Sport Systems

Sport Systems Shoe/Mat Based Chip Timing System

Sport Systems is able to provide you with a range of timing options from start and finish timing, mid-point timing or finish-only timing to suit your race size and budget.

The IPICO system uses a lightweight cost effective Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) timing chip which is attached to the competitor's shoe.

Introducing IPICO

In 2008 we introduced our new IPICO Sports Tag timing system. This mat- and foot-based chip timing system has been successfully used in the USA and Americas for several years and is now available in the UK. The IPICO chip is priced to make either outright chip purchase or rental viable options for an organiser, depending upon their event size and individual requirements.

Ideally suited to running, as well as other sports, this system couldn’t be easier for the competitor and event organiser to implement. The chip is attached to the runner's shoe using two slim twines (provided by Sport Systems) and is detected as the chip passes over a mat located at the event's start and finish or other timing points. Elite runners can be issued with two chips, one for each foot, so that it doesn’t matter which foot crosses the finish line first!

[Image] IPICO Chip Distribution Bike [Image] IPICO Chip Distribution

Pre-Event Chip Distribution

The IPICO chips are lightweight and can be distributed by post well before the day of the event. To facilitate this, each chip is supplied to the race organiser (or direct to the runner by Sport Systems when commissioned to do entry management and number distribution) in an individual envelope. Every envelope is clearly printed with the appropriate race number with illustrations of how to correctly secure the chip to the shoe. It is also, importantly, a pre-paid business reply envelope. This can be used by the competitor to return the chip if they are injured or decide to withdraw from the event. In most instances, Sport Systems will pay the cost of the return postage.

If there are entries and/or numbers to collect on the day the envelopes also provide a robust method for secure on the day distribution.

No Mess Ups with Chip 'n' Number Bike starting with IPICO

No Mess Ups!

With the experience gained in Chip Timing over the past six years, we have tailored our race software and operations to ensure that the same operational disciplines and standards are transferred to the IPICO timing system.

Maximising Revenue

The flexibility of our systems and procedures allows Race Organisers to continue taking entries up to and including the day of the event, allowing the race to maximise the amount of revenue they take. There’s no need to turn competitors away unnecessarily, as we will supply you with an agreed number of additional pre-programmed chips and corresponding numbers to either sell on the day or to replace the inevitable forgotten and lost chips and numbers.

When you use our online entry service, we normally keep your website live until the day before the race, as we will have a good idea as to how many extra chips and numbers to provide.


Maximising Revenue

Here’s how it works - Mat Configuration

Detection mats come in 2.5M, 5M, 7.5M and 10M lengths and can be deployed to accommodate the start and finish for most races and events.

While in the electromagnetic field created by the mat, the chip is continually detected. For accuracy, Sport Systems timing software is configured to either take the first detection or the last detection of each chip, depending upon whether the mats are located in front of or behind the relevant timing point.

IPICO Chip colection

Post-Event Chip Collection

The twist ties provide secure chip attachment and easy release for chip collection after the race. This can be done either by the competitors themselves or they can be assisted by finish marshals equipped with lightweight wire clippers. Chips are then placed in plastic bins or buckets for return to Sport Systems.

On Time Results

On Time Results!

All of this adds up to allow initial race results to be produced whilst competitors are still finishing! The prize presentation report and team results reports can be produced at the same time. This means that results can be displayed quickly and that the prize presentation can be conducted at the earliest or published time. We will also post the results on the web, normally before we leave the race venue. When we have email addresses and mobile numbers we can arrange for HTML emails or text messages to be sent to the competitors.


Accurate results require accurate finish information.

Conventional manual timing requires a number of skilled and experienced operators and by its very nature is prone to errors. Correcting these errors takes time and delays the production of the results and the prize list.

Sport Systems' chip timing system removes these errors by recording the runners' race numbers and times as they cross the finish line and feeding them directly into the results system.

Gun Time / Chip Time Defined

At many races we are asked to produce two times. The first is what is called the Gun Time. It's the official race time and is the time that the runner takes to complete the course from the time the start gun was fired. Of course, if you take say thirty seconds to cross the line this additional time is part of your official time.

We can also produce a Chip Time (or Chip to Chip Time as it’s sometimes referred to). This is the time that the runner actually took from the time they crossed the start line (even if they took thirty seconds to do so from went the gun was fired) to the time they crossed the finish line. However, this time has no relevance to the results whatsoever and is used for information purposes only.

As far as the rules of athletics are concerned, the Gun Time is the important time and this is what the results and prizes are based on, otherwise the race becomes a time trial where the winner need not be the first person to cross the finish line.

At some events it is not possible to produce Chip Times because of the constraints of the course. For example, the race may start on a road where there is no legal road closure and so setting up the timing equipment is impossible. However, we always have timing equipment at the finish which enables us to produce Gun Time results and prize lists quickly and efficiently.