Water Stop Crew 2015

Lorraine and Alan Hancox

Watching and waitingIn 2014 we ventured into the unknown by accepting the role of Course Markers. Apparently we did an acceptable job because the Race Director made it clear the job was ours for “life”. Fortunately, as in that other event where life sentences are handed down, victims are occasionally “out” in a couple of years.

As experienced Course Markers, we knew a trick or two for this year having clambered out of the Troopy 155 times last year, opened the barn doors, grabbed hammer, peg and distance plate or some nonsense plate to position helpfully on the side of the track. This year we carried the hammer under Lorraine’s feet, five pegs in a tube on the bull-bar and distance markers, etc where luxury vehicles have a centre console. So, a lot less door opening and closing at least.

First out in the cool of the morning we were able to tackle those vehicle-and-spine-bashing-scalloped dunes and rock and roll to the top without too much hassle. Is oil supposed to dribble from shock absorbers? Why did so many screws work loose from built-in furniture? Why is my back so sore? Later as the first convoy made their way forward we had the entertainment of hearing reports of trouble and strife. “Not our problem!” On the subject of Unicorns in the desert, it is quite logical that they would be there. Like Dragons, Unicorns are mythical creatures. We have all seen Dragons in the desert, therefore Unicorns should also be in the desert. They may be just too shy to show themselves.

Course Marking

We worked to our Daily Check Sheets that incorporated any relevant information applicable to us taken from the Course Notes, including significant GPS readings. Our Garmin II Plus showed our route, waypoints for stage finishes and recorded distances. Our HEMA Navigator gave us a picture of where we were at any time as well as all the waypoints. The Troopy odometer allowed the driver to assist the navigator when the sun was full-on at the horizon and it was near impossible to see anything. The best time was prior to the eastern sky lightening because we had a clear view of every instrument. There was a bit of guessing where the track was at times. Using a decent topographic map on the Navigator we were able to see individual sand dunes, so when it came time to count-back 500 metres for the Boxing Kangaroo flag on the last dune crest we could judge exactly where to put it without incurring the wrath of riders.

President Kate eased her conscience for ‘swanning off to France’ by appointing us as Birdsville Pub Meal Voucher agents. A simple enough job until extras get added onto the list from time to time and others get taken off. The main thing was that everyone got fed, the money balanced and we didn’t get lynched. And, just to fill in any spare time “will you look after the merchandise”? We now know how a Chinese Fish market runs! Take 3 large bins of mixed hats, stubby holders and tee shirts. Place on a table as punters swarm in and then try and work out what you have while the numbers constantly change. We are glad everyone was so honest or we would have been deep in that brown stuff. There is definitely a case for getting organised before unlocking the doors. We were disappointed the Pirate’s brilliant idea for a $50 special on three stubby holders bore no fruit.

I will never understand why house auctioneers don’t put on a few sherbets before starting an auction. It works very well at the SDBC final night. Somehow we were conned into acting as auctioneer’s clerks for Bruce. I noticed that Howard, who unbeknown to us had initially offered to help took off like a Bondi tram when he saw us on the scene. Money and IOUs flew thick and fast as we struggled to keep up. Definitely a job for younger people! Back in our room afterwards we reconciled money with what was on paper. Strangely enough everything worked out OK and money was ready to be sent to our treasurer on Sunday morning. It was our pleasure really, to be involved in such a profitable fundraising event.

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