And so we reach the end of another racing season… one in which the weather forecasters were often overly pessimistic. Despite predictions of hurricanes in July and stormy wet weather on Bank Holiday Monday, Cartmel stayed predominately dry. Our slogan next year will be Cartmel – it’s sunnier than you think.
Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans extolled the virtues of Cartmel on Wednesday morning. "It’s a tiny village," he said "which doesn’t need to be any bigger because everything in it is so perfect: shops which are so good they’re off the scale, L’Enclume – the restaurant which has just been voted the best in Britain, a massive priory - bigger than the rest of the village - and Cartmel races around the next corner." Perhaps we’ll make that slogan: Cartmel – it’s perfect, small and drier than you'd expect.
As if staging the classiest race ever programmed at Cartmel Racecourse wasn’t enough, we simply had to make the Bank Holiday races even more exciting for those working behind the scenes: so we blew the power supply just before the big race. It isn’t a test I’d like to implement very often, but the staff and contractors took everything in their stride.
Electricians set to work to identify and fix the problem, soon relaying the bad news that the main stand-by generator had also developed a fault. Houston… we have a problem…
David Groom, the racecourse’s P.A. technician, retrieved a mobile generator and powered up the PA system and the jockeys’ scales. Every jockey has to weigh out correctly before each race and the first four home have to weigh in afterwards – so we can’t continue racing unless the scales work. Electronic scales are one of the many wonders of the modern age - they are no more effective than the old mechanical scales, they are less beautiful than old mechanical scales and they don’t work in a power cut. But David Groom saved the day.
Unfortunately for our cleaners and plumbers, many of the toilets on the site are supplied with water by an electric pump. A pump too large and too complicated to be easily rigged up to a portable generator. Never has a team plunged and scrubbed and cleaned toilets with such energy. I am very grateful to all of them, as well as to our customers who demonstrated a generous degree of patience throughout.
From raceday stewards to the Clerk of the Course, from cleaners to PA technicians, everyone played their part in keeping the show on the road. When the electricians finally recovered full power, about one hour after the initial power-cut, there was still one race to run and everything was running to time: the races never missed a beat.
I am very appreciative of all the support we’ve enjoyed from racegoers this season, so as a special favour this week, I’ll not burden you with a tip for this weekend’s races. Instead, I'll leave you with next year's slogan: Cartmel Racecourse - it's small, dry, perfect and the team tries very hard.