The day I joined the orange army

At the end of last season Co-ordSport became a series sponsor for the CSCC Race Series, in particular the TinTops category (N/A saloon/hatch cars up to 2litre engine capacity). We also asked the CSCC team how we could help out elsewhere, within the series . We were told that the first and last races were often short of marshals and some drivers miss the first round because they were just not ready. Co-ordSport came up with the idea to help both the marshals and the teams within the CSCC and TinTops. Co-ordSport gifts a £50 voucher for the first and last rounds for the marshals raffle. Also the TinTops teams can claim similar vouchers if they qualify for those rounds

 

In 2019 the 1st round was Snetterton, whilst the last round was at Donington Park circuit. Co-ordSport’s Sales Director, Paul Dolan, volunteered to marshal at the last round and join the orange army, on behalf of Co-ordSport & in support of the CSCC marshals teams and drivers. That last round was this year a double header at Donington Park, with a day and night race on each day, broadcast live on YouTube.

www.classicsportscarclub.co.uk/tin-tops

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Paul, our sales director attened this final round, here is his account of the day:

I attended the marshal briefing on the Sunday morning and I was allocated to post 2 at Redgate with other marshals. The weather was damp but dry, with a bitterly cold wind, which I was not prepared for; but I zipped up my coat to the max and got on with it!

 

Qualifying started and I was already asking questions about what I needed to look out for, so I could do my best. I was asked to flag the second round of qualifying so the blue flag was a must for all the cars joining the circuit while it was live and the flag waving warmed me up a bit.

 

During another race I spotted a line of brake fluid on the circuit and reported to the Chief Post Marshall I was with and I gave him the car number. I also made a note of it in a pad. After that the red and yellow slippery surface flags were out for most of the qualifying, with a few cars finding the spilled fluid into Redgate!

Forgive me, but I had no idea the marshals made notes and report back to race control to help if it was needed after a collision or contact later. I have seen the form the marshals use and what they have to hand in …..it’s not just flag waving and pushing cars you know! I was already learning.

We were all given lunch, free food courtesy of CSCC, within a 35 minute break, then we were back at the post, ready to go again, with the sun out and warming our backs; whilst the racing commenced. It was a busy afternoon with cars running wide and spinning in front of our post, although there was some great driving, avoiding each other, which was great to watch from this front row seat.

The track was littered with mirror & bumper parts to collect after the first race, whilst there were “bricks” to play football with, that needed moving off the circuit and driving line, then a quick brush of the apex and race 2 was underway.

It was an eventful day for me with cars stuck in the gravel, plus a wheel making an escape for freedom. I was loving it, maybe a bit too much, which may have been all the sugar I had taken on board in the shape of 2 cans of Iron Bru, given to me by another Paul, the post head marshal from Scotland. He really made us all feel part of a team, so I was grateful for that.

The sun went down ,my flask of tea was running low and the night races started. It was fantastic to see all the cars tearing down the main straight, trying to spot the braking point which had disappeared since the fall of darkness.

The marshals on the Craner Curves were having a busy time, with cars flying off the circuit and running wide at Hollywood. After a couple of restarts the drivers were getting into the groove, whilst the marshals looked on.

I thanked all the guys I spent my day with, and appreciated  what I had learnt and picked up on. It was an experience we should all try as a driver, at least once. For you to understand that double waved yellows does not mean there are marshals on track! (For you to understand that double waved yellows means be prepared to stop and that Marshals ‘could’ be on track but not always.)

 

I do have a lot more respect for all the marshals now, after all they are the first to help us in any situation or problem on circuit and without them we cannot go racing or have a CSCC race series.