It has been a big week but here we are at the final day of the Clipsal 500 Race Meeting.
Another early start, even getting Jenny out of bed early to bring the car home so that I didn’t have to drive home at the end following the Thankyou BBQ.
The weather for today started out with relatively clear skies with occasional cloud and mid 20′s.
The first race for the day was Aussie Racing Cars and they certainly put on a show with a rollover in the first lap and the car shedding its shell in the process.
After a couple more incidents it was time for the Formula 3 and another couple of racing incidents leading to race cars circulating on the back of tow trucks.
The Touring Car Masters were relatively well behaved compared to the previous races, although we did one have a engine failure leaving a trail of oil along Pit Straight before catching fire on the start line, ending up in the gravel of the chicane.
Next up were the GT Championship where we only had 1 car having a off in the chicane.
A crowd favourite was the Qualifying for the V8 Supercars when Greg Murphy drove hard up the rear of a slow moving Jonathon Webb that was heading back to Pits.
V8 Drivers photo completed and one more race of the Carrera Cup before the main event and all were well behaved.
A bit more circus on the grid and then it was time for Race 2 of the Clipsal 500.
For the first time for a long time, we managed to get through a race without a safety car. Unfortunately it was a Ford win though ….
It was hard work getting out of bed this morning (I thought there was only one 5 o’clock in the day and it is in the afternoon). By Day 3 it is almost like Groundhog Day with leaving the track in the dark and arriving in the dark as well.
The weather today was probably perfect with periods of cloud.
Today was a full program with races for the V8 Utes, Dunlop V8 Development Series, Formula 3, Carrera Cup, Aussie Racing Cars, GT Championship and of course, Race 1 of the V8 Supercars. There was even some Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars putting on a show.
The notorious Turn 8 claimed a few more scalps during the V8 Supercars with one crash taking out 3 cars.
The V8 Supercar race was a nail biter with the last lap deciding the winner with Jamie Whincup passing Will Davison just a few corners before the finish line. A Holden over a Ford win certainly brought most of the pit straight grandstand to their feet cheering.
Although we didnt have any fires today, there certainly were plenty of recoveries.
Another late night with a twilight race for the GT Championship with some light rainfall to make it interesting. Will be looking forward to as much shut eye as possible tonight.
When we left the track last night, there was a couple of severe weather warnings. South Australia had a tropical feed coming from the north west which was east of Adelaide and there was a cold feed coming from the south east which was west of Adelaide. We were right in the middle of the 2 strong systems.
We were lucky to have missed out on any heavy rains but did get some hammering with strong winds. I had one of the roads coming in blocked by a downed tree. Seemingly there was some repairs to be made around the circuit as well.
Even though the 2 weather systems persisted, they were still missing Adelaide and we had periods of sunshine today.
Today we had an extra 10 firefighters which took the pressure off a little trackside, giving a total of 110 firefighters for fire and rescue.
Most of the cars behaved themselves but some couldn’t help themselves and hit the walls anyway. One of the recoveries didn’t take long to get onto the tow truck but took quite a while to get off as the gear box or brakes locked on.
Well it was quiet until the end of the day when the V8 Utes, V8 Development Series and Carrera Cup came out, then all hell broke loose with carnage all over the track. This kept us busy until the end of the day and the sunset finish. The end of a long day.
Well the 2012 Clipsal 500 was upon us and we thought that it was going to be washed away. All day yesterday being the last day of summer, it rained constantly with temperatures in the low 20′s. Apart from doing the setup and pulling out bogged trucks, it was all ready to go.
Move forward 12 hours and it was a different day. The rain had stopped but was still overcast and the ground was starting to dry up.
An early start and briefing for the 100 fire marshals, many of which we had not seen since last years race meeting. Even though we were down a little in numbers, we still had enough to maintain a safe presence on the track.
The obligatory hit of caffeine before heading up to Race Control and it was time to bring on the cars.
It was a relatively quiet day on the track with only 24 recoveries and 1 fire.
After a senior officials briefing at the end of the day, I managed to make it home before dark but only just (lucky we still have daylight saving).
Today was to an average sort of day so I thought I would match Foursquare check-ins I had during the day with a photo of each location. It ended up I had too many photos today with the day almost ending up with a bang.
The day started out quiet in our street but heading to work I got held up by a freight train at the Blackwood Railway Station (Foursquare Mayor here). Stopped off at the Blackwood Post Office (Foursquare Mayor here) to pick up the latest Geocoin Club geocoin.
Got held up some more on the way into Adelaide with a number of roadworks. It is not too much of a problem as the car tends to be a mobile office these days anyway. Arrived at the Adelaide Fire Station (Foursquare Mayor here).
A normal sort of day and one of my cohorts suggested lunch at Chinatown and in particular one our favourite haunts – Singapore Delights (Foursquare Mayor here). We walked down through Victoria Square to a packed Chinatown but another great meal of #11 with extra chilli.
Walked back to work through the Central Market and finsihed off my Fire Service day or so I thought.
After work it was time to go to the Scouts Rally SA Office (Foursquare Mayor here) to put in another 5 hours with the Rally only 2 weeks away. On arrival, Ivar told me there was some sort of gas leak in the front office.
After a quick sniff, it was time to bring in some guys in a “Big Red Truck” to use the meters to find the source of the gas. After a bit of detecting and searching, we came up that it was a refigerant gas leak from the air conditioner. Thats a job for tomorrow and we had work to do tonight.
We rugged up, turned off the heat and opened the windows, got down to it and finally came up with a Draft Entry List for the Rally at 11 pm.
