Almost all motor sport events need volunteer marshals (recognisable from their orange overalls) to make sure they are run safely and effectively.
Marshalling is a rewarding way of getting more closely involved with motor sport and joining a community of like-minded enthusiasts; general duties range from displaying flag signals to drivers and clearing debris to helping extract drivers and cars that have crashed or broken down.
If you are interested in becoming a rally marshal, you can become accredited in less than an hour by completing the new online training and accreditation scheme. Simply click here and either login if you are an existing Motorsport UK member, or register if you are new. Once logged in follow the links for ‘Online Training’.
Twenty-three-year-old Kieron Salmons has climbed the marshalling ladder quickly enough to have taken part in several British Grands Prix in orange overalls.
“I started cadet marshalling at Castle Combe as soon as I was old enough and learnt the ropes from there. At first I was marshalling in the paddock, which entails lining cars up and then releasing them onto the circuit. As well as club level events I soon found myself at F3 and GT meetings too.
“Once you turn 16 you can go trackside. The first post I joined was Church at Thruxton, and it was a bit of an eyeopener being so close the cars as they flew by. I’m now an incident officer and I’m also one of the safety car observers for BARC, so I’ve progressed quite well in marshalling. Being part of an incident team is about getting a stranded car recovered quickly and safely, and if necessary attending to any fire and applying first aid.
“Being a marshal means having the best seat in the house. It means getting involved in a sport that you’re passionate about, and you can also go behind the scenes and get close to the cars and the drivers.
“There’s also a lot of camaraderie. If you’re lucky enough to marshal at the British Grand Prix you stay in a massive campsite with all the other marshals and there’s a fantastic atmosphere. I was also privileged to be one of around 350 people invited by BARC to marshal at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which was a money-can’t-buy experience; all it cost me was £19 to get to Heathrow! Then I went back to marshal at the V8 Supercars round there.
“There are so many incentives to marshalling, so I would certainly urge people to visit the Go Motorsport website or have a look at the great marshalling section on the BARC website for more information about how to get involved.”
Gary Mitchell has been marshalling for over 20 years and still volunteers on local club events despite running stages at World Rally Championship level.
“My father was involved in the 750 Motor Club, so motor sport was in the blood and he used to take me to Silverstone regularly. My brother then started to follow rallying in particular and I’d tag along with him to various events.
“My love of rally marshalling is the fact that you can still get really close to the cars. I also like the fact that if you’re running time controls you can speak to every competitor, whether on a local event or an international rally.
“I love the camaraderie too; you see the same people out marshalling at different events and feel that you’ve got a common interest. It’s a likeminded community and you’re all there because of a love for the sport.
“There are all sorts of different duties when it comes to rally marshalling. You could be a stage-side marshal manning a junction, which might involve a degree of spectator control as well. Or you might be manning a radio set, listening in and conversing with the officials if there are any issues. Then there’s the chance to run time controls, or perhaps look after a service park or re-group.
“I’ve moved up the marshalling ladder over the years and I now run stages for Wales Rally GB, but a couple of weekends ago I was manning a control on a local club road rally, so the variety of events you can be part of is huge.
“I think the best thing about marshalling is that it can be a bit of escapism. It’s a chance to drop your day job, forget about what you’d normally do 9-5 and get out there on a rally. So join your local motor club and get involved.”