Category Archives: Albert Park Melbourne

Albert Park Street Circuit, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Happy Birthday to ME! from Confederation of Australian Motor Sport

Well aint’ that something…. I got a birthday card e-mail from the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, probably the nicest thing anyone in this marshaling hobby has done for me on an ASN level. Good on you CAMS, and Thank You!

We heard it’s your birthday this month…

Dear Russ,

To celebrate your birthday this month the CAMS Shop would like to offer you a special birthday offer: a 10% discount on all purchases over $20.

To redeem this offer, simply enter your own unique code: (want the code? ask me, I’ll share) at the shopping cart screen of the CAMS shop, before the 30th of September.

To access the CAMS Shop, Click here.

This code can only be used once, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts or special offers. Stand 21 Club Series HANS Device and Stand 21 Posts also excluded.

From all of us here at CAMS, we wish you a very happy birthday.

 

Kind regards,

The CAMS shop

Granted, this is a marketing e-mail, obviously encouraging me to buy stuff from the CAMS shop. And the offer of 10% off is a big deal, Aussies aren’t often as generous as America is with it’s frequent discounts. But I’m quite impressed with their effort to keep the organization relevant in my mind, they keep reminding me that CAMS exists even though they know that I’m an international member and that I live on the other side of the world.

My home ASN, the SCCA couldn’t give two fucks that I exist. No birthday wishes from them. No invitation to marshal local events at Lime Rock, NJMP or elsewhere (except the personal invite from Jessie to help out at Palmer Motorsports Park with the New England Region). Nope, nothing of the sort… except they’re quick to send repeated e-mails reminders when my fucking $95 annual membership (or $65 now that I’m with Guam region) is due. Greedy fucks! I’m sure I’ve offended them deeply by speaking out about the lack of training, sure I did. So the obvious solution is not to offer the fucking training, but to pretend that I don’t exist and that I am no longer welcome in their club, except of course for that time when the membership fees are due, they’re still very happy to take my money… ugh!

I wish I lived in Australia again… that was some of the best time of my life and you don’t even have to pay a membership fee to be a part of CAMS… imagine that!

CAMS Officials Training Modules Invitation

For all those times I bitched and moaned that my local club was doing it wrong by not offering training, allow me to point out a club that keeps doing it right time and again. I got an invite from CAMS to participate in one of their many training modules available around the country. What would it cost SCCA to scramble one of these e-mails together and blast it to all it’s marshaling members? Can’t be that much… right?

Anyway, look at this amazing e-mail I got:

cams officials training e-mail

Upcoming Officials Training Modules

More courses will be organised for 2015 around Australia and the course information will be updated on the website as it becomes available.For the most up to date information on courses that are available for you to attend, please visit theCAMS website

A full calendar of training courses can be found here

Victoria

  • Bronze Scrutineer (Vermont) – Saturday/Sunday 11-12th July
  • CATO (Melbourne) – Wednesday 30th September
  • Stewards – See South Australia for Training event on the border (Mount Gambier)

For more information or to register now: vic@cams.com.au

New South Wales

  • Scrutineering (Bathurst) – Saturday 8th August
  • Club Chief (Canberra) – Saturday 29th August
  • Bronze Scrutineering (Newcastle) – Saturday 19th September
  • Scrutineering (Wagga Wagga) – Date TBA September

For more information or to register now: nsw@cams.com.au

Queensland

  • Club Chief (Brisbane) – Sunday 19th July
  • Course Presenter Upskilling – Monday 27th July
  • Unravelling the CAMS Manual – Monday 28th September

For more information: qld@cams.com.au

South Australia

  • Stewards (Mount Gambier) – Saturday 25th July
  • Scrutineering Theory (Adelaide) – Friday 28th August
  • Scrutineering Practical (Adelaide) – Sunday 30th August

For more information or to register now: sa@cams.com.au

Tasmania

  • Mentor – Saturday 18th July
  • Silver – Sunday 16th August

For more information or to register now: tas@cams.com.au

Western Australia

  • Bronze Scrutineering (Collie) – Sunday 12th July
  • Stewards (Perth) – Saturday 5th September

For more information or to register now: wa@cams.com.au

Modules Available Online

  • Introductory module
  • Bronze Circuit Official
  • Bronze Event Administration
  • Bronze Event Command
  • Bronze Rally Officials
  • Off-Road Officials

For more information or to register now: Call CAMS Member Services on 1300 883 959 or email our Member Services team at: memberservices@cams.com.au

Event Assessment Process

  1. Booking an Event Assessment
  2. Planning the assessment
  3. Conducting the assessment
  4. Submit forms

For more details on each step, please see here

cams officials training e-mail

cams officials training contact

For any of you Aussies in position to take advantage of this opportunity, I encourage you to participate in the training. I know I certainly would if I had a chance again!

