then run a second round (with every boy running 4X). We will advance the best 4 to the finals. Every boy gets to run their car 8x, and the best get an additional 4 runs. In smaller age brackets, we can sometimes get in 4 rounds before the finals, so every car gets to run 16/20 times. We have no problems with this at all.


As much as I like this method, it does not apply to all racing situations. Our district has run the races of 80-120 cars double-elimination (without paper/computer tracking) and runs this sized race in 50-60 minutes. Much depends upon the number of lanes being used. This example was on a 3 lane track. Using 4 lanes would slow the process down considerably, but the youth would be able to race more. It's all a matter of trade offs. At the district level, the cars have already won on the pack level so even if they only get 2 runs it is not so devistating.

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Our track has 6 lanes, and we run one age group at a time. We stagger participants for each race so that each scout runs once on each lane. The computer averages the times for each age group, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are determined by average time. It goes quickly and the kids like that they get to run 6 times.

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Our setup:


6 lane track

Perfect-N rotation among all boys in the Pack

53 boys racing this year

Started racing at 9:40. Done with first round, finals and awards by 11:45.


We used to do lane rotation on a per den level, but the big downside is as follows:


If you have 6 tigers in a den and you have a six lane track, then a boy will race against the same boys 5 times in a row and pretty much know exactly where he's going to finish after the 1st or 2nd race. In addition, once a den is done, the boys can really lose interest fast unless you have a good MC or other things to keep the boys engaged.


Benefits of perfect-N over the whole pack:

- no boy races the same group of boys over and over...always a chance for a "slow" car to win a heat if he's up against other slower cars

- chances for brothers to race against brothers, which isn't typically possible when racing is confined to dens

- lots more uncertainty about who are the top finishers in each den. The software makes it very easy to race among the whole pack, yet display results by den (Grand Prix Race Manager).

- boys do not finish racing early, typically, since their races can be spread throughout the event.


This year a Tiger won the whole thing and watching his car beat the older boys in the first round really brought out alot of cheering among his den. If he had beaten his den over and over in the first round, this may not have been the case.


My $.02.



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We have a 4 lane track w/ auto timers and it hooks into a laptop propram that shows a bracket from fastest to slowest times for the day.


Each scout runs a minimum of 4 races, one on each lane. This accounts for any lane bias in the track.


Then the 4 fastest cars from each Den (7 dens) run again - (4 races once in each lane), to determine 1st, 2nd, 3rd per Den.


Then the winner of each den moves on to the 'super heats' that pars them down to the 4 fastest cars in the pack.


The 4 fastest in the pack run another 4 races to determine overall pack speed champ.


Its easy to track b/c of our software and running each car in each lane takes out any lane bais or track anomalies.


To me brackets are hard b/c if you loose the 1st race and then loose your second (even if your heats were full of fast cars), your racing day is over. Plus, you need to try and account for lane bias in your track - every track has it and evertime we put ours together, it seems the bias changes from one lane to another.


Just my thoughts on it.

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When I first started in the pack, they had a system where they put 4 or 5 stickers on the bottom of each car and took one sticker off if the car came in last place. Trouble with that was that the stickers had a tendency to fall off. So, I suggested we switch to one sticker with their name on it and make a mark on the sticker for each loss. That was better, but we still had a problem with judging. Sometimes cars would cross the finish line too close to judge.


A couple cars were so close that they had to race them over and over and some of the parents were being critical of the poor judges. So, when I was Cubmaster I finally talked the committee into buying an electronic lane judge. There are some technical issues with hooking up the hardware and using the computer software, but it is well worth it. The races don't take as long, each boy races in each lane exactly twice. Times are computer to the nearest 1000th of a second, eliminating all but a few ties. And even if there is a tie, you don't re-race, because the results are not based one elimination but on average time over all 8 runs.


I am very pleased with our decision to use the electronic lane judge, and if the thing should break (hasn't happened yet, we always test our setup in advance), we can fall back on the old system.

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We did it the old-fashioned way with double-elimination brackets printed on a poster board, two lanes on a wooden track, and Boy Scouts to judge the finish. But the pack only had about 30 cubs. We ran by rank (Tigers, Wolves, etc.). We had it well-timed so that each group arrived just as the previous group was finishing. If there was time at the end of one of the groups we let the boys just have at it on the track. The only ones who had to return were those who wanted to compete in the 'overall fastest' race at the end of the day. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, had a blast. I really miss the cub scouts.

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We used a 3 lane track, each car per category (tiger, wolf, bear, webelos, siblings and adults) were laid out in order of entry, each car ran three times, once in each lane, results recorded (1 for first, 2 for second and 3 for third). The top three cars with the lowest scores were 1, 2 and 3 respectively. all of those that placed in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the scout classes raced each other in the same fashion. Then we had an overall 1st second and 3rd.


Easy to deal with, no room for argument, everyone could participate and have fun, and we never had any hurt feelings.



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Twocubdad - "We had a very large pack, 100+ boys. When I became CC, I looked at the Perfect-N method which use software to generate race heats that correct for match-ups and lane variations. I figured that if we could run one heat every 2 minutes it would take us something like 16 hours to run the race."


I'm not sure how you got the 16 hour figure. Well, actually I think I know how you did.


So, let's use 100 racers as an example. With a Perfect-N schedule, you will end up with 100 heats. If it took you 2 minutes to run each heat (really that is a rather slow pace) then it would take 200 minutes, or 3.33 hours. In those 100 heats, each racer will have run down each lane of the track once. Where I think your calculation was off was that you probably thought you needed to multiply by the number of lanes of the track, but that is not the case. Whether you have a 2 or a 6 lane track, it will still be 100 heats. If you don't believe me, try it yourself using the online chart generator at http://stanpope.net/ppngen.html


Now for a real life example. For our pack race last year we ran a total of 99 heats in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. That gave each scout 8 total runs (twice down each lane of a 4 lane track) plus 4 total runs for our open division racers.


Being able to have your schedule from heat 1 to n laid out before you can dramatically speed up your race. Print out the schedule and give it to whoever is in charge of getting the cars staged for each heat. Then as soon as one set of cars is racing down the track, you have the next set of cars ready to load on. With single, double, or whatever elimination, you don't know who is racing except for the current step on the ladder.


This is all not to say you can't still have some form of elimination in a race (as some insist it isn't exciting enough not to eliminate racers). You can still run a multi-round format, like a Prelims and a Finals. In the Prelims, everyone gets an equal chance to race. Then advance the top racers to the Finals.


Everyone runs in each lane of the track and does so an equal number of times. There's no "bad lane" excuse, as everyone runs in each lane. Plus, Perfect-N charts give each racer a variety of opponents to go up against.


So, I really don't see why there are those that still insist on running a DE race.

- It MAY (but not necessarily) give you the top two cars. Anything after 1st and 2nd place is really a shot in the dark.

- It takes longer to run

- It doesn't ensure each racer will run in each lane, so lane draw can more determine the outcome than the cars

- Many racers are eliminated early on, so they lose interest and leave or start causing problems(This message has been edited by gpraceman2)

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