In last week’s blog, “An observation into the Unknown”, I mentioned how some challenges are a leap into the deep end, something that you can’t really prepare for, all you can do is practice to try and make yourself perfect at the task at hand.
This week’s blog is about something equally as difficult, as there are a few things in Motorsport that you can’t really prepare for, without doing the same thing over and over again. I am of course, as the title eludes to, a 24 hour race, but how many endurance races can we get to in a year that go twice around the clock? Well on a good budget maybe three or four, but if you are light on money, like me as a student, but you still want to experience the thrill of endurance racing, then there is one race I would recommend and that’s the 24 hours of Citroen 2Cv.
So what actually makes a 24 hour race so exciting to be part of? And what makes it a ‘must take on’ challenge for those in orange? Well first of all the clue of twice around the clock hints that it isn’t going to be an easy one.
There are a few stages to a 24 hour race when you are a marshal. It starts with the high spirit first few hours where you are getting into the swing of things and having a great laugh with the people on your post. Then, if you can get off post, your shifts kick in so you do a variation of either three hours on, three off or four hours on, four off. Unfortunately, I was on a post I couldn’t get off for the full day, so we hit another stage, the lull as you make it between meals to the sunset. There’s something quite breathtaking about watching the sun set at a race track and the lights of the cars really take over, but it’s hypnotic and actually quite up-lifting in spirits.
Once the night kicks in, you start having your good laugh over tired jokes with everyone on your post, and by the time you come to recall those jokes 3 months later you can’t remember any. Although it does do strange things to you, like one marshal putting his bowl of Frosties on the cooker. Smooth!
You’re probably thinking well how hard is it? How easy is it? Well Darren Gallagher who was also on an infield post said; “About 4am was tough to stay awake, but I had 40 minutes sleep and was good again,” whilst James McNeil, who was with me eluded to getting warm after sleeping as the hardest part of the experience. So other than sleep everything is quite easy when it comes to a 24 hour race.
The final stages you’ll go through are when you perk up again when the sun starts rising and you know that there isn’t long to go. When there is just half an hour of the race left, the marshals just get giddy because they know they have nearly completed the task. Be careful of one last bit though, the crash; and I don’t mean on the track either! If you find a comfy seat you will drift off and go to sleep, which a lot of us did.
The 24 hour race was one of the best events of the season because it is a true test of endurance, stamina and mental ability as a marshal, not once since the race have I been fatigued by a longer race and that an hours endurance racing is”too long”. In fact it is the exact opposite having fallen in love with longer races more, and would highly recommend any 24 hour race to anyone out there in orange. If you get the chance though, I would highly recommend the 2CV, 24 hours. It has great drivers, good people and an all round up lifting atmosphere which every race meeting should desire.
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!