The Best and Worst Amateur Videos from Australian GP

Hey, remember that post from earlier this morning? The one about NO FUCKING PHOTOS? Well, there were two surprises that I got to see during the course of my 13 hour work day on a quiet Sunday in the office.

First, my new Aussie buddy Thomas has posted a whole bunch of Marshal Cam videos on our facebook channel, check them out, they’re awesome: https://www.facebook.com/Marshalcam Tom did a great job of conducting very brief interviews on the marshal shuttle bus at the end of the race day while heading back to the Muster tent.

thomas marshal cam videos

Thumbs up to you Tom! Job well done… I’ll be sending you a bunch of #MarshalCam badges/patches for your CAMS orange overalls and whatever else you will wear on your big European marshaling adventure.

Second, another marshal at Australian GP apparently posted a few videos of his work in action at Turn 2… first for the sighting lap and then capturing the Maldonado crash on the first lap of the actual race: the 2015 Rolex Australian F1 Grand Prix.

Here are the videos:

and another (older) video by the same marshal from 2013 AGP:

Now I don’t suspect the video will last on YouTube especially since FIA is very strict about unauthorized content that they solely have the rights to… and if you remember from my earlier post Marshals are not privy to ownership of anything they take a picture/video of when on duty, they’re simply not allowed to! And so, this video makes the rest of us look like douchebags, because it obviously blatantly disregards the no-photo rules set by the marshal organizers.

How is this different from taking a video and sharing it among your closest friends on facebook? Well, it’s publicly posted on YouTube and with sites like Digg picking it up, it’ll only go viral faster.

The good outcome if there ever was one to come out of this, is the person that shot the video went ahead and filmed himself during this prohibited act… and therefore should be easily identifiable so that the event organizers and/or the FIA can deal with him directly, instead of bombarding the rest of the marshaling crew the following year about the “no-photo” rule. It is my honest opinion that reminding everyone so much about “not taking pictures,” and “don’t take any pictures” and “cameras not allowed when cars are on track” all it does is remind everyone about the possibility of taking a picture and basically encourages the person to give in to temptation.

2015 F1 Season Spotter Guide FREE Download

Andy Blackmore of Andy Blackmore Design has released his latest creation for the 2015 Formula 1 Season, in time for the Australian GP behold the 2015 F1 Spotter Guide! Free download on Andy’s web site: http://www.spotterguides.com/portfolio/15-f1/

I’m a huge fan of Andy’s work, and as a marshal found his spotter guides to be most useful especially when working as an “observer” to call in vehicles involved in incidents.

The coolest feature of the spotter guide? Andy’s attention to detail:

andy blackmore design 2015 F1 season spotter guide

Thanks Andy for your awesome work! And thanks for making the downloads available for FREE for anyone that wants them.

Download link: http://www.spotterguides.com/portfolio/15-f1/

International Marshals at the Australian GP

Thanks to the dedicated work by our friend Lynne Hunting during Australian GP we could all read the same newsletter that the local marshals get at the mustering tent in Melbourne each morning. And in the Thursday issue of the newsletter I came across an interesting statistic that Lynne is a part of herself:

source: Australian GP/CAMS/Lynne Hunting
source: Australian GP/CAMS/Lynne Huntting

Of the 930+ marshals participating in Melbourne over the four day weekend that we call the Australian F1 Grand Prix, 78 are visiting marshals from countries far and wide (and when it comes to Australia, pretty much everything is far and wide).

Granted, that when compared with the overall number of the marshals that figure isn’t even 10% but when you consider that in 2014 US F1 Grand Prix had only 200+ marshals, having an influx of 78 more people would give the struggling organizer a much needed boost! If only they could get their act together and actively recruit those visiting international marshals… hmm!

