Rider sweepers keep A1 Grand Prix South Africa track clean

by : Ricky Bodmer

It was with anticipation that every South African motor racing enthusiasts watched the first ever South Africa A1 Grand Prix race which took place between 27 - 29 January 2006 in Durban, Kwazulu Natal South Africa.

Little does any motor racing enthusiast realize the logistics involved behind an event like this. The A1 GP, being a worldwide event, issued a safety and security standards manual with strict rules and regulations, which have to be adhered to. These rules and regulations apply to the electricians, medical evacuation team and even the stand-by plumber - all having to be available on-site within 5 minutes of notice.

All A1 Grand Prix events are held in cities such as Monaco, California and Durban just to name a few. A clean racetrack is one of the factors included in the manual. Just imagine the disaster that will take place should any of the A1 racecars obtain a puncture at a speed of 300 km per hour.

Tennant South Africa cleaning equipment was approached by the A1 GP organizers to sweep the racetrack prior to the training, qualifying and final events. As usual, the Tennant SA team was at their post at 5 AM in the mornings, sweeping the 3.2 km (2 miles) track.

Two Tennant SA 800D rider sweepers were used to clean the racetrack. I must say that it does look quite funny watching these units sweeping away after witnessing the A1 cars speeding down the track the previous day. The Tennant Model 800D large rider sweeper is designed for maximum performance even in extreme conditions such as the rain encountered on 27 January 2006.

These ride-on sweepers feature a massive steel frame and rugged T-beam super-structure that withstands heavy use and abuse over time. Huge steel bumpers protect the ride-on sweepers while sweeping close to the circuit?s concrete barriers. The specially protected hydraulic system is designed to give and flex with movement and vibration making it ideal for uneven surfaces encountered with tar roads. Other features include a side brush that retracts on impact and a Thermo-SentryTM to sense excess heat in the hopper and stop airflow.

The Model 800D ride-on sweeper cleans a 66 in. (1680 mm) path that lets it cover as much as 200,000 sq. ft. (1858 m2) in one hour. This ability was important, as we had to clean the narrow areas in front of the pit stops. A huge, 30 cubic ft. (.85 cubic meter) hopper allows up to 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) of debris to be packed in, so the machine saved non-productive time spent traveling to and from the dump site at the Grand Prix circuit. A standard multi-level dump hopper allows debris to be dumped on the ground or into dumpsters or trucks as high as 6 ft. (1.82 meters), which was the method used at the Grand Prix.

Benefits of using a Model 800D street sweeper include:

Clean sweeping Dust control Is easy to use Is easy to maintain Has many productive options such as a vacuum wand, a blower attachment, and a deluxe cab which provided the operators with safety and protection during the cleaning of the Grand Prix track.

The Tennant SA cleaning team conducted this sweeping task with precision, professionalism and a sense of humor. One of the ride-on sweepers even did a "doughnut" to the delight of the crowds in the main stand, leading to a standing ovation.