In my last blog I mentioned that I am normally at Oulton Park for the British GTs, and as the World Endurance Championship finished on Sunday it meant that I had Monday free, so I decided to pull on my overalls and complete another day of marshalling.
Still tired from the weekend, I was running a little late for sign-on, thankfully I made it with a few minutes to spare to find out I had been assigned to Shell corner for the day! I made it on post with a good amount of time, still weary from the weekend of travelling and marshalling. However, seeing the team that I was with reassured me as there were a good number of familiar faces, all of which are exceptional marshals. This lifted me and prepared me for a good day of marshalling.
I would have said that the day was normal, some cars came close to joining us, but none made it to say hello, that was until the last race before lunch! Whilst I was convinced it was going to be the third quiet day in a row for me, those rumors were quashed with a Ginetta G40, in the GT5 Challenge.
The car strayed onto the wet grass, and we all know from our years of marshalling that once a car is on the wet grass it speeds up and the drivers becomes a passenger. To quote Martin Brundle the whole package “goes straight to the scene of the accident”. Thankfully the rectocell barriers did their job, along with a section of gravel to slow the car down before it clipped the tyres at the end of the barrier. Thankfully it was just the tyres the car hit, but it still caused some damaged to the car, ripping the front off and dropping coolant all over the track.
With this incident cleared up, it seemed to set the tone for the afternoon. With the rain drizzling with intermittent heavy spells, it was causing problems for all the drivers, especially for none other than Guilherme Samaia in the BRDC British F3 Championship. Samaia didn’t visit us just the once, he was caught up in a second incident, in the final race of the day, with Double R Racing teammate, Jamie Chadwick.
The two crashes in the F3 races, allowed a rare oppurtunity for a different type of recover to be put into place. Usually you try and push the cars to the edge of the track and then winch them onto a flatbed recovery truck. What if the steering is broken? Well you’ve got to snatch the vehicle using a manatoo; the last time I did this was when I was at Formula-e last season. Once the car is lifted you’d think the manatoo does the rest of the work, but marshals are required to steady the vehicle until it has been placed on the back of a flatbed, or a place of safety.
As I eluded to before, once the cars were on the grass they became a passenger. The wet conditions are tricky to master, and even though we did have a few cars that made it all the way to the barriers and have to retire, we had two cars that made contact and were able to continue. Brad Hutchinson in the #17 Mini, made contact with the tyres part way around Shell, but was able to carry on.
However, it was Lee Mowle in the #30 Mercedes AMG GT car, that got on the grass coming out of Island Bend, that gave the barrier a fair old smack and left us scratching our heads as to what that car is made of, as it was able to drive off and seemed to have no damage!
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Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)