SMS: FEATURES & BENEFITS

SMS: FEATURES & BENEFITS

The new Safety Management System has brought about a raft of changes; some you’ll see and some you won’t. The aim of all of them is to reduce the risk of an accident. The scope of this work is both far-reaching and never-ending, but here’s a neat overview of the most noticeable features and their benefits that are already on their way.

ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

Definitely not the most eye-catching feature of the SMS, but perhaps the most important, TT 2022 will be the first event run under a new-look organisational structure, designed to maximise the safety of everybody, whether that’s the competitors, spectators, marshals, medics or other essential volunteers. There are countless roles within this structure, of course, but we can break it down to its most basic components.

Isle of Man Government is the rights-holder of the Isle of Man TT Races, specifically the Department for Enterprise. The Department employs staff to oversee the running of the event, but sub-contracts the job of Race Organiser to ACU Events Limited. It is the responsibility of the Race Organiser to deliver all of the racing we know and love.

In order to deliver the racing, ACU Events Limited must meet the standards required to be granted a course licence from the ACU, which is the governing body for racing in the UK, and a separate body to ACU Events Limited. We can think about this as adding another essential layer of oversight.

But those three parties only make up the top of a ‘TT family tree’. There are other Government Departments that are essential to the successful staging of the TT each year and, of course, thousands of volunteers, who all contribute to the event in valuable ways. The SMS recognises, however, that effective change cannot happen without getting the structure right first, and that must begin with the way the Promoter, Race Organiser and Governing Body work together.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Greater clarity between Promoter, Race Organiser and Governing Body

  • Greater clarity around all roles and responsibilities

  • Greater oversight throughout the new structure

  • Greater consultation and collaboration across the entirety of ‘Team TT’

  • Establishing more effective communication channels between all parties and volunteers

  • Up-scaling the organisational team to mitigate key person risks

The SMS will ensure the Race Organisers have greater oversight of the Mountain Course at TT 2022.

 COURSE OVERSIGHT

One of the more noticeable additions to the 2022 TT races will be the digital red flag system. Many of you will have seen the system used during a MotoGP or F1 weekend, and it’s the same supplier that has partnered with the TT. They don’t replace a marshal waving a red flag: they are in addition to a human waving a flag. The great thing about a digital system is that at the push of a button, the Clerk of the Course can immediately bring the racing to a stop; every single competitor, no matter where they are.

TT 2022 will also see the introduction of CCTV, which will serve key areas of the course. This is a massive step forward in terms of event management, with the organising team receiving impartial real-time information that can inform more immediate decision-making. This sort of fast, proactive analysis has long been the domain of sports like F1, not road racing.

In addition to these two digital systems, TT 2022 will see the initial roll out of GPS tracking for all vehicles operating on track: course cars, response cars, race bikes, sidecars and Travelling Marshals. This will nullify much of the risk that comes with the movement of these vehicles around the 37+ miles of the Mountain Course. The GPS tracking system will be tested in 2022 and become mandatory in 2023.

Overseeing all movements are the men and women in Race Control, found at the top of the Grandstand tower. Their job will be made easier with a redesign of their day-to-day working environment and an upgrade in equipment.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Race control redesigned and rebuilt for TT 2022

  • Installation of electronic red flag system, partnering with F1 and MotoGP supplier

  • Bespoke GPS tracking system (Tested at TT 2022, mandatory for TT 2023)

  • Installation of CCTV, giving race more oversight of the TT Course

The largest ever programme of marshal training will roll out ahead of TT 2022.

MARSHALLING THE MOUNTAIN 

Talk about eye-catching, few people are more noticeable than the men and women in orange. TT marshals have clearly always played a vital role in the TT and continue to do so today. Despite all of them being volunteers, they each undertake some form of training before reporting for duty, regardless of whether they have previously marshalled elsewhere. The TT Mountain Course is like nothing else, of course.

After two years away from the Mountain Course, the TTMA will now oversee the largest ever roll-out of marshal training ahead of the next event. Created directly with the Race Organiser (thanks to the new structure mentioned above) and thoroughly tested with key personnel, training has been given a thorough redesign. Whether a novice marshal working with the online modules, or a more experienced marshal attending an Incident Management Course, all marshals will find training is more relevant, more accessible and easier to navigate.

