Category Archives: Bahrain

Who provides the best Marshal uniform for an Event?

In my recent chat with a representative of the marshal club at the Red Bull Ring in Austria I discovered a few things… 1) there’s no camping at the track and hotel rooms nearby are really hard to come by during the F1 weekend so the club relies mainly on marshals that live nearby (i.e. visiting marshals would have a harder time finding accommodation during F1 than say DTM weekend) and 2) the circuit provides those fancy looking Red Bull logo blue and white overalls to the marshals that participate in their events. That’s really cool!

Why is it cool?

Well, as a visiting marshal you could travel to an event lighter, and travelling lighter makes your travels easier and more convenient (less bags to check when flying, less crap to pull around when you navigate a public transport system in another country, less luggage to worry about when storing stuff during an event, etc.) So in this post I would like to run down through a list of places you could volunteer where the uniform will be provided, and more importantly which places offer the best uniforms out there. Obviously this post is very subjective.

One of the most recognizable uniforms a marshal could wear anywhere is the 24h of Le Mans overalls that are provided by the ACO and are yours to keep after volunteering the event.

le mans 3

Fantastic deal right? Yes, certainly. Although slightly problematic for those of us that are overweight or that are fat like me. You see the ACO issued overalls look beautiful, and for a fashion forward country like France it is very fitting. But I have a hard time fitting into mine. Primarily because the crotch area is a bit painful with the seam riding way up into my scrotum. I don’t know if that’s by design or not, but it’s less than comfortable. Similarly I can’t raise my arms wearing these in either of the pairs I got. Design flaw or I’m not proportioned correctly for them, I don’t know. But damn do they look good! And more importantly we are FREE to keep them after the event, which has been fantastic wearing them in Germany for the Nurburgring 24h and in Portugal for the Maxi Endurance 32h… painful but beautiful ūüôā

Closer to home, Circuit of the Americas has one of the better looking designs out there made by the same company that provides racing suits to the drivers: OMP Sport. And even though the overalls aren’t without their critics (there was one incident last year where someone complained so much about using the blue suits for WEC race that COTA caved in and required people to bring their own white uniforms for the event, which sucked!) I love those smurf suits! What’s not to love? The overalls are properly proportioned and run slightly on the larger size giving you good freedom of movement. The sleeves and pant legs have an elastic band that keeps the uniform in place without being too loose. There are plenty of pockets and the zipper works perfectly.

us gp 8

The “Speedway” brand blue overalls issued by USAC at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have many of the same properties of the pricier OMP suits from COTA but they work similarly well. Even when “some” critics don’t like them, I like them a lot.

grand am indy 1

YAS Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi issues a similar style (possibly same material weight) overall for their events. The famously grey colored suits with the embroidered logo on the back, sleeves and front pocket are quite useful and yet they have their critics too for being too warm in the heat of the desert. But when I volunteered for the Gulf 12 hour in December a few years ago, they were absolutely perfect!

yas

What I liked most about them was the freedom of movement. There was plenty of extra space so the pant part didn’t ride up my crotch, I could raise my hands above my head without pulling the pants into my crotch, pockets were great, etc.

In New Zealand, the Chicane brand uniform is of a very similar design and works absolutely perfectly for the marshals wearing them. Notice the giant pocket for the radio on one side of the chest.

new zealand hampton downs 1

Although it’s important to note that not all visiting marshals get the fancy Chicane uniforms from The Motorsport Club.¬†I was really lucky to try on a few different sets, both for my recovery work the one weekend I rode around in an FIV car, and another time I snuck away from my grid marshal duties to get a ride along in the Chase vehicle with the rest of the fire marshals working that role:

new zealand hamilton v8s

The most generous allocation of overalls you get is in Singapore for the GP. You are provided with 3 sets for the 4 day weekend, where the first day is really just a systems test or a full dressed rehearsal. The Singapore overalls are your standard orange worker overalls you can buy for $30 bux on ebay with loose fitting wrist and pant openings. Each overalls is collected by the post chief at the end of the work day. Sadly you don’t get to keep them.

johor circuit sgp

The SGP issued overalls are loose fitting, light (I believe either 100% cotton or mostly cotton blend) and have great pockets, especially on the side of the legs. They also feature a reflective band around the elbows and below the knees. Similar style overalls are issued in Malaysia for events at the Sepang Circuit, though they don’t have the reflective stripe. A separate “Marshal” reflective vest is issued for night events there:

sepang circuit reflective boards

Interestingly enough for night events Sepang Circuit uses reflective boards instead of flashing lights (F1 style) though a yellow flashing lights at strategic locations around the track are obviously common. The blue reflective board is very effective at night, so long as the station is in direct headlight angle to the cars on the track.

South Korea, Australia, and Bahrain also issue standard orange work overalls to both their own and visiting marshals for a particular event.

korean gp 5

In Korea, like Singapore marshal roles are color coded, where Orange is the standard color for flag & track marshals, Red is for fire crews and Green is for Medics. However unlike Singapore, in Korea, Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia you only receive one set of overalls for the entire weekend, no matter how hot and how likely to sweat you are in the sweltering heat of that country.

So which uniforms were best, and where?

It’s not easy to say or pick one over another. Certainly most uniforms I have been issued with made perfect sense for the country where they were issued. The light uniforms of Singapore, Malaysia and Australia made sense there. The heavier material uniforms in the US also made sense here though like I mentioned people criticized such choices on a hot summer’s day in Texas when some events are ultimately run. Many Americans and Brits would be vocal proponents of bringing your own uniform to events where you volunteer. But personally I love the diversity of wearing the “track’s” uniform for a particular event, especially when travelling.

For more information on what circuits provide uniforms to their marshals do check out my Marshal Spotter Guide page: Motorsport Marshal Spotter Guide and blog entry.

I would love to hear about what other tracks are doing around the world for their marshals, so please share your experiences below. Keep in mind the information I shared above was only current at the time when I volunteered at a specific track, that information may change with time.

marshal-cam-spotter-guide

Top 10 Foodie Experiences while Marshaling (International)

Three important components make up this wonderful hobby that I blog about while volunteering in Motorsport: 1). Racing, 2). Travel to get to the Races and 3). the Foodie experiences along the way.

