Now my first motor racing season spent marshalling is over I thought I would reflect on how it’s gone.
My year has involved marshalling at the following events at Silverstone:
· British GT/F3
Unfortunately I missed out on Formula Student, Le Mans Series and the Walter Hayes Trophy due to illness, so I hope to be able to do those next year!
Looking at that list, I’ve had quite a variety of cars in the events I’ve attended and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every event. Thankfully there hasn’t been any bad weather whilst I’ve been marshalling, as a grey, cold, very wet Silverstone is a bit grim as a spectator huddled under waterproofs & an umbrella, so I can imagine marshalling is not particularly fun.
For most of the events I have been out on the bank, but fortunately I haven’t had any big accidents to deal with. The most I have done is push a couple of cars – funnily enough the first car I had to push was a Mini so I was full of excitement! I’ve had a go at flagging and I really don’t envy flaggies; my arm was really aching the next day and I only did a session or two. I enjoy being out on the bank as you have a great view of the racing, and when you are not dealing with incidents there is still the action to watch. The downsides are getting over the barriers quickly, something I’m not really made for! And running through gravel with fire extinguishers; I’m not made for that either.
Two of my days were spent in the pits; it was totally different to being out on the bank but I did get the opportunity to learn how to use cement dust and a massive brush on an oil spillage! I really enjoyed my time in the pits and am tempted to do that as a speciality. I loved seeing the cars up close and there is always something happening in the garages. The downside is you don’t see the cars actually racing and that is one of the main benefits I think of being a marshal!
I think I have learnt quite a bit this year, about different types of racing, cars and marshalling itself. I’ve still got a lot to learn – for example hand signals, but I plan on going through the handbook cover to cover during the off season to learn all the theory. There’s also training days organised over winter at Silverstone so I will attend one of those.
Finally the kit, I resisted buying too much at the start of the season incase I didn’t carry on, but I am safe in knowledge now that I want to carry on marshalling. I got a toolbox on wheels for my birthday to store all my stuff in, provide me with a seat and save me carrying a full bag to post. I have invested in waterproofs (coat and trousers), which is probably the only reason it hasn’t rained on any of my days marshalling this year! One mistake I did make at the beginning was to get some steel toe capped trainers. I thought it would be important to protect my feet with steel toe caps, but actually the support and comfort of the shoe is more vital. For the past couple of events I have worn normal trainers as they are comfier to wear all day, but another birthday present was some proper walking shoes. Not only handy for marshalling, but they’ll do for the annual walk I have to do in the countryside for Mum’s birthday!
I can’t wait for next year now, and if anyone is thinking about taking up marshalling I’d advise signing up for a taster day so you can give it a go too 🙂