Do you remember a time before the internet, Facebook, Twitter and the entire social platform? I may have been privileged enough to have lived in a world in which I’ve always had the internet, although dial-up (ask your parents if you are too young for this) in the very early days but, I do recall the days before Facebook. Where you actually had to phone someone to speak to them!
So, what about this: Do you remember a time in marshalling before the internet? I certainly do. The dawn of social media had great potential and to this day it has greatly delivered its potential if not gone above and beyond, being able to connect the entire world at the push of a button.
How has it affected the marshalling world though?
Well before I answer that I’m going to quote Pirates of the Caribbean when Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow:
Barbossa: “The world used to be a bigger place”
Sparrow: “The world’s still the same, there’s just less in it”
Just consider that for a moment when you’ve read how the internet has helped marshalling.
There’s no place like home?
Well, actually there is. When I started marshalling in 2009, I only knew of Oulton Park, I only knew of Anglesey circuit to marshal at. I never really considered marshalling elsewhere in the UK, mainly because I didn’t know how to go about it, I didn’t know who to contact and I certainly didn’t know who to speak to, to find out who to contact.
With volunteering databases popping up across the UK for different race clubs and marshalling websites it is easier for me to volunteer for whatever event I want to go to. If I wanted to go to an event in Brands Hatch it takes me the same amount of effort to apply for that than as it would for Oulton park my home circuit. By the ease of clicking just one button, I can go anywhere in the country.
Not waiting around
How many times has it been leading up to the race weekend and you’ve not had tickets or final instructions for the racing? You get nervous and you start to panic and question yourself “Did I actually volunteer for this event”. With the internet, you just find the organising clubs website, find the final instructions on there and you have the information you need about the day.
Don’t have your tickets? Simple, with the new e-tickets which are more popular now and certainly better for the environment, but they are also easy to send out. There is no posting, no licking of stamps and no waiting for the postman. In seconds of sending an email regarding lack of tickets, you can have a reply with your key to getting into the circuit.
If you don’t ask you don’t get
Last year I saw a message on Facebook that if anyone wanted to marshal the Sebring race to contact them for more details. Before an hour had passed I knew of five other people, I marshal with on a regular basis, going to the event.
Not only can we volunteer now for events quicker, but we can also get hold of vital information for events further afield. A Facebook group called ‘Worldwide Motorsport marshals’ quickly became a gateway to the world. I’ve seen many messages in there which ask of the details of chief marshals at different circuits around the world. Imagine 40 years ago trying to find out information and how to volunteer for the Sebring 12 Hours? Now it takes just one message.
It’s a virtual archive
As you sit reading this blog, and if you’ve view other articles on this website, first of all, thank you but, consider what you have done. You’ve viewed reports and reviews, seen pictures of what goes on at these various events (Just a few are below).
From these, you can draw up conclusions as to whether you want to go to an event or not. You don’t have to wait for the weekly edition of Autosport or Motorsport Magazine you have thousands of photos and reviews at your fingertips to help you plan your next marshalling holiday.
So, going back to the Pirates of the Caribbean quote, the world is certainly the same size I’m sure scientist would help confirm that but, the internet and online community of marshals have connected great land masses together, connected people from around the world.
We have reduced the size of the world for marshals to visit by our thirst to communicate and share our great memories.
Our orange family has grown to proportions that are truly staggering and we have made orange friends across the world now. For this, I am truly grateful for the internet.