Meet our Marshals – Andy Stevens and Shannon Cooper

Wednesday 22 May 2024

This month, we gain insights from two marshals who are at different points in their experience of British motorsport. 

Shannon Cooper is new to the sport and is keen on using TikTok to document her own experiences from getting into marshalling. 

“Before my taster day, I had never stepped foot in a race circuit and didn’t think I ever would but now I love it and can’t imagine not being a marshal.  

“Marshalling has opened doors to new hobbies, friends and experiences. Before marshalling I’d never been to Wales, never spectated a race event, never been interested in how cars work and now all that is possible. I’ve met people who have become close friends and there’s always a smiley face at post.  

“Through my TikTok, I share some of the fun experiences I’ve had, what I pack and what I need, the initial signing up to Motorsport UK, flags and their meanings, and just share how much fun I have – even in the worst UK weather.” 

She plans to use her social media know-how to quash first day nerves and introduce even more people to motorsport. 

By contrast, Andy Stevens, Race: Marshal Assessor and Clerk of the Course Car National – Race, Rallycross and Speed has motorsport in his blood, hailing from a childhood filled family outings to grassroots events and slightly soggy sandwiches. Following the family moving closer to Lydden Hill, Andy joined his mother as a member of St John’s Ambulance Brigade and following that, as marshal for his sister’s then rallycross driver boyfriend in his teens. 

“It was whilst working in the assembly area that I was first approached to become a trainee clerk in rallycross.  The skills I learnt during that period still live with me today.  Being able to juggle the logistics of the event, ensuring that all resources were in place, and know what they have to provide and that I know what they provide to me.  It is all too easy to become blinkered into the incident rather than thinking what needs to happen next.  I also found it was wrong to fall into just focusing on what caused the last incident and allowing the time to drift away when its not needed.  These skills sound like I am teaching you to suck eggs, but its amazing how often the most experienced of us officials in all roles can get so distracted when things don’t go as expected.” 

Andy’s rallycross career saw him visit other Rallycross around Europe right up until 2014, when his involvement came to an end. However, he has since become Chair of the BTRDA Rallycross committee and occasionally still acts as clerk at rallycross events. However, it was in 1994 when he decided to take the leap into racing and purchased a Beetle Cup car, with his first event behind the wheel in a modified saloon race. Realising in 1996, following a few DNFs and leaving the Beetle in a sickly state, that racing wasn’t for him, Andy followed his sister Nikki into volunteering for SEMSEC. 

“I personally think it helps to turn your hand to many of the roles, before settling on what suits you best.  It also gives that appreciation of what everyone else does and thus helps your management of the events, or your part of the event.  In short it taught me that to run any motorsport event needs team work, and whatever role you fulfil you are another cog in the wheel.  Working together, supporting each other, nurturing everyone, wherever you are delivers quality events. 

“Throughout my time I have always marshalled.  Some years, doing much more marshalling than anything else.  I worked my way up to examining post chief (or whatever we’re called these days).  I get so much pleasure from being part of the team in orange.  In fact, I can honestly say I’ve never marshalled an event that I thought was a bad event.  Long days with little racing, but also with some great memories with my mates, including some great concerts.” 

Andy has been a member of the MSVR clerks’ team since 2015 and now travels the length and breadth of the UK clerking – hitting a new record in 2024 by spending 44 days in the shirt. His partner is now also an avid motorsport fan, even if she does steal his baseball caps. 

“So why have I spent my whole adult life in motorsport?  Am I mad? Possibly.  But for me, it has given me a huge circle of friends, allowed me to travel the globe, and the feeling of being respected for what I do.  And I’m sorry, but I intend to stay involved as long as I am physically and mentally able to do so.”