February 12, 2015

Animals and race tracks don't mix, revisited.

It's never popular when you criticize track safety, people got mad when we pointed out shocking safety lapses at Le Mans for example and people got upset when, at the start of the Bathurst 12 Hr,  I pointed out on twitter that there is no excuse for animals crossing a race track.

In fact, there are a couple other seemingly obvious yet easily improvable safety issues at Mount Panorama, the unprotected concrete walls at the top of the course screaming for some Tecpro barriers come to mind but, lets just stick to animals.

All too often, criticism of safety is met with a refrains along the lines of "that's the way it is, you can't do anything about it" and "racing is supposed to be dangerous".

Bathurst 12 hour organizers have been trying to do  something about the kangaroo issue.   Last year they proposed culling the skippies but that met with the displeasure of animal lovers and those who think 180 pound marsupials are a quaint feature of the Mount Panorama circuit.  Safe to say most of those complaining are not racers.

This year's plan involved snipers,  because involving high powered rifles on a circuit where fans strategically  bury beer  to circumvent a 24 per person limit, well,  what could possibly go wrong?

Most tracks have fencing.  A novel idea, I know and one that is usually unpopular with organizers because it costs money.    Curiously though organizers are usually not shy about fences when it comes to keeping non paying fans from getting a glimpse of the action.

Fences have the added advantage of keeping cars out of the woods and any flying bits out of the spectator stands and it's fair to the kangaroos.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Anthony Gilbertson is in the "build a fence camp" after smashing into a kangaroo at 220 km/h. with his BMW in the opening phases of this year's Bathurst 12 Hour.

It's not pretty,

(hat tip to Dominic Carey for finding the clip)

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