Meanwhile, a root-and-branch review of the TTMA brings further positive change and significant investment. Starting at the top, the company structure is set to alter, allowing for further operational clarity and a closer relationship with the Race Organisers, gifting the TTMA a stronger voice in the decision-making process. More immediate benefits are already being seen with investment in new equipment, the supply of PPE and the refitting of the TTMA premises.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Root-and-branch review conducted of role and scope of marshalling organistaion

  • Closer working relationship with Race Organiser

  • Ensuring common standards with assets in the UK and Isle of Man

  • New-look marshal training designed and created with key personnel

  • Investment in marshal training, including two new online modules

  • Investment in IMC training tools, including two sidecar fabrications

  • Largest-ever marshal training programme to roll out ahead of TT 2022

Thousands of marshals and medics will have access to the best equipment at TT 2022.

EQUIPMENT FOR MARSHALS AND MEDICS

The SMS ushers in a real culture change around safety, moving from reactive to proactive management. That said, there will always be lessons learned along the way – which is one reason the SMS team call it a ‘forever journey’. One such lesson came from the last edition of the TT in 2019: a need to review fire safety management around the Mountain Course. TT 2022 will therefore see investment in fire-fighting equipment, supporting designated fire marshals with new extinguishers and PPE, including overalls, gloves and balaclavas. There will also be a change in the regulations for personnel in the pit-lane, which will also receive investment in extra fire protection.

Meanwhile, many of the other two-thousand plus marshals, who sign on for duty each year, will notice the investment made at 60 or more marshalling posts. Here, our friends in orange will find brand-new colour-coded storage boxes, each large enough to house the upgraded kit needed for each role; cement dust, brushes, fire extinguishers, flags and medical equipment. 

Also benefitting from further investment in equipment are the hundreds of medical personnel who ensure racing on the Mountain Course is as safe as possible. With renewed focus on accident response, the TT has gained a fast-response vehicle for TT 2022. Identified by the SMS as a necessary addition to cover the areas of the Mountain Course hardest to serve with the helicopters, the eco-friendly car will spend the rest of the year in service of Noble’s Hospital. The helicopters themselves, meanwhile, will be fitted out with all the latest kit, taking the ‘operating theatre’ to the patient; no longer are TT helicopters merely flying ambulances. Oh, and there will also be a new welfare unit for the crews of those helicopters.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Investment in Air-Med provision, with re-fit of helicopters

  • Investment in Air-Med welfare, with provision of new welfare unit

  • Investment in medical response, with acquisition of fast-response vehicle

  • Investment in 60+ marshalling posts, upgrading and replacing equipment

  • Investment in marshal PPE, including essential fire safety gear

The SMS will ensure accident response is undertaken in a safer environment, using the best trained people and the best equipment.

ACCIDENT RESPONSE

In medicine terms, one of the biggest developments in the last ten years has been the ability to treat the badly injured at the roadside, even putting a patient to sleep and placing them on life-support. Rather than just carrying patients to hospital for treatment, you can start to save their lives at the side of the road. Doing this kind of thing in a hospital is already full of jeopardy, so to do it in a field beside the TT Course is unique to say the least. That brings a lot of pressure, but with a systematic approach to this kind of medicine, the organisers can maximise the capabilities of everyone involved in accident response at the TT. Ensuring each has the latest training and access to the best equipment is essential.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Race Control to gain complete oversight of TT Course

  • Digital red flag system and GPS tracking to aid accident response

  • Air-Med helicopters fitted out for best medical provision

  • Availability of fast-response vehicle

  • Review of TTMA medical training within the IMC for TTMA on-scene medical actions 

Extra data and operational intelligence will drive decision-making at the TT thanks to the SMS.

