Friday 7 October 2011

Rally - Safety First

There were a few gripes and moans about the delays on last week's Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, some from competitors, although mostly from spectators, and that is understandable - up to a point.

A competitor was injured in an accident on the first stage and when the medics arrived at the incident they immediately called for backup. The injured competitor was removed from the scene and transported to Ninewells Hospital where he remained in the Intensive Car Unit till Tuesday. Thankfully he is now in a general ward, but is still under observation and cannot be moved to a hospital nearer home (in England) until the Docs up here are happy that he can be moved.

In other words, the accident was a bit more serious than first thought, hence the lengthy delay.

This is an inevitability in rallying. Unlike other sports where, the action is concentrated in stadiums or circuits, rallying is nomadic and covers great tracts of ground going from stage to stage. So getting information to folk standing in forests miles away or sitting in queues at stage starts is nigh on impossible. In such situations folk are reliant on radio traffic to the marshals or phone calls where there is a signal.

In other words spectators must have a little more patience and tolerance when things go wrong. Coltness Car Club and all officials acted quickly and properly when the news came through, and bearing in mind what happened last year, their over-riding concern for safety was completely understandable.

To those people who still want to moan I would ask them to join their nearest car club, do a bit of marshalling, and then they will better understand what goes on behind the scenes and be able to talk more knowledgeably. The sport needs helpers more than it needs critics.

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