On 11th April, Bracknell Athletics Club hosted an event to celebrate its new photo finish equipment, purchased after a £15,000 donation from Bracknell-based technology provider the Redwood Technologies Group.
Julian Starkey (left), Mayor Tony Virgo, Mayor Ash Merry (centre), Cllr Isabel Mattick, and Sean Taylor (right) with the equipment and score board
Bracknell Athletics Club was established in 1953 and ever since has been developing and training athletes across the track and field, producing competitors at national, European, world, commonwealth and even Olympic level. Redwood’s co-founder and CEO Sean Taylor also holds the position of President at the Club, having taken over from the late John Nike in February 2016, after Nike had held the position for 30 years.
Speaking about Redwood’s support of the Club, Taylor said: “As a company with roots very firmly in Bracknell, it’s fantastic to be able to share our success with local causes, especially one such as the Club, which encourages young people to work hard to achieve their goals and enjoy themselves in the process.”
The Redwood Technologies has sponsored the Club’s Young Athletes Open Meeting for over a decade and has shown its continued support by the donating photo finish equipment. The technology will enable the Club to pinpoint exactly what time each athlete crossed the finish line.
“The equipment takes a very narrow photo of the finish line and it does this every thousandth of a second,” said Julian Starkey, Chairman of Bracknell Athletics Club. “Without photo finish the timings are at a tenth of a second, and if you’re a sprinter that’s a metre. That makes a huge difference when you’re qualifying for the next level of event, which is why it’s so important for our competing athletes to have this technology.”
Athletes crossing the finish line as captured by the new equipment
The photo finish system was unveiled at an event attended by Bracknell Forest Mayor Tony Virgo and Bracknell Town Mayor Ash Merry, in addition to Cllr Isabel Mattick. There was a short speech from Julian Starkey who explained how the equipment works and the benefits that it will have for the Club. The attendees saw the technology in action and had a chance to speak to the up and coming young athletes who train at the Club, before enjoying champagne and sandwiches.
One athlete, Luke Batup, commented: “This system will have a massive impact on the club, as it accurately records the times and positions of athletes during a race. This is much better than hand timing as it’s more accurate, and this is key for athletes who need a true reflection of their performance before a race. It will definitely help to keep everyone at the Club motivated.”
“The equipment will make the most difference at a county level, as traditionally county championships haven’t had a very high number of people competing due to the race times, which are less precise,” added Starkey. “We’re hoping that the new system will attract more athletes to county championships, as well as more spectators.” The next Berkshire County Championship race will take place on Sunday 14th May at Bracknell Athletics Club.
How the Equipment Works
- When the starting gun is fired, it triggers a camera to start running at the finish line.
- When the athletes reach the finish line the photo finish beam is broken and the camera starts to take a photo of the first section of the finish line every 1000th of a second.
- The post-race photo is time stamped with the finishing times of the athletes, as well as average wind speeds during the race, captured by a gauge next to the track.
- Recording wind speeds legitimises the recorded times. If the wind is too weak or strong, a time can be disallowed in professional competitions.
Sean Taylor (left) with Cllr Isabel Mattick, Mayor Ash Merry, Mayor Tony Virgo, and Julian Starkey (right), with young athletes from the Club
Photos courtesy of Steve Smyth.
For further information, please contact:
Madeleine Keenan, Marketing Executive, Redwood Technologies Group
Tel: 01344 304 3444 or Email: email@example.com