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION

The SMS is, of course, about culture change. Some of that change comes from having a proactive approach to safety management and the SMS team had to look no further than F1 for a leading example of how to critique and analyse accidents. Rather than just calling them ‘racing accidents’ and making sure the show goes on, the entire organising team will look for every possible way to learn from each incident and near miss in a bid to separate inherent risk from unnecessary risk. In doing this, the SMS team aim to ensure the unnecessary never happens again.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Comprehensive change in culture to accident investigation

  • Improved response to any external enquiry

  • Introduction of proactive accident reporting process

  • Introduction of an incident lessons timeline (6hrs / 12hrs / 24hrs)

  • Inclusion of pre-accident factors in investigations

  • Analysis of accident timeline and chain of events to drive decision-making

  • Development of accident data analysis tools to identify incident trends

  • Collected organisational intelligence to drive decision-making

  • Use of CCTV, in-car cameras and body cams to supplement evidence

New minimum standards for motorcycling clothing will help protect competitors.

RIDER PPE (PROTECTIVE PERSONAL EQUIPMENT)

A big change for riders is the implementation of higher minimum standards for riding kit. Helmets have had various safety regulations, which you’ll already be aware of, but for TT 2022, all competitors must wear a helmet approved by the FIM. There are extra tests that need to be passed in order for helmets to be homologated, and each size of helmet supplied needs to pass the process carried out by the Aragon Institute of Engineering Research. 

The 2022 Regulations will also include a new minimum standard for leathers. If you’re a builder you know that you can’t get on site without having adequate – and in date – PPE. This is now the case for competitors at the TT. There are one-piece suits on the market for £400 that will pass the minimum standard, but the message from the SMS team is loud and clear: invest in your own safety, because what we’re protecting is priceless. To that end, the organising team continue to monitor the development of air-bag suits and aim to make these mandatory in the near future.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Increased PPE standards for leathers, boots, gloves and body armour

  • Introduction of FIM helmet homologation standard for TT racing

  • Creation of technical team, trained for oversight of standards

New regulations will bring numerous benefits to a more exclusive club of TT riders. 

RACE REGULATIONS

TT 2022 will see a reduction in the number of entries in each class. Reducing the number of bikes in a race is a requirement on a number of levels. First, the road needs to be cleared as soon as possible before the first (and fastest) rider completes the opening lap. Getting 80 riders away at ten-second intervals takes thirteen and half minutes. That really doesn’t leave much left on the table before a Hickman comes through at 170mph – just three and a half minutes today.

But there’s more to it than that. Think about the newcomer at the back of the line; all those nerves as they set off. Finding their way in a race for the first time is very different to practice and qualifying. Before they even reach their first pit-stop, it’s possible they will have been caught and passed by the fastest bikes. Closing speeds can be huge and the chances of an accident are high. The reduction in starters should therefore allow the race-leaders to fight all the way to the chequered flag without the worry of slower riders – or them worrying about the leaders.

There are other tangible benefits too. For one, the reduced number of starters allows for each team to have larger pit boxes that, in turn, allow for a four-person crew ­(see below). But it’s the less tangible benefits that will really count when we’re further down the line. Ultimately, a more exclusive field will drive culture change among competitors, bringing higher standards and further professionalism where it counts most.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Reduction of starters in each race: 50 in 1000cc classes, 60 elsewhere

  • More exclusive field to drive higher standards and professionalism

  • Change to single start (no longer pairs) for Qualifying

  • Longer afternoon session to open Qualifying, easing pressure on teams

  • Final Qualifying moved to the afternoon, ensuring longer preparation and recovery time

  • Single-lap warm-up on race days to give riders a feel for course conditions

Care for riders is about to go far beyond the confines of a hospital bed.

ON-SITE CARE

When you think of the medical requirements for the TT it’s easy to immediately picture helicopters, major trauma incidents and worst-case scenarios, but it’s important to remember that the paddock is much like a village – only temporary. Hundreds of people live and work on site for two or three weeks, bringing with them all of the usual medical needs they might have at home. In the past, a small St John Ambulance facility has had to cope with everything, from riders requiring assessment to members of the public stung by a bee. 