Here are my Top 10 Foodie experiences (cheap, greasy, delicious!) while marshaling, that I would absolutely go back for just to sample the awesome food again. This post will be divided into three sections, because I could and totally will give my Top 10 Foodie experiences while marshaling just in the USA alone. This part is the  International foodie experiences at each venue. And then the places you may transit through just to get to the event (both domestically and internationally).

#10 Canada: Poutine

canada poutine

When marshaling in Canada, you should try Poutine –¬† french fries, covered in cheese curds and smothered in gravy.

Although a Quebeci cuisine I haven’t really been all that crazy about it while marshaling the Canadian GP in Montreal. Instead it was the food of choice for me in Ontario during the ALMS races at Mosport. I tried to stick to a strictly “poutine” diet which meant trying quite a few different poutine trucks every day, and my favorite by far was one located at a little gas station just north of the Candian Tire Motorsports Park.

The best experience so far was sharing a few big portions with friends right at the track, which we all immediately regretted feeling bloated and full, so we decided to walk the entire length of the circuit to “walk it off” and that I will always remember! You have to try it for yourself.

alms mosport 6

#9 Australia: Fish & Chips

foodie australia fish and chips

When marshaling in Australia (or New Zealand for that matter) do try their Fish & Chips.

While traditionally a British thing, I think it would be foolish not to call Aussie style Fish & Chips an Aussie thing especially when you do have an opportunity to visit a proper fish and chips place along the Indian Ocean like say driving the Great Ocean Road, or on your way to Phillip Island because there’s a beautiful assortment of excellent and very outstanding fish and chips places that serve ridiculously fresh fish. Typically served with malt vinegar or tartar sauce which is my favorite.

The fries are really good, but the fish will be the highlight of that quick and tasty meal. Legend has it they deep fry flake which apparently is shark (gummy shark). And I don’t know about you but tasting shark is exotic and generally awesome.

#8 Germany: Veal Schnitzel with Gravy

foodie germany schnitzel

When marshaling in Germany you must have the Schnitzel!

Whether you go for chicken, beef or veal you won’t go wrong because they’re all equally tasty. I’ve sampled a lot of delicious food in Germany from their wonderful sausages to the delicious sandwiches (pretzel bread = yumm!) But a nice warm veal schnitzel served with fries and smothered in mushroom gravy is finger licking good. Especially when you are walking distance from your post at the Nordschleife on a cool summer’s day.

So when going to work at the “Green Hell” that is Nurburgring add a schnitzel to your list. My favorite joint is Giulia’s in Adenau which is a stone’s throw away from Post 120. And no meal would be complete without a stein of WARSTEINER beer. Seeing it served instantly brought memories of classic cars I saw on TV and later in person at various historic races around the world sporting the WARSTEINER sponsored logo including those beautiful E30 BMW M3’s, the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR of the mid 2000’s and of course the Porsche prototypes of the much older vintage era.

foodie germany beer nordscheleife

#7 Bahrain: Shawarma Malgoum

foodie bahrain shawarma malgoum

When marshaling in Bahrain you must try a Shawarma Malgoum!

So the french fry theme continues except this time it is engineered in to a delicious shawarma served on a busy street corner in a little village outside of the capital of the tiny island of Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf. I got really lucky to have an opportunity to marshal WEC in Bahrain and one of the marshals that drives a course car offered to show me around and give me a little sample of what the local food scene is like. It’s tough otherwise to find proper Bahraini food in Bahrain because of the dominance of all the western food chains and typical Indian joints that are readily available in the Middle East. But a cheap and compact shawarma really gave me a culinary peak at something truly local. You must experience it for yourself.

I did get a chance to go out for some lamb chops and other well made meats served with humus and pita bread, but I don’t think anything hit the spot like the Malgoum. Why do they call it that? and why is it a very Bahraini thing? Well because it’s an “everything” shawarma stuffed with all sorts of goodness from diced tomatos to generous portions of beef (chicken or lamb, whatever you prefer) some salad, and chili sauce.

Quickly made. Cheap and best enjoyed with friends late night. Typically followed by smoking some hookah at a juice bar. An experience I can’t wait to repeat in the future.

foodie bahrain hooka

#6 Singapore: Chicken Rice

foodie singapore chicken rice

When marshaling in Singapore you must have Chicken Rice!

It’s impossible to come to Singapore and not be overwhelmed by all the amazing culinary variety. You’ve got your traditional Chinese food, Malay food, Indian food, Thai food, Indonesian food, and plenty of Western food options too. But what MUST you try on your visit? Chicken rice, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it! Why? Because it is the simplest and the most readily available foods found on the island. It is also one of the cheapest. And most importantly it’s one of the best things they have to offer both locals and visitors alike.

Chicken rice or more properly Hainanese chicken rice is exactly what the name suggests, a simple cup of white rice served with poached and steamed chicken with some sweet chili, ginger and molasses like black substance that adds a very unique flavor to the dish. Often accompanied by a little bowl of the broth that the chicken is cooked in to sprinkle on your rice while you eat it with a fork and a spoon (using the fork to pile spoon-full’s of chicken and rice mix for each bite). I would highly recommend chicken rice for anyone as basic as it sounds it’s the one thing I really crave the most after living in Singapore for a while.

Don’t forget to get some freshly cut fruit for desert after your meal. Readily available at just about every Kopitiam on the island, the fruit is as important as the dish itself, to me at least. Especially with the exotic options like dragon fruit, starfruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, green/red apple, banana, strawberry and kiwi’s. Try it! Love it!

foodie singapore fresh fruit

#5 Malaysia: Nasi Lemak

foodie malaysia nasi lemak banana leaf

When marshaling in Malaysia you must have Nasi Lemak!

