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3rd - 7th March 2008
AS AT 10/02/2008 THE SPEED TRIALS HAVE BEEN POSTPONED!
After an inspection of Lake Gairdner by representatives of the DLRA and Rangers from the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage, on Friday 7th February 2008 and again on Saturday 8th February 2008. It has been decided to indefinitely postpone the 2008 DLRA Speed Week.
As anyone who has organised an event will realise it is very difficult to get everything to happen exactly when you want it to, so it is with Speed Week. There are a large number of permissions and approvals obtained from a wide variation of authorities, added to this we have the complexity of wanting the lake in a condition suitable to race safely. Here's where we stand right now. With winter approaching and the lake still unsuitable, there is no chance of conducting a race meeting in the comming months. When would be the first available opportunity? We have it on good account that the lake always has water over in in October, also Mt. Ive Station will be very busy in October with the sheep, so October is out. They also have a number of bookings already for the remainder of the year, so we would be “fitting-in” with existing bookings.
|Just rang the camp and spoke to Rob Carroll. (midday 6th March 2008)
There is no way that we could run a meeting with the current conditions. The main problems are; * The ramp, which is still soft and whilst you could get a couple of cars over it, could not withstand the constant traffic of Speed Week, especially the Trucks. It would cut up very quickly (see concerns below) * The variable hardness of the salt on the track. There are some parts that are quite good, but there are other parts where you can kick up the salt with your boot. This softness is especially around the 4 and 5 mile mark, several competitors remarking this is not where you want to be changing gears, or reaching your top speed. Could or would lead to blown motors through over reving due to the softness of the salt.
There was about 15 guys (competitors and officials) went out on 2 quad bikes (with trailers) on Monday, they went right up and down the track and the conclusions were unanimous. There was another inspection on Wednesday.
It is better than what is was 3 weeks ago, but still not dry enough for long enough.
Uncertain if the Lake was still officially closed as there was no chain at the ramp which is what DEH said they would do.
There was a long meeting with the Newtons on the Monday night. As you can imagine many items discussed. Once of the outcomes is that there will strictly be no further structures at the DLRA camp. Len is still waiting on a report from a Pastoral Board inspection in September last year, where the inspectors visited the camp. There has also been no liaison with Indigenous representatives at this stage.
Lastly the option of an alternative date was discussed. The reality is that whilst the competitors are willing and available at the drop of the proverbial, it is all the support teams that are most difficult to organize and commit to a date. This includes surveyors, fire crews, medical crews, officials. Not to mention the Newtons they already have a heavily booked calendar for most of the rest of the year. Starting with the sheep next week. It's not impossible but is is very difficult. And the trouble is if we were to keep monitoring the Lake and we did decide on a date, what's to say that with winter approaching we don't get some more rain between calling the meeting and the date of the meeting.
This decision has not been taken lightly, and in consideration of the wasted travels made by many competitors last year it was deemed appropriate to make a decision at this time. It is understood that there are some international vehicles in transit now and their departure was guided by the best information available at that time.
Using GPS an inspection of the track surface was undertaken at each mile mark, the salt was soft enough for a large screwdriver to be pushed in by hand. Where vehicles had driven over the salt, the depression left by the tyres immediately filled with water. On the Friday a DEH 4WD got bogged at the northern end of the course, fortunately they had a satellite phone and were able to contact DLRA members who brought out the necessary equipment to effect a difficult recovery.
Several teams are still planning on going out to the Lake around the 3rd March 2008, another inspection of the lake and track surface will take place at that time. It is not anticipated that the surface will be suitable at this time, so further inspections are planned of later in the year.
The issue of cancellation or postponement was discussed by approx 70 members at a meeting in Melbourne on 10/02/2008. There was overwhelming support to conduct a meeting later in the year if conditions were favorable. There are a number of other considerations to be taken into account for another date including the Newtons giving their approval, fire and safety crews availability, surveyors being able to mark the track at short notice and many, many other details.
The Test and Tune day at Mangalore was considered by all to be very successful and gave a lot of new vehicles the opportunity for a shakedown, saving valuable time and expense. There will be another Test and Tune day at Mangalore, date to be announced, Queensland are also looking for a venue.
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