17-02-19 HGS “Ride for Sight:

100_1183On Sunday the 19th February 2107, Hamnet Gauteng South provided services to the annual Dischem Ride for Sight race held from the Boksburg stadium.

This year there were 31 operators manning 10 sweep vehicles, 5 water tables and 4 quantum busses with trailers to collect cyclists that had retired from the race. All driven by Hamnet members. The balance of the team set up, manned and operated the JOCC together with Helivac and the Road Rangers

This year proved to be a rather challenging race with many incidents being thrown at the team

DSC00061To start with, there were so many injuries and accidents early in the race that ambulances became scarce. At one incident there were 3 cyclists injured and eventually 2 were transported in one ambulance and the 3rd in a second ambulance. The other 3 responded to other incidents leaving the race with minimal available ambulances with incidents pilling up. A back up plan with the service provider is that they have a service level agreement with private companies like ER24 and Emergimed that if they need more ambulances, they call them in. This was done with 3 more ambulances being brought in and diving into the thick of it. Unfortunately, coming in out the cold, they did not know the route and there was no radio communications with them except by phone. Getting them to scenes was hard.

Another issue was the marshals / metro on the short route, made a complete error and directed arguably 80% of the short route race down the wrong road!!! Obviously, on that route, there were no marshals, and to add to the issues, they turned about 4km’s before their 1st water point, therefore missing out on their refreshment refills! Where they cyclists re-joined the race, they entered after WP4, so effectively; they did not pass one single water point during their slightly shortened race. Fortunately Shane (ZS6ZSB) who started sweeping that area noticed the error and called it in. This incident literally drew in 5 of our members to manage the incident. The team could not rectify it as they would never get the cyclists back on the route. So they completed a slightly shortened race, however, this also affected WP 6 at the stadium.

DSC00016At the same time, water point 1 was preparing to close down. Normally the excess refreshments in the WP1 truck are then sent to water point 4 who are at the same time getting desperate for a top up. Believe it or not, the truck would not start!!! To complicate matters, the stadium water point ran out of water and the next thing, Chris (ZS6COG) at water point 3 started asking for additional drinks!!! If anyone was monitoring, they would have heard all the discussion that took place. Suffice to say, that one truck at WP1 threw a very big spanner in the works. The water running out at the stadium water point was arguably a direct result of the short race missing their two water stops and probably being very thirsty for water at the end.

For the first time known, the cut off at WP3 was enforced by the JOCC as the temperatures were very high and again people dropping out. On the radio, a consistent chatter was heard from the busses reporting they were full and returning to base. Again, something completely new. Unfortunately we have 3 members with PDP’s and 4 busses. Hopefully next year we will have 4 PDP’s??? But this did not stop the team putting Hamnet guys in the 4th buss with the contracted driver.

Overall however, the race went exceptionally well in the eyes of the organisers who were ecstatic the way every had gone. In total there were 5700 cyclists who all had a great day out by the look of it.

The team was obviously tired from being up at 03h00 in the morning and returned home for a well-earned break.

Glynn Chamberlain

ZS6GLN