Startline, Smiles and Sombreros

Bank holiday weekend was upon us and another chance to pull on my orange overalls and get out marshalling. It wasn’t a normal race weekend, instead I was volunteering at a sprint which is simply the competitor going one on one with the clock with no one else to beat other than yourself.

It was my third time doing the startline of the Ty Croes sprint and I was fairly accustomed to the lining up and holding of cars until they can be released onto a clear track. This year though there was something different about it, I thought it might have been the fact it was going to be my last sprint for a while but upon further thinking, what made it feel different was how interactive the drivers were.

Usually the drivers are chatty and have a good laugh with us but this year there was something more to it. They seemed to have come to terms with our different nature, joking around and sombreros. Sombreros? Yep that’s right! After we became dubbed the three amigos a few years back we decided to take on the persona in a more physical element!

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Radio check ready after a siesta! [Jilly McNeil]
Staying with the sombrero, it’s a hat I no longer have as I decided to give it to one of the drivers at the sprint. The story is a simple one, but one that I think is worth telling. Two drivers, one of whom is sitting his GCSEs in a few, were entirely new to sprinting. In fact, the 16-year old could be described as new to driving!

The class which their car was put in, dictated by the rules of the sprint, put them in a predicament, both drivers were new to sprint, yet they were forced to compete against not only seasoned drivers, but those who knew their cars very well. With the pressure adding up the new drivers balked (blocking a driver on a fast run) their fellow competitors from having a clean run. Whilst the experienced sprint drivers understood that they were new the frustration would rise out of pure human instinct.

A quick reshuffle of the novice drivers class and the pressure was off them allowing them to get to grips with their car, the track and what the sprinting was all about. Towards the end of Sunday’s running the competition between brother and sister was getting fierce as both looked to go home with the bragging rights over the other.

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Hold! Hold! Go! The easy life on the startline of a sprint.

After the awards on Sunday night myself and other marshals got talking to the family and the conversation turned to how much they’d enjoyed themselves. As a parting gift and a memento for their first ever sprint I passed on my sombrero to the team. I think its safe to say the family are now hooked on sprinting!

The weekend wasn’t all about the racing I was glad that it was a Bank Holiday and I had the Monday to recover after not only marshalling but arriving in the early hours of Saturday morning following a Noel Gallagher concert. The plan to relax on Monday of course went out the window when a road trip to Beaumaris was on the cards instead. There was ice cream need I say more?

Written By Robert Lee (@RobLee559)

 

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