A Day in the life – Motorsport Marshal – Part Two

Last year I wrote part one to a day in the life of a motorsport marshal and it was rather successful, so I decided to follow it up with the rest of the action which sometimes follows from 12 noon to the end of the day.

So let’s get straight into it.

12:10pm – It’s been almost seven hours since I woke up and lunch is nowhere in sight. There is also another two races before the ‘L’ word can be mentioned.

12:15pm – Race three starts and this could produce some fireworks, they were struggling a bit in practice so gloves are at the ready.

 

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It’s the moment you wait for in a day [Paul Williams]
12:16pm – Here they come. HERE THEY COME. CONTACT! Right let’s do this… wait, they’ve driven off. I stand around scratching my head trying to piece together what just happened.

 

12:30pm – I keep telling myself that each lap round there will be an incident, but nothing comes and before I know it the race is over.

12:50pm – The next 15 minute race has about eight cars in it and by the time they arrive at my post the cars are far to spread out for contact. With no dramas it can only mean one thing.

1:00pm – Finally lunch, the radio says something about being back on post at 1:35pm, but at this moment I’m not that bothered as I have the weight off my feet and a sandwich shoved into my face and silence descends on the track.

1:35pm – I hear the radio checks starting signalling the end of lunch, but it dawns on me that I have been asleep for at least half of it and haven’t eaten my pork pie. As I eat it on the way back to the middle of the corner I think; Oh well what’s the worst that could happen.

1:45pm – Still discussing the pork pie myth of them attracting crashes and mishaps we completely miss the start of the race, but at least they made it past us.

 

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Lunch is a time to rest and recover. [Phil Rainford]
2:00pm – Another race is about to start and i’m beginning to doubt whether or not we would get anything to do in the day and the looks on my marshals around the corner says the same.

 

2:25pm – Part way through a race some of the car has a rocking effect on me and my eyelids get heavy, however the sudden jolt of my knees going makes me wide awake again.

2:55pm – In fear of the slightest of sleeps I decide it’s best to take a wander and check on my teams of marshals around the post. As quick as the next race starts, it’s red flagged for an incident.

3:00pm – It seems like a lengthy delay as there is some barrier damage. Some quick track checking and a few stones kicked make it feel like we’ve done something.

3:05pm – A friendly photographer wanders up to join us and after snapping a few pictures of the scenery to pass the time, we hear radio transmission that the race restart is imminent. We jog back to our posts to make sure we’re ready for the action.

3:50pm – Between races I look into my bag and find one snack left. The pork pie, as I sink my teeth into it there’s a cry of “you’ve cursed us all now” but we laugh it off.

4:20pm – Another race gets under way and we are still chuckling about the Pork Pie myth. Surely it’s not true.

4:25pm – Second lap in and a car is stranded across the track, I think to myself surely this Pork Pie myth isn’t true. As I finish my thought a car collects the one stranded across the track. Looks like we have something to do.

 

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When it goes wrong knowing what you need is always handy. [Paul Williams]
4:26pm – All hands to the pump and the session is red flagged due to a blocked track and medical assistance required for a driver.

 

4:27pm – Before I know it the Rescue Unit is here, recovery trucks have arrived and the clean up operation has started. The driver has been safely removed and all okay.

4:30pm – As quick as the Rescue and recovery arrive the scene is clear and we’re off again. The adrenalin is still flowing and I swear never to eat a pork pie on race day again.

4:40pm – The race is underway again and all the cars are more behaved and they make it past my post.

5:10pm – The next race gets off to a slightly more subdued start, a crash at turn one means they’re too spread out for any contact by us. However, one driver takes a trip to the gravel trap. It’s good to see they’re still doing their job. The marshals closest go to the drivers aid and it will be an easy recovery at the end of the session. We have a small joke about how the driver may want a map of the circuit. Luckily the driver joins in the jokes too.

5:40pm – As the penultimate race is underway I notice the effects of a long day on everyone around the post. Tired eyes and yawns mean it’s got to be home time soon. We are thankful that the race track has a noise curfew.

6:05pm – With previous red flags throughout the day there is concern we may not be able to run the last race to the full distance. The startline team have other ideas and we’re off on time – every one is now hoping there isn’t a crash.

6:30pm – The cars are now in the paddock and a silence falls over the track again, now we get to pack up up and go home after a long day. Over 12 hours since I woke up.

6:40pm – A friendly debrief in the pit pane with a drink helps us compare days and activities. A lot of people saying to me “That was a big one you had up on your post” – I reply with raised eyebrows and a tired “Yeah”

7:00pm – Home time

7:45pm – Walk back into my house. A shower can wait till the morning, but food can’t.

It’s a long day is being a Motorsport Marshal however the fun and excitement is just too much to put us off so you can guarantee the next week we’ll be back to do it all again.

Written by Robert Lee

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