Nasi Lemak to me is the most Malay of the Malaysian dishes I’ve sampled, and I’ve been fortunate enough to try a few. It is coconut rice cooked with your choice of chicken, beef, cockles or even livers covered in spicy fish paste and topped with an egg all wrapped around in a banana leaf.

Traditionally eaten for breakfast, I’ve learned to love this dish at Sepang when one of my fellow marshals would make a morning run to pick up enough for our entire team. It’s true that coconut rice has a tendency to drive your stomach crazy afterwards, but the food is so delicious it is well worth all the funny business that may happen after you’ve digested it. It is phenomenal. You must try! And whenever possible have some Ipoh white coffee to wash it down. Ipoh coffee is served with a hefty serving of condensed milk which makes it white’ish in color and is absolutely amazing with a perfect amount of sweetness that I really love.

foodie malaysia nasi lemak

#4 South Korea: Anything with Kimchi

foodie korean bbq kimchi

When marshaling in South Korea try anything and everything that comes served with Kimchi!

I’m sure you all know what kimchi is so there’s no point explaining why this fermented spicy cabbage goodness is amazing. But when volunteering in Korea, like the Korean Grand Prix of the past or any of the current events held in the country. Whatever you eat that’s served with kimchi will leave you with an excellent memory to take back from Korea home, wherever you may live.

On my last visit I was lucky enough to experience kimchi with a several “guides” that showed me around. I first used CouchSurfing and people were kind enough to show me around the Seoul market, trying food all along the way, from Korean Sushi to Korean BBQ.

Then when we made our way to Mokpo with a fellow marshal he spoiled me for choice with the food options on the way and at the Marshal hostel that served us food for breakfast and dinner. Whatever the food: from delicious meat to fish, kimchi highlighted the dish and made me crave it more and more. I can’t wait to have it again on my next trip to this beautiful country. You should try it too!

foodie south korea kimchi

#3 Malaysia: Fish

foodie malaysia fish rice

When marshaling in Malaysia and if you’re lucky enough to have someone knowledgeable show you around… try the Fried Fish!

There’s a little village not far from the Sepang Circuit that I’ve had the pleasure to frequent after long days of working at the track. The whole rescue team that I camped together with at the track would go out every night for a relaxing evening to socialize with fellow marshals and share a delicious meal. Needless to say I was the only foreigner there, but I felt extremely welcome and more importantly I was absolutely in love with the fish they served at this little Muslim Thai restaurant that basically specializes in a very unique dish I haven’t tried anywhere else in Malaysia or Thailand on my travels, and I always make it a point to sample as much food as possible whenever I am in Southeast Asia.

What is the fish called? I have no idea. It is grilled to make the skin crispy and then smothered in the most delicious sweet chili sauce, served with rice. I always get a cup of Ipoh coffee or two to go with it, which is white coffee I described with my Nasi Lemak dish above, or coffee served with condensed milk. My favorite!

PS. the name of the fish dish is: “ikan kembung masak pedas

#2 New Zealand: Meat Pies

foodie new zealand meat pie

When marshaling in New Zealand (and Australia) you must try the Meat Pies!

Much like fish and chips, which I also really really like, Meat Pies are a British import to the Pacific but one that has gotten a flavor of it’s own and I much prefer the Kiwi meat pies to anything I tried in the UK. The meat pies are typically stuffed with chicken, beef, pork, livers, veggies, and a variety of other combinations like black pepper steak or curry chicken. And I love them all. I really do!

The best part about meat pies you get them served at the track while marshaling so you don’t really have to go looking for them at a specific restaurant or bakery. Although while driving on the way to Hampton Downs or Pukekohe on the North Island I’ve always made it a point to stop at Pokeno to stock up on their delicious goodness.

The pies were also readily available to buy frozen and heat up at home by brands like Big Ben who also sponsored local racing. But nothing compares to freshly made kidney liver pies or chicken curry pies I’d get on the way to the track. I loved it, you’d love it too!

foodie new zealand kiwi meat pie big ben

#1 Singapore: Durian

foodie singapore durian

When marshaling in Singapore the #1 meal you should try is Durian!

The highlight of my life in Singapore and pretty much every subsequent visit since has been to sample some fresh Durian. I don’t know if people would ever understand the craving I have for such an infamous fruit. But I definitely crave it! And you can’t just have any durian you stumble upon the street. Hell they sell them in Chinatown in Manhattan or San Francisco. But apparently there’s nothing worse than bad durian. You have to have it in season. You have to ask for the Malaysian durian which is smaller than the big Thai durian and therefore more potent, tastier.

Other products with durian are a hit or miss. I’ve tried durian ice cream and absolutely hated it, but also tried durian moon cakes during Chinese New Year celebration and absolutely loved them. But there really isn’t a substitute for the real thing. And if you do end up going to the Singapore GP I would highly recommend spending one evening exploring Geylang with a local marshal who would surely be able to point you in the right direction to try the “King of Fruit!”

Of course your experience may be way different from mine. I’m happy to share my favorite American Top 10 Foodie Experiences… and I think the Malaysian and Singapore Top 10 Foodie Experiences will follow, so stay tuned!

The Best Marshals!?!

As my Facebook Timeline is flooded with real-time photos from the beautiful Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, with F1 cars taking to the track for the final time this season. Or from Putrajaya street circuit in Malaysia, with Formula E cars making their debut in my favorite Southeast Asia destination. I wanted to share a thought about the notion of “the best marshals” out there, many of whom are sharing these photos with me and the world. I will also make some comparisons to myself, and tell you – the reader, why I am not the best. And if you’re also a marshal, why you probably aren’t either. But we certainly can become better!

According to a recent article quoting Mohammed bin Sulayem, the famous Arab rally driver and an influential FIA official who claimed UAE marshals are ready to prove they’re the best in the world, you would be right to think that they¬† probably are. Of course if you ever watched a broadcast of any race from the UK, they would certainly have you believe that the British marshals are the best in the business. I have written extensively about the quality of the marshaling Australians tend to provide, as they are constantly contracted to train and supervise newbie marshals throughout the Asia Pacific region, including most recently Russia. So who is really the BEST?

