After one of my previous articles, Paul Sutcliffe from the British Motorsport Marshal’s Club got in touch and invited me to an Oulton Park training day, which took place on Sunday 13 March.
I had always said that if I was to take up racing then I would try and spend a few days a year volunteering as a marshal, as without them we simply would not have a sport. Marshal’s play such a critical role at a time when you or a fellow competitor may need it that it only seems right.
Having watched motorsport from a very young age I thought I had some idea of what this dedicated army of men and women in orange overalls did. After a day’s training with them it is fair to say that I had no idea on many levels, nor was my appreciation anywhere near what it should be.
The day started at 8:30am with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich and there must have been more than hundred marshals in attendance. The level of organisation behind this group of people became apparent during the opening presentation with different grading’s from trainee to senior and different specialities including pits, flagging and incident.
I am not going to go into all of the aspects that were covered as I would not do it justice. I would rather focus on what I took from the day:
- The level of organisation and training is incredible. It not only gives you a huge amount of confidence as a driver that these highly trained people will ensure your race will go smoothly but it is also really useful in day-to-day life. The fire training alone is something which would now mean I am far more prepared if I had to tackle a fire.
- It is a lot of fun. There is such a sense of community between the marshals. It really comes across as a great social pastime and place to meet other motorsport fans.
- The sense of reward is great. Listening to their experiences you can tell that anyone would get a real sense of achievement from becoming a marshal.
- In my opinion anyone who races should really help out when they can. Without this group of volunteers none of us would get the chance to race!
I would like to thank everyone at the British Motorsport Marshal’s Club for making me feel so welcome and in particular Paul Sutcliffe for organising the day and Nadine Lewis for her expert training.
I very much look forward to being out there working with you guys and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks when I make my track debut at Oulton Park.