2019.09.07 – Officiating Merrick Criterium

Due to a shortage of officials, and the loss of one of the best officials in the area, I was asked to come down and be the CJ (Chief Judge) at the Merrick Crits. I was reluctant since I do not yet have a lot of experience, but Alan Atwood said I would be working with him and the race is not big so it would be a good learning experience. I agreed and I am assigned to a race in a few weeks. However, for the first race, I decided to volunteer and help out. This way I can familiarize myself with the proceedings before my turn comes up.

I arrived before the the CJ and CR (Chief Referee), and so I got busy helping the Race Director finish the setup of the course. This course is short, about half a mile, and it is where the fire department hosts their trainings. Mike Hammer the CJ arrived and we got busy setting up a table and chairs at the finish line, and getting the make shift lap counter set up. Shortly there after, Myles Romanow showed up, our CR for the day. Myles took a quick spin around the course on a bike to check things out and to familiarize himself with the course.

Racers and coaches were asking for a pit, and reluctantly Myles suggested the end of the start/finish straight before going into the first right hander as a pit location. Not having anyone assigned to the pit, he asked if I could work the pit. Riders with certain mechanical issues can pit and get two free laps (since the course is short) and get back into the race where they left off. The pit closes with five laps to go. After each race, once I closed the pit down, I would then run to the start finish and help the CJ get the placings.

The first race scheduled was the junior race, for a total of twenty laps. Right away we had  concerns from individuals regarding the mix of talent in the field. Myles made assurances that he would keep the slow riders who would be lapped out of the racing line for the faster riders. From my vantage point in the pit, the race went quite smoothly,  without any real issues.

The Men Cat 4/5 race was next up with forty laps. At this point I do not recall how the field was shaking up. I know it was confusing tracking the riders with such a large pack, and a short course. I had three people come through the pit, two DNFed and one got back into the race. Once I closed the pit, I tried to help score the finish but due to the numbers being used, it was excruciatingly hard for us and our cameras to pick out the numbers. For the Junior and Men Cat 4/5 they were using an orange background with a blue number. I was still trying to get my camera to properly record the finish and for this race I still did not get it right.

Last up was the Men 1/2/3 race. I was again assigned to the pit. Another forty laps to go. While in the pit I was experimenting with the SprintTimer software to figure out how to get it to properly record the finish of the race. After several laps I finally figured it out. There were no pit incidences in this race. A group of eight got off the front and managed to lap the field. There was contention after the race that the lead group merged back into the chase group and now the guys in the lead group would get help from teammates in the chase group. Unfortunately shy of pulling two thirds of the field and angering everyone, there is not much to be done, as confirmed by Alan with a quick phone call.

At the end of the race, with camera working, I was able to get the whole finish. With my video from my testing while in the pit, we were able to determine the brake, and placed them ahead of the rest of the group. A crash on the final lap coming out of the last turn soured things a bit. At least this group of racers had different colored numbers, which were slightly easier to pick out. White numbers on blue background.

I feel a bit more confident now that I helped. I do plan to return next weekend. Things that need to be fixed by the Race Director.

  • Proper numbers, black lettering on white background with proper sizing.
  • If they want a pit they need someone to work it. They were lucky I volunteered if not they would not have had someone to work the pit.
  • If they have the pit they need a two way radio between the pit referee and the CR.
  • A megaphone to make announcements so the riders can hear what is going on or when their field is being called up.

Next week I want to work on better tracking of the riders. I might use my phone and the SprintTimer software to help me out.

For results, please seek out the official results from the promotor. I will not disclose any of that information.

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