As the legendary ‘Don Hall’ once said “They’re observers, not Post Chiefs, as they are looking what else is happening, including what is going on, on the track”. Whilst this is very much up for debate by lots of people in marshalling, but with the quote and the clue from last weeks blog, you can guess that this week’s blog is about; my mid-season trip as a Post Chief, it was what I describe as unexpected.
Now the reason that this sits at number four is not because I was in charge of a post; in fact it was the exact opposite, it was the chance to try something new. Like the first time you go out to deal with an incident when you first go out on the bank, being a Post Chief is exactly the same! The first time you push that button on your radio to talk to race control, there are more questions going through your head than there are on a school exam paper.
Questioning and doubting yourself is always something you should never do, but you will ask yourself; was it really that number? Was there really contact? Did that car that just spin in front of me really spin in front of me? As daft as it all may sound they are thoughts that will cross your mind if you are ever asked to step up to Post Chief! Fear not, just take a collected approach, and if you get it wrong, but you know you can correct yourself, do it on the next lap or when you have 100% of the facts collected. Race Control will probably thank you for it, as they don’t want the embarrassment of calling the wrong driver up to race control. Remember we always get the bad guys, just like in the films.
Not only does being a Post Chief bring a new challenge, it also brings something that every Motorsports fan loves and that’s getting closer to the action. Now it might seem like they are stood in the box waiting for something to crash, but this “observing” is making you watch the race more, you are looking for every bit of contact, trying to anticipate the racing. This means you watch every overtake with a critical eye which allows you to admire a sublime move or to have a chuckle at one that didn’t go quite right, and normally by the end of the race you know if it has been a good one or not.
At this point you’re probably wondering, how on earth was he given the chance to be a Post Chief? Well I shall try and keep the story short, sweet and to the point. First of all the numbers at the track were slightly down due to apologies for one reason or another, don’t worry this can happen and you can get through it. I arrived at sign-on at my usual time of when the queue has gone, where I was greeted by a very smiley Nadine Lewis (congratulations on now officially taking over as Chair Person of the BMMC), and a statement of “Yay! He’s here, can you do me favour?” In classic me style, I agreed before asking what it was. At this point I was handed a folder, told to go grab a radio and make my way to Post Two, also known as Target, at Anglesey Circuit.
Thankfully, the marshalling family, especially Paul Levitt and Steve Milward, gave me a few hints and tips for the day that lay ahead for me. Anyways after a few “run wide and continues”, I finally got the hang of it and now every time I’m asked to do it I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead because it’s something else that has broadened my gaze as a Motorsport marshal, especially that day when we had karts going here, there and everywhere at Rocket!
Needless to say, if you are ever called up to do something that you think is “beyond your grade”, take the opportunity with two hands and run with it. See what experience you can gain from it and enjoy it. If it’s not for you then don’t worry, no one will force you.
Next week, #3 takes a full day to analyse.
Written by – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)
Always wanted to be a marshal, but never known how to go about it? Follow the link here to find your nearest circuit, taster day or training session to give the life in orange a go!