Are they still not providing that option? Similar problems when we were at NZ Easter a few years ago - they did have a punch start device but the Start Master had hidden it in his bag, because he disagreed with it.
Yeah, I think that they had one, but I don't think that anyone bar the competitors was aware of the unraveling. It turned out to be the least of their worries as a zillion egg hunting kids obscured parts of the gardens mid race for some classes. Great area for sprint though, although not as good as today's gold mining.