The British Touring Car Championship’s annual meeting at Oulton Park took place over the weekend. The event attracts a huge crowd to the Cheshire circuit, and quite rightly so. The premier Motorsport in Britain should provide some exhilarating, fast pace racing.
The weekend always brings a lot of promise, sadly that wasn’t to be this weekend as the marshals, officials and maintenance team would have to work overtime in the next two days.
A multi-Porsche pile-up in one of the races saw one of many barrier rebuilds and red flags in the day, as reports came in from one of the Porsche teams that one car involved in the incident was 4 feet shorter on one side than the other!
The multi-car crashes didn’t stop there as the Clio Cup again provided action for the marshals and maintenance crew on Old Hall corner. Turns out the Clio’s would only run 6 laps of their 12 lap race on Sunday due to incidents.
For me down on Island Hairpin, it was a quiet Saturday; a smattering of contact and only one Ginetta pulled off at our location. The trend even continued into the early races of Sunday. I was close to feeling like the incidents would happen everywhere except my corner.
This rumour was promptly quashed in the second Touring Car race when James Cole spun. Assisted or not, the incident put Cole out the race and meant that I could spring to action to deal with an incident.
The incidents after that seemed to flow well for the team, especially after the team of four I was in, moved to the middle of the hairpin. Matt Jackson pulled off out our location, before Aiden Moffat’s crash just before Hilltop meant we had to get our running shoes on, not only to make sure that Moffat was okay, but to later help rebuild the tyre wall.
The number of red flags and tyre wall rebuilds meant the tension rose, as questions started to be asked will we lose races because of Oulton Park’s 6:30pm curfew? Well not if the Orange Army, Officials and Maintenance crew had anything to do with it. Rebuilding tyre walls and armco in a short amount of time, loading vehicles onto flatbeds even faster, it was staggering to see that only one race was lost from the entire weekend. Yep! One!
The weekend wasn’t just about the racing! First of all, it’s a chance for marshals, not just in the North West, but who have turned up to marshal the BTCC, to get a little bit more training. This can be a variety of things from fire to extrications. Last weekend it was all about working with the Rescue Unit and being the first marshal on scene. Even a special guest, Tom Ingram, was getting involved, well mainly scared by different equipment that is at the Rescue Unit’s disposal.
Even though the marshals duty was done on the track, a sea of orange turned out for Billy Monger’s track walk. It was impressive to see such a sea of orange on the track walk, as they would always be the people who would arrive first at such an incident. The humbling nature of Billy was evident when he turned his attention to the marshals, and asked if he could have his picture taken with the orange army!
See you all at the British Touring Cars next year!!
Been inspired by what the people in orange do? Want to get closer to the action and get involved? Follow the link here, to find your nearest taster day and more information on how to become a marshal.
Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559)