Well, as I see it: the BEST marshals are the one’s that are trained well. Which pretty much eliminates me from that candidacy because in the past year of volunteering I have not attended any training sessions in my local region. Not because I didn’t want to. But because it wasn’t offered. So there you have it. If you live in a region that doesn’t offer regular training you have little chance of honing your skills to become a better marshal. Of course I’ve nagged my region to offer training, not just to me but to the entire marshal base of my region. And the most common response I’ve received was to organize it myself or travel to another region. Fair enough! (or not fair, considering I pay an annual membership – presumably for something?) Lets say I take the initiative and organize my own fire training with my local fire department, or first aid training with the local ambulance corps. But then I have to translate this into my Motorsport volunteering, and hardly all road accidents are similar to what we see in racing. So the optimal solution is to travel to receive training where it is actually relevant.

Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 boss everyone loves to hate, once said that if you don’t have the money to race in Formula One – you shouldn’t! And I think the same applies to marshals. In a sense, if you can afford to travel to various events around the world, you become a better marshal because you pick up skills new to you. Assuming something actually happens in the post you have been allocated so that you either see a proper handling of the incident taking place or you are actually involved in it, hands on. If you don’t see anything happen, you haven’t learned anything new. So training is still paramount to your “quality” of skills as a marshal. The “quantity” of events you have attended is only relevant if you have hands on experience. Classroom training, demo’s and simulations are critical. So does it make sense to travel to receive proper training? Yes! But it depends on whether or not you have the funds to do it. Personally, I would rather spend my hard earned money on a pro event with the hopes of having a hands on experience I can learn from, than spending the same amount to travel somewhere where I’m guaranteed to learn something. Is it wrong? Probably… but when applying or registering for events to marshal, you are asked what events you’ve worked previously and not what training sessions you’ve attended. Maybe that’s wrong on the part of the organizers to assume that attendance = experience?

So what can I and others do to be considered “better” or “best” marshals out there? Well, as I pointed out above some factors are well within my control and some are not. For example, I think I would be a much better marshal if I was just a little bit taller, just a few inches. But that ain’t gonna happen. Likewise, I would definitely be a better marshal if I lost some weight. It is totally within my control though talking about it is far easier than actually doing something about it. Ultimately, the best motivation to become the best marshal possible is having training provided. It encourages you to do many things, and most of them positively improve your skill set. And as I’ve written before about the CAMS Young Officials program in Australia, it’s up to the top level of Motorsport organizers to push down to the grassroots level. If the FIA demanded better “quality” marshals for it’s events, and coughed up some money around the world to facilitate such training. The marshals it would create would not only shine for the single F1 or WEC race held in their area, they would certainly seek other events available around them to keep them busy throughout the year, including other pro races and club events. They would probably travel to volunteer races outside of their area. And all in all the “quality” of the pool of marshals worldwide would be improved.

In closing, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the best marshals are not necessarily those that are the most experienced but those that have the means to travel to and participate in various events. Yas Marina marshals will prove to the world they are the best this weekend not just because they receive amazing training locally, but because the organizers welcome a whole army of visiting officials from around the world that will help the locals prove their worth. There are plenty of British, Canadian, American, Australian, Hungarian and many other nationalities represented alongside the Emiratis in Abu Dhabi this weekend to help the ASN run the event smoothly and professionally. It would be nice then in the future to not hear that the UAE or British or Australian marshals are the best in the world, but that the FIA marshals are the best in the business… I would love to receive some FIA training to make me a better marshal because relying on my local club certainly hasn’t resulted in much.

 

Photo credit (Bernie Ecclestone) unknown, if it belongs to you please provide a hotlink that I could link to giving you credit. Thanks!

Marshal Log Book Project: #MarshalLogBook

It’s been a while since I had my log book signed.

Oh you’ve never heard of a log book? Well, marshals around the world record their event participation in a little book which they bring to the track to get signed each weekend by their flag chief or post chief, to validate that they indeed volunteered the event.

You may have tinkered with the idea on the SCCA web site if you volunteer in the US and are a member of the club. Because you get a worker incentive for participating in club events. Work 12 cumulative days and get $45 discount on your membership renewal. Work 8 days get $30 bucks credit, etc. But what about those pro events you worked? Nobody cares right? Wrong!

Registering for events thru DLBracing.com or Motorsportreg.com keeps track (a historic record)¬†of events you signed¬†up to work through those web sites. But again there’s no One/central database of all the events you volunteered: pro, club, international, etc.

It’s time to create a new Digital Marshal Log Book… I’ve been a long time user of several flight tracking databases like ba97 and OpenFlights for years, and there’s no reason such a simple solution can’t be used to quickly and¬†conveniently¬†keep track of all my Motorsport volunteering. Of course automating this process is a little beyond my programming skills so I’ll definitely need some help from the readers of this blog. But I have put together some samples manually, and the results are stunning!

So the simple list view of my Motorsport volunteering is:

marshal log book list Google Docs list: click here.

But here’s the cool part… the Analytics! You want to know the stats of Circuits by Days I spent at each event? I do:

circuits by day Google Docs: click here. The pie chart is interactive. Go ahead and play with it! Interestingly 7.7% (18 days) of all of my days spend at the race track happened at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and at Hampton Downs in New Zealand. 6.4% (15 days) at Circuit of the Americas, and 6% (14 days) at Watkins Glen International.

How about Circuits by Frequency of returning to that track:

circuits frequency¬†Google Docs: click here. Looking at these stats 10.6% (9 times)¬†of¬†all the time I returned to a particular circuit, it just happened to be to Lime Rock Park – my home track in the US. 7.1% (6 times) to Hampton Downs my former home track in New Zealand and to Watkins Glen International in New York. 5.9% (5 times) to both Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Summit Point in West Virginia. Quite a different perspective considering most events at Lime Rock are 2 day events, while the rest of the world it’s typically 3 days because there is no racing in Connecticut on Sundays.

