Author Topic: Solo 2 Novice Handbook  (Read 28577 times)

Offline marka

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Solo 2 Novice Handbook
« on: July 13, 2004, 11:23:27 AM »
Howdy,

So we've had a couple issues at SCR events with course working and such.  Nothing that was the end of the world, but a couple times it was enough that with one or two more mistakes it _could_ have been the end of someone's world... Course workers that get hit with cars typically end up dead or otherwise fairly well injured.

So I figured I'd start a discussion about "how to work the course" for autox.

First, my favorite rule, "Don't get hit".  This sounds really simple and straightforward, but its sometimes more difficult it seems.  There's a challenge to working course and getting cones back in place before the next car comes through and sometimes folks forget that getting in the way of the next car can have fatal consequences.

When you're working the course, first off make sure that you've got a safe "home position".  This may or may not be where the cones and fire extinguisher are (though we try to make it so).  You want that home position to ideally be on the inside of a corner and close enough that you don't have a long way to run to cones that are the most likely to get hit.  You also want to be out of the driver's view if at all possible, so that you don't screw them up.  If the course is such that you need to stand on the outside of a corner (our Sunday event's far right hand corner was a good example of this) to get to a frequently hit cone quickly, make damn sure you're _well_ back.  A car going even 40mph can slide a long freaking way, and people get confused and drive off course at speed sometimes.

There's another reason to not take chances as well...  Its not a safety thing (as much), but if you're pushing the interval to the next car to get the cone back in place, the driver of that next car will see you in their (future) path.  Even if you're able to get away quickly, that driver has to decide what to do... And that can screw up their run.  This happened to me personally 2nd heat in the morning on Sunday.  I ended up keeping going, but during that momentary decision point, I lifted a bit and my attention shifted.  1st run, so whatever, but drivers shouldn't be needing to make judgement calls like this while driving.

2nd, red flags...  At the meeting, I said that the flag should be in the hand of someone at the corner station.  Which was good as far as it went, but I should have said some more.  You need to hold the red flag.  You also need to keep it furled up... NOT rolled up, just gathered up under a finger so that you can wave it quickly if you need to, without unrolling it.  Waving a red stick at people isn't as effective as waving a flag...  Keep that furled flag down by your leg so that drivers don't mistakenly think the red flag is being shown to them.  Finally, if you _do_ decide to red flag someone, WAVE THE DAMN FLAG LIKE YOU MEAN IT!  This past weekend I watched someone decide they should redflag a car, then sorta willy wag the flag around.  Predictably, the driver of the car never saw the flag.  If you decide to bring out the red, DO IT.  Wave the flag vigorously, move so that you're in the field of view of the driver (NOT IN THEIR PATH HOWEVER!), etc.  If you're working out there without a redflag, if you or others decide to stop a car, wave your arms up and down and get the driver's attention.

As a driver, if you think you see a red flag being waved at you, even if its not particularly clear, STOP.  If you haven't already gone off course or whatever you'll get a re-run.  Its not worth taking a chance.

Note, however, that if you try to play the "safety" card to get a rerun on a run that you've hit a cone on or otherwise made a mistake (but stayed on course)...  I'll take a very dim view.  At best it'll be unsportsmanlike conduct and you'll probably be done for the day.  In questionable circumstances, we absolutely want you to be as safe as you can be.  Abuse of that won't be tolerated however.

Hopefully that covers at least the start of the safety stuff.  If anyone else has more, speak up!

Some other corner working things...

Watch the cones, not the cars.  Its easy to follow the car around the course and miss the cone they got with the opposite rear corner.  As the car goes by, glance quickly at each cone to verify that its not moving.

If a cone moves _at all_ you need to go make sure its still centered in the box.  It may or may not be a penalty, but the next driver through deserves to have that cone centered in its box.  And you can't tell if it is from 20' away.

When a car really pastes a cone, take one with you when you run over there.  Sometimes the cone gets caught in the car, sometimes its just punted fairly far away.  You can often run over, put a new cone in the box, grab the punted cone, and get to a safe place (which may not be your home) prior to the next car arriving much faster than you could have run to get the punted cone and gotten it back into the box and gotten back home.  Teamwork helps here too.  One person goes after the punted cone, one takes a new cone to the box.

