Before you start reading I want you to ask yourself these two question: Have you learnt anything new at marshalling this year? Why should the orange army visit the track I call home?
Even though I’ve not been around marshalling for long, seven years to be precise, I’ve found that you are always on a learning curve, finding out new things every week when you pull on your orange overalls.
Marshalling is unique in the way that you are always learning, but you can you quickly learn what you want to do and get out of the marshalling world.
Everyday is a School Day!
In the seven years I’ve been marshalling, I will say that I’ve never stopped learning. At least once in the year, month or even race meeting, there has been something new that I have picked up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an incident at the track and seen it all before; there is always something new.
Last weekend, I learnt the vital skill of observing. Whilst I have been a Post Chief for a race meeting before, the skill of observing isn’t just looking. Observing in a Safety Car showed me the important skill of knowing where to be looking at the right time.
There isn’t much point looking at the empty track in front of the car when you have been scrambled to catch the leader, who will likely be arriving behind you.
Vital bits of learning doesn’t always appear in the early years of marshalling. Only last year did I learn how to snatch a car from the track and since then I have done it numerous times.
Finding Your Niche!
Continually learning means you are forever getting better, but what if you learn what you want to do quickly? This is never ever a problem, if you find your niche is flagging, or marshalling in the pits, on the startline or in assembly, then you should run with it.
Many people find something they like and never look back; this is normally as they cross from track to specialist marshal. They find out the involvement of the specialist roles and that is something they could no longer live without.
If you haven’t found your niche, then don’t panic, it could be that you haven’t had the opportunity to have a go at it yet. Some roles such as Incident Officer and Post Chief, will take you time to work up the grades and establish that it is your niche. Or, you may think the Rescue Unit is for you? It may well be, but waiting for the opportunity to arise may seem like a life time, unless you are dead set, then maybe it is worth having a chat with them.
Get Out Your Comfort Zone!
Learning is always about experiencing something new! What is new in marshalling though? You’ve done every meeting at your track? There’s nothing better, nothing different?
That’s where you’re wrong. Some marshals like their home comforts, but if you want to get out and about you will pick up some new tips and techniques. My first time away from Oulton Park and Anglesey really was a huge learning curve. Brands Hatch showed me first hand how quickly you need to react to a situation, as you never know how quickly everything changes.
The comfort zone of different tracks doesn’t just stop in this country; there are opportunities for you to marshal abroad. There are a large number of marshals that travel from the United Kingdom to take in different countries and how they marshal. Although I had applied for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, I wasn’t successful with my application. That hasn’t deterred me though; there will be other opportunities for me to marshal abroad.
So now answering the question again that was at the top of the blog, is there anything that you have learnt from marshalling just this season?
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Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)