Not “Ladies Underwear” or “Soft Furnishings”.
Not the place I parked my car.
And definitely not the stage I’ve reached in a video game.
No, the Level Three I’m talking about is the accreditation I received today as a Clerk of Course in the motorcycle-racing scene; a level where I can now be in charge of running a State Championship or a National race meeting.
It’s been a long process to get this far. Lots of race meetings as an assistant Clerk, some as Clerk under very close supervision, and the latest few where I’ve been let loose to control a meeting with someone in the background as a safety net monitoring my decisions – ready to jump in if it looked like I was going to get it seriously wrong.
I’ve loved it, even though it’s been a sometimes-stressful ride – there have been some real experiences along the way, and not all of them pleasant.
I’ve had meetings where crashes have meant there have been serious injuries to contend with, such as unconscious riders sprawled on the track and bones sticking out of race boots. I’ve had meetings where I’ve felt like a school principal, dealing with adult men carrying on like spoilt children; and I’ve had meetings where we’ve spent what seemed like hours cleaning up oil spills after some old bike lunched itself at high speed.
If I do well my aim is to continue along this path and eventually reach Level 4, and that will mean I can run a National Championship race meeting, however the Level 4 accreditation is achieved by invitation only from the governing body so I won’t be holding my breath.
For me, as a tool for developing self-confidence, it’s been second-to-none, not least because the decisions a Clerk has to make can be literally life-and-death ones made in real-time.
My first meeting as a Level Three Clerk is this coming weekend, and it’s one I’m really looking forward to. Two days of State Championship bike racing, with both Historic and Modern machinery thrashing around the circuit at full noise.
No doubt there’ll be incidents aplenty (as there usually are when old bikes and their riders are brought out of mothballs) but there’ll also be some seriously exciting racing going on. They might not be playing for sheep stations but they’re still playing for keeps.
I’ll keep you posted.