The big, visible change, therefore comes with the acquisition of a mobile medical facility, similar to the Clinica Mobile you may have spotted in the MotoGP paddock. Less visible is what else it provides, namely a station for rider physio, as well as one for drug and alcohol testing, to which all riders will be subjected. The SMS rightly identifies that care for riders should go far beyond the confines of a hospital bed. New protocols and an event-specific medical code are all on their way, as is a research project on Sports Science and the TT – initiated with the island’s college, found just up the road from the Grandstand.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Acquisitaion of a new, state-of-the-art, medical centre to be located on-site

  • Beginning the journey to establish an event-specific medical code

  • New drug and alcohol protocols (zero tolerance) and testing programme

  • Sports-science research project initiated with University College Isle of Man

Competing in a unique environment: The SMS is set to introduce proactive rider welfare at TT 2022.

RIDER WELFARE

Rider welfare is another area that is receiving a shake-up. It’s easy for us to forget the rider’s need to be in the best possible mental condition in order to cope with the demands of the TT for two weeks. New riders, meanwhile, face a level of nervousness they’ve never experienced before, whilst the ‘old-hands’ often shoulder the pressure to perform. This pressure hasn’t been felt by anybody for two years and the SMS has taken this into account. There’ll be a dedicated ‘chill-out’ zone for riders to go and relax, manned by occupational therapists who are trained to listen, talk and encourage the riders to do the same. 

In today’s ‘snowflake’ culture, one might think this is being overly emotional – especially in the hardened world of motorcycle racing. But think again. Dealing with the loss of a friend or team-mate part-way through the TT is something we’ve all seen riders do in the past; the weight of which is unimaginable. Racing safely at the TT demands complete focus and clarity of thought. This proactive rider welfare plan will be invaluable, and is an excellent demonstration of the forward-thinking approach ushered in by the SMS. Thankfully, the days of burying feelings for a rainy day will soon be a thing of the past.

AT A GLANCE...

  • New protocols to care for the mental health of riders

  • Introduction of 'chill-out' zone, gifting riders time and space

  • Access to trained occupational therapists

Refuelling comes under the scrutiny of the SMS with changes designed to protect the near-unique feature of the TT.

PIT-LANE OPERATION

For many years, Formula 1 drivers spoke of their fear of fire. It was the reason so few of them would wear a seatbelt, choosing to be thrown clear of the wreckage and taking their chances that way. Fire remains a unique risk, and can shock today’s audience in much the same way as it always did: consider Romain Grosjean’s miraculous escape at the Sakhir Grand Prix of 2020. Any motorsport event that features refuelling is therefore required to look very carefully at how their respective pit-lanes are operated, and with pit-stops being a near-unique feature of the TT, no one wants to lose them through avoidable accidents.

TT 2022 will therefore see a redesign of some features in pit-lane, reducing the fire hazard first through changes to its infrastructure. But fire safety also rests on how pit-lane operates. Thanks to the reduction in grid size and subsequent changes to the layout, teams will now find that there’s room for an extra crew member in pit-lane. This means that during the refuelling process, each team will be able to provide fire safety cover for their own rider.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Larger pit boxes, accommodating for four-person crew

  • Fire safety cover for all teams

  • Alterations to pit entry and exit with wireless timing system

  • New railings to assist with filling fuel dispensers

Teams and riders will enjoy the extra space and upgraded paddock facilities at TT 2022.

PADDOCK INFRASTRUCTURE

When it comes to the TT paddock, space has long been at a premium. Because of this, compromises have always been made, but these compromises affect the overall safe operation of the paddock. Reducing the number of entries for each race – whilst driven by other factors – was key to solving some of the long-term issues that come with operating in a limited space.

What can teams expect when they arrive at the paddock in 2022? First, the amount of real estate available to teams can increase, albeit modestly, considering the hundreds of competitors on site. Parc Ferme, however, will increase in size – one benefit being that sidecars will no longer have to line up in pit-lane during qualifying. Why is this beneficial? Keeping pit-lane clear allows riders to test their pit-lane limiters for one, but more importantly, riders can join the course more safely, at the end of pit-lane.

Meanwhile, an extensive maintenance programme will usher in numerous other improvements, including upgrades to some of the day-to-day facilities and amenities.

AT A GLANCE...

  • Extensive maintenance programme

  • Parc Ferme increases in size

  • Digital information screens

  • Redesigned winners' enclosure

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