Tour control role too good to quit

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 30/10/2012
Danny Wyatt
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Danny Wyatt, a 10-year Tour of Southland sponsor and support crew member.

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For some people, the idea of using up a year's leave to stand in almost certain rain, controlling traffic for a week, is absolute anathema.

For one Invercargill man, it's his idea of fun.

Danny Wyatt, of Bell and Wyatt Antique and Second Hand Dealers, has been a traffic and crowd controller for the Tour of Southland for about 10 years.

This means that when the cyclists are battling their way around 1000km of roads, Mr Wyatt is driving up to 300km more, using backroads to beat the cyclists and keep traffic on its toes.

For the most part, traffic control was fairly straightforward, he said.

"Normally, most people know it's on. There's only ever a few people that don't like being held up. Normally in Queenstown."

Most people were generally understanding.

"It's not the Tour de France, where they block roads for days; it's 20 minutes, half an hour, tops."

Mr Wyatt said there were "101 things" he could tell about his days on the road, but a particular instance of "roadworks in the wop-wops" really stood out.

"We were taking a short cut one year at Scott's Gap. When we got there, they were doing the road up so we were going to be delayed.

"A Maori boy offered to lead us through behind a roller to get us there. However, we were going about 10km an hour and missed the next stop anyway."

Mr Wyatt said he planned to stay on board for the foreseeable future, with the camaraderie of workers and meeting people from "all walks of life" making it hard for him to want to move on.

"It's hard to get on the tour, it's even harder to get off it."

And as for giving up his holidays to do so, "it's just one of those things. But it's great fun".

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- The Southland Times

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