The Greytown Road Crash Rescue (RCR) team – in its 12 years of experience– has learned the hard lesson that if you want to win it all, the margin of error is slim. On national and Australasian stages, the team has been within arms reach of championship several times, but has never quite managed to grab the number one spot – until now.
Team Manager Denis Fenwick is quick to acknowledge the mistakes the team has made along the way, and how isolated lapses in individual events amidst overall strong performances have held them back. In the Nationals in Christchurch a few years ago, they were so close to winning, but a subpar performance in the Entrapped event proved to be costly. Then there was the disastrous Immediate event at the Australasians in Melbourne, and a disappointing performance at the joint Australasian and World event in Upper Hutt where they made the same mistakes in the competition that they had made in their training.
So why rehash these disappointments? Because Greytown’s current National Champion status is owed to these mistakes, and to the teams ability to learn and adjust from them.
“For a team that has been knocking on the door for a few years now, our biggest challenge was to keep the team members focused on making each event flow,” said Fenwick. “To achieve that with any consistency, our Team Leader Kerry Fenwick breaks the trainings down to segments from ARRO scoring sheets.
“The ability to give and receive constructive feedback has made a huge difference. He sets out goals that need to be achieved and, if things aren’t going as intended, plan B kicks in. This is where even good teams slip up – and that is the secret.”
Through its vigilance and commitment to training, the brigade has gained a great reputation for road crash rescue in its local community and within the national firefighter network.
“We trained with Carterton leading up to the event,” said Fenwick. “We were also lucky enough to persuade an old campaigner – Peter Fisher from Martinborough – to join us, and it is no coincidence that our team’s results have reflected his input. After being badly injured in an assault 18 months ago, “Fish” responded to our call and has shown an extraordinary recovery. He has been inspiring to watch.”
Greytown isn’t the only team improving. Look at the top three placings under the Controlled, Entrapped, and Immediate events, and you won’t see a brigade name repeated twice. “This spread shows that up and coming teams are giving more experienced teams a run for their money, which is great for the future of the event,” says UFBA Events Manager, Ceara Owen-Perry.
“It is great to see how much these newer teams have pushed the big names and are taking out events,” says Fenwick. “It’s got to be good for our communities to know our brigades are upskilling to a level seldom found in Australasia. In Canberra last year, four New Zealand teams entered, and all of them finished in the top eight out of 16 teams.”
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