Belgium

There was no place I was looking forward to volunteering more than at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and I finally got the opportunity to marshal the Spa 24h race featuring Blancpain GT Endurance Series.

I have worked with a number of Belgians at other events, specifically at Le Mans and Nurburgring so organizing the trip was made easy, specifically my friend Pol from the Flanders side of Belgium has been a tremendous help storing my tent and marshaling gear for me at his home so I don’t have to lug it back and forth to Europe with me every time I come back for Le Mans or N-ring. Pol organized my Spa participation with the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium (RACB).

To volunteer with the club you ought to visit their international marshal web site: http://www.racb-track-marshals.be/home/ The application process does start early so don’t delay applying for an event you wish to participate in. Belgium has two amazing facilities to volunteer: Spa-Francorchamps in Wallonia in the french speaking south of the country and Zolder in Flanders, the flemish/dutch speaking north of the country. When volunteering with RACB you may purchase insurance as they don’t automatically cover you in case something happens. Though you can opt to do what I did, and wave the right by signing a release which is what is commonly done in the US anyway.

My experience at Spa 24h was quite interesting. I was amazed that the Belgian marshals (track marshals) respond to the incidents on track immediately without waiting for race control permission. As far as flagging and comms go it’s similar to the rest of the world. Spa-Francorchamps has an excellent digital flagging system using a touch-screen controller. They also have a battery powered portable board that displays yellow and green flashing lights. The comms are in French, and are typically manned by the post chief. Many marshals speak French, Flemish (Dutch) and English. There are also plenty of visiting marshals from around Europe including France, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, etc.

I would highly… very… super highly, recommend marshaling in Belgium! You will understand why after taking the opportunity! Just remember the famous Spa terms: Eau Rouge… Radillion… Bruxxeles.