Lets take a moment to talk about safety shall we? In light of the recent findings from the investigation into the death of a Canadian marshal at the 2013 Montreal Grand Prix, the organizer has been blamed for poor training. It confirms what many of us were suspecting all along but doesn’t make anyone feel better that no steps towards safety training have been taken since, whether in Canada or the USA.
A number of countries hold special marshal training including the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore where I went through marshalling school. But in two years of volunteering in the US I have yet to have an opportunity to take a new or refresher class… everyone boasts on and on about on the job training, but that’s no solution. (not the only solution) So with the help of Tim & Jessie from Sponsor A Flagger we would like to take the initiative to create some training videos that will hopefully help other marshals wanting to learn something new. And based on the success of our endeavor we may even extend the project to cover International tracks and multiple languages to help other marshals wherever they may be.
Talk is cheap though, action speaks for itself. And I feel making informative safety videos will be a perfect aide to those wanting to learn or refresh their skills before arriving at a race track for an event. Having marshaled in Australia I know CAMS does this, but I’m not aware if those videos are available to the larger audience beyond the Pacific. Similarly, MotoGP provides a training DVD for marshals working their events. I have received several of them over the years to volunteer at the Indianapolis GP and they’re excellent! I’ve met a number of senior marshals around the US, who choose not to work motorcycle events because of the sometimes gruesome nature of the incidents there, but the fresh recruits MotoGP gets, often with absolutely no experience – that are avid motorcycle fans, manage to do a fine job marshaling, often for the first time, after watching the training DVD. So training works!
For the purpose of this post I searched the internet to see what sort of training material I can come across in video form, and only a few results came up on YouTube. Ironically from a motorcycle event on the Isle of Man. Now I have the utmost respect for the British marshals. UK is a mecca for motorsports and the level of professionalism trickles down from the competitors to volunteers. I’ve had the privilege to work with many Brits in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and the UK itself so I hold their knowledge and dedication to safety very dear to my heart. Watch this video and see what I would like to do for not only general motorsport marshal training (which this video covers) but also for all those individual series that may have variation of the rules, and their interpretation is left to a few individuals that are made corner captains or post chiefs for those events. I propose standardized marshalling rules/approaches/techniques/best practices… and we can accomplish that through video tutorials.
I have also taken the initiative to introduce this idea to several forums, chief among them are 10-Tenths message board community, and a few facebook marshaling groups, as I am fully aware I could accomplish little on my own blog doing videos on my own that nobody will watch. So hopefully this idea takes traction. After all… Safety should be First!
PS. This other video from the 2011 Singapore GP is where it all started for me. I like to share it as well to remind people that we volunteer to have fun. It’s not all about being uptight and self-centered when you see someone doing something wrong, only to criticize their action over a pint of beer at the afterparty. Help each other to be better as a whole organization!