Timing a Biathlon Race

Creating a Biathlon Race

From your home page when you are signed in to the Zone4 website, click the Create a New Race button and select the Biathlon sport option.

Enter your race name and date, and then select one of the supported biathlon race formats: Individual, Sprint, or Mass Start.  The individual and sprint formats are both individual starts, but in the sprint format skiers are expected to ski penalty loops, and in the individual format will be assigned time penalties for missed shots.

After selecting a format you’ll be prompted to import racers.  Racers can be imported from a CSV (excel) file, from a Zone4 registration form, or copied from a previous race in Zone4.

Creating a Start List

Once you have created a race and imported racers, the next step is to create the start list.  Racers can be grouped into start groups based on any option field in the registration form, or any combination of option fields.

Creating Start Groups

For individual start format races, create a start group for each set of racers that will be ordered in a separate sequence – if you are applying seeding, racers will be ordered based on their seed value within their start group.

For example, in a race where the junior and youth men start in a single sequence, and the first racer to start should be the racer with the best points regardless of if they’re a youth or junior, the junior and youth mens groups should be merged into a single start group.  If junior men should be only compared to other junior men and are separate from youth men when ordering the start list, then junior men and youth men should be separate start groups.

Course groups can be merged into combined groups using the “Merge Groups” option in the tools menu at the top of the page.

Assigning Bib Numbers, Timing Chips, and Start Times

After you have split racers into groups, assign racer (bib) numbers.  For many races, you’ll want more fine-grained control over which bib number each group starts on, or to set a custom start time for each group instead of just putting a fixed gap between each.  The default tools displayed assign times to the whole race based on a few fixed parameters. If you would rather specify a bib range or start time for each group, click the Assign Separately for Each Group button:

Select Fields to Display & Publish

If you are publishing a start list, you’ll probably want to add a few extra display fields, such as Club name or Team name.  In the select fields to display  list, you’ll see all the fields available to add to the start list.  Bib number, start time, racer name, and chip number will always be included automatically.

When you’re ready to publish, click the View Start List button, and then you’ll find the Publish button at the top of the preview window that opens.  This will make the start list available on the public Zone4.ca homepage.

Setting up Courses

Racers should be split into course groups where each course group contains all the racers that will share a timing setup – everybody who races the same number of laps, crossing any mid-lap split timing points in the same order, should be in the same group.  The process for creating course groups is similar to the process for creating start groups, and in many cases the start groups and the course groups will be the same groups.

For each course group, a row will be present in the table at the top of the course page where you can enter the name of the course, the number of laps, and either a minimum possible time for the penalty loop (for penalty loop formats) or the time penalty to apply (for an individual format race).

By default, course groups will be given the name of the registration options that are used to define them.  It’s usually a good idea to rename these to something more descriptive of the course itself – for example, if your course is initially called “youth men + junior men + senior men”, you can rename it to 15km if that’s the distance they’re actually skiing.

Setting up timing devices

Select the timing device that will be used at each timing point in the course: the mandatory points for a biathlon setup are a start point, a lap point, and a finish point.  The lap point is always after the range and the penalty loop, if racers are skiing a penalty loop.  That is, the first time racers come through the range will be at the very end of lap 1.

Depending on your course setup, the lap and the finish may be the same timing device, and you can simply click “Select a timing device” at each of the finish and lap and select the same devices.

Setting a minimum lap time

For biathlon races, a minimum lap time is mandatory

In the “min split” field in between each timing point, enter the minimum time that any racer can possibly take to travel between those two timing points.  If you have mid-lap splits in your race, the sum of all the minimum splits on your course will be used as the minimum lap time.  The minimum lap time will be used to determine whether a penalty loop was skied on the first lap or the second lap, even if the lap times have not been recieved by the server yet.

Note that one lap comprises the total race course – after a racer starts, they ski their the course once, and then they enter the range and shoot, and then they ski any penalty loops, and then they cross the lap timing point – their time in the range and penalty loops is all considered to be part of the first lap. The range is part of the lap, not distinct from the lap.

Setting up range devices

In addition to the timing devices, you’ll also need a device to record missed shots, and for penalty loop race formats you’ll need a device to record penalty loop times.  At the bottom of the Courses tab in Zone4 timing, there are buttons to select a device for each of these roles.  One primary device can be used, and the data from that device will be automatically assigned to racers.  If more than one device is added to either range data or penalty, only the data from the first device will be automatically used.

Setting up penalty loop devices

For penalty loop format races, you’ll want to put a chip timing point at the back of the penalty loop, at the furthest point away from the actual course.  The penalty loop and the lap timing point cannot be combined into a single point.

Timing the Race

Recording Start Times

In the simplest format, racers can simply start at their scheduled start time, and no start times need to be recorded.  If you are doing this, in the main race settings you’ll need to change the “Record Finish Times” option to “After the scheduled start time“.  Without changing this setting, the system will require that a start time is recorded, not just scheduled, before any subsequent times will be assigned to a racer.

Alternatively, you can record actual start times for racers by assigning any timing device to the start timing point in the course setup – whether that’s a start gate, a GoChip activator, or a volunteer entering racer numbers into a keypad on a phone or summit timer.

Recording Lap or Finish Times

If you have set up lap and finish timing devices in course setup, the times from those devices will be automatically assigned to your racers, obeying any minimum split times entered on the course setup screen.

If times are mis-assigned to racers for any reason, you can click on a racer’s name in the start list, results, or any of the racer reports in the timing tab and type in the correct time for them.

Recording Shot Information

On the device that was set up as the range data device in the course setup screen, enter a bib number, followed by a space, followed by the number of misses in the current shooting bout.  For example, if racer number 35 missed 3 shots, you can enter “35 3” and then press enter.  This will then be assigned to the next lap without any shot information already recorded for the matching racer.

If you know which lap the shot information is for and don’t want to rely on the system to assign it to the next available lap, you can include a lap number after the misses – for example, entering “35 3 5” would record that racer #35 missed 3 shots on lap 5.

To edit or change the recorded shot information on a racer, click on the racer’s name in the results, start list, or any racers list on the timing tab and enter the correct number of shots in the appropriate field on the left column.  All the recorded data will be available in the right column just for reference.

In a penalty loop format race, a badge will be displayed showing the number of penalty loops the racer skied on each lap, and it will be highlighted red if the number of misses and the number of penalty loops skied do not match. (the red 0 in the screenshot above)

Recording penalty loop times

The penalty loop device assigned in the course setup screen will automatically count penalty loops for the current lap, up until the recorded lap time.  After the lap time is recorded, no more penalty loop times will be recorded until the minimum loop time (the sum of any minimum split times set) has passed.

If any penalty loops are mis-assigned, you can edit the penalty loop times in the penalty loops tab on the racer screen.  click the + button beside a lap to add another penalty loop time, or erase the time in a cell to remove it.

Finding mismatches between penalty loops and missed shots

At the bottom of the Timing page for the race, beside the Biathlon Data Recorders page see the Shots & Penalty Data button to open the biathlon audit tool:

This will display a list of all racers, with their missed shots in one column and their skied penalty loops in the next column.  For racers where these counts don’t match, both columns will be highlighted red:

Racer names in this list can be clicked on to edit the recorded shot or penalty loop information.

Publishing Results

The default result format is to display all lap and split times, which can make the results very wide.  You may want to change the result format to display only the finish time, and racers can click on their names to see all their lap times.  Do this on a result set by selecting the Finish Times Only option under the Time Calculation Options on the Configure Results page.

For more general help on results, see the Setting up Results help page.

Updated on 2020-01-24

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