Last weekend we visited the MTB mini downhill cup in Wijchen (NL). This race is held on an artificial ski slope and is the second race in a series of 5 races in The Netherlands. The best way to get to know the MTB Downhill sport is to do a real time test along with the official timing system. First thing we noticed, is the fact that CloudTimer is very well suited to time MTB downhill races. We also noticed that it involves more than just a start and a finish.
What did we learn at the MTB mini downhill cup?
Basically there is not a lot of difficulty to timing an MTB downhill race. The riders start in order of starting list for their first run and in reverse results order at the second run. There is a maximum of 2 riders on the course and they never overtake or have close finishes. The safety on the course is very important regarding the high speed, jumps and blind curves on the course. The track covers a large distance of which a great part is not visible for the spectators in the finish area. Along the course the safety crew is blowing a whistle when a rider approaches an obstacle or curve, to notice the public. This blowing whistle was often the first indication of a fast time, even for the speaker.
Generally, the timekeeping was good with the system developed by the MTB Mini downhill organisation, but apart from the time from start to finish, it did not provide a lot of information.
When using CloudTimer, the timekeeping could be upgraded to a full face management system, with real time on-course information for the speaker and the public. The safety crew along the course could update section information or split times with their mobile phone while still blowing the whistle to warn the public.
At least the speaker (announcer) was enthusiastic about the real time results demo, and we hope to integrate the current system with the photocells and clocks to work together with CloudTimer for the next editions of this competition.