OMM 2016: Race Controllers Comments

Dave Chapman

Race Controller

My first observation is to remind those of you that have competed on previous KIMM/OMMs at Galloway that this year’s location was indeed Galloway.  You probably worked that out from the underfoot conditions but you certainly didn’t work it out from a comparison of the weather; for the first time the event has been here the weather wasn’t atrocious!

Thanks to Ian for planning a great set of courses with plenty of route choice for everyone. We really tried hard to get the winning times closer to target than they have been for the last few years and I can see from the results that we achieved this, which was a particular challenge when you consider the difficulty of the terrain.

C and D courses are often regarded as the standard introductory course, but there are always a lot of teams on these courses who take a lot longer than the winners and maybe the Short Score should be regarded as the best introductory course (after the OMM Lite of course).

The map was of the usual high quality from Harveys but unfortunately the encapsulation wasn’t. Stuart has covered this issue in his report so I’ll just add my apologies for this.

I wonder if you have considered how much effort goes into the setting up of OMM Courses?  Ian has spent many days walking the hills considering route options as well as control locations and I’ve done a few as well; we’ve both spent a lot of time at our computer screens reviewing courses as well. I have a core group of “assistant controllers”, known as the Hill Team, who spend 4-5 days in the area at the start of June checking out proposed control sites to ensure the map is sufficiently accurate to ensure they can be found in poor visibility. The Hill Team and the Planner, together with a few local helpers take 4 days to put out and cross check all the control during the week leading up to the event, and of course spend a good few hours on the Monday afterwards getting them back in again. I’d like to thank all those who helped set up the hill competition.

Similarly, I want to thank the Hill Marshals who spent the weekend at a control point for your safety; some of them return every year. I heard a few positive comments about the friendly reception competitors received, and some marshals were involved in assisting retiring competitors. A key part of that role is bringing in as many controls as possible on Sunday afternoon – so that we can interrogate the boxes to localise any search for missing competitors. Thankfully this was not necessary this year.

There were 2 issues this year for which I need to explain the background and the decision.

The first relates to the final control on Saturday. Each of the linear courses had one of 2 controls close to the O/N campsite and although the controls were 230m apart and on different features a few teams on Elite, A and C punched the wrong one which would normally lead to disqualification.

There are probably 3 contributing reasons for this mis-punch. The first is that the 2 controls were either side of the run-in path and all those who mis-punched did so at the first one, which was visible from the path. The second factor was that the first control was DM and the second was DN. The third reason is that maps were somewhat difficult to read due to the delamination issue.

When told they had mis-punched teams were advised that they could go out again and indeed some did so but others couldn’t face the extra effort, and some didn’t spot they had mis-punched until they had erected their tent.

On Saturday evening the Event Director, the Planner and I, with advice from Jen Longbottom, spent a lot of time debating the rights and wrongs of the situation; competitors should read their descriptions, the controls were well apart on different features, but using DM and DN for the final controls when competitors were exhausted was a mistake, and we didn’t know if everyone’s maps were legible. Ultimately I concluded that it would be fairest all round if I reinstated anyone who had mis-punched but gave them a 10-minute penalty. The time of those who had gone out again to punch the correct control had the extra time taken re-credited before being given the 10-minute penalty.

The second issue was the points allocation of 2 controls on Sunday. Long Score maps showed DW at 20 points and CW at 40 points but the Control Descriptions on the maps showed them at DW – 40 points and CW – 20 points. Similarly, on Medium Score DW was worth 20 points on the map and 40 points on the Control Descriptions.

The vast majority of teams use the points allocation shown on the map to aid their route planning so I deemed it appropriate to use the points allocation as shown on the map and arranged for this to be implemented which is why some of you will have a different score in the results from the one on your splits.

This issue arose because the production of Control Descriptions had the reversed allocation of points between these controls and I can only apologise to those teams affected whether this is those who have lost or gained points or those who made their route selection having read the CDs.

You will have noted that start times on Sunday were somewhat earlier than in previous years. This was a lesson we learned last year when a number of teams were caught out by the 16:00 course closure (which I implemented for safety reasons). I trust that the piper helped you to get to the start in time.

Whilst on the subject of safety, I had a few reports from Hill Marshals of teams where only one partner visited the control. This is in direct contravention of the rules of the event which require teams to stay together and is a definite safety issue – if you aren’t together then you aren’t looking out for each other. There were two teams where only one partner went to the control and without a rucksack and these teams have been disqualified.

Finally, thanks to you, the competitors, for entering and making all of the hard work worthwhile. From the feedback I’ve seen most people enjoyed it.

I hope to see you all next year which will be our 50th anniversary.

Dave Chapman

Dave Chapman

Race Controller

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