The Operations Room: Race HQ
Holed up in the UB office will be a dedicated gang of steely-nerved English-speakers, headed up by the Derby Chief, Katy. Champion dot-watchers all, these are the generals, co-ordinating the cohorts in the field.
All riders and back-up crew are equipped with tracking devices so that the operations room in UB knows where everyone is at all times.
What do the ops room team do with the location data of the riders?
- Move Derby staff up and down the course to where they are needed. Once the last rider has passed through an urtuu, the Ops team co-ordinate collecting the vets and crew to deposit them further up the course. Rather like speed-chess.
- Keep the Derby running according to its rules. Derby rules are designed to make horse welfare and rider safety a priority. These rules are backed up by a penalty system. For example, riders are not permitted to ride through the night, which is hazardous for the horses and we monitor this using the data from the trackers. If riders are seen to be travelling during the night, or to have moved in the morning, they will be penalised.
- Respond to any emergencies. Riders will be shown how to activate their trackers to signal a medical or a veterinary emergency. If they do so during the race, the Ops team in UB will dispatch the nearest mobile response team to the location recorded for the distress signal and co-ordinate what happens next.
In addition, the Ops Room team man the airwaves collecting snippets of commentary from the crews on the field about the progress of the Derby, and relay these via the @mongolderbylive twitter feed and the official Mongol Derby blog, so that the world may know of the great feats of courage, stoicism, athletic prowess and digestive verve out there in the heat of battle.
A rough guide to how information travels from the horse's mouth to your Mum's iPhone