How about Country stats by Days worked? Let’s see:

country by days¬†Google Docs: click here. It turns out more than half of all the time (123 days out of 234 days total) I spent trackside, happened right here in America! (‘murica!) 15.2% (35 days) in New Zealand which is an amazing number considering I only spent less than half a year there and have been marshaling in the US for over three years now. And 7.4% (17 days) spent in Australia, which is cheeky because most of that came from the one month long trip I made down there in 2013 where I did something like six back to back events in a row.

How about Country by Frequency of participation:

country frequency¬†Google Docs: click here. Number of times in the country correlates to the number of days on track.¬†56.5% (48 times)¬†of all the events I’ve marshaled were in the US. 15.3% (13 times)¬†in New Zealand. 7.1% (6 times) in Australia. 5.9% (5 times) in Canada. 3.5% (3 times) both in Malaysia and Singapore. Go ahead play with the interactive charts by following the Google Docs links, and see all the other stats.

I am working on integrating Circuits and participation onto Google Maps, but it’s a slightly more complicated process here are samples:

map countries

If you have any suggestions for creating fancy stats please share in the comments below and I’ll be happy to post them. More importantly if you’re really good at writing Google Docs Scripts I’d love to get some help in creating a usable Form and subsequent database that I will make available to all the marshals around the world. It’d be amazing to see people’s stats from Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, France, the Netherlands, the rest of Europe, Asia, the Pacific and of course the Americas.

Remember to use #MarshalLogBook on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word. And like the new facebook page I created just for this project:  facebook.com/pages/Marshal-Log-Book/910500628968577

#MarshalCam Video Spotlight

As the idea of #MarshalCam has grown nicely and my supply of patches has dwindled, I wanted to spotlight a few recent videos that I think were done exceptionally well and should serve as an example for others submitting their videos.

Mike and Dani from Belgium send their submission while highlighting their “Belgian Marshal Team 31” group. The video is professionally shot, and if not for the sudden gust of wind is perfect, exactly what I’d love to see more of. I encourage others to promote their home club, track, or marshaling group. There’s no shame in self promotion!

Graeme from Australia did an excellent job of filming at home, in the shed with wonderful Ford Falcon posters in the background. (though my favorite noise in the video came from the local wildlife, see if you can spot it – sure brings great memories when I lived there). This is an excellent example showing the concept can be perfectly shot off track in the comfort of one’s home.

Faten from Bahrain send one of the most comprehensive submissions I’ve ever received. She admitted that there were a few errors like when she meant to say V8 Supercar series but blurted out NASCAR instead… I’ve done that. Just goes to show that pointing a camera in your face and acting natural isn’t easy. When I did my invite video it took me well over two dozen attempts to get the storyline right, the video was only 30 seconds and I still managed to stutter in closing. But back to my friend “Lefty” she did an awesome job and I wish other people also put as much thought into their #MarshalCam interview.

The last video I want to highlight is one I shot myself at the Vintage event held at Lime Rock Park. Yes, I did stutter again and messed up my friend Trevor’s name (did I just call him Trouble?) but I have to give credit where credit is due, and Trevor killed it. Excellent job especially since we shot his interview all in one take.

So please send your submissions via DropBox and I will gladly feature them on MarshalCam.com and our Facebook/Twitter and YouTube social media channels. Everyone’s submission is welcome and you get a Marshal Cam patch FREE for your efforts. Thank you for your participation, it is truly appreciated. Thank you also for helping to promote volunteering in Motorsport!

Motorsport Marshal Spotter Guide

For those of you that enjoy sports car racing as much as I do, you will no doubt be familiar with Andy Blackmore Design & Spotter Guides and his excellent Le Mans, WEC and ALMS/Tudor SportsCar prototype/GT as well as the occasional DTM, F1 and other racing series spotter guides. I enjoy them so much, I make sure to get one of the freebie ones that are put in each station’s “book” from every event I marshal. The collection is growing.

I liked the idea of the spotter guides so much I created a Motorsport Marshal Spotter Guide with help from Andy Blackmore, who generously provided an excellent template, as well as fellow marshals that posted reference photos on Ten-Tenths Marshal Forums and Flag Marshals of the World Facebook Group.

A sample of the resulting spotter guide is here:

asia sample

Lots of Sparco suits used in South and Southeast Asia, for most marshal specialties except for actual flaggers/track marshals. international marshal spotter guide

Of course there are about a hundred more that I will add while I’m not trackside (read: at work). So stay tuned for updates. I think this is wonderful recognition for people that are meant to be invisible when you go to a racing event. Unless of course something happens. Now you can easily recognize which marshal comes from where when you see them at an event or on TV.

Please share any unique finds (including TV race screen shots) of marshals that I don’t have on the spotter guide and I’ll be adding them to the growing list.

Many thanks!

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#MarshalSpotterGuide

I have created a permanent page on this site devoted to the International Motorsport Marshals Spotter Guide (click here) The spotter guide will also be used on various facebook groups as well as on Ten-Tenth’s forum and MarshalsGuide.com wiki.

Top 10 Circuits to Marshal

Having read one of the most ridiculous Top 10 lists about someone’s interpretation of the best circuits in America, here’s one I’d like to present to you – the reader, from a marshal’s perspective. So Buzzfeed eat your heart out!

