CarFest 2017 – Part 1 – Buckets and the Astronauts

The title of this blog is not a new band that is breaking onto the scene, it is in fact about the first day and a half of marshalling CarFest North. This is the first time that I've ever had to break an event down into two blogs purely because of the amount of things that went on during the weekend, but bare with me and I hope you see what kind of event this was!

20476314_10213919355086378_7733119917613008341_nCarFest is like no other weekend of marshalling that you do. The only similarities are that you sign-on, there is a track, there are cars and you pick the pieces up when it goes wrong.

The whole feel of CarFest is different. The cars on track aren't there to go against the clock, but to show off and to entertain the crowd. Most of which involved doing doughnuts and burn-outs in the demo zone! One burnout was so good it set the rubber it lay down on fire!

Chief entertainer on track was none other than Terry Grant, famous for driving on two wheels and doing more doughnuts than a washing machine on a spin-cycle; he did not disappoint. It is impressive watching him get out of a car whilst it pivots on the spot, run off into the crowd, grab a phone and record it all. However, his routine involving two marshals, Ashley Harwood and Caroline Morris, stole the show as the bravery of them both, mixed with the pin point precision driving of Terry, meant he was doing a figure of eight between the two.

20451586_535781813420279_8728389351784467477_oWe did have a few incidents to deal with, one of which being a Lola hitting the hay bales and causing cosmetic damage. The only problem is the cosmetic damage was on all original body work. Possibly the priciest crunch I've ever heard. Yet the weekend was more about interacting with the crowd, keeping them safe and helping them out where required.

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At first myself and fellow marshal Aidy Williams were politely asking for spare change to go into the Children in Need buckets, then we asked for; euros, pounds shilling and pence, all major debit and credit cars, contactless payment and eventually Apple Pay, just to keep them on their toes!

What makes the event so different from a normal race meeting is the amount of people who come up to you asking if they can have a picture taken with you! Selfies, group photos and hugging photos were all the rage because of the Facebook Group, "CarFest Buddies" and their motto to 'Hug a Marshal'.

When the racing finishes it's time to go to the concert. Friday being the first and wettest day, as the rain that joined us mid-afternoon didn't shift until late at night, luckily just in time for the Happy Mondays. Due to the weather, not many people hung around for the concert, most of them headed back to their tents or caravans to dry off for the morning.

IMG_5615.JPGMyself and Hinton Chetwood were the last two marshals standing at the Happy Mondays, dancing along using the space provided to 'Step On'. When two figures mysteriously appeared out of the darkness, the slight stagger hinted they had a good night. Whilst the girl asked me if I had any Rizzla's, the lad was busy asking Hinton why he was dressed like an Astronaut and if we were on a stag do! Before they left us they had time to tell us their names four or five times each. So wherever you are now Harry and Alice, we salute you!

Be sure to read tomorrows blog to find out what else we got up to!

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

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