Somersaults continued ….

It seems that my recent article (Olympic Standard Somersault) crossed in the ether with an informative item from GRV containing more details of the upcoming track at Traralgon. Simultaneously, GRV published a five-page survey asking for comments on the best way to allocate the extra $5.3m in prize money announced a few days ago. Responses are required within a week.

Well, that’s nice. Clearly, GRV is cracking on to the need to more effectively consult participants. Still, the survey is quite elaborate and covers items discussed many times in the past. After watching an episode of M*A*S*H yesterday it suggests the sort of entanglement that Colonel Flagg of CIA, or CID, or CIB (select one) would get stuck into. And Q14 pretty well covers everything on its own anyway. The proof of the pudding will lie in the eating.

The Traralgon thing is more intriguing. Two new items are critical.

First, its turn camber will be 8% which contrasts with the 10% favoured by UTS on the Horsham re-build. The wide, sweeping 70m turn radius will make life easier for many dogs (usually big dogs rather than small, nippy types) but the big trick will be to ensure that the heavy camber will be maintained as time goes on. Besides, the higher camber at Horsham appears to have been a success, so why not repeat it?

The same cannot be said for the “Drop On Boxes: 450m, 395m, 350m” – or drop-in, if you prefer it. Going on experience at Horsham and Shepparton, we have to assume that those boxes will be located very close to the running rail, leading to more crowding and greater early interference. This runs against the grain of good design which should concentrate on measures which keep the dogs apart, rather than stuffing them into a small space.

By the way, the Horsham drop-in replaced an earlier rebuild which positioned the 410m start well off the track. The only reason to dump that would appear to be a UTS fixation with the tight, drop-in concept.

All of this contrasts with the apparently successful design at Grafton (UTS also involved) where 350m and 660m starts are sited way off the track proper. That is, there is a 100% variation amongst two “state of the art” new tracks.

The drop-in concept has not only proved a dead loss (also at Bulli) but also soaks up more funds for (a) the extra machinery, (b) another front end loader and (c) more labour to run it. So why repeat it at Traralgon?

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