Who are the International visiting marshals in Australia? For the most part they are Singaporeans, just a little less than half of them in fact, and there’s a reason for that. CAMS trainers play an important role during the Singapore GP, historically providing senior marshals for guidance to the local post chiefs and sector marshals during the event. The Australian GP serves as a training ground for those Singaporean marshals wishing to take the next step in their careers to become “senior marshals” themselves in order to act as “post chiefs” or “sector marshals” back home in September. So that’s understandable.

The rest of the numbers are quite interesting.

Personally, I would be very curious to learn who that single Ukranian marshal is. And in what capacity do they participate back home in Ukraine? Or perhaps it’s an Ozzie marshal of Ukrainian background (much like people refer to me as an American marshal born and raised in Ukraine) that simply choose to identify themselves as Ukrainian even though for all practical purposes they’re Aussie.

It’s nice to see the number of Americans participating growing. A few years ago when I was volunteering there: Lynne, James and I were the only three “Americans” at the event. I’m glad more are taking the time to experience Australia and their F1 season opening event in Melbourne.

I am also quite surprised with some of the stats on the chart Lynne published. For example, only four (4) Kiwis. Now I could assure you that out of the 930+ marshals there are a lot more than 4 New Zealanders present, but with special work and travel visa arrangements between the two Commonwealth nations, many Kiwis call Australia home and therefore are not represented as visiting marshals from NZ. But with only 4 flying across the ditch to participate in the event, those numbers seem very low.

Similarly, there are 2 people from the UAE and none from Canada. I am surprised by that because I know many expats living in the UAE are avid F1 fans and marshal around the world including US, Singapore and Australia. So I wonder whether one of those UAE residents is actually a Canadian citizen, but the AGP considers them a visiting marshal from the UAE.

At any rate, it’s great to read all the important work Lynne Huntting publishes because it obviously provokes thought and sheds some light on the scores of marshals that love the sport so much they would travel half way around the world just to participate in this wonderful experience. Cheers to them!

Also kudos to CAMS: Confederation of Australian Motor Sport the organizer of volunteers for Australian GP, for this:

australian gp 2015 cams awesome marshalsNot only is the number of volunteers in the picture very impressive, and as I compared with the US version, it’s about five times the size of the volunteer base. (And yes I’m aware that a street circuit requires more personnel than a permanent circuit, the same scenario can be seen in Singapore GP (1,200 marshals) vs. Malaysian GP (330 marshals)). The organization went ahead and shared their appreciation on their social media page giving recognition and thanks to all those participants whether domestic or international visiting marshals. And that act is very respectable. In my three years of membership with the SCCA I have not once seen them do a similar act for a non-club event. And maybe they should? Of course they should!

Congratulations CAMS on growing Volunteer base!

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has recently posted a really kind message on their web site thanking the growing base of volunteers in their organization: “CAMS Gives Credit to Volunteer Officials for 2014 Milestone” read all about it: click here.

To quote the best part of the article:

“CAMS has witnessed a 21% increase on the 2013 number of officials. Remarkably, 1647 more have obtained a CAMS Officials License in 2014, with the overall membership now totaling 9374.”

That is fantastic news! 21% or 1647 more volunteers is a big BIG number especially for a country whose size is similar to Continental US but the population is closer to that of the NYC Metropolitan area. CAMS is fortunate with the great success of it’s home grown V8 Supercars series as well as the Australian GT championship with it’s amazing Bathurst 12 hour headliner event which undoubtedly attracts race fans and enthusiasts to put their hand up and volunteer. But CAMS also attracts people by offering FIA accredited training, uniforms and swag at various events, and typically little or no membership fees to participate.

I mention this aspect because while I was marshaling in Portugal I received a message from an SCCA official that I have been communicating back and forth about my issues with my home organization. He suggested I should leave the F&C (flagging and communications) part of the club. He recognized I am not happy with the lack of training in my local region, and it would be better for me to leave so I can be happier. So after three years of paying $85/year membership fee, and getting no formal training whatsoever in return, it’s the end of the road. Or is it? I’ve posted a request on the SCCA marshals facebook group to see how I can improve myself based on the grievances people have of me. And the only response suggested that I should stop “bragging” about where I’ve been and change my tone of voice and choice of words when I talk about the club.

