Corner Talk: Judging ain’t easy but somebody got to do it

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I want to begin with a sentence my sponsor said to me at the end of last year: You know what? I don’t really know why I should sponsor you, I even don’t know how this all works, when I used to race, the fastest driver was the best but nowadays everything is about show, hype the crowd, shiny cars and girls.

I am judging since 3 years, this year will be my 4th season I judge around Europe sporadically. Usually I get hired when there is a discontent in the driver rows. I never had big problems and arguments after the events. But I understand the drivers as well. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why a decision is made this way and not the other way.

Believe me it doesn’t make fun and it’s no easy job like writing some numbers and talking about drifting. The better the driving the harder the decisions are, sometimes I feel a light gasp of relief when somebody spins, or makes a big mistake. I met judges from all over the world, US, AU, CZ, HU, BE, UK and everybody has his own judging style. The judging in Germany is influenced by the high accuracy they live their life. Important things here are a perfect line, smooth transitions and copying the line in battles. I worked with judges which said line isn’t that important it’s more important to generate big smoke and aggressive transitions so I think it’s the mixture which makes a good judging. But what’s really important is to tell the drivers exactly what you want to see so there is no space for discussion about that later. So don’t hesitate to ask the judges everything you want to know in the briefing to prevent misunderstandings.

There is big difference in judging battles, some allow overtaking, some not, some want a good line some not. My opinion is if you want to give the chaser and the leader a chance to make points is not to allow overtaking, only if the leader goes into the gravel with more than 2 wheels or spins. Copying the line is what I want to see cause then the leader has the chance to take a line which is unusual or hard to hit and the chaser has to copy that. If the chaser matches that line, that’s his point, if the chaser just stays on the qualifying line that’s a minus for me cause that’s what he did the whole event before and is no challenge.

What I really hate is when drivers complain about stuff they saw or didn’t see cause in that 3 years of judging there where max 5 drivers which asked if they can have a look from the judge tower. If its placed well and yes it is mostly, you can see the whole track from a totally different angle, from up there you can exactly see how narrow somebody is at a clipping point or wall, you also can see into the car thru the windows. That’s what you can’t see from behind the fence or from the stands. All of the drivers which came up where surprised how good you can see from up there. So don’t hesitate to take 5mins off the training and come up to see what I am talking about.

So don’t be hatin about the judges, do it better! Judges are like referees, if they make a decision, they won’t take it back. Accept the decision and try to make it better next time. KEEP IT FUN! Axel Mack posted on http://www.speed-industries.ch

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