West Bend company off to the races

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Jan. 21, 2015

The exterior of the Centrum building that now houses Absolute Race Timing seen on
Friday afternoon in West Bend.   

Photo by John Ehlke 

WEST BEND - After organizing Trot for Troops, a 5K run/walk in West Bend that benefits local soldiers and their families, Dirk Brandt thought he could time the events better, so he started Absolute Race Timing three years ago.

Absolute Race Timing was run out of a warehouse in Campbellsport, but the company moved into the Centrum Building, 120 Main St., West Bend, last month.

“Absolute Race Timing is a timing company,” Brandt said. “We time a lot of non-motorized events. Majority are charity events. We do triathlons, bike races, cross-country races. So really it’s a wide spectrum of events.”

“I did a lot of research and put together a comprehensive business plan. We went out and took the leap of faith and started it,” he added.

Absolute Race Timing uses RFID chips to time the races. Brandt said two chips are affixed to a racer’s bib; as soon as the competitor crosses the finish line, the computer system reads it and assigns a time.

Before RFID chips, competitors could only determine their finishing spot in the race and not their time.

The decal on the inside for Absolute Race Timing of the Centrum building that now houses Absolute Race Timing seen on Friday afternoon in West Bend.   
Photo by John Ehlke 

“With the software we can see what you ran last year and the year before,” Brandt said. “It’s almost cumulative.”

Pat Geigel, activities director for Kiel High School, said they’ve utilized Absolute Race Timing services for three athletic events in the last two years.

“A few years ago we decided to go to chip timing,” Geigel said.

Not only does Absolute Race Timing use chips, but Geigel said they record the race.

“The video is the big thing,” Geigel said.

Absolute Race Timing has been used at a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association sectional and Kiel High School’s annual cross-country meet.

“They (Absolute Race Timing) are very professional and very precise,” Geigel said adding Brandt and his team come early and stay late to make sure the customer is satisfied. Brandt said Absolute Race Timing moved to West Bend for the visibility.

“We do a lot of work in West Bend,” Brandt said. “I’ve been in the National Guard here for 21 years. Now we’ve made roots here and this is where we want to be.”

Dirk Brandt of Absolute Race Timing brushes snow off to the side near the finish line during the second annual Turkey Trot on Thursday, Nov. 27 in Kewaskum. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Kewaskum High School cross country team. The event was sponsored by
Finish Line Training.    

Photo by John Ehlke 

Absolute Race Timing travels as far south as Chicago and as far west as Prairie du Chien to time races. Brandt said Absolute Race Timing does work for Ashley Furniture in Arcadia and just signed a deal in Door County.

Preparation for a typical Saturday event starts about a week in advance.

Brandt said Tuesday work begins for the next race and by Thursday Absolute Race Timing will have a registration list and the competitor’s emails and Facebook accounts are added into their system. If the competitor will allow it, a Facebook message can be sent to their account letting their friends know they’ve just completed the race and their time.

On Friday, the system is tested and then Absolute Race Timing heads to the event Saturday.

Brandt said his team is at the race two hours before the event starts. It takes about an hour to set up, an hour to work out any issues and the results are printed once the race director requests them. It takes about an hour for Absolute Race Timing to pack up and they start getting ready for the next event.

The most rewarding part for Brandt is being in the atmosphere of a race.

“It’s all-around fun,” Brandt said. “It’s not enjoyable getting up at 3 a.m. to travel to Prairie du Chien, but once you’re there you get pumped up. It’s quite stressful for us because we only have one shot to get it right.”

Absolute Race Timing has seven employees and Brandt said it is hiring part-time employees. They will be timing about 50-60 races this year.

“The added value that you get from us far out weighs what anyone else can do,” Brandt said.

For more information, visit or call 262-685-8646.