Getting out to your workstation...  At SCR we run then work.  That means that people who ran toward the end of their heat may not have time to get their car back to their paddock spot and get back up to check in for work before we'd otherwise be ready to start running the next heat.  This isn't the end of the world, we realize that you need some time (hopefully not too much though) to get this done.  However, we'll be starting the next heat as soon as we have cars ready to go and enough workers out there to police the course.  That means that the folks checking in later may need to work their way out to their station while cars are running.  This is completely safe to do, provided you pay attention.  Worker changes "on the fly" are the norm at bigger events, and we'll be doing this more and more as our attendence stays high and we continue to try and get six runs and hopefully fun runs.  You probably won't be able to just walk straight to your station, you may need to walk on the edge of the lot, pick a proper time to cross over, etc.

Finally, who has to work...  This one is really simple.  Everyone who competes has to work.  Some folks work tech prior to the event.  Board members like Chris or Ricky work during the entire event, before it, and after it.  But most folks work their assigned work heat.  Missing a work assignment without prior permission from me or Manfred (the assistent chair) is grounds for DQ on the first offense and you won't be welcome to run with us for at least a few events if it happens again.  We're not trying to be dicks about this though... If you have something happen that means you'll have trouble with your work assignement, if you have a physical problem that means you'd have trouble chasing cones, etc. just see me (preferably) or Manfred (if I'm not available) and we'll figure something out.  But, if you just decide its too hot to be out there running around after cones, DQ at a minimum.

Anyone else got stuff on this?  Like everything in autox, there's a ton of details and minor things that together make up being a good course worker.  We don't have time to cover it all at a driver's meeting, so I figured starting some discussion wouldn't be a bad thing!

Mark
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Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2004, 11:44:52 AM »
yes SIR!

I often work as the starter. That leaves me partly responsible for deciding when a car is safe to take off onto the course. SCR events often start with a Slalom, which are prone to cone bashing. That said, I notice that sometimes a worker will haul tail to get a cone back in to its spot, then lally back over to the station. Maybe out there they feel like they are far enough away, but from where I, or the van, or any other starter for that matter, it can be difficult to judge where you are in relation to the cars projected path.

So please, not only do we need to get the cone fast, but get hte hell out of the way, far and clear too.


And always, always, signal if a cone is ok or not ok. Its a pain trying to find out if the cone was merely nudged or actually out of the box. Let the spotter know by giving the appropriate signal either way.

Andy
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Offline D.R.

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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2004, 11:57:27 AM »
Another thing from working grid: Do what the gridworkers tell you! I had sooo many problems on Saturday, mostly because of the fast finish and people pausing to do whatever. GET OUT OF THE CHUTE. I don't want to mention anyone but there were a few drivers who would habitually stop and talk to friends and discuss the course, all the while cars are backing up. Then, by the time they get moving I'm completely backed up with getting people in and out of spaces and they have to hold the start.

So, do what the gridworker tells you to, and promptly. BUT, also check around to make sure it's safe.


-D.R.
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Offline marka

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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2004, 12:11:46 PM »
Quote
Another thing from working grid: Do what the gridworkers tell you! I had sooo many problems on Saturday, mostly because of the fast finish and people pausing to do whatever. GET OUT OF THE CHUTE. I don't want to mention anyone but there were a few drivers who would habitually stop and talk to friends and discuss the course, all the while cars are backing up. Then, by the time they get moving I'm completely backed up with getting people in and out of spaces and they have to hold the start.

So, do what the gridworker tells you to, and promptly. BUT, also check around to make sure it's safe.


-D.R.
Cat Herder
Howdy,

:-)

One of the things that will be changing for future events is that grid will be moved back a bit more from the course and there will be a full fourty spaces...  With the new fuel pumps, we've been trying to squeeze it in and it just isn't work.  At times you've got cars trying to back into their gridspots, cars coming off a run, cars coming into the site, cars leaving the site, and cars heading out to the course.

Having grid jammed up against the course & particularly the access road/VDA corner isn't helping.  We'll be changing this in the future.

