For eight days in 2022, the Illawarra was the centre of the international cycling world, as Wollongong played host to the UCI World Championships.
From 17-25 September, NSW Ambulance paramedics from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Zone were the primary medical resource to more than 1000 cyclists from around 75 countries.
NSW Ambulance provided ‘circuit crews’ – on road paramedics in vehicles or on motorcycles during the racing. We also provided support staff, including supervisors and liaison officers for the UCI Event Control Centre at WIN Stadium.
Around 200,000 spectators lined the streets, with the final event – the Men’s Elite Road Race – attracting more than 100,000 spectators who lined the course from the race start in Helensburgh, along the famous Sea Cliff Bridge into Wollongong, around a Mount Keira Loop and 12 City Circuits, before the finish line along Wollongong’s foreshore.
Illawarra Duty Operations Manager Chief Inspector Norm Rees, worked with the Local Organising Committee in the 18 months leading up to the UCI World Championships, and as an Event Forward Commander during the event. He described it as “a once in a lifetime” experience.
“This was an Olympic-level event. There were daily briefings for circuit crews who were then assigned to circuit convoy duties or staged at various points around the course.”
“There was so much detailed planning and coordination involved in bringing the whole event together. As well as briefing crews supporting the event on race routes, protocols and road closures, we had to ensure we could reach any other patients without delay. That meant surging our workforce during the UCI so we could continue to provide our usual level of emergency medical responses to local residents.
“It was a proud week for the Illawarra. Despite all the logistical challenges of the last few years, our region managed a very successful event – and our local NSW Ambulance crews and other local emergency service organisations were a big part of that,” said Chief Inspector Rees.
The UCI World Championships is the annual pinnacle event in road cycling.
Return to Mount Panorama
Not even the miserable weather could dampen the enthusiasm of motor racing fans who flocked to Bathurst over the October long weekend for the annual Bathurst 1000 race.
For the last two years COVID-19 restrictions meant crowds at “The Great Race” were capped. In 2022, 195,578 attended despite heavy rain, meaning around 50,000 people on average went through the gates each of the four days from 6-9 October.
The population of Bathurst almost doubles for the weekend. NSW Ambulance was contracted to provide emergency health care both on track and off track, working closely with Team Medical Australia for on track activities and with St John Ambulance Australia for off track patrons.
“An additional 88 shifts were deployed over the four day event with 24/7 coverage, led by two Forward Commanders and a Commander along with SOT inserted with the NSW Police Public Order and Riot Squad teams,” said Zone Manager and Bathurst 1000 Commander Brad Porter.
Events in regional NSW are managed locally, and the Bathurst 1000 Commander paid tribute to staff who’d been instrumental in upholding NSW Ambulance’s role in the event.
“A big thank you to all the staff involved for the professionalism and commitment to the event’s success and for the positive outcomes for patients that occurred,” said Zone Manager Porter.
“A successful ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation after CPR) of a camper occurred, highlighting the excellence in care and timeliness of our response being at the event.
“Thank you too to our Control Centre staff and call takers around the state receiving calls to Mount Panorama. My Commander’s intent of the safety of all was achieved, patients received timely and excellent care by paramedics, and good communication occurred. We had no reported safety issues despite the horrendous conditions especially on the Saturday when heavy rainfall made conditions very treacherous.“
“This event in Western Sector highlights the great work by paramedics in what is the largest event that occurs in the Sector on a regular basis, and we look forward to the years ahead as well as the increasing attendance at the Bathurst 12 Hour race in February 2023.”