Last Saturday saw the Fun Cup roll into Oulton Park for their annual four hour race in the heart of the Cheshire Countryside.
Having done the split six-hour race last year in Anglesey, where they run three hours in the afternoon before continuing the other half of the race after nightfall, I decided to give the four-hour race a go for the first time in a few years.
Whilst I was trying to work out how long it was since I marshalled a Fun Cup race at Oulton Park, I worked out that it had been nearly five years since I was posted on Deer Leap, the place where I found myself marshalling last weekend.
An undeserved reputation follows the Fun Cup, but like I said, it is undeserved. The Fun Cup produced four hours of close racing along with action for the marshals. Seven safety cars may have made the flaggies arms a little tired, but it meant the incident marshals had plenty to do.
The number of safety cars is only a small factor as to why the racing was so good, the number of driver changes in the four hours makes it an interesting race to follower. The pit stops shuffle, reshuffle and then shuffle the cars again meaning the eagle eyed marshals who have been following the racing will see how close and exciting the racing is. For a flag marshal the multiple pit stops makes it a challenge and it is certainly worth giving it a go to test your metal.
The day wasn’t just about the Fun Cup; large grids in the Formula Ford championship and BMW Compact race provided a lot of entertaining racing throughout the day. Deer Leap is the closest any marshal can get to live racing on the track and even though I was close to the action it was a quiet day for me from an incident point of view.
However, being on that post at Oulton Park, means you actually have something to do in every session. Being the last post before the startline means you get to help out on the startline. Whilst you won’t be helping with the gridding you will have to provide fire cover, along with flagging cover just in case a car stalls higher up the grid from your point as you will need to warn the drivers of the stricken vehicle.
After helping with the start, you will have to help out with the end of the race as well, helping to flag the cars down to a safe speed so the startline crew can direct the cars into Parc Ferme. Even though this only requires waving a yellow flag, it is an important process for protecting your fellow marshals as they stand across the pit entry to stop cars escaping the steward’s eyes.
The final race series of the weekend was the XR Challenge. Whilst the numbers may be lower than what they used to be, the racing is still as exciting and close. None closer than the race for 4th place in the final race of the day.
Fellow marshal, Mark Noble, managed to get his highest finishing position ever as he held off four cars for the fourth place spot. Even though it may not be a podium yet, Mark used the marshals power as we all willed him on each lap, so even though he called it “the longest race ever,” Mark was able to bring the car home.
A long way in two years from being blue flagged, to slicing and dicing at the front, but everyone in orange was impressed with the racing and made up with the position Mark finished.
If you have been inspired by this post or others that you have read and want to give marshalling a go, then follow the link here to find you nearest taster day and opportunity to get closer to the action.
Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)