Backstage – The track protection around area manager Pius Müller consists of a conspiratorial group of long-time colleagues.
As part of our “Backstage” series, we’ll take a look behind the scenes of track safety today. In a previous blog (here) Adi Hüppeler was already in the spotlight with his hobby as an alphorn player and as a driver of a track safety vehicle.
The track safety system consists of several vehicles with warning lights and runs at a constant distance in front of the racing car. It puts the traffic posts into operation and is responsible for ensuring that there is no oncoming traffic on the race track from that time on. The vehicle with the green light on the roof moves ten minutes ahead of the convoy. From here on, oncoming traffic is stopped. The car with the red light will leave five minutes before the race. From here on, there’s a total ban on all civilian traffic. In order to keep the distance between the vehicles at a constant level, the route safety system now has GPS information.
It is understandable that the men are under high tension during the stages. All the more comfortable the team takes it next to the race. “I enjoy our camaraderie,” says area manager Pius Müller (69). As a former member of the Lucerne cantonal police force, he wanted to do something exciting again after his retirement six years ago. “I am fascinated by the not so easy task, the demanding organization, but also the contacts to the police and the military.” With six years of service, division manager Pius Müller and his driver Paul Dietsche are almost newcomers. Heinz Bachmann, on the other hand, who together with Adi Hüppeler will drive the car with the green warning light, will participate for the 24th time in 2017. Hüppeler himself is looking forward to his 11th participation, and Wisel Marty, who is responsible for the level crossings, is participating for the 14th time.
For route safety, the stages leading abroad are among the most difficult challenges. “Swiss soldiers must not be deployed abroad.” Private citizens or members of the local fire brigades step into the breach. In return, Pius Müller is thievishly happy when the racing horse travels through his home in the canton of Lucerne. The stage with destination Sörenberg 2012 is one of his highlights so far. “We drove through the middle of Lucerne and via the Entlebuch to Sörenberg with an additional loop over the Glaubenbüelenpass to Giswil, Sarnen and over the Glaubenbergpass back to Sörenberg to the finish. Unforgettable!” Pius Müller can well feel how hard these two crisp passes were for the riders, as he rides around 5,000 kilometres a year on his own racing bike.
In the evenings at the hotel, the men of the track safety are always to be found having a fine meal and in the best of moods. Always with a loose phrase on your lips. “Nine days of companionship and fun is priceless.”