Tag Archives: #B12hr

Bathurst 12 Hour Marshal Invite, Mount Panorama February 3-5, 2017

If you think marshal invitations for Lone Star Le Mans & Petit Le Mans are early, you haven’t gotten an invite for 2017 yet… mine showed up a few days ago from Australia. The Bathurst 12 hour race is in February of 2017 but V8 Supercars or just Supercars are already recruiting!

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Having done it twice, I highly recommend this event!

What is it; Bathurst 12h

When is it: February 3-5, 2017

Where is it:Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Who’s recruiting: Supercars

Who will be there: Australian GT + multiple international entries. Typical support races include production cars which are 1970’s style HQ Holden taxis, Northern Muscle Club from Australia bring their vintage Trans Am cars, etc.

How to get there? Fly into Sydney (SYD) and take the 4 hour drive to Bathurst. Public transport is possible with train connections in Lithgow, but I’d recommend hiring a car instead. Alternatively you can probably go on Flag Marshals of the World and bum a ride from a local… I’ve rented a car in 2013 and mooched a ride in 2016.

Where to stay?  The cheapest place: Mt Panorama campground. The camping is shared with spectators but is pretty close to the Marshal Mustering tent, with convenient access to the track and stations. In the past I also used CouchSurfing to stay in the surrounding area. But camping is convenient (as much as I dislike it).

Good Luck!

Have Fun!

Bathurst 12h around Mount Panorama, Intercontinental GT Challenge Season Opener Debrief

Hey remember that new Intercontinental GT Challenge series?

After volunteering Spa 24 hour in Belgium I’ve been obsessing about all things SRO, for a variety of reasons. One of the better ones being the quality of race cars participating in their events. This was true at Sepang 12 hour a few months ago, another event SRO decided to work together with SIC to put together and bring to the world. The SRO partnership with V8 Supercars, the new owners of Australian GT that runs the Bathurst 12 hour race around Mount Panorama was officially the season opener of the new series.

The event didn’t disappoint.

While the fields were smaller than the previous few years, the quality of racing improved in my opinion. There were fewer incidents including major ones at the top of the mountain like last year’s massive Nissan GT-R impact. The few incidents that did occur were relatively minor and many of them happened to happen right in front of me at Post 23, the very last corner before the main straight. I was so lucky to be assigned this spot, words can’t describe. The race set several records, including the fastest time for a GT3 car as well as the most laps done in 12 hours with fewer safety car periods compared to previous years.

Another lucky thing for me was the fact that a Kiwi driver took the victory in a Kiwi car: Shane Van Gisbergen driving the #59 McLaren. Coincidentally the next stop on my road trip was New Zealand.

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The views from my post were absolutely awesome, both looking upstream and downstream. Though I did find myself having a lot of trouble with the Blue flag. More than once I managed to blue flag the wrong cars and that pissed me off, especially since I thought I knew these cars pretty well. Luckily we had the positioning tower directly across from us in pit lane, so after kicking myself with the first few mistakes I would glance over at the tower to see what order the cars should be running in and if the two were close enough I went ahead and blue flagged for the leaders.

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The other disappointment wasn’t so much in the race as with the organizers. V8 Supercars decided not to allow the groups of owners holding a car show on the outside of the track to do a parade lap during the lunch break like they did in previous years. Instead they gave all the track time to a few Ferrari owners that for some unknown reasons thought they were race car drivers. I saw one guy wearing bright red racing gloves in his new Ferrari 488, while also wearing a short sleeve shirt. It was a bit upsetting to me personally because I was eagerly looking forward to jumping into one of the many MX-5’s that showed up to the event specifically with the understanding they were going to do a parade lap, a lap that never happened. Go figure!

Luckily there was a lot going on trackside to let me get over the missed opportunity of riding shotgun in an MX-5 around Mount Panorama. Besides a few spins and beached cars in our sand trap we had a few side to side, metal to metal contacts occur. As well as an exploded engine that happened just before the post as the car proceeded to cruise into our runoff. It was something else really, watching an old V8 Supercars Marlboro livery Holden Commodore blow an engine and a massive fireball coming around the car from the bottom of the front end. It was pretty amazing, something I haven’t seen happen so closely and vividly before.

