BTCC – Behind The Camera Commitments

Oulton Park’s biggest event of the year and the British Touring Car Championship was in town to give us a great weekend of racing. Add in the TV cameras of the ITV and famous racing names, and as you can guess the big crowds flocked from far and wide to grace the banks of the Cheshire circuit.

Knickerbrook looking resplendent in the sunshine of Cheshire.
The run up to Clay Hill with one of the infamous tyre stacks before they got hit. (Photo Credit: Heather Roberts)
Whilst our job on the bank doesn’t change, it seems that the standards we are set does; the cameras, the number of marshals and spectators means we have to do the very best job we can. Of course though, everyone stepped up their game.

Whilst there were great teams around the circuit, it was the marshals that I was posted with on Knickerbrook who made light work of all the incidents that happened over the two days. No matter what the incident was; whether it was an apex tyre stack being put back, pushing a Ginetta G55 to safety or taking care of Aiden Moffatt when he had an off in Round 11 of the BTCC.

The driver’s parade before the racing started, with a very cool Matt Neal sat on the edge.
We did have time to enjoy the racing though; the gripping first race of the Touring Cars had us watching with baited breath! Were we cheering for Sam Tordoff, or even anyone behind Tom Ingram trying to get a way past? No, we were cheering for the underdog which was Hunter Abbott in 11th place! He did a sterling job to get his Chevrolet Cruze into a good position.

The good racing didn’t stop at the Touring Cars though. The Porsche Carrera Cup and Ginetta G4 SuperCup showed what a car can do when the conditions are just right, apart from one Porsche which had trouble keeping it on the tarmac, and by tarmac I mean the racing line. It took a back marker to slow down in front of the leader to get the man in first off the correct line around Knickerbrook.

Another challenge for the marshals, and this was the most important of all, was the constant battle with the weather. In the blistering heat, the last thing we wanted to wear was the orange overalls, but with safety first we needed to counter-act that by drinking plenty of water.

Water and shade were called for whenever we had down time. (Photo Credit: Heather Roberts)

Drinking a lot of water was a challenge however. As we could only carry so much, it was clear that we were going to struggle later in the day. As ever though, the marshalling family found a way to sort this problem out and ‘make it work’. Jilly, Suzie and Cheryl worked shuttle runs between shops and tents to those on posts to get as much water to those as possible. They were the true heroes of the weekend as they went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the guys and gals in orange could still function as well as they could.

Ten litres of water later and the day was nearly over however, Patrik Matthiesen in the MSA Formula 4 championship paid the gravel trap a visit and we got back to work as quickly as possible. With that incident in the last race of the day we had plenty of time to clear it up but, of course the faster the better. This was difficult as the driver had left the scene but, the car was stuck in third gear.

No problem though, with a bit of brain and muscle power we managed to get the car out of gear and that meant two hook units could deal with the incident and get the stricken vehicle back to the pits, it also meant that for another year the BTCC was complete at Oulton Park.

In down time it was vital for marshals to cool down, needless to say in the overalls we felt the warm weather. (Photo Credit – Philip Rainford)

I would like to say a special thanks also to; Tom Richmond, James McNeil and Heather Roberts for how much we kept an eye on each other during the hot weather and without them it would have been a difficult weekend. The rest of the Knickerbrook team also deserve a good shout out, because without them I wouldn’t have had half as much fun!

If you are interested in becoming a marshal always remember that you can follow the link here, the BMMC website where you can find your closest track and book yourself on a taster day to see if it really is for you.


Written by Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter)

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