Thursday, February 6, 2014

My ST1300 Pan European on duty.......

So I'm chillaxin' at home when my phone rings and it's OzSTOC Member Dave (2uprider) on the line asking if I was interested in helping out.

"Sure. Doing what?"

"Marshalling at the Noosa Tri Festival" he said.

WOW!  OKay.  He gave me the meeting point (watch out for road closures for the Triathlon) and time to be there.

I had an early start and got the bike ready at dark o'clock in the morning. As I was riding out the garage - the rain came!      

Somewhere between light and heavy, so I couldn't make up my mind to stop and "wet up" - or keep going, as the freeway was only minutes away and the rain doesn't matter at 110kph.  I couldn't see the sky either to make a judgement on how long this would last. I ploughed on and got out of the cloudburst a few minutes later - all good!         

Made my way up to our meeting point and greeted a couple of new friends and a few familiar faces. We made our way to the Marshalling point and was handed out the 'Official' gear.

My first job was to take an official out amongst the Elite Cyclists and check for drafting, correct spacing, correct track positioning, and other assorted rule and regulation misdemeanours committed by riders.

I'll tell you this... when you're right in the thick of it - there is plenty more going on than TV cameras catch with regards to communications between riders and marshalls. We handed out a few penalties whilst ducking in and out of riders - much like you see motorcycles do on footage of the Tour de France.

The local Noosa MC Copper is blessed with a ST1300 - so I made my way over to him and presented a card.       

I found that it requires quite a bit of skill, and plenty of attention to do this marshalling because of the nature of riding very close to unpredictable cyclists on sometimes very narrow street courses with barriers and fans lining the way. Decisions have to be made that aren't in alignment with your normal set of skills when operating a motorcycle - for instance, when riders were overtaking, and hence using up a lot of the lane, I had to make the decision to go down the wrong side (oncoming traffic side) of a traffic island so as to keep a distance from the riders. Wrong way around roundabouts, and 80 in a 60 zone to catch up to the next group for marshalling purposes. After a while, you have cyclists travelling both directions (as it is an out and in few laps) and it gets kind of crazy!         

Add to that all your normal 'collision avoidance' receptors going off the scale, and wet, slippery, off-cambered roundabouts!!!!!        

It was awesome!

My next job was to take a media cameraman out whilst he filmed cyclists in close quarters. After a few traverses of the course, I learned the 'hot' spots - but there were still cyclists all around and sometimes we had to share the same 2.5 metre track, so I just had to maintain my position in the group by matching their speed until we crossed the bridge.

Here is a pic of myself and my 'Official Vehicle' in our marshalling area.

Imagine this li'l beaut rocking up next to competitors!       

I reckon for the first time ever it would be Loud Pipes COST Lives!        

A very exciting day out.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers, Diesel

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