A Year as the Potters Arf Course Director - Paul Wright

In September I attend the initial planning meeting for the following year’s event. This confirms the date of the event and confirms the main sponsors.

In January (Approx. 6 months before the race) I speak to and book the contractors who supply the gantry, barriers, cones and road signs. I contact the leader of the Venture Scouts who help with marshalling on the day, I also contact and book a driver for the minibus to take the scouts around the route. I will also contact the Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes who do a very important job on race day on the course.

Between January and Early June I try to attend all meetings which also include, along with the Race Director meetings with the Traffic Management Company, the Police and City Council Highways Department.

In March I double-check any bookings I have made; I also check the route for any potential problems, for example a new housing estate, a new road layout or direction of travel.

May sees me double check the mini bus driver is still available on the day, and also check with the scout leader on how many have volunteered so far.

Approx. 10-12 Days before the Race Day I go around the course to erect 20 advance warning signs and the statutory road closure notices on the route.

Pre- Race Week

Monday sees me collect a sign written car to use all week until the following Monday, bin bags and cable ties are purchased (small items but very important).

Tuesday I ask permission from the Bucknall Police Post to place a warning sign on their railings. I attend the final Race meeting in the afternoon.

Wednesday I collect 2 vans which will be used for the race, one will be packed with road signs, bins, sponges and banners and the other van will be packed with coasters, goody bags and t-shirts. I purchase bottled water for my coning teams and the scouts. T- Shirts are bagged up to deliver to the water station leaders.

Thursday sees delivery of the t-shirts to the water station leaders and also sponges and bins are delivered to the sponge station leader. I will then mark the start line on the Potteries Way and contact the Coning Company to confirm a start time of 04:00am in Hanley on Race Day! When I arrive home I will make up 30 Marshall Packs for the Venture Scouts.

Friday I collect the banners which will be placed on the barriers around the finish area. I also collect 6 Road Closed signs from The Hanley Town Hall for use around the course. One of the vans will be delivered to the Race Directors home and I will collect any items from there which I may need for an early start on Sunday morning (e.g. the Start Banner). On arrival back at my home, I load my car with all signs to be erected plus a set of ladders.

Saturday sees me up at 03:00am and erecting signs at 04:00am (this is the best time as the roads are quiet!) I will check that my coning team have transport available and once I’m back home I will check all amber roof beacons are in working order and load the car with all the banners for the finish area.

Sunday Race Day!! Today sees me awake at 02:00am with an arrival in Hanley for 03:00am. My main helper Keith Bailey arrives with one of the vans and we start to do our tasks, we put the Start banner in place and the 6 Road Closed signs we have in the van are placed out on route ready for later. By 03:45am we are back at the finish waiting for the cone lorry to arrive, andat 04:00am we start to go around the course to drop off 14 signs and about 700 cones to be used to close roads and divert traffic. We are back at the finish by about 06:30am and by this time the finish gantry is being erected and 200 barriers are placed out. I close Town Road at 07:00am as per the T.T.R.O. and then I begin to set out all the banners which will be placed onto the barriers around the finish area. At about 09:00am I make sure that the course cars are fitted with the amber warning beacons and I check that the mini bus has arrived to transport the Venture Scouts and meet the Scout Leader. At 09:50am I organise my coning teams; I get them together and we set off to start closing roads around the route. I have my own timings worked out and therefore we finish all the coning   8-10 minutes before the leader finishes. On arrival back in Hanley I stay near to the finish and if needed I will go back out on course if any problem arise. At 2:00pm I re-open Town Road and the clean-up operation begins!

This is where I need to mention that driving behind the race is Keith Bailey with one of the vans who will collect in all the signs and mile markers, he also collects some road signs and cones which go back to the coning company. Keith will get back into the City Centre at about 3:00pm and we will empty his van of any rubbish collected and by 3:45pm the Finish area is clear and we vacate the City Centre. There are normally still around a dozen signs to collect which both Keith and I collect and on arrival back at Keith’s we empty the van of everything apart from the banners from Afford as these will go back with the van to Afford. We then take the van back to Afford around 6:00pm and I take Keith back to his home. My car is then loaded with as many signs as possible and I can drive home but my work doesn’t stop once there I will empty my car of signs and they are placed in my garage, the banners in the car will remain there until Monday when they will be returned.

Its 9:00pm and I can finally sit down and relax, 19 hours after waking up for the day!!!

Monday will see me returning banners and road signs plus any other items that have been used to their rightful owners! I will then collect my ladders and the rest of the road signs from Keith’s house and take them back to my home. At about 2:00pm I return my sign written car back to Afford.

Tuesday is the day I will go around the Race Route and check if any signs or cones have not been collected.

Approx. 10 days after the Race Day we have a debrief meeting to discuss any problems that might have occurred and also to join in with thanks on the completion of another successful event.

Three Months Later it all starts again!!!

Paul Wright
Course Director
Potters Arf