So maybe this is a good opportunity to address the actual complaints I’ve had against me. Though none of them were addressed with me face to face by the senior staff in the club who accused me or even by the DA that send me the message to leave the SCCA. Instead everything has been done secretly. Same time last year I found out about some of the accusations strictly by accident, because I needed an SCCA release to marshal the Le Mans 24h with the ACO in France. And the outcome was for me to lay low, keep hush and things will blow over. They haven’t, since there were still no training and no sign of it being offered in the near future I published a few posts about it and made some comments on facebook pointing out the incompetence of the people that run the club, and it seems I’ve hurt some feelings. The powers that be would rather get rid of me than actually solve the problem of the lack of training.

So what have I been accused of? And what have I done to resolve it?

1). Taking photos at pro events. Specifically at the Canadian GP. My SCCA post chief warned me against it. I took some shots anyway when I saw a local Canadian whip out a DSLR and blatantly disregard the photo rule. And I got caught posting my pix on facebook. The SCCA post chief claimed to lose all trust in me and refused to ever work with me again. The Canadians invited me back the next year under probation to work with a different post chief, so long as I didn’t take any pictures. But couldn’t guarantee that I will have an opportunity to take some photos to keep as a souvenir. So I didn’t go back. Since then however I have cut my picture taking down almost completely. I’ve discovered that visiting the paddock and pit lane gives me an opportunity to take all the pictures I would ever need. (And not just mental pictures like the Canadians suggested, real pictures) Problem solved!

2). Taking pictures in the paddock has introduced a new problem. I’ve been accused of being late to the station. Specifically at Lime Rock and more recently at Daytona 24h. But at both events I was there early enough for the shuttle vans but the vans weren’t big enough to take all the workers to a station. Especially at Daytona, our 6 passenger van was meant to take 10 people to the turn. I didn’t fit. The post chief and his wife jumped on a golf cart when one showed up, leaving me and another marshal behind. Later I discovered that the post chief started the morning meeting as soon as he arrived which I and the other marshal missed. This begs the question: if he left us behind why the hell would he start the damn meeting? So maybe some basic people management training is in order. I certainly need to improve my time management myself. But trying to contort myself to cram into a tight van typically results in me ripping my pants or shirts. And since the SCCA doesn’t pay for my uniforms I don’t want to do damage to my own property.

I’ve also requested to work Start/Finish, this way I am not always on duty and with any free time I could take all the pictures I want. But the few events I did with the club this year, the flag chiefs either forgot my request or disregarded it. So maybe I’m expected to kiss more ass, or maybe the Starter role isn’t as accessible as people claimed it was, by simply asking to do it.

3). In Daytona I got kicked off my station. The post chief that accused me of missing the morning meeting didn’t trust any of us on his team to assume the leading role when he went off station to take rest, so he requested the local Central Florida Region to provide a temporary post chief. And the guy they sent started cracking the whip and barking orders at us. To me he said not to blue flag, which was the main reason I came to Daytona, so I didn’t appreciate it at all and wished I was at a different station where the post chiefs were more reasonable. Long story short there came a point where I’ve had it with the orders, and I refused to listen. I considered walking off the station and asking to be moved, or refusing to listen to the orders and hoping I be moved at the post chiefs request. I figured the latter would be less bad of the two horrible options, and so it happened. The flag chiefs of the event moved me to a better station, and said personality clashes were common and it was a simple solution. But what happened in Florida didn’t stay in Florida because I stand accused to this day, and have heard people talking about it not just in the US but also in France during Le Mans. So what did I learn from this experience? There’s no reason to work with an asshole when volunteering. If I see a personality clash possibility I request to be moved immediately, and if it’s not possible I would rather go home than be abused. It absolutely sucks paying money to fly to another part of the country, spend more money for transportation and accommodation only to have a shit time. Or be punished, unfairly.

4). The most recent accusation that arrived with the suggestion to leave the SCCA was that I claimed participation credit for an event that wasn’t SCCA sanctioned. It happened in Pocono, SCCA had a three day race weekend, but since I work Saturdays and Sundays at my job, I only came to marshal on Friday. Turns out Friday was a track employee day and even though I stood there for the whole day waving flags at incidents, it didn’t really happen. As far as the SCCA is concerned I wasn’t there, even though I spend $50 in fuel and tolls to get there. When I signed up for the event through the MotorsportReg.com web site nowhere did it say that SCCA didn’t welcome me, but it turns out it didn’t. Fine! I’ve seen this before overseas, I understand. The difference being overseas we used a physical Log Book, and if the flag chief didn’t sign off in your Log Book, the event wasn’t club sanctioned. Of course the SCCA doesn’t do the log book anymore, because if it did I wouldn’t be accused of trying to steal $5 that I could only use towards my outrageously high $85 annual membership fee and nothing else. Bring back the Log Book dear SCCA and this problem is nipped in the bud. But No! We do things secretly! Nobody is told anything in fear of losing them as volunteers, but everyone that does something that the upper management doesn’t agree with they get torn a new asshole, and then nothing happens except more secret abusive treatment and bullying. Unless of course you’re me, then I get asked to leave and not cause problems. Because you know, training is so detrimental to everyone. We’re only dealing with safety, human lives… no big deal!

