Racing Formats


Competition formats can be round robin, double elimination, single elimination or a combination. The total entry of teams is broken up into Divisions, grouped together by seeding* times. Division 1 being the faster racing teams.


A race can consists of either 3 heats, 5 heats or best 3 of 5 heats. The host club decides this (subject to approval from the AFA, the AFA Recommends Best 3 of 5 heats).

Round Robin Format

Each team in a division will have an opportunity to run against every other team in that division at least once.

Competition points are accumulated by counting 2 points for a win and 1 point for a tie and nil points for a loss of a race. All heats in a round robin race must be run unless it is a best 3 of 5 heats race, to earn round robin points. Eg: the 2 points for a win in a 3 heat race will go to the team that won at least 2 heats in that race. If a team is running a dead race, (the opposing team has pulled itself from the competition, so a team has to run a race on its own) they must complete successfully a minimum amount of heats, eg; in a 3 heat race they would have to complete 2 heats, in a 5 heat race they would have to complete 3 heats and in a best 3 of five they would have to complete 3 heats to enable them to earn the 2 points for a round robin win, but must still run all the required heats in that race. If they did not complete these heats they don’t get any round robin points for that race and a loss is recorded on their time sheet. At the end of the day the team with the most points wins.

At the end of the day if two or more teams in one division end up with the same amount of round robin points the competition organizer must state in catalogue or announce before beginning of competition, one of the two following methods COUNTBACK or HEAD to HEAD, as per the rules:

Section 9.2 

q) Determining the winner of a Round Robin Competition. In the event that two or more teams have the same number of competition points one of the following tie breakers are to be used:

1) a head to head run off between the teams with best two out of three heat format (where more than two teams are involved each must race the other with Competition points recorded for each result);


2) count back based first on head to head RACE wins during competition (where more than two teams are tied the count back for each team shall be the total RACE wins scored against all of the teams that are tied (the combined number of wins); if two teams are still even the teams are compared on head to head heats; if two teams are still even - then average time using the 5 best completed head to head heats for each team (i.e. add the 5 best times of all completed heats run by each team head to head and divide by 5 to determine average completed heat time. Best average time wins.)

If average time is even  - then fastest heat time head to head decides the winner. Competition organisers must state which option is to apply in Competition Schedule and announce this at start of Competition.

Double Elimination:

Teams are placed in a bracket and race in format until they are beaten. As long as they continue to win, they move up the bracket, but if they lose, they move down to the loser’s bracket. At the end, the winner of the loser’s bracket gets one more chance to race against the first place team in the winner’s bracket. A team must be defeated twice to be eliminated. If a team pulls out in a double elimination race the opposing team will need to complete the minimum amount of heats to move forward to the next round of double elimination racing. Races for double elimination are either best of 3 heats or best of 5 heats.

Single Elimination:

This is similar to double elimination, but is more intense and 1 lost race will eliminate a team from the competition. If a team pulls out of a single elimination race the other team can automatically move to the next round without having to complete the minimum amount of heats to win. Races for single elimination are either best of 3 heats or best of 5 heats.

Champion Trophy Racing:

Champions Trophy Racing utilising the handicap software on the Signature Judging System gives Flyball Racing access to a level playing field for the first time in the sports history. Competition organisers now have the opportunity to include Champions Trophy Racing in competition formats (must be approved by AFA committee) and advertised. Organisers knowing regular racing will finish at approximately 3pm can invite sponsors and media to the Champions Trophy round where close exciting racing is almost guaranteed. Champions Trophy Racing must be run as single elimination racing, best of 3 heats, or best 3 of 5 heats.

How to run Champions Trophy Racing:

Rules for the conduct of Champions Trophy Racing are the AFA rules for single elimination racing with following variations:

To accommodate handicap structure there will be no rerun for first false start. Where the start dog from either team false starts that dog must run again as a 5th dog; The sound system on the Signature lights is to be disconnected so that both teams receive light signals only. (If sound is not disconnected then under the handicap structure the first team only receives a sound countdown). The Competition Organisers will request that Team Captains and the AFA Representative check competition points calculations on Timesheets before the start of the Elimination races in order to confirm Divisional winners to take part in Eliminations.

At the conclusion of regular competition the winning team from each division has automatic entry into the Champions Trophy round, should a first place team in a division be unavailable for the Champions Trophy round NO! other team will be eligible to substitute.

Calculating Handicaps and Breakouts:

Division 1 team has no breakout entered as per AFA rules and policies.


3) This process equates to the same breakout controls used in regular racing to restrict sandbagging. Please note that the console only works in 100th of a sec, we will go backwards not upwards with times.


4) Layout for 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 team single elimination is contained in the AFA rules and



5) Two team single elimination is self explanatory and requires only one best of race.

Three team single elimination will be:

Race 1: Div 2 v Div 3

Race 2: Winner of race 1 v Div 1.

Console Operating Instructions for Handicap Racing

1. Press Setup.

2. Press Next Choice.

3. Press Enter to Set Handicap.

3. Key-In Handicap Time L

4. Press Enter

5. Key-In Handicap Time R

6. Press Enter

7. Done!

If the team racing in the left lane is 3.24 seconds slower than the team in the right lane you need to enter the 3.24 second handicap in the Left lane.

Handicap is calculated by subtracting the fastest time raced by both teams during Regular competition.

All teams racing in Champions Trophy Racing accept first division will have a breakout time applied, simply follow the current procedure for entering these.

Champions Trophy Racing is single elimination.

AFA Procedure for considering submissions re new race formats

The following process will be followed with respect to any proposals submitted to the AFA  for new race formats: 

    • Proposals for AFA consideration of any new race format must be submitted by a proponent being an AFA Member to the AFA Secretary in reasonable detail, including an outline of the rules suggested as being appropriate to the format. Submission should be made before any proposal is submitted to have a Sanctioned event using the format in order to allow the AFA time to fully consider the format.

    • Upon receipt of such a proposal the submission will be circulated to the AFA Committee and be referred to the AFA Sub Committee on Rules for review and input. The Sub Committee will, within 30 days of receipt of the referral, submit a report to the AFA Committee outlining its considerations and recommendation. The report will identify any issues of clarification required and any matters of concern identified. The Sub Committee may seek clarification, if seen as required, from the proponent as part of its review process. This Sub Committee Report will be distributed to the Committee and a copy sent to the proponent. The proponent will have 30 days to submit their comments on any concerns to the AFA Secretary.

    • The Committee will take into account both the report of the Rules Sub Committee and the response of the proponent and come to a decision on whether to approve the format and the associated rules at its next scheduled Meeting as “Rules on Trial”. Alternatively, the Committee may choose to amend its instructions and refer the matter back to the Rules Sub Committee for further consideration and development.

    • Proponents should note that, based on this protocol, the minimum time for a new format to be approved is likely to be three months, and could well exceed this if there are difficult issues to deal with.

 Wet Weather

Refer to new on trial Policy - AFA Competition Cancellation Policy.