Paula and I were looking forward to Witley MCC Wallop enduro, not only was I entered in my first event for 6 months, the venue a country estate had never been used before.
It takes a lot of equipment to time a time card event, we usually run four timing towers at the time check (start finish line) and three at the special test one acts as backup. With only 80 very oversubscribed places available it was going to be a good test if the live timing worked on the website and more importantly was it reliable.
We turned up at this stunning locating on Saturday near Basingstoke and started to figure out the time check layout, no problem with the amount of space available. The drive to the special test was a couple of miles down so fireroads and rutty farm tracks, and so it turns out I had no signal on my phone, Paula had signal but very slow data connection....there goes the “live timing” idea. We set up as much equipment as possible to make Sunday less frantic and went out on the bikes so Paula could learn the quickest route between all the timing equipment.
After a very early start Sunday morning, once arrived we finished putting up the rest of the equipment and set up both computers just to make it easy to download the data. The event run smoothly, the timing was solid as normal and it was good to be back on the motorbike and doing my favourite type of event.
Results were put out a couple of hours later, all the software worked perfect, after a long tiring rewarding day.
I had lots of things to do in the lead up to The Ray Kennard Memorial, get the timing system ship shape, also some coding to the website, more of that later. The plan was to convert four of the square type timing towers to flat ones as they take up less storage space, repair the ones that got broken at BXDE and as always put the tags through the wash, replace missing one and update the SDcards with the new RFID codes.
It has taken me a long time to get round to writing some scripts automating the time card enduro results process. The reason why now? As I am doing more than a couple of time card events it made sense time wise. The usual procedure was making Excel spreadsheets which take quite a bit of time to do, and are a bit tedious for me. Motorcycle clubs tend to wait until the last moment to publish riders list, even then they will need quite a bit of work to make them usable, the dreaded time column formatted as text and such like. Time schedules are usually published on the day further acerbating time constraints as I normally like to ride, and still have to go through all the admin procedure like any other competitor.
My goals were;
Paula and I went down to West Harting on the Saturday and arrived late. By the time we set up the caravan there was only few hours of daylight left. Minor problem after problem with the timing towers and computers while testing the set up, just ate up the time quickly. This is all extra stuff that doesn't need to be running for the event but still needs testing as there is no better place to do it.
We got up early to set up the towers and again just like the day before time evaporated. The special test computer refused to connect to a tower, and then previous day decent cell phone reception become patchy, so we decided to just scrap the live timing idea....no point just having checkpoint data. There was no more to do than put my gear on and ride for over 6 hours on a slow poorly Yamaha IT175. Paula did a very good job of keeping the special test running which can get stressful. I did go back on the first lap losing some time to make sure there was a backup tower working.
By the time we got everything packed away and drove home, it was past 9pm, getting the caravan and Isuzu stuck didn't help, made a right muddy mess of both. Provisional results were done with in a hour using a spreadsheet. I then loaded the timing tower data into the database and had another result set in minutes to compare, which matched exactly.
It's always a pleasure to time and for me to ride West Harting, a rewarding long day.
With the uncertainty of Conv19, the cancellation of events for the next two months, we’re not sure when our next event will be. Personally we would not time an event until the ACU make a statement for events to start running again.
Paula and I headed off to Ashdown Farm in Oxfordshire to time BXDE 2019 for the Witley club. Very claggy conditions would mean there was going to be lots of cleaning involved afterwards. The event started on time and there were some very close battles in the respective classes, a couple of minute’s difference after three hours of riding at the finish line.
Everything went smoothly timing wise. We decided to set up three timing towers across the narrow finish area, we expected a high rider throughput with a short track and 180 riders entered, especially during the first few laps. One of the towers received some damaged when a rider fell on it, so we hot-swapped it over with a spare.
We were also running a spare computer to upload swipes directly to this websites database, using a mobile phone as a hot spot. Surprisingly this only took a few tenths of a second or less 1561 times, even with low signal strength.
We wish you a Happy New Year.
Paula Tidy and Manny Bernardez