Mark

Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2004, 12:31:36 PM »
It was mentioned, but nothing really came of it:

Could BeaveRun enforce the concept of using the dirt road along Wilsons Circ for general site access. Now, if The carters are running, its only giving one persons problems to another, but on days like saturday, it would have eliminated the in/out traffic problem if there werent RV's and whatnot on the grid.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2004, 12:31:54 PM by Eleven STS »
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Offline marka

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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2004, 12:40:14 PM »
Quote
It was mentioned, but nothing really came of it:

Could BeaveRun enforce the concept of using the dirt road along Wilsons Circ for general site access. Now, if The carters are running, its only giving one persons problems to another, but on days like saturday, it would have eliminated the in/out traffic problem if there werent RV's and whatnot on the grid.
Howdy,

BeaveRun has been reluctant to do this.  Its happened in the past for special events (last year's divisional), but it apparently isn't acceptable for it to be the norm.

I think this is primarily due to two things... #1 karters.  They don't want vehicles going up and down that dirt road with all those kids around.  #2, consistency.  Folks entering and leaving the site won't (probably) figure out which way they can go.

I can ask BeaveRun again though.

Any other "how to work the course" comments though?  Surely I didn't cover it all...

Mark
« Last Edit: July 13, 2004, 12:41:50 PM by marka »

Offline BSP39

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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2004, 01:05:01 PM »
If we have enough workers can we get some one who can let people know where they tagged a cone? And then tell the guy giving out the Post-It notes?

We could divide each course up into like 4 areas or the worker stations. Somethin as simple as "one cone in area 2 for 39 BSP". The reason I ask is on some occasions I don't even know that I've tagged a cone until I look at a printout of the times after the 1st heat and 2ndly it would be nice to know where that cone is.  
Phil Skalos
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Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2004, 01:17:54 PM »
That sounds difficult to implement. Hell, its hard enough to get the info to the "time writer guy" about hitting a cone, let alone WHERE.

I think it would be good to make better use of the radios in this case. There is just not enough time to get it all on paper tho right AT the run.
Still waiting for 4 fun wheels, playing with 2 for now.

Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2004, 01:22:18 PM »
Perhaps what we really need is a solid lenghty session devoted to worker training. Demonstrations, and all. I hate to be the one to suggest it. but make it mandatory if its decided apon
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Offline BSP39

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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2004, 02:43:38 PM »
Maybe the location of the penalty is abit ambitious but I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to communicate that a person hit a cone(s) during his/her run, so that the Post-It person can write it on the ticket.
Phil Skalos
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"The Object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his"

Offline marka

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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2004, 02:54:02 PM »
Quote
Maybe the location of the penalty is abit ambitious but I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to communicate that a person hit a cone(s) during his/her run, so that the Post-It person can write it on the ticket.
Howdy,

I agree that getting the location would be a bit tough.  We're not really geared up to recognize where a cone was hit.

Cone count should be able to be added though.  The spotter/timing van folks and the time writer just need to work together.

I'll mention this to Chris so that he can let the time writers know that its important to get cone count on the time slip as well.

Mark

(Hey Chris!  Tell the time writers to put cone count on the slip also!  :-)

Offline Prelude

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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2004, 04:49:46 PM »
Quote
Cone count should be able to be added though.  The spotter/timing van folks and the time writer just need to work together.

I'll mention this to Chris so that he can let the time writers know that its important to get cone count on the time slip as well.
This has been done from time to time, but with no real consistency.  It just depends on if the writer thinks of doing it.  I would do it if I were the time writer(although nobody would be able to read it except me), but then again not everybody is as smart/intelligent/inventive as me.   Wait that doesn't sound right, what I meant to say was as slow/dimwitted/retarded as me.   :P  
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Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2004, 04:54:12 PM »
When I write times, if the cone is a definate, I write it.  Other wise, I might add a question mark to let them know there was some confusion over whether a cone was hit or not
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Offline roundel

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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2004, 05:14:33 PM »
Ya know...  This is one of those topics that is worthy of a pin...  So long as we don't get too off topic.

And speaking of off topic...  I don't know how much of what I have to say is course working and how much is just event coordination, but I've had a couple experiences while working the course that are worth mentioning.  

1.  Numbers.  People allowed to run their car with out proper - clear - easy to read - numbers on both sides of the car do not help the course worker any...  Especially when walkie talkies are used.  

