Life’s a Beach! Where’s the Track?

In a previous blog, I wrote about how you sometimes need to take a short break away from marshalling and that it helps clear the mind and soul. Then once you’ve been away for a few weeks, months or even years you realise you miss it. You come back to it, meet up with all your friends again and it’s like you’ve never been away.

What about those breaks away from marshalling that you just can’t help?

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Trackside is an escape. A home away from home. Just right.
They’re the worst because all you do is think about putting on those orange overalls and standing at the side of a track, in a pit lane, waving some flags or running down the startline. You’ll miss the buzz and the rumble of the engines, the smell of burning rubber and the adrenaline of when you have to jump to action.

I recently experienced this bizarre feeling of being away form the track and all I could think was, “I wish I was at the track, I wish I was in orange.” What really made me think about being away from the marshalling was my location. I wasn’t sat at home, nor at work, I was on a beach in Greece. Possibly the best beach I’ve ever been to, with the sun beating down on me, away from the British weather and the shackles of work. Yet, all I could think about was those orange overalls, the smell of petrol and the sound of tyres on the limit.

What goes through your head?

The first thought that went through my head while I was on the sun lounger, was when am I next going to be back at marshalling? The MSVR meeting at Oulton Park on the 28th October seems a very long way away, then after that I’ll be at the Race of Remembrance meeting at Anglesey and then finally the Winter meeting in the same location.

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Contemplation phase for what to do over the Winter at the Winter Meeting, Anglesey. [Photo: Paul Williams]
Then it suddenly dawned on me that I only have three meetings left in the year, only three more chances to smell that burning rubber and experience that adrenaline. The long wait from the end of one season to the next must be as long as that wait for a child on Christmas Eve, waiting to go to bed and for Santa to bring their presents. The post-season wait is always a maddening one for any marshal, but there are options. Like going into the woods and doing a spot of Rally marshalling, but I’ll cover this in a blog towards the end of the season.

After realising there isn’t much racing left in the season you look back on the year that you’ve had. The World Endurance Six Hours of Silverstone back in April feels like only yesterday, and the bizarre antics of Carfest North, with Harry, Alice and the Astronauts (good name for a band), are still so fresh in my memory that it could have happened hours ago. Either way the thoughts of the season you’ve had bring a smile to your face and means it boils down to just one thing.

What does it boil down too?

The two examples that I have mentioned above don’t spring to mind because of the incidents I dealt with, nor the Sprinting at Carfest being particularly on the limit. Yet, they both had something in common. On the Saturday night of the World Endurance Championship, I found myself in the Silverstone wing, chatting to friends and sharing stories of the day and other weekends gone by. Laughing until we are the last ones in the wing and told to go and get some rest.

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The nights at Carfest brought out the best in us. [Photo: Aidy Williams]
At Carfest, the public interaction was equally as important as looking after the circuit. If a car went off then you dealt with that, but in between incidents you made sure the crowd were laughing, informed and generally having a good time. Me and Aidy Williams certainly did just that, not to forget the antics we got up to as a group of marshals at night, all to raise money for Children in Need. I mentioned before Harry, Alice and The Astronauts, if you ever see me about and wonder what I’m on about, just ask me to tell the story, you won’t be disappointed!

All in all, the reason why I’ve missed being at the track so much these past few weeks is because of the times I’ve laughed there, the good memories, the people I’ve met and of course the time I’ve spent socialising with my friends. I would trade in all the incidents, if it meant that the weekend could be filled with laughs.

That’s the simple thing for it for me, the social side is what draws me back to the race track and this great hobby. All this whilst looking at the view below.

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It’s strange what a bit of time in the sun can make you think…

Roll on the 28th October.

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

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