We will be showcasing marshals and their stories, from around the world as well as look into what attracted them to motorsport. You can follow the full campaign here or on social media using #MarshalsMatter.
This time we take a look at Raf Horemans, Belgian marshal.
Number of years marshalling – I started my marshalling career in 2011, so the 2020 season will be my tenth year.
Favourite Circuit – Spa-Francorchamps is the track where i spend most of my marshalling weekends. It’s an amazing track with a lot of history, and a lot of great race weekends. I also love the stunning views you have of the hills and forests right next to the track.
Standout moment whilst marshalling – There are a lot of standout moments for me. I have two moments: first is the 24 hours of Le Mans, every year. It’s such an honour to be a marshal during the biggest race in the world. It’s really something special. Our marshals team has it’s own marshal post and campsite, so it’s a week where you spend a lot of time with each other. The atmosphere round the track and in the paddock, the spectators, the nervous calm right before the start of the race, a week with a lot of goosebumps moments that you’ll never forget.
My second standout moment happened a couple of years ago. During the Belgian F1 Grand Prix GP3 race we had a big crash, and the driver was stuck in his car under the tyre barrier, and unable to get out. Eventually the driver got out with our help. A couple of days later i received an email from his mother thanking the marshals, who work as volunteers, for the work we do every weekend. We always do our best to help the drivers, but when you get a message, email, or a simple thank you or thumbs up, that shows appreciation for the voluntary work we do.
One event anyone should try – I would recommend the 24 hours 2CV race at Spa Francorchamps. It’s a race with a lot of cars, about 100 Citroën 2CV’s and C1s. It’s not a high profile race weekend, but a weekend for the amateur drivers. They have a lot of respect and appreciation for the marshals. The race takes place at the end of October, so it can be pretty cold with occasionally freezing temperatures and snow. But it’s such a fun weekend with a great atmosphere.
Why do you think marshalling is a good hobby – It’s a special hobby, that’s for sure. But if you like cars, and want to be a part of the racing and marshal community, it’s the ideal way to do it. It’s a hobby that requires a lot of commitment and time, but you get a lot in return. You’re part of a group of friends who share the same passion, and it feels like a second family when we are together. You can marshal in other countries, and foreign marshals come to Belgium, so you get to meet a lot of new people and make new friends.
What would you say to anyone thinking about starting marshalling – There are a lot of challenges as a marshal: early starts, races in to the night, 24 hour races, dangerous situations, standing outside in all kinds of weather, but you get a lot of positive things in return. My advice: Just do it. Give it a try, and you’ll know if marshalling is something for you. I had a friend who was already marshalling, so it was easy to get started, but even if it’s totally an unknown thing for you, you can contact the marshals organisation from your country, and they will give you the info to get you started.
If you wish to take part in #MarshalsMatter please email firstname.lastname@example.org