Under Starters Orders

May Bank Holiday over the past few years has become a regular event for me, and that’s the Ty Croes Sprint. Once again organised by friends, I was asked to be part of a three man team to help with the running of startline.

You’re probably wondering what the difference is between a Sprint and a regular racing weekend? A Sprint is not so much about racing against other drivers, they’re against the clock and most importantly themselves. There are no other cars to knock them off line, it really is a test of focus and how brave you take the corners.

So Why Marshal a sprint? 

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Porsche, Porsche, Porsche! Other cars available. (Ty Croes)

For a marshal, it means the cars are on the limit 100% of the time, when cars go off the track or get it wrong the incidents are likely to be bigger, and the stress of running a car flat out, all the time means that cars are more likely to stop on track.

So what about running startline? It isn’t the same as running a normal grid, which involves sorting out multiple cars for the start of a race. On a sprint startline, you are a little bit more hands on, you have to get the car stationary on the start, and then hold it there until the green light shows.

The wait for the green light can vary depending on the speed of the car that has previously gone, if the car on track is faster than the one rolling up to the startline then, the slower car can be released without fear that it will catch the car ahead. If the car on track is slower than the one on the start, then you have to hold it there, and after six runs of 75 cars, holding them does become a tiring job.

It’s all good fun!

The sprint which I attended over the weekend, the Ty Croes Sprint, at Anglesey circuit has been running for the past four years. Even though that’s not long for a race meeting, the friendly atmosphere is what attracted me and so many others to the event.

Being an event which is as much fun, as it is competitive provides the unique chance for marshals and competitors alike to relax a little bit more. Normally a race meeting is run with precision on professionalism and whilst Ty Croes do the same, you wouldn’t notice it with the vibe that is going around the paddock and circuit.

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The ‘Dream team’ (Ty Croes)

To prove that it is run with precision, the startline team that I was part of were stacking cars on the line that quick, the timekeepers were being asked if they could speed up. Once the speed was adjusted, we managed to get six runs out, so with 75 cars that is roughly 450 cars, stacked up and sent out to beat their fastest lap.

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The ‘Three Amigos’ got a mention by pretty much everyone! (Ty Croes)

You wouldn’t have noticed this though, because the startline were always laughing and having fun. Named last year as the Three Amigos, the team were back this year, but a little bit more prepared. Sombreros, moustaches and sunglasses meant we were a little more prepared for the name this year, and the drivers found the fun side of it too.

Speaking fo the drivers, most of them seemed to enjoy the joke of the ‘Three Amigos’ especially in the bar afterwards, but the amount of drivers that thank you just for being there, whether it be on the first run of the weekend, the fourth or the last run of the day they always appreciate you being there and the feeling is mutual. We just hope you all come back next year, and bring your friends along too, so we can enjoy some more sprinting.

If you are interested in Sprint marshalling, or just getting involved in marshalling in general then following this link here, to find out more and book on your nearest taster day to see if it is for you!

Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)

 

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