Tech Talk with Chas
On the weekend of the 29 September, I was asked by president Robbo to assist Shane Ryding as the D.S.O. for Sports Sedans. This is not a Distinguished Service Order as the Military might tell us but is a Driver Standards Observer, e.g. an official looking for drivers passing when a yellow flag is displayed. It just so happens I have some limited experience concerning yellow flags. Having acted on previous occasions in the D.S.O. position, I was well aware the position is about far more than yellow flags. Shane and I are able to work together well, and this occasion was no exception. Michael Holloway was Clerk of Course; the D.S.O. must work closely with the C. of C.
The usual procedure is this. When a driving infringement becomes obvious, the C. of C. will want to apply a penalty, if a D.S.O. is representing the category, the C. of C. will suggest a penalty then look to the D.S.O. for confirmation of the penalty, the D.S.O. may not agree and will suggest an alternative. This alternative is often accepted, but not always accepted. As an example Brett Dickie was observed by many in the control tower, including Shane and I, to have moved during the start procedure (he jumped the start) Shane and I quickly agreed to wait and see if this was observed by any one else. (It had been) The C. of C. stated a 15 second penalty be applied. In the early laps of the race this would have relegated Brett back several positions. Since the movement on the grid did not give Brett any race advantage, Shane and I offered a 5 second penalty, as a 5 second penalty would not alter the result of the race, but still be seen to be penalizing the infringement, this was accepted by the C of C.
There were many other occasions on the weekend when Shane and I were required to represent the C of C’s. directions to individual S/S competitors, most were of a minor nature, and were not always received very well. It is a great advantage to the S/S competitor group to have a D.S.O. acting on their behalf, as shown by the example above. The D.S.O. is a messenger from the C of C. and should not be seen as a decision maker, some competitors want to shoot the messenger, this is a shame, because the alternative is to be drawn towards the Stewards, and as we all know this can be very expensive.
Over the weekend all S/S competitors had a good time. There were not any serious incidents and every one was able to go home with their car in one piece, always a positive. There was some excitement when Ian Cowley destroyed a front tyre; it was just passed the start finish line while travelling at warp speed. With two laps to go this handed Brett the race win and top points for the weekend. Ian would have to do something spectacular at the 50K plate meeting if he wants to rest the state championship from Brett. See you at Phillip Island.
More next time.