I will of course start out with a tie for tenths spot, out of the 30+ tracks I’ve volunteered over the past few years it was a really hard decision to narrow down a list of my favorites. Keep in mind of course that depending on the event or even weather conditions this list may change quite dramatically:

#10(a) Manfeild Circuit – Feilding, New Zealand

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The reason this fairly unknown track (if you’re a motorsport fan or marshal outside the Pacific) made it on my Ten Best List is because of “food!” In fact it tied for tenths place with the other track because of the same reason: “food!” Now let me tell you why I think this track is an amazing facility to marshal if you happen to live or visit North Island in the beautiful country of New Zealand. Location, location, location. When living in Auckland, NZ and marshaling almost on a weekly basis I became a huge fan of the Toyota Racing Series (a development open wheel series run in the off season or European/North American winter – Australpacific summer). I learned about the New Zealand Grand Prix and without hesitation booked a flight to Palmerston North, bound for my first flagging experience in Manfeild. The facility itself is fairly small, flat and unremarkable… playing to the saying I once heard somebody say: “How could such a rugged country full of rolling hills, mountains and excellent driving roads have such flat circuits.” However, the good thing is you could see most of the track from just about any station, so you can always keep abreast of what’s happening. But my favorite part was the hospitality. The food! Even though the facility seems quite glossy and gleaming with fancy modern buildings all around, we were herded into a shed that I think is normally used for auctioning sheep. How authentic? Speaking of authentic we were served big trays of home cooked kiwi food. That was the highlight of my visit, no doubt and I highly recommend it to anyone to experience such beauty for themselves. I know my friends will think I’m a massive pig if I don’t mention the amazing kiwi hospitality I received marshaling Aussie V8’s on the Hamilton Street Circuit, but since that place is no more, Manfeild takes the cake.

#10(b) Mosport (CTMP) – Ontario, Canada

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Mosport = Poutine! For me anyway. I know I’m geographically in the wrong province for the tasty, gooey, cheesy goodness that is Quebec’s national dish… but having great poutine at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) or Mosport as everyone actually still calls it, is an absolute must. (there’s a fantastic place selling the best poutine I’ve had in Ontario at a gas station a few kilometers north of the track) I know people will say that there are much better reasons to visit this facility because it is a genuinely great racing circuit, I agree… but again for me poutine hits the spot, every time! The locals are incredibly friendly and super welcoming. There is quite a community of marshals with their own camping area which I called home for several race weekends. And I really enjoy coming to Ontario because they never give me such a hard time that Quebecki immigration does. I appreciate how well organized the marshaling operation is at CTMP, there’s a clear hierarchy and a chain of command. An expectation to act professional, and designated roles with the appropriate expertise level. I love this place! And the best thing to do after you’ve balooned from a big styrofoam box of hot french fries smothered in cheese and gravy, is to take a long and relaxing stroll around the whole circuit… it’s great exercise!

#9 Laguna Seca – Monterey, California, USA

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Laguna Seca had been a rather illusive place for me to visit for many years. Long before I started marshaling, and by long I mean a period of time no more than five years. I had yearned to come drive the corkscrew as part of the SRT track experience. Tried and failed. Four times I ended up doing the experience at alternate tracks and the closest I’ve come to experiencing the corkscrew was at the Thunderhill version of that turn called the cyclone. But from a marshaling perspective it is a fascinating facility and working the actual corkscrew was a dream come true, especially once I actually ended up working the corkscrew. You see, as a turn the corkscrew has several positions. The local club: San Francisco Region SCCA does an amazing job of fulfilling your requests to station you on the turn that you like, and I received my orders to work the corkscrew every time I visited Laguna Seca. Unfortunately, there are parts of the turn that don’t actually allow you any visibility of the famous landmark even when you are working that turn, I’m speaking about the uphill area leading up to the corkscrew. Amazing place to blue flag your heart out, but without the actual view of the turn (and how the right front wheel of each race car gets high up in the air before it drops three stories heading down hill). The best place to work the corkscrew is at the very top of the turn, standing on a concrete block next to the famous tree that is on the logo of Laguna Seca / Monterey or at the very downhill looking straight up at the corkscrew. As if I didn’t mention the word “corkscrew” enough times, go to Laguna Seca for the corkscrew!… and the beautiful California countryside that surrounds it. (You can see the Pacific Ocean from the corkscrew)

#8 Marina Bay Circuit – Singapore

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Singapore gave me my start as a marshal, I would be a major Dick if I didn’t bother mentioning it. However, as luck would have it: Marina Bay street circuit is actually an incredible place to marshal. It is well set up, everything is walking distance to everything, and it is smack in the middle of town which is one of the best reasons I absolutely love working street circuits in general ever since. And one of the top reasons I kept returning to Singapore, it’s the heart of Southeast Asia and was my launching point for exploration of all the cities and countries I visited as a result of living there. The most incredible attribute of the Singapore GP and Marina Bay circuit is the buzz or atmosphere it creates leading up to, during and post event. It is the talk of the town, it dominates every aspect of life for the majority of the people directly affected by the race even if they’re not fans of motorsport. As with anything else in Singapore everybody takes up a liking to the racing because it’s there, conveniently placed for the taking. I love Singapore. I love everything about Singapore. I love the food, I love the people. I wish I still lived there. I highly and wholeheartedly recommend this track and this event to anyone.

#7 Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), Bahrain

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Bahrain like Singapore is blessed with the same gift I call the small-island syndrome. I adore Bahrain. I love the people I met. I love the food I tried. I loved almost everything about my visit to marshal the Six hours of WEC in Bahrain. The track fascinated me. I got to visit it before working at the Yas Marina Circuit so it seemed like one of the most advanced tracks I’ve ever been to. Everything was well thought out, properly laid out, and intuitive. Each hard station was properly designed, featured great visibility without anything blocking your view, good access to flagging, good access to working response. Excellent lightweight flags, good size and weight SC boards. A locker for the equipment under each station. Even a light above the cutout for the drivers to distinguish which flag is displayed in a dark setting. BIC had just completed installation of the flood-lighting system around the track so it looked absolutely magnificent all lit up for night racing. I loved the pastel colors of the run off areas, the beautiful race control building and the driver/team party I was generously invited to by the organizers… a perk certainly not every marshal gets. But I was treated with such great respect and love I would return at any time, given an opportunity again.

