The Marshalling Essentials (Vol. 1)

Marshalling is all about preparation, you can do all the training in the world but, if you aren’t ready for a day on the bank you are really going to struggle. Never has a day been more challenging. In more ways than one you are going to be tested; whether that be from the elements, the racing, the long day or what you have to do.

Before you even get to touch a car, which I’ll probably cover in a Marshalling Essentials Volume 2, you want to be prepared for the day on the bank, so hopefully these few things listed will get you on the right lines.

Overalls

This may seem like a no brainer; overalls at marshalling have benefits that will at some point keep you safe. The obvious and most known about fact is that they are flame retardant. Before you go any further this does not mean you are fire proof, however if you get too close to a fire momentarily it could be the difference; handy when tackling a car that’s on fire.

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A sea of orange is the most reassuring sight.

Overalls don’t look the prettiest, but at least you can see one an other, unless a freak blizzard hits the circuit you will always be able to see the orange. This means you know whether your colleagues are in a place of safety or not. Drivers will also be able to see you, so if they need to pull up as they have a problem with their car, they can find you pronto.

Overalls however, need a bit of extra help; on a hot day they’re all you need to wear but, on a cold day make sure you have plenty of layers underneath. You can always take layers off if you get too warm.

Dressed to Impress

I Love the Rain

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Getting some shelter from the wind and rain before the start of the 2CV 24hours.
Never has this been more correct. I travelled to Iceland nearly six years ago and heard a phrase, “You think the weather is bad now, wait five minutes and it will get worse”. Maybe five minutes is a bit extreme, but over a day you could experience every season!

Waterproofs are a must, the thought of getting halfway through a day and see the rain clouds forming then realising you have no waterproofs to hand is the stuff of nightmares. The weather can turn quicker than a Formula One car, so having everything you need to hand will make you perfectly adaptable.

Here comes the Sun

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In down time it was vital for marshals to cool down, needless to say in the overalls we felt the warm weather. (Photo Credit – Philip Rainford)

The day doesn’t just turn bad either, you might see a dramatic improvement in the weather and will be thinking of ways to defend yourself from the sun? I know it sounds daft, but any shade is good shade. You will also need a hat and sunglasses. Sunglasses help with the glare off the cars and the hat provides relief from the sun. Don’t forget the sun cream; nothing is worse than going a whole day and realising you have protected everything from the sun except the top of your ears. The pain of having burnt ears really isn’t worth it….Factor 30 at the ready.

These Boots are Made for Walking

What doesn’t look good is having the wrong footwear. I would agree there are probably plenty of shoes comfier and quicker than a pair of boots, but after five hours, would those shoes still be comfy? A pair of steel toe-capped boots will not only get you through a day, but they will do it regardless of what is thrown at them. Uneven surfaces mean you need a good support from your boot and with how close you are to a car, steel toe caps will protect your little toes in case you get too close.

Enough Food and Drink to Sink a Ship

You are going to be spending a lot of time in the elements and you’re going to be doing a lot of standing up, that’s just standard, but if you have an incident you’re going to be doing a lot of running, if you are flagging you have a lot of time working your arms. You will need to keep fuelled up throughout the day! A good mixture of sugar and slow release energy food (sandwiches work wonders) will normally see you through the day quite well.

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Frosties are great in a 24 hour race for slow release energy, but I wouldn’t recommend cooking them.

As for a drinks, a balance of hot drinks, soft drinks and water will be more than enough. Hot drinks work especially well on cold days, whilst water is not up for debate if the sun comes out and the temperature goes up. I have been caught out a few times by the sun on race day.

All that’s left to do now is to get a bag big enough to fit all this equipment in, except your overalls, you want to be wearing them!

Now I need to think up more marshalling essentials; gloves, scanners and who knows what else!

If you have always wanted to get closer to the action then follow the link here, to find your nearest circuit, taster day and give the life in orange a go!

Written by Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)

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