Why can’t the SCCA be more like CAMS in Australia so I can be proud of it? Why not give back to the volunteering officials? The main reason I must have been asked to leave is because I was criticizing how SCCA spends it’s money both from my membership dues and from fees billed to the venue for providing marshals, like me. Pro events pay the club for the marshals, that money rarely finds it way back to the marshals instead the SCCA uses it as scholarships and incentives. Funds to grow car fields in club racing and to help up and coming drivers. I think that’s pretty ridiculous considering how bad the volunteer situation is in the US. In New Zealand the drivers not only took care of the marshal club needs, but provided food and drinks and even did hot laps at the end of the race day to show their appreciation for the volunteers. In the US, forget the volunteers we need bigger car fields… Good riddance.

I wish the SCCA was more like CAMS! Especially since SCCA holds the monopoly on issuing marshal licenses like the one I need to volunteer overseas. From my recent post about helping me choose a different license, I discovered no one but SCCA can actually give me a marshal license, even though in the eyes of the SCCA the highest you can go as a marshal is to a “National” level… because you know, USA is a bubble, there’s no such thing as “International” level.

Application Process: CAMS (Australian GP) & MSA (British GP)

Dear friends,

This is a general call for volunteers should you wish to participate in the Australian GP in Melbourne, March 2015 or the British GP at Silverstone, July 2015. For the American readers, you may not be accustomed to the idea of applying to an event taking place next year when our home USGP is still recruiting people a month before the race, but that’s how the world works. Don’t think for a minute to go on a whim to the UK or to Australia last minute and expect to be welcomed as a marshal. Please follow this application process for a better chance of actually getting accepted.

australian gp 2015

To apply for the Australian GP you should visit the CAMS web site and fill out your online application here:  www.camsvms.com/SignUp/Signup.aspx Once you’ve done this step don’t forget that you may need a visa to visit Australia and an electronic permit is easy to obtain at a cost of about $20 from the Australian Department of Immigration.

british gp 2015

The British GP application can be downloaded on the MSA web site and e-mailed to the appropriate party:  www.msaevents.co.uk/bgpmarshals.php The application process for the GP at Silverstone consists of getting nominated, then your name is voted upon and if you’re accepted you will receive a notification e-mail. Unlike Australia, no visa is required for Americans visiting the country.

Remember to submit your applications early because unlike other events that are desperate for people, Australia and United Kingdom get oversubscribed and many applicants are turned down.

Good luck!

Pure Sound: Motorsport Marshalling in Australia

Any closer to the action and you’ll be in the driver’s seat for the race. Experience the sounds of Australian Motorsports from a marshal’s perspective. Enjoy, discuss… interested in marshalling?  Get in touch!

Australian F1 Grand Prix

Greetings from the Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne, Victoria. Excellent start so far for the Australian F1 Grand Prix… started the day with the two seater rides early in the morning, followed by practice for V8 Supercars, Porsche Carerra Cup Australia, Historics/Sports Cars/Can Am, Australian Targa Cars and the silly Celebrity challenge in the diesel powered Mazda 6 fleet.

Some photos:

australian gp 5

australian gp 2

australian gp 3

australian gp 4

australian gp refresher training

And a shot from Narra Photography (the official photog of the Aussie officials): http://www.narraphotography.com.au/p419732905

Post card from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Greetings from Melbourne. Had to collect my F1 credentials early thanks to a last minute trip planned early next week to Sydney to visit my old job. And thanks to Phillip Island historics this weekend, won’t have much time to return to the mustering tent.

Had an excellent time walking the paths at Albert Park, up to the pit lane area for both F1 and V8 Supercars. Got my cool F1 AGP cap, poster, stickers, program, and two guest passes for friends and family.

melbourne 2

melbourne 3

melbourne 4

melbourne 5