Post Bavaria City Racing Q+A with Mondello Park MD John Morris
June 6, 2012 by Leo
With Jenson Button and Giedo Van Der Garde (or Van der Gardai as we re-named him) having jetted back to their respective countries, and all barriers, bridges and grandstands dismantled, we caught up with Mondello Park’s MD, John Morris, one of the men behind the running of this incredible event.
What was Mondello’s Involvement with Bavaria City Racing Dublin?
Mondello was contracted in at an early stage to assist on a number of levels. The route had been chosen by the City Council to highlight important Dublin Landmarks and the organisers needed to know if we could build a track around it. We then had to spec the safety for the event in terms of what barriers would go where, spectator positions & protection etc. We had to attend several meetings with the Civic Authorities and Emergency Services and give them the reassurance about how safely the event could run. We assisted with content and of course had to staff and run the track activity on the day.
How much work (& from how many people) did it take to turn the streets into a racetrack?
This was a massive challenge for the organisers as there were heavy restrictions on the track build. North Wall and Custom House Grandstands were constructed the week of the event, but most of the 6 km of barriers, the track crossing bridges and the O’ Connell St grandstand went in over night. There really was no margin for error and the weather obviously slowed things down with the bridges in particular. There was also an issue on Saturday night when one of the bridges had to be adjusted as a Bus Stop was causing an unforeseen problem and we lost 1.5 mtrs of track width in that area as a result. TMS provided and installed the track barriers and Event Serve were the primary grandstand and bridge contractor. I don’t know the actual number of staff involved in the build, but Mondello had over 100 people there on Sunday all of whom did us proud.
You have been heavily involved in the Phoenix Park Motor Races for many years- how do they compare from a track build point of view?
You can’t really compare what we as a group of enthusiasts do building the Phoenix Park infrastructure, with professional companies paid to do the job at Bavaria! Every Phoenix Park Race Director or C.O.C. would love to have the budget to simply appoint contractors to do all the work but it’s unlikely to ever happen.
The Irish public obviously loved to see the F1 cars in Dublin. Have you any plans to run anything similar at Mondello Park in the future?
Again it’s down to budget really. Vodafone brought Jensen to town and Caterham had to be paid for as well, but if we thought we could sufficient numbers of people to pay into Mondello, it might be worth looking at something for next year.
So, people who got a taste of motor racing and have gotten the bug, what’s their next step?
It’s the age old problem where people who watch F1 on the telly consider that racing and don’t relate it to what happens at Mondello. I always compare it to the soccer fans who watch the English Premiere League every week, but would never consider going to a league of Ireland game. To them that’s not real football!!! If however, they are interested in taking their first steps on the trip to F1, we would love to help them in Mondello’s Race School (www.mondellopark.ie)
How about those who want to be involved but not necessarily as drivers?
On the organisational side we’re always looking for enthusiasts to assist with the Track Team and officiating at events.
Do you think this event will run again?
The big debrief will happen this week. I think it’s fair to say until you’ve seen Bavaria City Racing it’s hard to understand it and that was even the case for me before our trip to Rotterdam last year. I think the organisers have proven they can do it in Dublin and although there were a few hiccups, by and large people are happy. I would imagine the lessons learned this year would make it easier next year and they could probably save on budget as well. I think the deciding factor will be if Dublin City Council and Failte Ireland get behind the event to a sufficient level, so the organisers aren’t looking at massive losses. It would be terrible if it doesn’t happen next year because we’ve all learned so much and wouldn’t it be great to do it in the dry!