Tag Archives: British GP

Marshaling in Pain What it’s like to Get an Acute Gout Attack at the Track

In the past two weeks I had two acute gout attacks, one a few days before departing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and second the morning after it finished. As lucky as I was that I didn’t have to marshal in the pain of this unfortunate disease, it has hit me before right smack in the middle of a major event and a few of them international at that.

What should one do when that happens?

Well the logical solution is to treat the problem. But what if you’re like me and don’t have medical insurance? My gout was self diagnosed and I have been treating it based on my own research and a few suggestions at various medical centers I visited during my race participation (abroad). The problem is a bit tough to handle, especially when one doesn’t have the money to treat it correctly.

Should a person quit marshaling when they have a disability?

I sure hope that’s things don’t get that bad for me. I would really hate to give up this hobby and more importantly give up eating the delicious food that typically trigger my gout attacks. But there’s got to be a reasonable solution.

Before I self-diagnosed my gout, I had a very painful attack at the British Grand Prix where I made it to the race medical center whom didn’t suggest there was a bigger problem other than confirming a less scary diagnosis that features the same symptoms: a twisted ankle (which was certainly plausible).

What’s worse the Brits didn’t even offer any medication or pain killers to help me deal with the excruciating pain I was experiencing until the second visit to the medical center on the final day of the event. Not only was my foot swollen, I could not sleep a wink for two nights because any kind of movement or even brushing my foot with the sleeping bag while camping would send shocks through the whole body, it was intense. I didn’t want to miss out on the race, even though I couldn’t contribute much to the actual marshaling aspect I got to watch from a shed on my post with ice on my foot to help relieve the swelling and some of the pain.

It took almost two weeks for the pain to go away, long after I returned home to New Jersey. But thinking back on this situation, I know exactly what triggered this gout attack… It was the delicious fish & chips meal I had at Milton Keynes after visiting the Red Bull F1 team offices before proceeding to Silverstone.

Earlier last year sushi triggered a strong gout attack before my trip to Australia and New Zealand. And once again I was marshaling in pain at the Bathurst 12 hour race on Mount Panorama. Luckily I was assigned a position which didn’t require climbing over a tall rail or a wall and one that was accessible by walking over smooth surfaces from our camping area near the paddock.

Even more recently I had a really painful acute gout attack in Germany during the WEC 6 hour of the Nurburgring after sampling delicious herring fish in Amsterdam. This time the pain was so strong I had to go to the medical center… twice. And the Germans doctor took really good care of me offering not only medication that helped relieve the pain and allow me to sleep at the camp site, but also offer meaningful medication which I have since started using at first signs of gout coming on.

The medicine I bought in Germany helped me get over the recent gout symptoms in just two days… unfortunately they came right back after the Daytona 24 event. But once I arrived home I started the treatment again and it’s working well. It’s a shame though that this keeps on happening.

I suspect I am not the only one that suffers from some sort of ailment when it comes to Motorsport and it would be very interesting to hear how other people are handling their medical issues while at a race track.

Do comment below with your opinions and advice.

Outstanding Porsche Supercup Marshal Demo at Circuit of the Americas

Thank you to whomever organized the Porsche Supercup marshal demo during the United States Grand Prix Formula One weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. It was a brilliant experience, educational and very helpful to those marshals that were able to attend during the Thursday Speed/Systems Test.

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I am a huge fan of any and all training opportunities that present themselves and this was a perfect effort to display to those of us that attended how open the series (Porsche Supercup) is to answer questions marshals may have in dealing with their equipment. Though the volunteers that attended the event were mainly “corner captains” and “TSP operators” like myself, and not “recovery or track marshals” it was still great to see the car so close, without the adrenaline and time constraints of dealing with an active incident during a crash in practice or a race.

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While personally I have already witnessed a textbook recovery of a Porsche Supercup 911 GT3 during the Silverstone GP a few years back, I was actually injured when that happened, and wasn’t part of the recovery process. They did let me flag though which was nice and it was especially nice to observe how a single “hooker” and a “manitou driver” handled the situation professionally without having four or five recovery marshals running around each corner trying to balance the car. The way the system is set up, only one person on the ground can handle everything minimizing any risk of exposure to the other speeding cars on track.


 

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Silverstone Grand Prix Porsche Supercup recovery and mechanism

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Thank you Circuit of the Americas, thank you to the USGP marshal organizers (Bill Armitage) and thank you Porsche Supercup for allowing us this excellent opportunity! (and damn you Shyam for getting to recover four (4) Porsche Supercup cars at Turn 12 over two back to back incidents, I didn’t have a single incident to deal with at that turn the previous year).

