Scrutineering Excuses
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Thread: Scrutineering Excuses

  1. #1
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    Default Scrutineering Excuses

    In my past life I was a senior scrutineer at Barbagallo Raceway about 25 years ago now.
    You wouldn't believe how many excuses some entrants come up with at scrutineering. This is a list I made up for a bit of a joke and it was published in the club magazine back then, I found it in a bit of a cleanup at home the other day, and thought some of you might get a bit of a laugh.

    The club actually got this sign-written onto a board on the wall in the scrutineering bay. Our object was that when we heard an excuse, we could gesture towards the sign, and say "yeah, excuse number 5" without looking up, like we had heard that so many times before! OK - you had to be there!



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    Yeah, number 5 is my favourite - sometimes they just couldn't see why we would suddenly be questioning their tatty old helmet.
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    Hmmm #2 sounds like it's valid.....
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    When I was racing at the speedway excuse number 2 was very valid, but in all fairness to the scrutineers they use to let you race as long as it was fixed by next meeting, as long as it was not a safety item.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 85Fuego View Post
    Hmmm #2 sounds like it's valid.....
    To a point, yes, but not really. There is a magic all-powerful rule somewhere in the CAMS rules, which states that the entrant is responsible to ensure the car meets the rules, it is not the scrutineer's responsibility. We sometimes had to check something like 130 cars in 2 hours with say 4 scrutineers in 2 lines. Work it out, not much time, so concentrate on safety items and a general check. Recognizing that plenty of things could slip through, I started a program where we advised by notice, prior to the meeting, that we would be inspecting say 3 particular items on EVERY car that day, and it was surprising how many would turn up with that fault still existing on the car. Over a year or two this cleaned up a lot of hidden areas. Most entrants were appreciative of the discrepancy being discovered, because they were not aware of them either, but should have been.

    The worst I remember, was one of the junior scrutineers noticing that a particular car (I think it was a Datsun 1600) only had a single-circuit brake system, but had 2 reservoirs sitting above the master cylinder, so at first looked like dual-circuit. Maybe the second one went to the clutch, I can't remember. Now that being a serious defect, I had to prevent them taking part in the competition, much to the owner's disgust. Not the sort of thing to get them to fix for the next meeting. That car had been racing for something like 5 years, the owner was a mechanic, and I think knew exactly what was going on. His responsibilty.

    Yes, a mixture of serious stuff, with a bit of humour, that list.

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    Mmmm.......scruitineers. I know, they're volunteers and we couldn't race without them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
    Mmmm.......scruitineers. I know, they're volunteers and we couldn't race without them.
    Yes, there are 2 types of scrutineers (enough said!). I like to think I was a good guy, but strong enough to apply the rules strictly when safety required it. Most items were noted to be corrected by next meeting, only serious items were log-booked. I think in about 5 years I only ever prevented 2 cars competing on the day, one as above, the other with a cracked brake disc - and it wasn't a heat crack although that's what the owner reckoned. I pointed out when the crack extends across the rim of the disc into the ventilation slots - it ain't a heat crack.

    I was probably regarded by some as too much a good guy, but my philosophy was we were all members of a club out to have a bit of fun, it wasn't sheep stations, except when the Touring Cars came to town, and I let their Series Scrutineer take the flak with those guys, by the way that was Craig Lownde's Dad, Frank, a top bloke.

    I do know that some scroots would want to "ping" somebody just for the sake of it, some sort of power trip I guess, something I could never understand, but I guess it would cheese off the competitors.

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    Worked with Frank many times at Bathurst, Adelaide and Melbourne as a scrutineer for V8s and Grand Prix events and he was always fair but strict and a good mentor.
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    I know one entrant, who hailed from England, was not pleased when the scrutineer wrote NAFF in their newly issued logbook.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    I know one entrant, who hailed from England, was not pleased when the scrutineer wrote NAFF in their newly issued logbook.
    OK, you got me there. Abbreviation? Naturally Aspirated? Formula Ford? Not A F... Fault? Or just a bit Naff?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    I know one entrant, who hailed from England, was not pleased when the scrutineer wrote NAFF in their newly issued logbook.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fordman View Post
    OK, you got me there. Abbreviation? Naturally Aspirated? Formula Ford? Not A F... Fault? Or just a bit Naff?

