Motorsport Safety & Rescue - August 2009 Report

In has been an exhausting month for the Motorsport Safety & Rescue team, with three big events – the Australasian Safari, the Rally of Malaysia, and Targa West.

And things aren’t about to get any less hectic with the Australia’s World Rally Championship round, Repco Rally Australia, only just around the corner.

The month started with the Australasian Safari in outback Western Australia, an event commonly referred to as the “Dakar of Down Under”.

The event began in Perth and finished in the gold mining city of Kalgoorlie seven days later. While most events MSR provide medical services for usually only involve cars, the Safari saw nearly 100 entries on motorbikes, quad bikes and in four-wheel drives.

“It was an excellent event, but one that involved very early starts and very late finishes,” MSR’s Geoff Becker said.

“We had seven crews on the ground and one helicopter crew, and all our systems worked very well.”

Thankfully, there were no life-threatening injuries in the event, although with a rough and rugged event like the Safari, there were the usual minor fractures among the motorbike competitors.

“We had one really busy day with three or four helicopter deployments, but having a patient transport vehicle worked exceptionally well and took the pressure off the helicopter,” Becker added.

“The event organisation was very good and it was an enjoyable event for all our team.”

Following the Safari, MSR team member, Graham McGrath, flew to Malaysia to assist the MotorImage Rally Team in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship event.

Held in incredibly hot conditions, the job of keeping the crews of Cody Crocker / Ben Atkinson and Emma Gilmour / Claire Mole cool and hydrated wasn’t any easy one. However, it paid dividends with the team finishing a brilliant 1-2 in the event.

Next up was Targa West, the all-tarmac rally where once again MSR provided seven safety crews. Held in very wet conditions, drivers seemed to take a more cautious approach to the rally.

MSR attended several incidents, but only one injury (a driver with a fractured foot) required medical transportation.

All team members are now eagerly awaiting Repco Rally Australia, which begins on Thursday, September 3. Round 10 of the WRC, the event is a real pinnacle for MSR, and is easily their biggest commitment for the year.

“We’ll have 10 ground based vehicles, and we’ll be doing the FIV, medical and fire rescues as well,” Becker said.

“Each of the eight FIVs will have a doctor and an intensive care paramedic on board, while the two incident control vehicles will have two very experienced paramedics.

“We will also supply a rescue crew for the safety helicopter that will follow the event, as well as people to work at the rally service park as well.”

In all, Motorsport Safety & Rescue will have 32 people working on Rally Australia – a massive undertaking.

Support for their Rally Australia operation will be provided by Hema Maps and Pirelli.

To further add to the workload, MSR will attending a number of club and state events before and after Rally Australia, before heading to Indonesia for the next round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in early October.