As I was in between jobs I had an opportunity to tick another race meeting off my never-ending list of races to marshal. The Blancpain GT is a collection of roughly 50 GTs ranging from Ferraris to Aston Martins to Lamborghinis and most other super cars mixed in for good measure.
Round Four of the series was held at the Silverstone Circuit and from the previous year’s report it had been a fantastic meeting. So, using my day off on the Friday I was able to get to the circuit to get a taste of what I was going to face over the weekend.
My first thought of the cars was “What a noise!” V12s, V10s, V8s and in-line six-cylinder engines all came together to make a symphony of racing and if you charged 99p for me to buy it I would have. What I couldn’t get to grips with was the speed of the cars.
At first, they looked to be slower than expected however, this may have been due to my distance away from the track as I was stood on the Silverstone Pit Wing normally seen on the start finish straight of the Formula One. This doubt of speed was erased from my mind as I moved location and got a more eye-line view of the cars and what it would be like for me trackside. They were moving a lot faster than my brain had lead me to believe.
Saturday brought about practicing, qualifying and races for the support package of the Super Trofeo Lamborghinis and Formula Renaults. This was my first chance to see how rusty I had become with flagging as it was the first time I had done so since my upgrade assessment last July.
At first, I was very rusty as I was missing opportunities to blue flag cars to warn them of faster cars approaching. this made me question my decision to flag for the weekend. Thankfully it only took me a few sessions to get back into the swing of things (excuse the pun) and it was a good job too as I had a rather large task to undertake on the Sunday of racing. A three-hour Blancpain endurance race with multiple pit stops!
To say the thought of flagging for that long was playing on my mind would have been a bit of an understatement. All that was running through my head was, how am I going to follow the race? My nerves were settled upon arriving on post for day two when I saw a familiar face stood at the flagging point I’d been on the day before. Paul Newns, a very experienced flag marshal from Oulton park and Anglesey circuit and someone I knew well would steer me to a great day of flagging.
Instead of trying to flag the whole three-hour Blancpain GT race on my own Paul, decided it would be best to split the flags up into half hour blocks. To start with I would be on the blue and green flag while he took the yellow flags in case of an incident at our corner, we would then swap.
After swapping for the first time I realised the genius of his plan and I was no longer nervous about following the race. Due to very little amounts of yellow flagging I was able to keep tabs on the positions of cars and which ones would be lapped by the leaders soon. When I returned to the blue flags with this fresh knowledge of the race order I was able to pick out blue flags and see the race as if I’d been watching it on TV.
Not only did following the race make for a settled time on the blue flags it allowed me to become engrossed in the on-track battles and to be upset that after three hours the racing was over and I would have to go home.
That saying I’ve already marked the event in my calendar for next season and will be hoping it doesn’t clash with other meetings that are on my never-ending list of ones to complete.