A Trip Across the Border

As a marshal who has only ever marshalled at Oulton Park, I leapt at the chance to marshal at the Super Touring Car Festival at Knockhill on 3rd and 4th June 2017. Racing would come from the Super Touring Cars, Legends, Minis, Formula Fords, and Fiestas to name a few. With 24 races over the two days, a good weekend was promised!

Travelling up there would require planning. First I needed to get to Warrington where my lift was, and then to pack the car to accommodate Paul and David Bosman who were also getting a lift up there; needless to say it was a tight squeeze in the car! With a journey that took nearly four and a half hours, we arrived in the dark and set up camp near the hairpin.

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The F1 cars were running demos on Saturday morning.

Saturday’s action didn’t start until 12:45pm, so we watched the testing from the Assembly Area, a place where David, a cadet marshal, would be posted for the weekend! We were joined by Phil Hughes, who had travelled up that morning, and Mark Noble, who had stayed at a nearby hotel on Friday night. We used this time to look at the F1 car demos as we took a walk down the Pitlane.

This is where we got our first marshalling action as we helped push the display Touring cars into a line in the pit garages! Me, Elliot, Mark, and Phil were allocated Duffus Dip; the first corner. Paul was put at the last post so he could keep an eye on David. We were made to feel very welcome by the local marshals, and provided with a sandwich, a bag of crisps, and a chocolate bar.

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Clear skies revealed some spectacular views. The camera really does it no justice.

The Scottish weather was very changeable; hailstones meant I couldn’t look at the oncoming traffic without getting a face full of it, but later in the day blazing sunshine offered us spectacular views of the Forth Road Bridge! After a day of great racing, and pushing a Formula Ford into the pit lane, we were treated to a nice warm Scotch pie whilst swapping tales with the local marshals. Very welcome after a long, wet day!

In the evening Elliot, Phil, and myself went on a track walk, and were surprised by the undulation, sharp drops and blind corners! Being such a short circuit, it only took us 15 minutes to walk the track!

Back at Post Two for day two, and it started with a bang! During the Fiesta qualifying, a car span sideways into the gravel, dug in, and rolled. From our position, we couldn’t see where it ended up, but after asking a couple of spectators, we found out it was still upside down.

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Phil enjoying the Scottish sun in downtime.

We went to help with a controlled roll to get the car back on its wheels; the first time I had ever done something like that! The next bit of drama was just before one of the Formula Ford races. A spectator came up to the fence after the green flag lap and told us that there was a screwdriver in the middle of the circuit, so I ran out to get it, with Phil telling the Post Chief what I was doing.

 

Lunchtime brought a special treat for David, as he experienced a passenger lap with John Cleland. It was clear, not only from the smell of the brakes, but from the grins on David’s face, that he was going for it!

After lunch we enjoyed more close racing from Minis, Legends, and Fiestas. In no time at all, it was the final race of the weekend; Scottish Formula Fords. A fierce battle at the front of the field came to an abrupt, unfortunate end.

The leading car ran wide out of the first corner, and upon re-joining, he clipped the second place man into a violent series of rolls. The car ended up upside down in the gravel trap. Thankfully, both drivers were ok and the clear up operation began, including reassuring following drivers that both guys were ok and putting wheels from the car on the back of the flatbed.

It was the second time in the day that the Formula Fords had collided. In an early National race, two cars collided and we saw the aftermath from our post. (Footage below is on-board with Thomas McArthur)

It was a spectacular end to a brilliant weekend. I hope to make another visit to Knockhill in the future! If you fancy giving marshalling a go at any circuit, follow the link at the bottom here, and try a taster day. You won’t regret it!

Written By – Sam Collinson

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