As a Ukrainian immigrant living in the US, I have great admiration for the history of the British Empire… the Great Britain! Especially after my short stints of living abroad in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and frequent visits to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. I often wish my family moved to the UK instead. It’s such a cool place especially when it comes to motorsports. The Brits love their racing, whether at home or where they live as expats. This I experienced first hand in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. I learned a lot of good things from the Brits I worked with, so imagine my excitement when I was nominated and accepted to marshal the British GP.
Of course the first thing that happened to me Friday morning the weekend of the GP was a painful injury and one without immediate cure. I camped at Silverstone and twisted my foot getting out of the tent. Weekend ruined!
So naturally I’m in no position to describe how awesome my experience was at the British GP because I did not contribute in any way to my team. My participation was severely limited by my swollen foot. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sleep… but I put my overalls on and whobbled to the turn at Brooklands every morning just to spectate, I had already made it this far, it would have been a shame to miss the action. The team was nice enough to at least let me flag a few practices as my original role was that of a track marshal. But even standing on one foot was painful, so I held back and tried to stay out of everyone’s way.
My opinion of the British marshals I worked with is very high. I consider them experts at what they do. And how could they not be. There is some form of racing or another in the country almost every weekend in the summer time. There is a great deal of tracks with small proximity to each other, so they are spoiled for choice of what to volunteer for. And the training is really good because people have marshaled for generations, so they take this stuff seriously.
How to get involved yourself?
My trip was primarily organized through my posts on the Ten-Tenths Forums: http://www.ten-tenths.com/ Where I was advised to fill out a form with the Motors Sport Association (MSA) and that’s how I was nominated and ultimately accepted. There are a great deal of clubs around the UK, as well as individual tracks that provide their own marshals. This was evident at Silverstone Circuit where the local marshals wore black overalls with orange accents, while others wore orange overalls. For details visit the MSA: http://www.msauk.org/ and the Silverstone Marshals Team web site: http://www.silverstone.co.uk/about/silverstone-marshals-team/
I highly recommend marshaling in the UK!
A very useful aspect of working with British Marshals is their commitment to safety. This is especially evident with the release of the Motorsport Safety Fund training to the public on YouTube to anyone who wishes to use them to hone their own skills: http://www.youtube.com/user/MotorsportSafetyFund/videos I think this is fantastic especially since there is such a limited availability of good training out there.