Next Stop: SBK Motorland

Motorland Aragón is ready to host the second World Superbikes round of this season… and I’m going there. It’s gonna be my first race after such a long and boring winter.

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According to the weather forecast, it will be fine this weekend, sunny and a bit windy.

Have a nice weekend!! I’ll be back next week with my usual postcard and pictures.

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Thank you Marshals!

As I have now started my first full week – working again (two jobs, ugh!) I’ve had the time to reflect on the recent racing I’ve done and the fact that I’ve been ‘forced’ not to register for future F1 events including Canada and Singapore. It was not an easy decision to make, to be sure, but a necessary one. This hobby is not cheap… even while living on a shoe-string budget and traveling with minimal expenses it still adds up. It adds insult to injury when you come back from an event in a bad mood, because of the treatment you receive.

Watching a “Thank You Marshals” video from Australia did make me smile though…

…because despite feeling unappreciated, taken advantage of and often times downright abused by the organizers with all the rules and ridiculous expectations, we are an integral part of motorsport and I wish more people would consider volunteering in the future.

It would be better for all of us.

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Sebring 12 hour debrief

A few thoughts about my last event marshalling the big American race: 12 hours of Sebring.

To start, I had missed the last two Sebrings because the event falls on the same weekend as the Australian F1 Grand Prix, and I chose to do those instead. I heard amazing things about this race, so 2014 was the year I committed to doing Sebring finally. Did it live up to the hype? Not particularly. I mean, the event was significantly better in comparison to my experience at Daytona a few months earlier, that’s for sure. But it was not exactly the best event I have ever done in my life. It certainly wasn’t AGP. I will list the things I liked and disliked about my experience at Sebring.

First the things I liked. I was placed on a very good crew of local Central Florida SCCA marshals at turn 15, which proved to be quite active and very exciting for blue flagging. It was perfect. The atmosphere was very relaxed, everyone was professional and it was a joy, simple pleasure to work with everyone. We did have a mishap during a race when just as we changed shift there was an incident that could have been flagged better, and it was as much my fault as the next guy’s, but these things happen. We could have handled it better, and yet it could have been worse too. My favorite part about the team was how accommodating they were about keepsakes in the form of photos. We were given opportunity to take a few shots on our off sessions which was greatly appreciated. I had the pleasure of working with the official CFR photog who took some shots of me in actions that I’ll include below:

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green 3Thank you Dave from www.flagtoflagphotography.com for the memories!

The things I didn’t particularly like were not unique to Sebring, in fact AGP suffers from them also. But there’s no reason we as volunteer marshals should be treated like shit repeatedly and then expect to return year after year and give 100% just to continue to be treated like shit. There’s something wrong with that approach/expectation form the organizers. So my biggest gripe is with the unnecessarily early starts when the morning meetings could have been held a bit closer to the start of activities. The days were tremendously long, which happens anywhere the schedule is full of support events, but with so few people participating it’s quite hard on the body to be up on your feet for fourteen hours a day. I realize marshalling is not rocket science, anybody could do it, but just standing idle waiting for something to happen takes a toll over a long period of time. I feel our marshalling organization should do a better job of recruiting more volunteers. Offer some incentive to join. Make it fun! At the very least reduce the amount of hostility there is from those highly experienced marshals to the newbies. We all do this for fun! Lets not forget.

The other gripe was with the series and their procedures towards our response to crashed vehicles. The unnecessarily long safety car periods which resulted in the spectators yelling their displeasure in our general direction on post as we were displaying the double yellow flags. And the artificial un-balance of performance for cars. I’m really not happy to see the P2 Le Mans Prototypes struggling to keep up with Daytona Prototypes.

Overall it was a good experience. I got to couchsurf with several hosts on this trip including in places like St. Petersburg and Okechobee. It’s a shame that the St. Pete Grand Prix wasn’t a week after Sebring or I would have surely stayed to marshal there as well.

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Warm Up Lap 2014

Hellooooo everyone!!

Yes, I’m sure that you’re thinking the same… This is such a loooong and booooring winter!! Well, here we go again with a new racing season. I’m planning some trips abroad, but it’s not easy… Anyway, I’ll keep telling my marshal experiences. At this moment, I can confirm my engagement to the “Grand Prix de Pau” and “Le Mans 24 Hours”.

We have a new facebook link. You may search in facebook  ”Puesto 3 - Jarama” , and you can find our marshals crew in Jarama Circuit. You may see, comment and share all that we do, our races, our plans, our philosophy, our point of view…

Greetings from Spain,

Julio

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Post card from Sebring 12 hour

Greetings from sunny Florida where for the second time this year, including Daytona 24 hour, I was both sunburned and freezing cold simultaneously. The Sebring 12 hour race resembled amateur hour. Lots of incidents, lots of angry spectators yelling at us, the marshals for their disguist with IMSA safety car duration.

