Ninety competitors and hundreds of spectators came together on Friday 12th December for a weekend at Dome Valley, Auckland for the fifth and final race of The NZDH Outdoor Action Downhill Series. As downhill mountain biking enthusiasts whizzed by, they soon found that the track was treacherous thanks to the downpour of rain in the past few days. It was lucky that event organiser Mark Sprosen had taken precautions by investing in Icom radios for the event so that communications between emergency staff and volunteers were clear and reliable at all times.
The final event of the downhill mountain biking race series has always been the biggest event of the year. The Auckland Downhill Mountain Bike Club had previously used either cheap, off the shelf radios or mobile phones to keep in contact during events. "We would always encounter interference and bad reception. We’ve never had reliable communications that worked in the steep and thick forestry terrain before" said Mark. Constant static and cutting out in the past had hindered the event and caused disruption and confusion. So it was refreshing for the organisers to see the event run seamlessly with all track marshals, safety teams and organisers each carrying Icom’s IC-F1000 over the weekend.
By the time the last rider whizzed past the finish line, the ambulance call out tally stood at four with two helicopter evacuations. Mark said "it was thanks to the clarity that Icom radios provided that medics were able to reach accident sites quicker. They were able to get to the exact sites instead of second guessing over the static and indistinct lines."
It wasn’t just with accidents and emergencies that Icom impressed. The race starter was able to liaise with track marshals to coordinate the start times for racers to avoid congestion on the track and further accidents. Downhill mountain biking requires precision timing as every second could give you the leading edge to win the race so accurate time keepers were imperative. "At first, people were sceptical that such a small radio could provide clear communications coverage across the entire undulating track but were over the moon when they discovered that it did even in the thickest parts of the forest"says Mark.
Icom's IC-F1000 is IP67 waterproof and dust-tight which made it perfect for the rainy conditions during race day. Rugged and tough, it has 14 hours of operating time so users didn’t have to worry about dropping the radio or the battery running low like they did when using cell phones in the past.
Planning ahead and investing in quality, reliable radios, Mark was able to ensure that the event ran smoothly and like a seasoned mountain biker, was able to overcome unexpected bumps during the day. "Icom radios are perfect for heavily wooded conditions. The IC-F1000 is a standout product allowing clear and instant communications. Organisers of any event, operations or workers in those types of areas would relish all the features the IC-F1000 has to offer."