I had a deer in headlights moment on course a few weeks ago with a car that had STS85 on the side of the car...  Except it was in black tape and the 5's and S's looked about the same, and the T looked like a 1...  And, I'm used to seeing number first class second...  So my brain started going with 51 SBS? no wait 515 BS? What number is that?"  Going through the possible combinations of those 5 characters in my mind was sorta like dividing Pi by hand...  Anyway, I'm trying to decide who to call the cone on over the radio while I'm standing above the cone that he hit, which violates rule number 1 of course working...

Point?  Anything that distracts the course workers from the task at hand = bad.

2.  It is very difficult to quickly decide where to put a cone when it doesn't have a box to go in...  This year - Once due to rain and once due to someone's oversight while laying out the course I was faced with trying to make this decision while a car was headed towards me.  I obviously remembered rule 1 and got out of the way, but didn't really know (this is my first year doing this) what to do to signal back to the spotter that the next guy went by with one less cone to worry about and / or what to do about trying to best guess the cone back in place.  Perhaps the "what to do" in odd situations like that might be worth saying briefly in the drivers meetings...  

I guess this is the same point.   Thinking = Distraction = Bad for new course workers.

 :dumberer:

Just an observation.  :)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2004, 05:18:32 PM by roundel »

  [Ethan "if it weren't for that cone" Connor | 97' 318i | 98' 323is #89DSP| 99' M3]

Offline roundel

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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2004, 05:24:47 PM »
I just realized how bad that made me look...  Here is an artists rendition of the STS85 in question...  Except it was black tape on burgundy, and went moving by quickly.   :blush:

Heh, probably not required, but I felt compelled.

[attachment deleted by admin]

  [Ethan "if it weren't for that cone" Connor | 97' 318i | 98' 323is #89DSP| 99' M3]

Offline Ron

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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2004, 09:32:04 PM »
I'd toss in my $0.02 about Mark's favorite rule - "Don't get hit"...  There are a variety of ways you can not do this, some are more imaginative than others.  As a newbie to this, I understand the "don't turn your back on the car (or the other car either).  

But it might be useful to remind people to be very aware of their personal space aside from the car:  Don't set your water bottle down where you're going to step on it if you need to run.  Keep it between you & the car you're watching.  Don't stand around with your hands in your pockets.  If you really must re-tie your sneaker, do it between runs.  Etc.

Too many words about so little?  Sorry.  It's how I'm paid to think all week...
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Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2004, 10:38:38 PM »
I too was troubled by a car with numbers only on one side. A WRX i think. They were saying # such and such "bla bla bla" and i didnt know who it was! (I was starter)

But this is about course working, so, On the course, we've covered about everything I can remember havinbg a problem with. But we do need to work on communication from the workers to the van.  
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Offline marka

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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2004, 10:42:31 PM »
Quote
I too was troubled by a car with numbers only on one side. A WRX i think. They were saying # such and such "bla bla bla" and i didnt know who it was! (I was starter)

But this is about course working, so, On the course, we've covered about everything I can remember havinbg a problem with. But we do need to work on communication from the workers to the van.
Howdy,

How well do the radios work for this?

I'm ashamed to say that its been awhile since I've dealt with a radio at SCR events...  Probably it'd be smart for me to start carrying one.

Chris, we got an extra radio?

Mark

Offline Daewoo

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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2004, 10:49:49 PM »
Oh, I wasnt implying that radio communication was going to help the car only having one set of numbers.

I was just making that as a point (on topic) that we need to work on
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Offline Brian

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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2004, 11:24:29 PM »
as far as noting where cones are hit and recording more details

ive only worked as announcer/recorder once so far, earlier this season...i was a terrible announcer, mostly because i was WWAAYY too busy recording times, listening to the spotter, making sure i knew where to write the times for the next car...ectect

as little stress in that seat as possible would be good



the other issue that strikes me once in a while, is that on days with a higher turnout, it seems there are just too many workers on course, 4 and 5 to a station is just too many people to have out there at once

maybe having the cone monkeys working one of two heats with only 2 to a station, that way less time out in the sun, but its easier to be attentive and active
(i swear im not trying to be lazy, and strike me down if i am, but i notice that i get really lethargic when im standing around 2 full heats with a bunch of other people)
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