Radio Communications at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 cycle race

It was all action at this year’s OVOEnergy Tour of Britain cycle race.  As for so many years previously, Communications Specialist was the preferred provider for radio communications equipment giving command and control to the organisers of the event.

Before the Event

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 Event Radio Communications

The two other team members, Marcus and Nigel, standing by the Skoda Radio Comms car

At this years TOB we provided well over 200 radios including handheld, base stations, repeaters and vehicle installed radios.  With a set up like this, a detailed communications plan is required and this was flawlessly executed by the team lead by Ray Brooks.  Liaison must be carried out between various agencies such as the TOB management, Ofcom and our suppliers to ensure all equipment, frequencies and permissions are in place.  Only after this, we begin to prepare for the action-packed 2 weeks involved in providing communications for this prestigious event.

The Setup

With just 2 assistants, Ray oversaw the fitting of over 30 Skoda sponsored and other specialist event vehicles with mobile radios in the days leading up to the beginning of the race.  Ray’s team act like a well-oiled machine with a production line style approach to getting all the Skoda’s fitted. After the main effort, they move onto the Police, Ambulance, AA breakdown and other specialist vehicles that are required to keep the event safe and secure.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 Event Radio Communications

“Radio” Ray doing some last minute checks before race start from the Communications Specialist radio van.

Finally, before they can begin the race, Communications Specialist’s own two vehicles need to be fitted. This requires up to 7 different antennas bristling on the rooves and bonnets ensuring that they have the ability to monitor all channels.  We also need to flick repeaters on and off as required to maintain seamless communications throughout the race.  On this year’s race, 2 repeaters were housed in a circling aircraft giving extra sure coverage in the hard to reach areas of the contest such as in Scotland and Wales.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 Event Radio Communications

Inside the Radio Communications car fitted with an array of mobile and portable radios including two repeaters.

The Race

During each race day, the two radio vehicles from Comms Spec are within the race bubble. Drivers must have special training and a race license as road laws are suspended within the race bubble. This is because of the need to drive well over the speed limits through villages packed with crowds of spectators, sometimes encountering public traffic that managed to slip in past roadblocks.  It is a high energy day with up to 5 hours behind the wheel without breaks. Hard work but rarely any complaints from the drivers.

Throughout the race stages, Ray and his team are constantly checking and analysing the performance of the radios. Any issues that come up are usually fixed before they are reported by the user.  At Comms Spec we like to fix a problem before you even know it exists.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 Event Radio Communications

Full Tour map in the race manual of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017 cycle race.

The Teardown

Finally, at the end of the race, the team have to take back and remove all the radios issued to people and fitted to vehicles. This is a 2-day job and far easier than the setup before the contest.

After all the equipment is returned and accounted for, it goes back to Comms Spec HQ. Here it is inspected, cleaned, acconted for and put back on the shelves ready for the next customer.

The team had a great time and is looking forward to next year’s OVO Energy Woman’s Tour before the next men’s Tour of Britain 2018.

For more information on how we can transform your event radio communications please do not hesitate to contact us. You can use any of the means available on this website such as the contact form, comments section, email, phone and live chat and an agent will guide you through the process of setting up your event to run smoothly with the latest communications technology available.

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