The true highlight of the event for me was the people I had the pleasure of spending the time with. The team I was paired with at Post 23 was pretty amazing. Our post chief was really down to earth, positive and helpful. When I talked to him about my Gout flare up, he was very understanding. As was the rest of the team. Our communicator Dave runs a Mazda related web site called OZMazda which was cool. And a young girl from Queensland marshaling at Bathurst with her father who was posted at the next station gave me a hand with a bunch of incident reports I had to write as many of them happened on my watch while holding the radio in our rotation. Which by the way was actually an old American landline system using the same exact box we use at most street circuits including Long Beach, Baltimore and Belle Isle. The hum coming out of the headset was unmistakable.

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Sahra’s (from Gold Coast, Queensland) patch collection… somehow I think we would never get away with having Bikini chicks on patches for US events.
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The beauty of being at Post 23 was the ability to sneak away for an MX-5 parade lap which unfortunately never happened. Luckily one of the MX-5 owners spectating was able to come up right to our flag point and have a little chat during our down time.
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The view down the front straight is as good as it gets from this spot! Especially for the start and  all the re-starts.
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For all incidents that required a Safety Car one of these Medical cars went out and returned the driver to the Medical centre across from us, keeping our team in the loop of what’s happening.
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Track Map and Posts of all the Marshal stations around Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst.
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pure deliciousness… Aussie Beef with salad and chips… Yumm!

Huge thanks to my friend Paul Kelly from Victoria for organizing my sleeping arrangements at Bathurst by not only providing a tent, sleeping bag and pillows, but also setting it all up for me and helping tear it down in the end. That was such a huge help! Also big thanks to Paul for driving me and the rest of our group to town every evening after track activities were over, all these delicious meals we had were thanks to his initiative to get us some real food (off track).

Read more about the event from Paul’s perspective on his marshaling blog: kellyflag.blogspot.com/bathurst-12hr-2016.html

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One of the many delicious pub meals we got to share with fellow Marshals after track activities were over. The town of Bathurst has a number of pubs and an RSL to choose from to have proper Australian food like this Roast Lamb dish.
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Post event drink: Queensland’s XXXX beer… I got to do a brewery tour when I lived in Brisbane back in 2009.

I got lucky on so many levels working this year’s Bathurst 12 hour. The weather was amazing, it started out a little cool but towards the end of the week I was frying in direct sunlight, it was literally burning thru my jeans. The post assignment was perfect. The team I worked with was super. And all the friends I got to catch up with over the four day visit really makes me miss the whole experience already, can’t wait to return to Australia again… hopefully next time I’ll get to do something completely new like one of the street races around Gold Coast… hmm!

Postcard from Bathurst 12 Hour

G’day Australia!

When I decided to volunteer for the Bathurst 12 hour again, it was hard to contain my excitement through every step of the process, from planning to finally travelling there. And I have to admit that everything went exactly as planned, which made the trip that much more perfect.

One of the highlights of being at Bathurst 12h was being able to make the short walk from the campsite in the middle of the track to the paddock area and the pits where all the exotic machinery was being prepped for practice the following day. If you’re a fan of all the amazing GT3 race cars like I am, it was an awesome sight to see: the Bentley’s, the McLaren’s, Ferrari’s and Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS’s, the Porsche’s and some oddities like MARC Cars Australia Ford’s and Mazda’s as well as the new Cayman GT4 and Daytona.

So without further ado, here are some shots:

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Even the Safety Car and Course Cars were kitted up Benzes and Lexuses that you don’t normally see trackside.

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I had such a blast checking out all the garages, which by the way stayed open to the general public throughout the event. Even some late nights as we were driving back from dinner in town we could see spectators checking out the mechanics hard at work on the cars. Driving along the main straight to get to the campsite was a rather unique experience you don’t get at other circuits.

How I Undermined my Reputation as a Marshal

As I’m watching the live stream of the Bathurst 12 hour race in Australia, I read an interesting comment from a friend currently marshaling on Mount Panorama that made me want to write this post. It is entirely possible that I have misinterpreted the comment, but it’s worth writing my thoughts down because they reflect the way I feel at this point in time. My opinions definitely change with time, based on the circumstances and with any new knowledge gained from experiences at various events, so I want to write this down to see how I felt when I read it in the future.

Over the past few years of my volunteering in motorsport I have noticed that depending whom I worked with my reputation did not reflect what I intended to project to my colleagues and coworkers. This feeling was magnified but was not limited to events and people in the US. I made a comment about marshals boycotting a karting event in Singapore that was received negatively, which wasn’t my intention at all. And before that, my comments about being prevented from registering to marshal the F1 race in Abu Dhabi allowed some people to form the opinion that I dislike ATCUAE and the Yas Marina Circuit which couldn’t be further from the truth, because after finally visiting the circuit and working the Gulf 12 hour event, I found it to be the most amazing facility I have ever been to.

