A Taste of something new

There are moments and experiences in marshalling that don’t come around very often and if you are ever offered or get the chance, you should take it with both hands. The opportunity may never come back again.

You’ve got a role with it

Back in June when the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was at Oulton Park, I attending the training day on the Sunday morning to broaden my knowledge of being first marshal on scene and working with the rescue unit.

During one particular exercise, the rescue team demonstrated how you can extricate a driver if you have access via a door. One of the team, Ian Buckley, came up to me asking if I wanted to have a go. He cast a look of concern when I replied with “And be a 16 stone driver? I’ll put someone’s back out!” Thankfully, he laughed it off and asked if I wanted to have a taster day on the rescue unit.

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It was during this exercise I was asked the question…. I SAID YES!

This time it was I who cast a look of concern and made notions that it probably isn’t for me. I quickly realised the ignorance of my ways and before Ian could get another word out I said it would probably be best to give it a go.

Fast forward to September and I was joining the team on an away trip to Croft circuit, (apparently I’m the first person to do a taster away day).

Over the two days the equipment was explained to me, how many training days they do (six in total per year) and how they work together in different scenarios.

An example of working together was demonstrated to me first hand on the Sunday, with a little training exercise where I had to act as the unfortunate driver of a stricken vehicle (turns out Ian was right when he asked did I want a go). They simulated a driver extrication, explaining how and why each step in securing the driver and removing the driver from the car was done in a specific way making sure that the driver’s safety is paramount.

Earlier I said that the rescue unit wasn’t for me, but after spending the weekend with an extraordinary bunch of people. I honestly have to say I’m now unsure whether I was wrong. A little more thinking time is required on the decision.

A new track

To maintain my own personal experience building within marshalling, it is important for me to visit new tracks to see how things such as incident handling or flagging can be done differently.

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The view down to McLeans was great to watch the cars fight for grip in the wet conditions.

Whilst my original plan was to visit all 18 major circuits in the UK (I’m sure there is a full list somewhere), the sad closing of Rockingham means the list is now only has 17 on it.

Donington Park was next on the list for me to visit having already checked off; Oulton Park, Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Knockhill, Croft, Anglesey and Goodwood. A trip away with friends for the TCR UK race meeting and I felt completely out of my depths only knowing where to go for sign-on.

Having been given my post allocation of Post 15, the straight between McLeans and Coppice at the top of the circuit, I asked fellow marshals numerous times how I got there. It turns out that going through some access gates and driving 100 yards and parking up was the answer, nothing I needed to flap abut at all.

Besides the wind and the rain, I found the racing to be enjoyable and I was left scratching my head as to why it had taken me so long to visit Donington Park. I will definitely be back and if you have never been I would encourage you to go.

Get your badges

Keeping the theme of ‘A Taste of Something New’ I launched the new A Life In Orange badges which can be sewn onto clothing and marshalling proban. To my amazement the first 55 badges sold out within hours.

Fear not as another 300 badges have arrived! If you would like to order one you can send A Life In Orange a message on Facebook to get yours.

Don’t miss out, they are selling fast!

Written by Rob Lee (@RobLee559)

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