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

Dear friends,

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

2014 Formula One Application Forms

For anyone considering participating as a marshal in Formula 1 during the 2014 season, the application process has opened for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park to be held next March. The online application is again handled by CAMS and is a fairly quick and painless process. For anyone requiring a recommendation please don’t hesitate to ask though I highly encourage their home ASN to provide an official letter of recommendation for something as prestigious as F1.

The nomination process for the British Grand Prix is also open. A nomination form must be filled out and accompanied by supporting documentation to be considered as a marshal during the British GP. A vote is then taken to approve or deny candidates. I would highly encourage folks to follow the instructions on the application. When it says tick one box for specialty do not tick two… I made this mistake this year selecting both flag & track specialties… because you know… I can do both… I was assigned “track” but due to my injury early before the start of the event, ended up doing “flag” anyway. Again, if anyone requires a referral, don’t hesitate to ask.

Best of luck!

Australian GP link: http://camsvms.com/signup/Signup.aspx

British GP link:  http://www.msaevents.co.uk/documents/Nomination_Form_MASTER.pdf

British GP photo book ordered for the collection

A photo book to capture my 11th Formula 1 Grand Prix participation has just been completed and will soon be sent to the printers 🙂 Excited the way it came out.

Below is the growing collection thus far:

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Formula 1 Participation in 2012:

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Formula 1 Participation in 2011:

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British F1 Grand Prix debrief

Its not easy to volunteer major international events like the Formula One World Championship. Like many others, in order to be selected for the British GP I had to fill out forms, provide letters of recommendation, wait for a decision, etc. And when the time came to get dressed and perform at the top of my game, I fell flat on my face!

So when does a good intending marshal with an injury become a liability? I feel my presence at the British GP came close if not crossed that line. Was I useful? Not at all. Despite my best intentions, I feel I was getting in the way of other marshals doing their job, and that sort of distraction shouldn’t happen when dangerous tasks are performed at a racing circuit (especially at professional events, when there are cameras everywhere).

Am I thankful for the powers that be to allow me to remain there? Of course I am. I had come a long way to marshal in the UK, and to be asked to leave would have been devastating. But standing there cringing with excruciating pain, wasn’t a much better alternative. This experience reminds me to remember to carry a first aid kit, the one item I had left out from my luggage this time. Of course being more careful is the plan for all future racing, including ALMS and World Challenge at Lime Rock this weekend.

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Injured at the British F1 Grand Prix

Guess it was bound to happen, sadly my injury came early Friday morning, before the start of BGP. I twisted my foot and the weekend was ruined. Went to the Medical Centre twice, as the pain became excruciating. But I made the best of it. Luckily the IO allowed me to flag instead of working incident response as I was required to, it was interesting.

Definitely have some unfinished business in the UK.

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Accepted to the 2013 British F1 Grand Prix

“We would like to invite you to attend this year’s Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix in the capacity of Course/Incident Marshal” says the letter from the MSA – Motor Sport Association.

How wonderful?

So far the application process for British GP has been one of the most interesting ones I’ve taken part in. First you fill out a form to submit your candidacy. Then they publish a list of nominee’s that is made available to the public. After a decision is made who’s in and who’s out, they send the invitation  letters to which I’m to respond with my acceptance. Seems very British 🙂

But I’m looking forward to this event for sure. (especially if I can piggy back Le Mans onto the trip) This will be my first event in the UK, and first event at Silverstone.

http://www.msaevents.co.uk/

2013 British F1 Grand Prix registration open

For anyone interested in marshalling the 2013 British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone, the registration process have just been opened. Unlike some other events this one seems pretty strict with the number of days one must satisfy on track to qualify as well as stringent licensing rules for marshals. But I’m sure it will be a fantastic venue and my application has just been lodged as a visiting international marshal.

More details about BGP marshals can be found on www.ten-tenths.com marshal forum.
Check out also the official Silverstone Circuit web site: www.silverstone.co.uk

Planning my next trip to Europe

I’ll be setting my foot on the ground in Frankfurt for the second time in two months next week when I do another round-the-world trip for the Korean GP. However my next proper visit to Europe will be a bit longer than a three hour connection. My goal is to marshal the 24 hours of LeMans for the first time, the pinnacle of sports car racing followed by another stint marshalling Formula 1 at the historic Silverstone circuit in the United Kingdom.

I’ve met people both in the US and overseas that have done these events in tandem and they come highly recommended. But there’s also a stark warning that its not so easy to participate as the selection criteria is pretty strict, so unless you know someone you’re not getting in.

Naturally, I’m starting my planning way early to make sure I do in fact spend a few weeks in Europe next June, doing what I love: marshalling trackside at some of the most amazing events in the automotive world.

Fingers crossed.