#6 Sepang International Circuit (SIC), Malaysia

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A lot of my Top Ten contenders place great emphasis on food, but given the fact that most¬† of us volunteer for these events free of charge and bad food genuinely creates a terrible impression of the event and of the facility (yes I’m mostly talking about Singapore and their Delifrance obsession), good food leaves an excellent remark as well. To me, Sepang was always the best “food” track in the world, bar none. Nevermind the idea that the facility is stunningly beautiful and exotic (sure even Ukraine is exotic to most Asian people I mentioned my home country)Sepang is Super! I’ve worked a number of events there, including several F1 races and an Asian Le Mans Series enduro and never had a bad time. The people are incredibly friendly that make you feel welcome. It was a pain in the ass trying to get in, but once in they treat you like family and I appreciate that. The location is super convenient being based on the grounds of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with only five minute drive to the old LCCT terminal which I used quite frequently when I lived in Singapore. And the city of Kuala Lumpur is only an hour ride by a cheap shuttle bus opening the doors to even more exotic variety of finger licking good cuisine from the Chinese, Malay and Indian palate. But back to marshaling, everyone I’ve ever worked with were professional and seriously devoted to the hobby. It was inspiring. I would go back in a heartbeat, and you should too if you can! Just to try for yourself.

#5 Circuit of the Americas (COTA) Austin, Texas, USA

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Because… ‘Murica!!! I absolutely love Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX America’s newest and most advanced racing facility (probably most expensive too, but as marshals aren’t paid talking about money here is kind of useless) I really enjoy marshaling at COTA every chance I get because of the brand new smell the track got, the design, the facilities. It’s a great place to feel good in. I love the racing series that come to COTA. So far I was lucky enough to experience F1 and Aussie V8’s only visit to the States. As a marshal you get a different experience depending on who is running the show, but I can genuinely say that you make an effort to make the best of whatever situation is dealt your way. Being prepared is probably the best advice I would give for anyone considering marshaling here. Go in with low expectations and you will undoubtedly be pleasantly surprised. Admission to the Mullet of the Americas is free for marshals so definitely take that in as one of the perks!

#4 Mount Panorama – Bathurst, NSW, Australia

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Bathurst is the most famous track in Australia… nay, the Pacific! Everybody knows Bathurst even if they know nothing about racing. The photo above was taken long before I started marshaling because one of the first things friends wanted to show me when I moved to Australia was their famous circuit. When I first marshaled there a few years later I realized exactly what it was I was falling in love with. The beauty of Mount Panorama is the fact you can drive the track on any given day as it goes along the road dotted with driveways of the local farmers and vineyard owners. Driving it is breathtaking. Watching professionals drive it, does take your breath away too. And I’m not exaggerating. For the 12 hours of Bathurst endurance race I was stationed atop the famous Brockie’s Skyline. From there you can see a few hot spots prone to incidents one leading up towards you and the other going down the hill into the “Dippah”. Not to mention the whole rest of the track below you, down the mountain, and the occasional Kangaroo that comes for a visit. As a marshal you are stuck for the duration of the event on a thin strip of land, though the hard station is paved and covered, walking up and down is tough (it was so hot on my visit that my brand new Sketchers soles melted off the boots… yea I know, crazy!) But what a freaking experience. I especially enjoyed walking down closer to the Dipper and helping the guys there. Lots of visibility to see overtaking and therefore lots of chance to blue flag. Absolutely loved it! I rented a car at Sydney airport and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing four hour drive through the Blue Mountains and down the track every morning, coming to the event from nearby.

#3 Phillip Island GP Circuit – Victoria, Australia

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My favorite aspect of the Phillip Island circuit is the view from Siberia. Now, this turn is notorious for the reason it got such a namesake, but when you are volunteering a very specific event which means you’d be stationed right where this photo was taken (at the exit of the turn driver’s/rider’s right), you’d absolutely love the view on a warm sunny day with amazing machinery racing in a snaking fashion towards you. (Quite frequently crashing at your feet). Besides the excellent racing Phillip Island offers, which by the way you can see a great deal of the track from this position since it’s so flat and fairly small. (as well as the incredible ocean views with multiple shades of turquoise waters, funky wind shaped trees and sandy hills) The spectators are fantastic, especially the biker crowd. The organizers really wisely allowed riders to park their personal bikes just behind our post creating a mini bike show in a specifically designated area near the hospitality suites. What a great concept and idea! Besides spectators, fellow marshals are really hospitable and welcoming to foreigners. The track isn’t the easiest place to get to without a car, being some two hour drive outside of Melbourne with no reliable public transportation option. But nevertheless when there’s a will there’s a way to get there, and I would highly recommend anyone to experience marshaling at Phillip Island.

#2 Nordschleife, Nurburgring – Adenau, Germany

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Nurburgring… Nordschleife… need I say more? Well, yes I do. They call it the “Green Hell” for a reason. And getting my super awesome ride around the extra long circuit it, looked like there are many places around the track that would be quite hellish to work. But not “posten 120” in Adenau. The station is in the village… not near a village, not adjacent to the outskirts, but basically in the village. Which means all the creature comforts that a marshal may crave during a race weekend are only a short walk away. I camped meters from our post’s mustering tent. There were several GOOD cafe’s within a short walking distance to the station. There was a proper toilet and running water available in the nearest cafe which again was just meters from where we camped. Showers were available in the spectator area a very short walk away. There were several supermarkets also a short walk away with any supplies you may need which basically required you to bring nothing along for the weekend event (I worked the Nurburgring 24h). The shuttle bus stop to go to the paddock/pits area was across from the cafe near our camping spot. It was as perfect as perfect gets. And I haven’t even said a word about the racing. Fantastic views of a great turn on a bridge below us, lots of action, lots of overtaking and blue flagging. Hands down my second best circuit I’ve ever been to. Or first best in Europe.

#1 Yas Marina Circuit – Abu Dhabi, UAE

yas marina circuit

Yes baby! Yas is by far my favorite circuit as a marshal. I always said that when money was no object this is what a circuit should look like and that’s exactly what it is. Each station is a proper hard station complete with full toilet and running water. There is shade, there is electrical supply, a shed full of equipment including everything from brooms to fire extinguishers and of course lightweight flags, SC boards, and my favorite: light panel! The light display is nearby, hard-wired and functioning perfectly without much delay like a typical FIA system. I love this track, and truly wish it was my home track. Too bad I’m not “based” in the Emirates. In addition the track looks magnificent with spectacular views around the marina, the hotel (with free wifi wafting to the nearby station, which I found to be very useful) it’s just a great place to be at, and enjoy. The city of Abu Dhabi was my favorite spot to go sightseeing in the Emirates and the organizing body ATCUAE even offers a free shuttle service to Dubai for anyone working their events. You also get a nominal pay for participating which was a nice touch.

