Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. and the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, today announced that the Perskindol Swiss Epic mountain bike race will be relying on Globalstar’s satellite network and SPOT GPS satellite messengers for tracking and safety.
Each of the 175 mountain bike teams and up to 20 support staff will use SPOT Gen3 satellite trackers while vehicles will be equipped with SPOT Trace asset trackers.
The Perskindol Swiss Epic, taking place from 11th-15th September 2018, covers 322km with over 12000m of climbing. In its fifth year, competitors consist of both amateur and professional two-person teams.
The small, affordable, rugged SPOT devices allow followers and support staff to track each team’s location every 2½ minutes. And, in an emergency, the rider simply presses SPOT’s one-touch SOS button to instantly send their GPS location and initiate a rescue.
In March 2018, the SPOT solution, using Globalstar’s fleet of satellites traversing the world in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), tracked all 670 teams participating in the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa. Thanks to SPOT’s location accuracy and satellite connectivity, family and friends could track riders and the organisers were able to successfully rescue two participants who pressed the SOS button during the race known as “The Tour de France of mountain biking”.
As mountain bike trails are both arduous and fairly inaccessible, SPOT will provide a valuable function by ensuring the rescue teams approach the scene of any incident by the nearest access route. “SPOT’s accurate tracking and the reliability of Globalstar satellite communications accelerate search and rescue operations. With mobile reception patchy at best in the mountains, in the past we built our own radio network for marshals and we had to trust that riders could report any accident. Satellite tracking brings new levels of reliability, reach and safety,” said Kati Csak, Head of Race Operations for Perskindol Swiss Epic.
For Swiss Epic, the SPOT Gen3s will be pre-programmed to allow the participant to alert officials if they are injured and withdrawing from the race or to request a support vehicle without medical help. The organisers have built their own interfaces in-house for operations and public use and they are adding new features for the event. “The public interface is important for those friends and family who want to follow participants’ progress, particularly if they are waiting at a public viewing point,” added Csak.
“Due to the scale of the distances involved and the remoteness of the Valais region, only satellite communications can ensure up to date information about the location of each team of riders. This data, combined with tracking of the medical support vehicles, rescue motorbikes and even a helicopter, ensure that any help is dispatched quickly and to the right place,” said Gavan Murphy, Director of Marketing EMEA at Globalstar.
Globalstar’s family of SPOT GPS satellite messengers have initiated almost 6,000 rescues worldwide since its initial launch in 2007.