But events in the US, and certain interactions with people that I felt treated me badly (and ultimately blogged about it on this web site with all the unedited posts still available for the reading) caused retaliation. I’m not just referring to the physical threats by the former flag chief of the region that I dumped with my local club, but also comments by friends which makes me wonder: at what point did I cross the line and undermined my reputation as a marshal?

I say this because obviously in my mind I never set out to volunteer as a marshal and be a dick to other people. I have never intentionally did things “wrong” just to fuck with people. But that’s the vibe I get from people that judge my character and form an opinion of me as a person. The line must have been crossed when I took the whinging that everyone else seems to do over a beer at a post-race party and brought it online in the form of a blog post.

Everybody complains about something. There’s no doubt in my mind that people bitch, moan and complain far more than I do. But I became the enemy of the Motorsports for talking about things publicly on a web site that nobody reads. People complain about everything, from being treated like shit while volunteering by the event organizers or the circuit, or the security staff; to the sloppy food that is provided sometimes, the early meetings, or the fellow marshals they work with, etc. I know this because I have heard it from Singapore to Australia, to Canada and certainly around the US. Blogging about it undoubtedly undermined my reputation. But I don’t agree with writing “rosy” posts just to please people that treat me badly. Or to censor myself. It really makes me wonder how in a country that has OSHA, events/circuits can get away with inhumane treatment (long hours, no breaks, poor working conditions, etc.) But they get away with it because ordinary marshals complain only among themselves at beer parties and not where it actually counts apparently.

The other act of course was picture taking. It was the first nail in the coffin of my career and even though I’ve stopped (or rather changed my focus with the Marshal Cam project) it became the last also. And its ironic. The rules don’t change from track to track or event to event. Marshals aren’t allowed to take pictures while cars are on track whether the event is Formula One, WEC, V8 Supercars or the Australian GT race I’m watching right now. And yet, my facebook is filled with photos posted by people that are currently volunteering track side. And those pictures show race cars, on the racing tarmac. There’s little difference from what I’m seeing now while at my desk at work watching the live stream on one of the screens, to what I did at Montreal during F1 that got me in so much trouble thanks to an overzealous post chief. But me doing it was far worse apparently than anyone else doing it, because I got a web site that no one reads. And that’s a shame, I think.

So what do I intend to do to change my reputation in the future? It’s hard to say at this point because of the awful situation I find myself in, in my personal life. I certainly do not intend to go do club racing exclusively just to kiss ass of the same people that went out of their way to spread rumors about me and then got all bent out of shape because I refused to “respect” them as a result. The bully flag chief pointed out to me that PERCEPTION = REALITY, and I don’t agree with that at all. There are plenty of trolls out there that think they’re cool spreading a rumor to undermine someone they don’t like because all of their buddy buddies adore them for it. It’s absurd. I will choose my future events more carefully. There’s no reason to do every pro event out there because it features something amazing. It’s unrealistic both logistically and financially. I will have to ultimately pick and choose events that I know will make me happy, not someone else, but me – personally. I will work with people that don’t smile to my face and then back-stab me because they’re jealous of the events I’ve done in the past. I will have to volunteer smarter, that’s for sure.

I also want to open an opportunity for feedback from people I actually work with (Not someone that overheard, someone else who overheard another person’s opinion of me. But actual coworkers) to tell me what they feel I did wrong at an event and what I can do to improve, or if I did something right – I should continue doing it. I like the idea of references, like those used on CouchSurfing that help both hosts and travelers to form their opinion on whether or not to deal with someone directly. Maybe the same approach could work well with Motorsport volunteering. I doubt others would jump on the concept because as this blog has clearly pointed out, everyone is very sensitive to even the most innocent amount of criticism. But I am happy to use myself as a test subject to prove that this would be worthwhile in marshaling. In other countries a simple Log Book serves just this purpose, but the only log book I have been filling out is the same one that pisses people off on my web site, because they perceive it as “bragging” so hopefully the reference idea takes off.

Have something to say about me? Post it in the comments below. I will respond to you. Just don’t delete the comments like the old lady from Florida did, when I responded to her comment that called me a “disgrace” or something along those lines. IF I’m wrong, I have no problem admitting it and hopefully learning from my mistakes.

I am very interested to read some feedback about my performance.