This Sunday past, the 5th November, HAMNET Gauteng South, through their relationship with the organisers of the Emperors Palace Classic through Ekhuruleni in Johannesburg, were asked to assist with the first ever Tshwane Classic cycle race in Pretoria.
Glynn, ZS6GLN, tells me that, for a first ever event, over 4700 riders participated, with one of the VIP riders on the day being the mayor of Tshwane, who, we believe, rode the 20km event.
A call was put through to Johan de Bruyn (ZS6JHB), regional director of Gauteng North asking if his team would like to assist. Johan replied with 5 eager volunteers and assigned Brian Jacobs (ZS6YZ) as his fill in for the event. Brian and the Gauteng North team turned out to be an exceptional asset. Brian attended the briefing session with Glynn Chamberlain (ZS6GLN) on the Saturday morning and was perfectly placed to provide critical info on the route not only for HAMNET, but also the organisers who were not all fully familiar with Pretoria.
Furthermore, Chad Mileham (ZS6OPS) who is regional co-ordinator for the HAMNET Gauteng South West Rand group, forwarded the request to his team and another 5 members eagerly volunteered.
Everyone arrived on the Sunday morning for a team briefing at 04h30, and after formalities and the briefing had been given, everyone dispersed to their respective positions on the course.
Everyone was apprehensive as to how members from 3 different HAMNET groups who had never met before were going to work together. Well, the team matched the professionalism of many of our previous races in the past, and the interaction between the members was incredible. It is gratifying that, if groups are required to come together for a real emergency one day, they will operate like they did on the day.
In the end, there were some serious altercations and eventual hot spots. Brian (ZS6YZ) landed up in the thick of it when traffic at his intersection got out of hand. Barricades were being set up, rocks placed on the roads and stones thrown at the TMPD (Tshwane Metro Police Department). Through Brian’s immediate reports back, Police and Metro Police manning the JOCC and listening to Brian’s reports were incredibly swift to deploy additional support to the intersection and bring it back under control. To say the JOCC got quite active is an understatement.
While this was happening, HAMNET resources that were stationed at other intersections with fewer issues were deployed north to possibly assist with a route change because of the issues at Brian’s intersection. The rendezvous for these teams was the intersection of Paul Kruger and Mansfield Avenue, two major arterials. Unbelievably, the situation there started deteriorating with the police battling to control motorists. By the time HAMNET members started arriving there for the possible re-route, Brian’s intersection was under control, so they jumped in to assist the police right there. In the end, there were Anette (ZR6D), Awie (ZS6AVI), Francois (ZS6COI), and Judy (ZS6JDY), with later support from Leon (ZS6LMG) and Johan (ZS6DMX), all ably controlled by Rory Crouch (ZS6RBJ) who constantly gave and received instructions from the JOCC and communicated with the impromptu team who were now assisting in the intersection. In order not to overload the JOCC frequency, Rory managed a sub net amongst the team members on scene and became the one communications point between the JOCC and everyone on the intersection. Well done Rory!
To summarise, the comments received from the team members were fantastic. They all thoroughly enjoyed the day and experienced something completely new and enjoyable. Both Leon and Glynn felt the cream on the cake was seeing how well three separate HAMNET groups could interact in such a friendly and professional manner. And, new friendships were forged in a wonderful hobby helping with community service and self-sacrifice.
Thank you Glynn for the comprehensive report. It sounds like you all had a day of many and varied experiences!
News of future exercises comes from Alister ZS1OK, who tells us that the City of Cape Town will be running a disaster exercise on Thursday the 23rd November. Alister says at least 4 HAMNET volunteers are required to assist, each at a different permanent or mobile control centre, from 09h00 until 14h00 that day. John Bayly Brown, the CoCT Volunteer coordinator, has promised to provide a letter to employers motivating and stating the role HAMNET volunteers will have during the exercise.
If you can take time off on a Thursday, please contact Alister at email@example.com. Thank you.
In a more humorous vein, some of you will know that Helen of Troy had beauty which was enough to launch a thousand Greek ships to rescue her from Troy. You’ll therefore understand that one milliHelen is the amount of beauty required to launch one ship. David Goines “Helen Beauty Scale” defines a microHelen as enough beauty to Christen a motorboat and start a grass fire, and a gigaHelen as enough to launch one trillion Greek warships and destroy the solar system. In similar vein, a picture paints a thousand words, and a millipicture therefore paints one word, and Carl Sagan, who narrated the original “Cosmos” and was always describing things in terms of “billions and billions”, has had his name immortalised as being equivalent to an impossibly large quantity of anything and everything! Thank you to Wikipaedia for these units of measurement.
I wonder whether a milliHAMNET member could be defined as someone who can get the message through using just one word…….
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.