When my marshalling buddy David told me we had a day of Classic Sports Cars to look forward to this Saturday, a wave of dread fell over my shoulders – after all the, word ‘Classic’, just like the word ‘Vintage’, usually means a load of old blokes having a drive around Oulton Park for a day.
Don’t get me wrong, my Grandad loves nothing more than watching Classic cars driving around in circles for an entire day whilst sucking on those sweets that look like sticks of rock chopped up into smaller pieces that old people can enjoy without pulling their dentures out. But anyway, I digress. After a barrage of texts and the promise of a five star picnic from David – you‘ll be surprised how free food can convince me to do pretty much anything – I dragged out the overalls and laid them ready for another day trackside.
Luckily for me David wasn’t lying about the fact that this time around, ‘Classic cars’ didn’t mean a paddock full of people sipping Sherry and reading The Guardian whilst their wife cooked bacon on a camping stove, instead we had an invasion of Peugeot 205’s, all sprayed rather odd colours in a desperate attempt to make them look a little more menacing.
After annoying the ‘main woman’ once more by asking if David and I could be put on a post together (after all, he was carrying my lunch) we got put on Old Hall Corner and set about putting the world to rights. As you do when you’re on post with nothing much going on.
Firstly we discussed the difference in car marshalling and bike marshalling – a topic I’ve wanted to bring up in my blog for a while now. As both a car and bike marshal, there are two very different approaches to marshalling – with the cars, you turn up, see Nadine Lewis and she puts you somewhere on the track (with your mate if you ask nicely), whilst with the bikes, you turn up, find your ‘team sheet’ sign on and go meet up with them. So, if you don’t get me, with the bikes you’re a member of a team, and that team moves post each time you go to a circuit. Therefore, next time I marshal the bikes, I know I’ll be on Clay Hill, with the people I marshal with every time there’s a bike meet, yet with the cars, I could be anywhere on the circuit, with anyone at all.
Now personally I don’t know which approach I like best, I’m pretty lucky that Nadine always lets me work on the same post as the friend I show up with as I know them and trust them to have my back if there was an incident, but at the same time, I always meet new people when I am out on post which is great for making new friends that will come in handy. At the same time though, working with the same crew each time I marshal a bike meeting means that I 100% trust the people I am on post with, and I know their strengths and my strengths, which means we work together impeccably well as a team. There’s always a sense of hesitance when you work with people you don’t really know as you don’t want to step on their toes and you wonder if they’re looking out for you whilst you’re stood beside a live race track. If any marshals do have a view on this, please feel free to share any thoughts you have in the comments box below… I really would like to know if you like being with new people each week, or if you’d like to work with the same people week in, week out and work your way systematically through the different posts on the circuit.
Anyway, musings over and we’re back to the CSCC where David and I were camped on the first corner, hoping for a bit of action to distract us from our ‘Name That Tune’ game. Sadly David didn’t know the difference between a Theme Tune and a Guitar Riff, so needless to say I was totally stumped as to what show ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ was the theme to. Men eh?
Luckily for us we didn’t get any action on our patch this weekend – there were only six Incident Marshals on post, which meant three sets of pairs staggered around the post (with one pair covering the whole of the outside of the corner). I’ve got to be honest with you, every time the race started I was terrified. I’m yet to have to deal with my first proper incident, and I didn’t want it to come when there was just me and my friend stood on one side of the track on our own, especially since the phrase “Grab a bottle” is one that seems to be striking fear into my heart. I struggle to even carry a bloody fire extinguisher, so God only knows how I’m going to have to cope if I have to swing one around whilst it blasts a load of powder onto a raging inferno. Well I do know actually, I’d probably cry, get powder all over everyone and then discover we didn’t need to use it at all, I was just too much of an eager beaver with my new red friend.
Thankfully the fire extinguishers remained out of action as we only had a couple of spinning Jaguars (it’s SO weird seeing an ‘old mans car’ zooming around Oulton Park) and a mechanical retirement between us and Avenue. There were a few hairy moments as souped up chavmobiles darted around the corner on two wheels, I don’t know whether I was more shocked that they managed to keep the car upright or that Cascada wasn’t blasting out of the absent windows!
So, next weekend is the BARC Club Car Championships which sounds like fun as Oulton Park sees racing from the Sports Saloons Championship for modified cars. Who’s on deck?