A day in the life – Motorsport marshal – part one

After seeing a blog about the day in the life of a digital communications officer, I thought it would be an idea to do a blog or two about the day in the life of a Motorsport marshal.

This blog may actually shock you that marshals aren’t weekend warriors and actually dedicate a lot of time to Motorsport. It may also make you laugh that we don’t talk about Motorsport 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5:45am – God may not be awake, but I peel myself out of bed questioning why am I doing this?

5:50am – I check social media, just to make sure that nothing has changed about the meeting like sign-on times and locations. Nothings has. There are just a few people asking about sign-on last minute.

6:10am – Final mental checklist to make sure I have everything required for the day; gloves, waterproofs, boots, water, lunch… don’t forget that!  Quick check to make sure I’m wearing overalls.

6:15am – Car packed and ready to go. I ask the question again why am I doing this? But it’s too late as I’ve started the car and I’m on the way to Oulton Park

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It’s always important to chat with your team

6:55am – Arrived early so it’s time to grab some food, always thinking about my stomach. It’s also a good chance to catch up with friends.

7:02am – More marshals start to arrive and I notice that people are starting to form a queue behind me. The quote from Captain Phillip’s comes to mind “Look at me, I’m the captain now”

7:15am – Sign-on starts and it’s time to find out what post I’m on. Please be a good one! Please! Please! Please! Yes, Shell, the hairpin! Here we go!

7:30am – Drive round and drop my kit off at post, fancying myself a racing drive I hit the perfect line at 30mph.

7:31am – Arrive on post and see some eager marshals who are already setting up. Pass around the hellos, dump my kit and drive off to park my car up.

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Action may not always be at your post [Paul Williams]
7:45am – After being stopped by every man and his dog for a general chat I finally return back to post to ask the team to put out the extinguishers. They had already done it! They’re a cracking bunch.

8:10am – Post Chiefs arrive on post and interrupt the conversations around post that we were having about what we have been doing recently, they start their briefing about the day.

8:15am – It’s my turn to speak now as I’m Incident officer for the day. I keep telling them that it is about safety and enjoyment. Forget to mention that the post chief will have a whistle to attract attention.

8:30am – the team is broken up into smaller teams to cover the post. LET’S GO RACING!

8:33am – First red flag of the day, apparently a car went sliding into another corner on its roof. I’m impressed but somewhat shocked at the speed of the red flag.

8:45am – The racing is back underway and we comment about how the early red flag has set the tone for the day.

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Sometimes you may think you’re the expert from afar… then you realise you aren’t. [Paul Williams]
9:30am – The early wake up is having an effect on everyone as half tired eyes look out over the race track. To our amazement there have been no further red flags.

9:43am – During one of the practice sessions the succeeding post throws out a wild blue flag as a faster car is trying to overtake. I think it’s completely unnecessary and tell myself what I would have done instead. I quickly realise that I probably wouldn’t have done any better.

10:00am – We are getting into the flow of the day but, we’ve still had no crashes or pull offs to deal with, so we turn our attention to more pressing matters food!

10:05am – Everyone is getting a mid-morning snack, it’s not your traditional elevensies but you grab food whenever you can.

10:15am – A car takes an excursion across the gravel trap, everyone gets a little excited that they may get something to do. Annoyingly the car gets out and carries on.

10:30am – Food comes back in conversation again and we mention the superstitious remark that if you eat a pork pie a car will crash. We all look at each other to see who has them.

10:47am – A car is going slow! A CAR IS GOING SLOW! It’s going to stop with us, it’s going to stop with us. No wait it’s carried onto the next post.

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When it goes wrong you need to be ready to jump to action.

11:00am – CRASH! Not on my post but, somewhere else there is a flurry of activity from the recovery trucks, thankfully no one is hurt. Someone on post says “There goes our lunch break”

11:17am – Race one is about to start. You can tell everyone is getting giddy as lap one of races usually breeds incidents.

11:22am – It turns out that this race didn’t breed an incident on lap one or lap two. In fact the field spread out quite quick so we start discussing old events we had done. Most noticeable was the Belgian Grand Prix.

11:40am – After some good chatting about racing, I turn my attention back to the track. I swear I was only talking for two minutes but with how the drivers are waving it seems the race is over.

11:50am – Green flag lap now for the second race, I seemed to have glazed over from the track and started turning my attention to the team – are they still all upright? Yes! Are they all smiling? Yes! Have they enough food and water? Surprisingly with how much they’ve been snacking… Yes!

12:00am – The clock hits midday and everyone starts asking about lunch. There are jokes going round that we don’t get a lunch. After hearing the radio traffic from around the circuit they may be right.

That’s just part one of a marshalling day, they can differ but, these are things that are generally remember when leaving the circuit. Part two will be on its way soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

I would like to point out that some of the events in this blog may have been twisted for comic effect and that no comments reflect upon anyone’s ability to marshal – it’s just all fun.

Written By Robert Lee

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