It was our biggest undertaking since 1985 – an Australian Championship and World Ranking Event. The transformation of an ordinary school campus in Ballarat began at 7am when Ian began placing controls and I taped off out of bounds areas. By 9am the volunteer army had started to arrive, and were soon busy erecting tents, creating the finish chute, map changeover and start areas. The TV screens and commentary gear were next. By 11.30 things were hectic – the controller was checking the courses, and competitors were starting to arrive. The first competitors – a small group of DROC volunteers – went out on the course at 12.30, and the rest of us held our collective breath as we waited to see if everything worked. The elites were watching too, eager for a clue before their own starts 30 minutes later.
At 1pm on the dot the event got under way, and for the next 3-4 hours it was intense! Starts every minute meant a congested course, with competitors coming through the map change, and into the finish, every few seconds. Traffic management was vital, and no-one could afford to lose focus.
The arena was fantastic. Instant results were displayed on 6 large screens. Spectators crowded onto the terraces to watch the action from every vantage point, including the commentary balcony. Competitors did not disappoint, with many hurdling the fence onto the oval for the map change. Any mistakes here were in full view of the crowd! The Ballarat Courier and WinTV both got great footage, featuring Ian Dodd and Lanita Steer. For those wanting a more relaxed time, the grassy area, complete with O-shops, coffee van, and the colourful Schools tents, had a picnic race day feel. The weather was perfect, and most people stayed right through to the presentations.
The day was flawless, thanks to the DROC crew who performed above and beyond. expectations. Click here for photos from the day.