I was at Falls for the weekend to support 4 riders. Two finished - well done guys and well done to everyone else who made it around. 2 I picked up from Dinner Plain who stopped after getting pelted by the hail at the top of Hotham.
I arrived back at Falls with my 2 riders in the car and someone else who was hypothermic (incoherrant, shaking, crying). I was asked to give her a lift b/c neither the medical transport nor sag wagon could fit her in. I have no knowledge of how to look after a hypothermic person other than to keep them warm and chatting. This put me in a difficult position b/c she needed to get back to Falls asap, but I wanted to make sure my two other riders, who were still out, were okay. I was providing private support to my riders as we asked after the briefing how much support there would be and with the weather shaping up to be what it was, it didn't sound like enough. BV, knowing the harsh weather, should have immediately increased their rider carrying capacity. This hypothermic girl could have passed out /thrown up / had a fit in my car. That would have been not so good for her, for me or my other riders. On the other hand, I could hardly say no to giving her a lift from the frantic medic who was stationed at the rest point we picked her up at.
Additionally, while driving back with my two riders, and the hypothermic, and while ensuring my other still-riding guys were okay, we were hailed down so many times by riders who needed mechanical assistance. We gave out every spare tube and puncture repair kit we had. This is just the support I gave - one car. If every private car provided the same, I'm not surprised BV thought they did such a great job. They'll never see the massive short fall that was picked up by private cars on the road.
Sure, each rider needs to be responsible for themselves and their own safety. However, if BV run the event, they are deeming it safe. Riders who are not experienced or prepared, will simply follow their advice and think "If BV say it's okay, it must be." Maybe next year, BV can make a bigger point that this is not ATB.
I agree with the point some else made that allowing rider to finish at 10pm was crazy and dangerous. It was good luck that noone was killed.
And 700 - odd finishers? We drove down to Dinner Plain from Falls passing the first rider and got back to Falls about 7pm. We passed most of the riders who were finishing and there is no way I passed 700 riders. 200 - maybe.
A real shame about the weather. With some sunshine and better event management by BV, this can be a fantastic ride.