Volunteers Week: Starting Young
This week is National Volunteers Week. Each year, we celebrate Motorsport UK’s vibrant volunteer community which is made up of over 30,000 people across the UK, who come together to create the backbone of the sport every week, organising thousands of events each season.
We are profiling the stories of some of our most passionate volunteers as we explore their journey into volunteering – and how you can do the same.
For many, a passion for motorsport is often passed down across generations, whether it be on-track, in a workshop or families frequenting the spectator banks at their local venue.
For Duncan McGregor and Kieron Salmons, it also inspired them to pursue volunteering opportunities within the sport.
McGregor holds a number of roles, including Chair of the Training Advisory Group, and has experience as a Clerk of the Course, Radio Controller, Rescue Official among others. Salmons currently serves as both a marshal and the co-driver of the Safety Car at British Touring Car Championship events, assisting regular driver Scott Stringfellow at each of the 10 events.
Between the pair, they share over three decades of experience as a pivotal part of the UK’s vibrant motorsport community.
“I had an interest in motorsport and kept asking some family members to take me to an event,” McGregor recalls of his first foray into the sport. “They gave me a pocket guide to marshalling to read and before long I convinced them to take me to my first event.
“I found it really easy to become a volunteer by going to a rally organised by a local club and the other volunteers were really keen to take me under their wings and support me in my development. Before long I had ventured to other disciplines and the move between was also really straight forward with lots of supportive colleagues.
“Even still I have great support and friendships from other volunteers across the UK (and even some further afield) and hopefully I’m able to pass this on to others!”
For Salmons, marshalling runs in his family, making it a straightforward decision to follow his father into swapping the spectator banks for an integral role in the running of the meeting.
“I became a motorsport marshal due to my father already being a marshal for a number of years, he was spending lots of weekends away and I enjoyed watching the motorsport both live and on the television,” recalls Salmons. “So, as soon as I was old enough, I started attending Castle Combe and became a Specialist Marshal in the Assembly Area.
“Getting involved was extremely easy due to the family link for me, however I feel Motorsport UK are now promoting this a lot more and showing just how easy it is to become involved.”
McGregor’s highlight across a long and distinguished career in motorsport is an opportunity to clerk at Goodwood, but he also stresses the pride he feels at being part of training the next generation of volunteers within the sport.
“My most memorable moment so far has been volunteering as part of the clerking team at Goodwood,” McGregor remembers. “It was an honour to be part of such a large event and work with many other volunteers from across our sport.
“I also have the privilege of being part of the team delivering the train the trainer programme which is always a highlight for me seeing new trainers equipped to pass on their knowledge to fellow volunteers.”
For Salmons, a trip to Abu Dhabi to marshal a Formula 1 Grand Prix alongside his friends from the international volunteering community ranks highly among his memories.
“The most memorable moment has to be when I was asked alongside many motorsport colleagues by the BARC to attend the Formula One event in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit,” he says.
“Not only was it a great experience marshalling in the Middle East for the most prestigious motorsport series on the globe, but it was great to spend it with another 350 marshals, many friends made on that trip who will be friends for life.”
For both, the opportunity to get involved in the sport and make a difference is one they would recommend to anybody considering it.
“Give it a go!” encourages McGregor. “Contact your local club who will be happy to introduce you to the world of motorsport and the huge range of roles available. I would also encourage anyone considering volunteering in motorsport to seize every opportunity and enjoy every minute.
“We are so fortunate in motorsport to have such a talented diverse group of volunteers who will be more than happy to help you on your motorsport journey. Who knows where you might end up!”
“Do it, you will not regret it,” agrees Salmons. “If you love the sport you will enjoy having the best seat in the house, you will enjoy helping out and giving back and you will make friends for life. Motorsport is something we all have in common and you soon forge relationships, especially if you spend time at the circuit of an evening. It’s easy to do and it’s enjoyable.”
Find out how you can volunteer in motorsport. Click here for more information.