On the 1st of July last, the National road racing championships took place in Waterford city and the event was hosted by Comeragh Cycling Club. The 13.3-mile course took in some of the busiest junctions and roundabouts in the city, a huge entry saw over 120 riders entered for the senior race and 30 for the junior.
The senior race took in eight laps and the juniors five, Local operators (all AREN members) who had been involved in a similar type race last year were again asked to get involved in the traffic management side of things and readily agreed. AREN were then consulted and a course of action agreed.
First and foremost a site needed to be found for the AREN repeater that would provide radio coverage over the entire course and a site was subsequently found and tests proved satisfactory.
Following this, a decision was taken to use signs at all junctions and roundabouts which meant that mobile operators not familiar with the course could identify their precise location and also ensured that net control could pinpoint any segment of the race at any time as this was vital for traffic management.
Also a very simple radio protocol was adopted for the day, which ensured that all communications were kept short, and to the point with 14 operators involved on the day this was vital.
Race day saw all operators meet at race HQ at the W.I.T campus, firstly five mobiles were fitted with radios and antennas, mobile operators were Richie – EI9HR, John – EI7IG, EI7JS, Robbie – EI8FZB and Nicky – EI3JB. John, EI8JA then departed for the repeater site to set up the repeater aided by SWL David Gainda. John – EI2GN departed for the start/finish line to act as net controller while Conor – EI4JN was deployed as motorcycle mobile which enabled him to be deployed quickly anywhere on the course that he was needed.
Mick – EI3IQ, Gareth – EI7FZB, John – EI8FRB, Aidan – EI2CTB and SWL David went to their positions at various round-abouts and junctions. The senior race started promptly at noon followed ten minutes later by the juniors. Both races were accompanied by service cars also present on the course were officials of the cycling federations, Gardai, Ambulance service and Civil Defence.
Radio communications for the duration of the race was intense as the senior race was over in just more than four hours. Richie – EI9HR would like to thank all who helped out on the day also a big thank you to Neil – EI3JE for the loan of the equipment.