Almost all motor sport events need volunteer marshals (recognisable from their orange overalls) to make sure they are run safely and effectively. Being part of an incident team is about getting a stranded car and/or driver recovered quickly for their own safety and well being, and also so that the meeting can continue.
Marshalling is a rewarding way of getting more closely involved with motorsport and joining a community of like-minded enthusiasts. Being a marshal means having the best seat in the house – the speeds are exhilarating as you are so close to the action, and you will be a valuable part of the organisation. It can be a great way to escape completely from the day job.
There are many roles for a marshal, from getting cars to the start line from the main paddock area, supervising their arrival in the top collecting paddock so that they descend in the right order, and of course manning the marshals’ posts up the hill. Each post is equipped with a fire extinguisher, brooms and a shovel for clearing debris from the track and dealing with oil spillages, a red flag and a whistle. The post is responsible for the section of track from its position on the hill to the next post. If a car stops or has an incident in ‘your ‘ section a marshal blows the whistle to alert the next post. The flag marshal will wave the red flag to stop following competing cars from proceeding, and the marshal in charge of the radio will report the nature of the incident and request any other assistance needed such as the breakdown vehicle.
If you would like to volunteer to try marshalling, it may be useful to know a little more about what is expected of the novice. The main thing is that you will never be put in a situation where you feel unprepared or uncomfortable – you will always be partnered with at least one experienced marshal. Most of the training is learning on the job, but there is also a training weekend early each spring which you are very welcome to attend. This covers specialised areas in more depth, such as fire fighting, and radio protocol.
You don’t need any previous experience, and we don’t turn marshals away – we can always find a useful role for everyone. You don’t have to commit yourself to every meeting – we are very pleased to see you even if you can only attend one meeting a year. The marshals have a good social scene, and arrange an annual barbeque. We provide a camping field, a marshals’ club room and refreshments. As volunteers, marshals aren’t paid. They do however get some sort of recompense in the way of some cash towards petrol costs, a dedicated area for free camping and prize draws.
What you need to bring –
If you would like to have a go, please contact the office. I can put you in touch with the Chief Marshal and send you an availability sheet , and once you have returned it to me, indicating which meetings you would like to attend, I will send you final instructions and passes before the meeting. These will tell you where to park, where to sign on, and what time you need to be here for a marshals’ briefing.
- To start with, the only special equipment to invest in is sturdy footwear such as steel toe capped trainers, and gauntlet type gloves, such as those for welding or handling stoves.
- There are some spare sets of orange overalls that can be borrowed, until you are sure you want to continue and get your own.
- Warm/waterproof clothing, and some food and drink.
- A sense of humour!