Having read and re-read this list several times, I’m really sad I didn’t put Lime Rock Park or Watkins Glen International on the list. Both are my favorite “local” tracks to marshal… Maybe there will be a follow up Top Ten list with a different Twist?

Top 10 Circuits to Marshal:

#1 Yas Marina Circuit ‚Äď Abu Dhabi, UAE
#2 Nordschleife, Nurburgring ‚Äď Adenau, Germany
#3 Phillip Island GP Circuit ‚Äď Victoria, Australia
#4 Mount Panorama ‚Äď Bathurst, NSW, Australia
#5 Circuit of the Americas (COTA) Austin, Texas, USA
#6 Sepang International Circuit (SIC), Malaysia
#7 Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), Bahrain
#8 Marina Bay Circuit ‚Äď Singapore
#9 Laguna Seca ‚Äď Monterey, California, USA
#10(a) Manfeild Circuit ‚Äď Feilding, New Zealand
#10(b) Mosport (CTMP) ‚Äď Ontario, Canada

MarshalCam.com Launched

We did it!

MarshalCam.com¬†has been registered and launched! I’m pretty excited with the fact that so many marshals are participating in the project. Especially, it is humbling to see the global reach and acceptance of the simple concept behind the idea of promoting volunteering in motorsport to the general public (and by general public I mostly mean automotive and motorsport enthusiasts).

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Our YouTube channel is kicking ass… but we are most active on the Facebook page and the Twitter tweeter. Most impressively (and somewhat shocking) is that I was able to register “Marshal Cam” brand with all the big players including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Like: www.facebook.com/MarshalCam #MarshalCam

Follow: www.twitter.com/MarshalCam @MarshalCam #MarshalCam

Let this be a start of a beautiful thing… and be sure to check out all our social media outlets to watch some awesome videos of real marshals sharing their enthusiasm towards this hobby.

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If you are wondering why MarshalCam.com links to a page on MyRoadTrip.net, click here to read more about all the domain names that live on Grand Prix Road Trip, there’s quite a few of them.

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Marshal Cam Patches arrived from Hong Kong

UPDATE (8/2015): New #MarshalCam patches arrived from HK

To celebrate 100 Likes on the Marshal Cam facebook page: www.facebook.com/MarshalCam I am giving away patches FREE of charge to anyone that submits their Marshal Cam Questionnaire video. Pretty sweet deal for a patch collector. My first batch of 100 patches arrived from Hong Kong this morning, and I’ve already got a few envelopes going out to contributors in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

What’s the idea behind Marshal Cam?

I always wanted to promote what we do as marshals through social media. But doing so always got me in trouble, particularly posting photos I took at major events like F1 or ALMS, often times weeks after I took the photos discreetly while marshaling.

So to avoid any copyright rules imposed by the series or the track where we marshal, but to still have a voice, I devoted the idea of Marshal Cam to the actual marshals. Not the racing vehicles or the famous drivers, but the ordinary marshals I’ve met and worked with around the world that talk about why they volunteer, and how others can get involved. The videos are simple, and shot at the luxury of one’s home or office using a web cam or a cell phone camera. People share their raw footage via Drop Box and I edit it to upload to Facebook and YouTube. The result is exposure to marshaling as a hobby worldwide, through popular social media channels that are open to the general public.

Any automotive or motorsport enthusiast should consider volunteering. I would have started much earlier had I known it was possible. Marshal Cam idea spreads the word organically.

So contribute please, and get a nifty new patch for it!

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For comparison purposes to see how it matches your other patches:

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Marshal Cam

I’m excited to report that the video version of this blog is up and running on Facebook and YouTube. The Marshal Cam channel with the Twitter keyword #MarshalCam is Live!

Initially I posted a video on my Facebook profile to encourage friends I’ve met volunteering around the world to contribute… here’s the video:

In addition I had made another video of exactly what I was looking to do, a sample:

And I was quite thrilled when¬†a fellow marshal from the UK whom I worked the British GP together at Silverstone quickly send in her’s:

I also created a Facebook Fan Page here: Marshal Cam ¬†www.facebook.com/MarshalCam¬†and people are liking things so far, though a few more video submissions so I can create my big Marshal Cam mash-up would be great. Here’s the YouTube channel that you should Subscribe to:¬†How to become a Marshal? ¬†¬†www.youtube.com/user/GrandPrixRoadTrip

So far a lot of people are asking “Why do this?” “What’s the purpose of this video?”

Why am I doing this? Because nobody else is. Not the FIA, FIM, ACO… IMSA… or any of the clubs are doing much on a local or grander scale. Sure some SCCA clubs have produced promo videos locally but it doesn’t quite encourage someone that may stumble upon it on YouTube or Facebook to say: “Hey, I’d like to try volunteering!” and it’s a shame…

So despite the often cynical criticism I seem to get, the goal is genuinely to promote the idea of volunteering in motorsport. I wish I knew I could volunteer about ten years ago when I first came out to Giants Stadium in the Meadwolands to watch SCCA SOLO racing. I thought marshals were paid and had highly coveted jobs. The reality is organizations struggle to get enough marshals to run events. Promoting us, what we do, openly on social media may encourage new participation. And we all win from that.

Now through #MarshalCam I don’t promote filming at motorsport events. That goes against the rules of most organizations including the FIA, F1, IMSA, and all the tracks get bent out of shape when people film without their permission while representing the track. So doing a video on web cam or smart phone from the comfort of your own home or office is innocent enough without breaking any rules or infringing copyrights.

I really hope the idea takes off… if just a little bit! At the very least we will show how diverse the marshals are from around the world, and how similar we are sharing the same hobby in racing!