But my team at turn 15 was fantastic. A great bunch of mainly Central Florida Region SCCA folks whom I enjoyed working with very much.

Some pix to come…

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Bahrain 6hr WEC t-shirts arrived

So excited. After waiting for almost three months the parcel I mailed to myself from my Middle East Road Trip last December finally arrived. The contents: a few t-shirts from Bahrain WEC event along with a nice souvenir license plate and a flag from the UAE since the emirates were celebrating their 42nd birthday on one of my transit visits through Dubai.

I was so excited I made a video blog entry, one of the first one using my new GoPro.

Good practice so far, and hopefully many more videos to come.

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F1 Grand Prix photo book collection

The final two additions to my F1 photo book collection have been ordered. Thanks to Shutterfly I now have a memorable souvenir from every Formula One event I have ever marshalled around the world. The Singapore Grand Prix book has already arrived and the United States Grand Prix from the Circuit of the Americas will be here shortly.

Below is the growing collection thus far:

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 Grand Prix du Canada 2013

Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix 2013Rolex Australian F1 Grand Prix 2013

Formula 1 Participation in 2012:

Formula 1 Participation in 2011:

Posting these books publicly has also gotten me in significant troubles with the organizers who are absolutely against any photo taking at their events. So if you’re going to follow this idea for your collection, do keep it discreet.

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Registration for 2014 Singapore Grand Prix

Great news for marshals interested in volunteering the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix. Important registration dates have been released, and in true Singapore fashion there are different deadlines for different candidates which I’ll list below.

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If you have done the GP last year, you are first on the list for consideration. Registration for returning officials starts February 17th. Friends and family of returning officials wishing to participate get a special referral code which may be used on February 24th. And general public is open to apply last starting March 10th.

The deadline to apply is March 31st. So if interested do it as quickly as possible. Singapore has one of the largest marshalling bodies in the world with over 1,200 members but they receive many more thousands applicants so it pays to be first in line. I love Singapore and their event because my marshalling career started there, it will always be home in that respect.

Read some of my experiences from my previous Singapore GP’s:

Singapore GP 2013: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=3287

Singapore GP 2012: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=515

Singapore GP web site: http://singaporegp.sg

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Registration open for 2014 Indianapolis events: IndyCar, MotoGP & Tudor Series

I have received an invitation from the United States Auto Club (USAC) to volunteer a few upcoming events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this summer. The events include a number of racing series and styles of racing that others may be interested in so I would love to extend the invitation here to marshals reading my blog.

May 8, 9, 10: IndyCar will be running the Road Course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as one of two events at this venue, the second being the traditional running of the Indianapolis 500 around the oval for which marshals aren’t used. At least not us volunteers.

July 24, 25: Tudor United Sports Car Championship will be run around the Road Course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway same as the Rolex Series ran it for the past few years. I have participated in this event a few years ago and had a genuinely good time.

August 8, 9, 10: MotoGP will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to run the Road Course in the other direction which brings a great deal of spectators to Speedway, Indiana as well as bikers in general to downtown Indianapolis. I’ve done this event for the past two years and the level of enthusiasm from the MotoGP crowd is amazing. Highly recommend.

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I would strongly encourage anyone able to or interested in volunteering any of the above mentioned events to go ahead and register. If you need a recommendation I am happy to provide one. Keep in mind that there is a processing fee associated with volunteering for USAC events. However, you get your money’s worth with event branded clothing, a welcoming dinner and the privilege of working at a world class facility.

For more info visit: http://www.usacworker.com/ or http://www.motogpworker.com/

To read some of my experiences from my adventures at Indy visit:

Indianapolis Grand Prix MotoGP 2013: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=3184

Indianapolis Grand Prix MotoGP 2012: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=432

Brickyard 400 Grand-Am 2012: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=383

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Registration open for 2014 Canadian Grand Prix

Registration call for marshals wishing to volunteer the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix taking place this June at the beautiful Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec is now open and you are encouraged to sign up! Canadian GP is a fantastic event, one of my favorites in fact… with great action on track, beautiful host city to explore, and amazing food to taste… like the local delicacy: “poutine”!

canadian gp

The application process is handled via e-mail and I’m happy to recommend anyone interested. Just send me a facebook message and I’ll refer you to the right person.

Be advised however that the event is taking a serious stance against photo taking when cars are on track, for which I have personally gotten in trouble for at past events. So please take the warnings seriously.

To read some of my experiences from past events follow the links below. Enjoy!

Canadian GP 2013 post card: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=2273

Canadian GP 2013 photo book: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=2325

Canadian GP 2013 tragedy: http://myroadtrip.net/?p=2280

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve web site: http://www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca/

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