Why are Hare Scramble Plate Colours Important?
Blue numbers on white backgrounds, white numbers on red backgrounds, black numbers on white backgrounds, white numbers on blue backgrounds…what do these combinations have in common? These plate colour combinations are all used in the NSORRA hare scramble series.
In 2021, NSORRA switched to a system for our hare scrambles. We also added and based on our participation numbers and skill levels. This meant that some racers had to change their bike plates, both to change their number and their plate colours, depending on their class. Ever since, we have been getting questions about how important is it to run the correct bike plate colours.
So why are the plate colours important?
The importance of plate colours comes in as riders approach the scramble Timing and Scoring area. At the front of the tent is a volunteer flagger who slows down each rider to read the plate number. At the same time, the flagger checks the plate colours to see whether the class associated with the colours should be receiving the checkered flag.
Behind the flagger in the tent, several volunteers are manually entering times for their assigned classes. They are also checking the plates to see if they have the rider on their scoring sheets which holds up to 20 riders and numbers. This can be confusing if several riders from different classes come across the line at the same time. Plate colours help them distinguish their list of riders to check.
It is easy to recognize where problems and mistakes can occur in timing and scoring when riders don’t use the number, plate colours or correct transponder when they cross through Timing and Scoring.
From a rider's perspective, by watching plate colours, riders are able to clarify their position in the race. They can tell whether they are lapping or being lapped by people in their class if the correct race colours are used.
Why Are Plates for MX and Hare Scramble Classes Sometimes Different?
The colour system NSORRA uses is somewhat based around MX but not exact for a few reasons.
- In MX you don’t mix the number of classes running at one time together like (NSORRA) off-road does. So for identification purposes, we need to be able to differentiate between the classes during race conditions which can be chaotic (just ask Timing and Scoring and track officials – see explanation above).
- It’s also not an uncommon practice for different clubs/organizations to run their own colour/number schemes.
- A rider might run Intermediate in MX which usually translates to them running Expert in off-road. The class parity is not the same between the two types of racing and would require different plates and possibly numbers if you want to do both types of racing.
In short, bike plates are often different because MX and hare scrambles are two different types of racing with different classes and requirements.
To assist the volunteers who run each hare scramble, please ensure your bike has the correct number and colours for your class and make sure the correct info is recorded in your online registration!
Geoff Munt grew up riding dirt bikes in the Annapolis Valley. He puts together the NSORRA Rulebook and is an occasional sweeper at hare scramble events.
Claudine Laforce is NSORRA’s General Manager. She appreciates all the race volunteers – including trail workers, race officials, timing and scoring and sweepers – who step forward to assist as needed. We couldn’t do it without you!