Two crew members who you may see more of out on the course are our Pre-race Trainer Maggie Pattinson and fellow Referee Charles van Wyk. They'll be keeping an eye on the horses and riders out on the course, popping in to the odd urtuu to see how folks are getting on. They are not there to listen to gripes and mop your brow, and they're not there to spoil your fun.
What they are there to do is monitor horse welfare standards on the Mongol Derby, something we take rather seriously. Maggie and Charles have the authority to impose a 2 hour penalty on riders, just as the vets do, for abusive or negligent riding.
They will man the Penalty Urtuus, one apiece, to adjudicate any fisticuffs or (more likely) sneak you a Snickers bar if you're looking a little care-worn.
They also keep the penalty log and interpret the rulebook should a grey area rears its grey head.
Field HQ - The Event managers
There will be multiple vehicles on the field with the authority to do all sorts of stuff.
As well as the two race referees adjudicating the rulebooks we've got two sets of event managers to look after the needs of the riders and our Mongolian hosts. They have the power to do all sorts of stuff. Like
- Impose race holds
- Respond to serious incidents which may threaten the event as a whole
- Disqualify intransigent riders
- Authorise any manipulations of the field.
Whilst the riders may see the odd vehicle out on the steppe, these guys won't be stopping for a chat en-route. In fact, much of the event management logistics will be invisible to the riders.
Both the Referees and Event Managers are in near constant satellite comms with Ulaanbaatar HQ. They are the Chief's executive arm on the field.
The Mongol Derby employs a team of international vets. These marvellous chaps provide both routine care of the Derby horses, checking them before and after their 40kms Derby dash, and emergency treatment, should a horse be injured out on the course.
Each vet team is fully equipped with oodles of drugs, fluids and equipment, much of which is imported specifically for the Derby. At every horse station, riders will be greeted by a vet, who will have leapfrogged up the course in a Derby-mobile, ready to brandish a stethoscope and a biro.
Since this is a very dangerous event the Mongol Derby does have a degree of medical back-up. This is provided by the superlative Iqarus, who last year sent us 4 corn fed, battle hardened medics to staunch the flow of blood and grit from the veins of the riders. We had the highest completion rate in years and some very slick evacuations for the non-finishers. You are in very, very good hands with these guys.
As long as one medical crew is free to respond to emergencies, the race is clear to continue. If both crews are engaged, we may have to impose a race hold.