Having a variety of experiences whilst marshalling is the key to enjoying it so much. So last weekend I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and experience what it was like to be on the start line of the Ty Croes Sprint at Anglesey race track.
A Sprint event is slightly different to a regular weekend as the car is against the clock and not just against other competitors. The start line is different too because you aren’t gridding up cars as such, you are holding them on the start and waiting for the green light so they can set off from the line.
Once that car has gone the process of lining up the next car starts. This is the task that is the hardest of the day, especially on the Saturday. The timing plate on the front of the car has to be lined up to a small margin of error, and I mean we are talking millimetres. Once the car is then aligned you have to hold it there until that green light appears.
Of course holding the car isn’t without its difficulties; the number of different cars that compete in a sprint means it is testing on the arms, shoulders and back. These can all be looked passed as the start line is a fun place to be. Some drivers bring you sweets, some have a laugh and a joke with you and of course you get to see all the cars in their full glory before they head out onto the track.
Saturday and Sunday however couldn’t have been two more different days. Apart from the track configurations, the weather had also turned. Sunday saw the rain roll in over the circuit, but the rain didn’t dampen our spirits on the start line. A quick little rendition of “Singing in the Rain” got the drivers smiling and us in the mood for a day where we were going to get soaked.
The rain didn’t affect the spirit of the marshals but it did affect the timing beam on the start line. This meant we had to revert to the low tech solution which was a piece of wood. Standing in front of the car and lining the car’s timing strut up with the piece of wood was a lot easier than the way we were doing it on Saturday. This meant Sunday relatively flew by as the cars were none stop rolling up to the start.
The cars were the only constant during the weekend, and the variety of car made the Sprint brilliant to be part of. You had; race ready Peugeot 306s, Porsche 911 GT3s, road going cars like the Mazda 3, single seaters, one of which was the #71 V10 Gould that set the fastest time of the day and even old MG Midgets. All these cars made the event even more exciting for everyone involved.
The speed difference did keep the timekeepers on their toes. While the Gould pictured below would do a run in around 50 seconds, it meant it had to be held on the start line longer because it was so fast. However, that meant the next car didn’t have to wait on the start line long at all.
It wasn’t just the start line team that was having a great time; marshals all over the circuit spoke highly of the event and of Ty Croes Sprints.
It seems that the Ty Croes Sprint will become a marshals and competitors favourite in the future, and they are always looking for more of both. I have to agree with the tweet Elliot made though; it is first on the calendar for next season. Now where is the volunteering sheet for the start line again?!
*Please note all pictures and videos are not owned by myself they are owned by their respected owners and curators**