Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Travelling Circus

Jelajah Malaysia was my first big tour race. Well, my first tour that wasn't just based around one location like most of those in Australia. The tour covered over 1100km in 6 short days, and had an entourage of what seemed like over a thousand people that changed location everyday and followed the race as it moved around malaysia.

The whole thing was like a travelling circus. Everyday, the whole show was packed up and moved on to the next town for a few hours before doing it all over again. The logistics for the race organisers must have been insane!

The race convoy alone was something to be marvelled as a plethora of vehicles followed the race route on roads that were completely closed to the public for an extended period of time.

One hour before the race passed through, a separate convoy of cars paved the way including two police cars, a cavelcade of race novelty and sponsor vehicles and a fire and rescue vehicle. An hour later, just in front of the race was a police lead vehicle, about 30 police motorbike scouts, another police car, a radio comms car, press and media, VIP guests, another police car, a lead car, race director, commissaire and information motorbike. Then came the 180 rider in the race. This was followed by a commissaire car, race doctor, two neutral spares cars, a neutral water motorbike, two neutral spare motorbikes, another radio comms car, 30 team cars, another neutral service car, another commissaire car, two logistic cars, a car service car, another ploice car, another ambulance, two police motorbikes, the broom wagon and truck and a final police car!! On top of this, there were several media and camera motorbikes that went up and down the race and every team also had a second car that carried the luggage from each to team to the next hotel.

This convoy made its way around Malaysia day in and day out and was testament to the race organisers. But needless to say, it was not without incident. I saw two team cars crash into each other, two motorbikes crash into each other and even two members of the public crash into each other as the convoy came through.

At one stage, I pulled over on the side of the road due to a punctured tyre only to be rammed into by a media motorbike. He was extremely apologetic but still scared the heck out of me!!

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