Saturday, 16 September 2017

Rally - Safety in the Stages



The previous post caused quite a nice wee stooshie within rallying circles, hence this follow-up. Still, it did the trick, it opened up the debate.

However, I reserve the right to call certain sections of the spectating public 'eedjits'. And it's not sports specific, every other sport has its share of 'eedjit following' to the detriment of the sport and others folks' enjoyment, whether it be football, cricket or bog snorkelling.

On the other hand, the vast majority of people who follow rallying are not eedjits. Instead, they should be considered a 'valuable resource' a phrase much used by experts and consultants to emphasise their own importance especially when they know nowt about the subject in hand.

Oops, I'm off again. I get easily distracted these days by the infuriating over-use of 'experts in their field' and 'consultants to the profession' who appear on TV and radio news bulletins and are quoted by news agencies and websites.

Sorry, back to the 'valuable resource'. I am not for one minute advocating training or accreditation for Spectators. That is completely impractical and would drive even more folk away from the sport. Besides, if you train and accredit someone, you call them Marshals. Yes, we certainly need more Marshals, but you can't hijack mere spectators and press-gang them into it.

Nope, by all means educate and inform, using printed material handed out at events or on those websites where followers search for their pre-event information. Advice could be given about what to do in the event of an emergency. As has been pointed out in many of the previous post comments, spectators can often be first on the scene of an accident mid-forest. Rather than stand by with their hands in their pockets there is a natural urge to want to help.

Just like the aftermath of terrorist incidents and motorway accidents, there is a desire by the responsible majority of the great British public to want to do something to help and we've all seen examples of this on TV, and even some heroic acts of personal dis-regard. While that is to be applauded, a little bit of professional help and knowledge would go a long way in such situations.

It's the same in the forests. In the absence of the MSA's much vaunted car tracking scheme, which has been abandoned for the time being for technical reasons, we have to rely on other competitors spotting that the car ahead is in trouble, Marshals becoming aware of an incident, the Results Team spotting that someone is missing or the 'numbers system', and only then calling up the Paramedics.

As I said in the original article, every incident is different and the outcome is not always evident to those who follow, so we have to plan for the unforeseen. Hence the use of spectators. There is a huge following out there who avoid 'spectator areas' preferring to visit past or favoured locations, or something that looks promising on the Ordnance Survey map and then plan accordingly. It is these people who provide the pockets of human reassurance to those crews travelling at speed through otherwise seemingly empty forests.

And another thing. Personal responsibility. People who make the effort to travel to forests and walk into forests to watch the action all know one thing or are quickly made aware - Motor Sport is Dangerous.

It is entirely up to them whether they choose to go in the first place or stay when they get there. No-one is twisting their arm and it is time that the legal system understands this, but just as there are 'eedjit spectators' there are those in the 'legal profession' who place profit and personal gain ahead of fairness and justice for all.

Everyone wants to blame someone or something for their own failings and misfortunes. Anyone who trips on a pavement blames the Council and then wants to sue, never once thinking that if they took their nose out of their bluidy phones and lifted their feet it wouldn't have happened. Similarly, it's not the travel agents' fault if folk want to visit the Caribbean during THE HURRICANE SEASON and then Irma comes a -calling.

It's the same in the forests, or even Closed Roads if we ever get them back, there is an established procedure in the MSA Blue Book (see original article) for competitors but if all else fails and there are spectators on hand why not use that natural enthusiasm and desire to help?

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