RaceTec is a software program for scoring competitive racing events such as fun runs, triathlon, ocean swims, adventure races, MTB and road cycling stage races. It is primarily Microsoft Windows-based, however it has some powerful features
which enable some functions to work on any smart device, from iPads to smart phones to Macbooks and tablets.
The database back-end is Microsoft SQL Server. I use this for a number of reasons:
SQL Server is indisputably one of the most powerful database systems available
I have extensive use in SQL Server design and programming (20 years)
The SQL Server Express versions are free, with only a few limitations, none of which impact on RaceTec in any way. I have used it at some of the biggest races in the world without any problems
It is impressively scalable, that's why RaceTec can handle a race with 500,000 splits as easily as it handles one with 200 splits
It is fast! RaceTec can calculate 3,000,000 split positions (for 500,000 splits) in a few seconds
I have been a software developer and database administrator since 1991, working in large corporate IT divisions and some smaller companies.
RaceTec has been a big passion of mine since it first started in 2002, to the point now where I have to confess it consumes most of my life. And the flame is still burning.
I take great pride in what I have achieved, there is no doubt that RaceTec is the most extensive and powerful scoring software available, and I intend to maintain that profile.
I no longer work for big corporates, or small companies. I run my own business, based in Perth Australia, concentrating on RaceTec and race timing. I don't own a timing business, but I operate as a contract
timer for clients mainly in Australia, but sometimes worldwide.
My extensive software history, and the fact that I time races at least once a week (some of them very high profile and timing-intensive), places me in a unique position of being a software developer who uses his own tools.
I dont have to rely on my clients explaining how timing works, when they have a suggestion I immediately understand what they are asking. And the fact that I use my own software makes me probably the most critical user.
After almost every race I come back with one or two things I would like to change to make RaceTec easier, more flexible and more powerful.
A brief history of RaceTec
RaceTec started as a marketing initiative for a retail company I worked for in South Africa. In 2002 we approached the world famous Comrades Marathon, offering to look after their IT requirements in return for branding at the event, and on the 13 hour live TV broadcast. The race timer (ChampionChip) was required to simply pass us raw time data, and we were responsible for processing that data and making it available to the TV broadcast, live web tracking and results, medical tent (20 computers), information desks (80 computers), media (10 computers). Plus more. All for 12 hours from a number of intermediate points en-route. At this time, the Comrades was probably the most technologically advanced race in the world.
And it certainly gave RaceTec the kind of development base that enables it to cope with any requirement thrown at it, no matter what the scale of the race. Where most existing scoring software started small with a local club run, RaceTec started at the top end of the scale. Where these scoring systems struggle to upscale to handle large volumes and numerous connections to them, RaceTec excels. It’s what RaceTec does best. I’ve been at races where there were 200 connections to RaceTec from supporters monitoring a live leaderboard, and the laptop on which I was running barely blinked.
I’ll be the first to admit that this high-end start did cause some problems when RaceTec went to market, and had to cope with much simpler requirements, but all these hurdles were overcome many years ago.
In 2007 I moved to Australia and this provided the impetus to spend more time on RaceTec to fulfil my plans of taking it to market properly. At that stage I had a small core group of committed clients who have been instrumental in refining RaceTec to the user-friendly, but powerful and flexible package that it is today.
I also made the decision to market RaceTec on an annual licence fee system. The only way I can commit to RaceTec, and provide the required service to my clients, is to have a reliable income from it. When software developers market their products on a once-off price, eventually there is saturation, income drops off and the developer has to move on to other products. I don’t want that to happen with RaceTec. I want to keep ahead of the competition and keep RaceTec at the forefront of timing technology. This is what will ultimately be the biggest benefit to my clients.
In 2013 I was still full-time employed, and made the decision to go on my own to concentrate on RaceTec and race timing. Since then the features and capabilities of RaceTec have grown exponentially, and continue to grow, keeping up with an ever-changing and demanding environment.
I don’t have a massive market share, I shamelessly admit that I have fewer clients than competition products like The Race Director and Runscore, but what has been fantastic to see is how all my clients have grown with their use of RaceTec, and this is reflected in the fact that most of my sales are existing clients buying more licences due to their expanding businesses. I like to believe that RaceTec has played a part in that expansion.
Graeme Vincent, May 2015