FAMILY AFFAIR: Shelly Ives and her daughter Katey Ison are two of the host of officials working at the Bathurst 6 Hour. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Come Sunday afternoon it will be drivers who are spraying champagne on the Bathurst 6 Hour podium at Mount Panorama, but they would not get the chance to do so without the hard work of officials.
Up and down Pit Laneand across the mountain, officials are working hard to make sure the Bathurst 6 Hour runs as smoothly as possible.
Someone that knows all about the importance of officials is Shelly Ives. She has beenofficial in some capacity for 25 years, having started at out Lakeside in Queensland.
“I just walked in there, I was the only girl and I started in the dummy grid area. I worked in the Pit Lanearea–I did that for about four years or so,” she said.
“Then I started travelling to Bathurst and Indy and I went to Clipsal then I became CRO, which is Competitor Relations Officer. That’s a little bit like being an adviser between the driver and the stewards –you help the driver out.”
Ives filled that official role for nine years –travelling totracks across the nation –before switching to another motor sport job.
She became the first female team manager in the Konica Development Series and from the contacts she created in that role, was offered a chance to work as an official for a Supercars outfit.
Ives had a host of regulations to familiarise herself with and learned pit strategy by “sitting there and doing it”.
“Their rule book was like a frigging door stop. I was with that Konica team for two or three years and I helped out a main game team –V8s –for half a year,” she said.
Ives spent more time working for both teams in the development series and Supercars, before moving again into the V8 Utes category.
There she filled a host of roles:“I was pit manager, I was operations manager, I did PR, I’ve done commentating at this circuit and other circuits, I had a catering business.”
Nowadays Ives is category manager for n Production Cars, while at Mount Panorama over the weekend she worked as a member of the6 Hour Fibre 15 team.
She helped that outfit with data about their pit stops, but Ives knows firsthand thatofficials who were busy across the mountain at the same time were just as important.
“You can’t run a race meting without officials,” Ives said.
“It’s a safety aspect, you need people out there with flags. You can have lights, but somebody has got to activate them, somebody has got to be there if there’s a fire, somebody has got to be there if there’s an accident, so you can not have motor sport without officials.”
Ives clearly has a passion for what she does –one she now shares with her daughter Katey Ison –but she would love to see more people become involved in motor sport as officials.
“It’s great, I love it.My daughter Katey comes along now … I’ve trained her and she helps out with the team. Her and I are a team within a team,” she said.
“Being an official, it just opens up so many doors. It’s great camaraderie with everybody –the good thing now is that I can go to a track and I know the officials, all the team people, it takes half an hour to walk two garages because you keep getting stopped.
“At the end of the race they thank officials, but they really do need more acknowledgement and we need more people to come along and join up.
“The thing is, the officials who are up the top, they are getting older, so we need new blood coming in so we can start training them to one day take over.
“If you like drivers, you get to meet them, you actually get to be more personal with them and get to see what goes on in a team –it’s a win-win situation.”