    This may explain it https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/naff
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    Quote Originally Posted by COL View Post
    That's the way they took it, as a disparaging comment on their car. In SA, at least, it is shorthand for No Apparent Faults Found. :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
    Mmmm.......scruitineers. I know, they're volunteers and we couldn't race without them.
    I recall one enthusiastic scrutineer at a touring car round in the 1990's at Mallala who started to fiddle with the throttle linkages on a very complicated multiple throttle body arrangement on mechanical fuel injection. I had a feeling that he had disconnected then reconnected one of the multiple fittings but I was not sure which one. I asked if he had fiddled with it and also pointed out he could examine for compliance with the safety and competition rules but he was not supposed to start pulling things apart immediately before qualifying. The chief scrutineer then came over and seemed to be going over the guys training with the very keen scrutineer.

    When I hopped in the car and ran it out for qualifying it went onto one bank of cylinders when a connecting rod he fiddled with dropped off on lap two. Not impressed. Lucky for me there was another session but it cost a new set of qualifying tyres. Thankfully he did not want to check the brakes !!

    Its worth pointing out that scrutineers check for compliance with the rules, they do not do a safety check of a race car and pronounce it is safe. There are very good legal reasons why this has been the situation for scrutineers legal protection in Australia since at least the mid 1960's. Many just don't get it.

    Another reason why the term NAFF is used.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bustamif View Post
    I recall one enthusiastic scrutineer at a touring car round in the 1990's at Mallala who started to fiddle with the throttle linkages ................................................ I asked if he had fiddled with it and also pointed out he could examine for compliance with the safety and competition rules but he was not supposed to start pulling things apart immediately before qualifying.

    Its worth pointing out that scrutineers check for compliance with the rules, they do not do a safety check of a race car and pronounce it is safe. There are very good legal reasons why this has been the situation for scrutineers legal protection in Australia since at least the mid 1960's. Many just don't get it.

    Another reason why the term NAFF is used.
    The voice of experience there, thank you!

    a) That scrutineers should not fiddle with anything on a competitor's car. And in fact they should not touch the car basically. I still sometimes get raised eyebrows when I ask someone to lift their bonnet so we can check under it, or ask them to remove a battery cover so we can see the battery. "Can't you do that yourself?". Well, yes, but - no, I don't want to be responsible for breaking a flimsy bonnet catch or breaking a clip on the battery cover, or whatever. Or in the case of a late model BMW, when it takes 5 minutes, and tools, to remove the battery cover in the boot - wasting my time!

    b) That they are checking compliance with the rules, not doing a full safety check, that is the entrant's responsibilty. This was brought home hard to me back in around 1990 when Rally Australia first happened in Perth. The chief scrutineer was a Frenchman, with the FIA group attending. The local scrutineering team were instructed NOT to look at brake discs, brakes, steering movement, anything of a mechanical safety check nature - JUST DONT DO IT. Check only for compliance with the relevant category the car is entered in, eg, body dimensions, position of lights, colour of tail lights and indicators, weight of vehicle, etc. Of course some safety items are covered in the rules and were checked, ie, fire extinguisher type and mounting. Most importantly, the advertising stickers had to be in the correct places and in perfect condition (note a little sarcasm there). We were a bit surprised, but understandably, at that level, the team of mechanics working on those cars were quite capable of maintaining the integrity of the vehicle over the weekend.

    c) Yes, I had forgotten, but we used to use the NFF (No Fault Found) abbreviation. It later had the A (Apparent) inserted to NAFF because one cannot rule out that a fault exists, merely that one cannot see it at the time of inspection. Same in aircraft maintenance, in which I have been involved as a planner, no engineer can guarantee that what is visible rules out any fault, and a similar change in wording when signing off a defect was brought in by CASA, the aviation regulators in Australia, some years ago.

    All about covering your backside legally.

    At the same time, in my current capacity as voluntarily scrutineering for local one-make car club track days, I have no hesitation in telling an amateur owner that he only has 4mm of brake pad remaining. I will tell him it is his own business what he does about it, but suggest he keeps an eye on them during the meeting, for his own good.

    Bringing back a few memories here!

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