The Final Day for the Clipsal 500 is normally a laid back sort of day compared to the other three. There a couple of races in the morning to fill in the time til the pomp and ceremony of the Driver’s Parade, a V8 Ute Race then the final 250 kms of the Clipsal 500 to finish off the day.
This morning wasn’t all that different to other final days except that there was a hint of rain on the way. Not a little bit of rain but tropical rain from the north. After yesterday’s perfect conditions, it was going to make today’s racing interesting.
The rain kept holding off but we had an eye on the radar. We got through the first races with no issues, then a Driver’s Parade with 200 Harley Davidson’s then the Driver Photo.
It was then time for the V8 Ute Race and the heavens opened up. Perfect timing with the utes just on the grid. This was going to be fun as they have little control in the dry.
The utes behaved themselves until the last lap then they let loose. I am not sure how many were in the field at the start of the race but I had 11 broken utes to organise recoveries with only 9 tow trucks (we thought that would be enough) and the big race to come.
We cleaned up th track with time to spare and it was time for Race 2 of the Clipsal 500. The track was still damp and the cars were running wet tyres. After around 25 laps, the track started to dry and crews starting to change to slick tyres and it wasn’t long before we had more rain and then cars starting hitting concrete barriers. We had one recovery out of that downpour with the others limping back to Pits.
Wet tyres were put back on and of course the track started to dry again. Sicks started to go back on which resulted in the rain coming down which brought out another Safety Car for another recovery. The race did finally finish but I am unsure of what tyres were on at the time.
It was a matter of seconds after the last car crossed the Finish Line before the track invasion began. How no one was cleaned up, I am not sure.
Our final task in Race Control was to fair well the Chief Medical Officer, Roger Capps, who was retiring after this year. It was then on to the Thankyou BBQ, not before having a couple of beverages at the A Team in the rain.
Another good year is complete …..
You never know what the day will bring. It was another start in the dark but we finished with sunlight.
First thing up, I had another 10 fire marshals to distribute around the track (nearly at our maximum number). After sorting out some that went to the wrong spots, we were ready for the day.
It was a great day for the racing, it was warm and dry and the crowd numbers were large (2nd biggest Saturday Crowd).
How quick things change. Race 1 for the V8 Supercars was going well until a few of them decided to become intimate with the concrete barriers.
A few Safety Cars while we recovered the wrecks and it became a 5 lap sprint to the finish.
The last race of the day was the Formula Fords. They had a definite affinity for concrete. We had 11 recoveries in 3 laps which took out about half the field and we ended up using every tow truck to pick them up.
What started out a quiet morning, certainly ended in a bang.
There is talk of rain for Day 4 so it will be interesting to see what happens then ….
There is one constant with the Clipsal 500 – we get to the track in the dark and we leave the track in the dark with a small window in between to grab a few hours shut eye.
Today was no different. In fact, we had another twilight race which ran later than last night. It was a one hour Australian GT Championship Race but after half an hour we weren’t sure whether the race would last that long.
In the first half hour about half of the field was out of the race, leaving 13 cars to compete into the dark and the flaming pyrotechnics at the completion of the race.
Being the second day, I had another 20 fire fighters at my disposal which made the “chess game” of positioning fire marshals a lot easier.
Bring on Day 3 …..
The first day of the 2011 Clipsal 500 had arrived. Preparations have gone well.
Numbers are down slightly on previous years with the Fire Marshals and there is the usual changes of days that can be worked and not worked by them.
We still had enough to do the job and with some last minute massaging of the dispersals, it was time to hit print.
An early morning start at the Sign On tent and of course, more massaging of the dispersal with a few more non starters for the day.
Headed up to Race Control with the usual heart starter Cappuccino to take on the onslaught of equipment issues that need to be dealt with on the first morning.
It was then time to get some cars circulating on the track.
The morning started out well with a few recoveries, mainly for breakdowns. No fires or crashes of note. That was until the Aussie Racing Cars had their first race.
This was followed with some more flurry in the V8 Utes, The day finished with the Australian GT Championship which was supposed to be a twilight event but with the cloud cover ended up being a night finish.
Total recoveries for the day was 33 – a little down on previous years which is probably a good thing.
The final duty for the day was the Seniors Briefing (with the obligatory beverage), then home to get ready for Day 2.
It is always interesting to see what the day will bring on the 12th of each month and today was another very different and varied day.
It started out with a visit to Lions Bargain Centre to drop off a couple of old stoves we had accumulated over the years. The Bargain Centre is where Lions Club members have provided the Blackwood community with the opportunity to “dispose” of their unwanted saleable goods which have been turned into cash and in turn donated back to many worthwhile local recipients.
Only problem was when I had loaded up the stoves and started to head off, one of the new tyres on the Fire Camry was flat. The tyre was not even a day old yet …. so out with the compressor and dropped off the stoves. Like lost things that are dropped off, you don’t even get them off the trailer and someone has bought them. It is a busy spot on a Saturday morning.
I busied myself with helping out the Australian Government by being a Tax Commissioner. In other words I started on the quarterly BAS statement where I work out what tax I have collected on behalf of the Government and send them a cheque. One day I should send them an invoice for the time it takes to collect the tax on their behalf.
It was then time to make my way out to Speedway City for volunteer duty on the Fire & Rescue Crew. Of course I grabbed a couple of caches on the way out and home as well.
It was a quiet night with small fields for most races until the novelty Ramp Jump Race where old cars with basically a roll cage head round the track going over 4 ramps while trying to stay upright and not catch fire. It is really a Demolition Derby with jumps. Even though we didn’t have any fires, there was plenty of rollovers and fuel spills.
The most spectacular part of the night was the sunset with red clouds away towards the east and orange clouds on the horizon to the west.
Until next month – I am on call on the 12th March so anything is possible …..