Timing a Cyclo-Cross Race

A cyclocross race is a sort of combination between a standard multi-lap race, and a time-limit race.  The number of laps may be decided beforehand, or by the commisaires during the race.

In the Zone4 timing software, this is configured as a multi-lap race that has more laps than the racers will possibly do, and when you select the cyclocross race format the result display format changes to count only the completed laps as part of the race.

Creating a Cyclocross Race

When you create a new race in Zone4, select “cycling” as the sport, and “cyclocross” as the race format:

Course Setup

Standard practice for cyclocross races is to start a group of racers together, and everybody in that group will do the same number of laps, and the next group of riders will not start until the first group is finished.  To set the race up for this, first create the start groups under the start list section, and then in the course setup section of the timing software choose the multi-lap race and use start groups as course groups option.

For each course group, set the number of laps to be something fairly high.  Most 1-hour cyclocross races seem to end up doing about 10 laps, but that’s going to depend on how long and how difficult the course is.  If you go crazy and set the race to like 100 laps, that should still work but it will make the software run a bit slower.

Device Setup


  • Set the Start device to be a phone you have at the race.  You’ll record the start time for each group by keying in the number of any racer in the start group, and pressing enter when the start gun fires.  Chip starts are not a thing in cyclocross racing, everybody’s time starts when the gun fires so that if two people are sprinting to the finish line, one doesn’t have an advantage just because they started in the second row.
  • Minimum split times are very important in a cyclocross race.  Flat tires, mechanicals, and injuries are common, and people who should be racing will almost certainly be walking their bike (and their timing chip) backwards across the timing point.  A reasonable minimum split time between each timing point will help to ignore the times from people who have stopped racing.
  • The Lap device and the Finish device should be the same device if the racers lap through the finish line on each lap.  This is the most common scenario for cyclocross races.  Your course may send racers into a separate chute at the finish, in that case the finish device will be different to the lap device.


The cyclocross format always displays a Behind column on the results to show the time behind for anybody who finishes with the same number of laps as the leader, and the number of laps behind for people who finished with less laps than the leader:

For most cyclocross races, you’ll end up with more splits than can reasonably fit on the screen.  Change the Times to Display option to Finish Time Only and the results will show only the total time and the diff column.

Then enable racer pages so that people viewing the results can click on a racer’s name on the results to view all that racer’s split times – navigate to the main results page by clicking the “Results” link at the top of the screen or in the three-line menu at the top right, and check the Enable Racer Pages checkbox:



Updated on 2019-06-28

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