This is a time I really wish I spoke enough French to express my gratitude to my friend Denis Castilloux for an excellent time at this weekend’s Formula E Motreal ePrix! Not only did Denis go out of his way to make me feel welcome, the entire team from GP3R and the local Quebec marshals made me feel part of their family and I appreciate that very much. Merci a tous!
I had the pleasure of working with Denis at the New York City ePrix just a few weeks before we met again on the Canadian soil. Although we’ve known each other for a bit longer through various projects on the Internet including my very own #MarshalCam to which Denis generously contributed with an interview at last week’s event:
So I’m super thrilled to have had this opportunity. I can say with certainty that this visit to Montreal was way better than any of my previous trips up there before. Things went very smoothly, and perfectly. I had only positive experiences and I’m happy to share them with the world.
Denis was also kind enough to introduce me to his colleagues at GP3R, the organizing body behind the marshals at Formula E Montreal ePrix and they all made me feel absolutely welcome, which makes such a huge difference when travelling to volunteer for events. Even though I spoke no French everyone I came in contact with was super friendly and went out of their way to make sure we understood each other, which was awesome. In fact I feel quite guilty that I didn’t do my part and study up a little bit more to at least try and speak in the local language. So Franklish had to do… But it’s certainly on my to-do list. And I definitely want to volunteer for the amazing Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in the future as well.
This morning’s Grand Prix of Lime Rock started with a group photo shoot for the marshals to be featured in a new documentary about marshaling in North America.
The fella behind the photo shoot is Herbert Paul of Herbert Paul Productions who seems to be enthusiastic about doing this project to highlight the work of various marshals around the country including flaggers, communicators, emergency services, etc.
Being a marshal himself, Herbert Paul claims we are long overdue for a feature about this hobby and I couldn’t agree with him more. To me that’s kind of what my own project “Marshal Cam” is all about.
So I’m happy to support this idea. If anyone has a story to share do reach out to Herbert Paul directly! He will be traveling around the country to various events. Laguna Seca was specifically mentioned.
At Lime Rock Park he’s working with a group of at least two videographers and at least one still photographer. For a PRO weekend, with so much focus on marshals, it’s pretty impressive effort and like I mentioned above I support it fully.
Can’t wait to see the finished product!
Good luck Herbert Paul…
Oh and if you want to have your face featured on the #MarshalCam social media channels… go ahead and make a video of your interview and I’m happy to share it!
All ya’ll ain’t gonna believe what happened. Well, maybe you will, but here’s my little preview of the “season finale” at Road Atlanta during the 2015 Petit Le Mans presented by Mazda (the presented by Mazda bit is obviously a joke, while accurate, it was repetitively used by the flag chief in a NASCAR-style shout-out to the sponsors). I like Mazda even though their booth babe tricked me into taking a survey without actually giving me the hat I was promised for my participation. So screw Mazda! or at least the people they outsourced the marketing duties to during the event.
On a positive note, when Corvette Racing advertises a FREE t-shirt for completing their survey, they actually give you a t-shirt… get it Mazda?
I will make a few posts about each of the topics I wanted to share from Petit Le Mans, but this entry will act like a snapshot of things to come accompanied by some teaser pictures.
This year’s Petit Le Mans was wet… so wet it was cut short, thanks to Hurricane Joaquin stirring shit up in the Atlantic. But I was well prepared. I had a great station assignment that I actually requested, and as luck would have it, I stayed pretty dry throughout this soaker of a week(end).
The saddest part of the trip was catching a glimpse of the MX-5 Cup graveyard near the Skip Barber facility at Road Atlanta. I took some pix, they aren’t pretty:
The action on track cheered me up a bit. I was close to the action and close to the pits, which means I was super close to cars. I love being this close to cars! Like this close:
This is the view from station, with flags in the foreground.
I got a chance to meet up with some great people that fed me well. I love southern BBQ. I couldn’t get enough of it! I’m also glad to see some European friends that I last met in Belgium during Spa 24h.
I had some fun in my rental vehicle which I probably overpaid for, just like the flight, and like the cost of the way to get to the flight… I flew out of Philly International the day after Pope Francis left town. But the rental was worth every penny in the flood that literally took over the camp site. I was dry. I was comfortable. And I was happy! I even got a chance to sit in the truck during the red flag period of the race, with the heat on full blast pointed at my sox… shoes off, getting some much needed rest and warmth from the heater and IMSA radio called by John Hindy from Radio Le Mans thru the car’s stereo!
Yep… I got to park on the pit lane for the main event!
All in all an excellent weekend. There were some people that went out of their way to sort of shut me down and rain on my parade, and I wasn’t really in a position to ignore them, but shit like that happens. I was just happy that the good moments outnumbered the bad.
I don’t hate Teddy!
PS. I got to win another “Mazda” hat during the marshal party! So thanks but no thanks Mazda booth! But I’m happy I got to take some pix with an ND Miata, both the safety cars and the display models.
I also got a chance to sign the nose on the #60 Ligier P2 prototype, they didn’t win and crashed often… but a GTLM car won. A Porsche… which I suspect was done for publicity, both for IMSA and for Porsche in their North American headquarters home of Georgia. Hmm…
1st: I wish to express my gratitude to my buddy Joey in Singapore for designing the Marshal Cam patches which I have recently re-ordered to distribute to marshals that participate in my interviews about their volunteering experiences.
2nd: I will have both versions of the patch with me at the following events to distribute to marshals that wish to participate in my interviews:
WEC 6h of the Americas at COTA in September
Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October
Sepang 12h – Malaysia in December
Bathurst 12h – Australia in February
Auckland Car Club – New Zealand in February
3rd: If I am not at an event near you and you’d really like to get a patch for your collection, you are welcome to buy one or many. Just get in touch about pricing and shipping charges and we could set up a package for you in no time.
The patches cost me $400 USD for 400 pieces. My break even point is to sell 100 patches at $4 USD apiece (or more at a cheaper price). Plus shipping and handling charges which killed me the last time I mailed out a ton of the original Marshal Cam patches, paying for everything out of my own pocket.
I am going through serious withdrawal right now, my last event was NASCAR at Watkins Glen in early August and it’s been a month without any volunteering whatsoever. So I’m eager to get back to the race track. I’m also very much looking forward to traveling again. Especially to my trip back to Southeast Asia!
For any of you on the list of stops above I’ll be sure to have patches with me if you’d like to meet over lunch or dinner and catch up about marshaling in your neck of the woods. I’m sure that besides my right hand drive Miata exploits in Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur I’ll be hanging out with some marshal friends too.
Again, huge thanks to Joey in Singapore for designing these awesome patches, they look fantastic!
The original Red, White and Blue design resembles the American Interstate system sign. While the Green and Yellow design resembles the Australian Interstate system sign. They were designed specifically for my trip to Bathurst in February of next year, and I’m very much looking forward to that journey.
Stay tuned for more, and get in touch if you want one, or a bunch!
Great news! My latest $400 order of Marshal Cam patches has arrived from Hong Kong. Yay…
First, I can’t believe I’ve spent that much money on freaking patches. But I’m happy to have a new stash to give out to marshals that share their story on the Marshal Cam web site: www.MarshalCam.com
What is Marshal Cam?
It’s an idea I started a few years ago to interview marshals I meet around the world about their hobby, with the hopes of promoting the concept of volunteering in Motorsport. I believe by placing these videos online for everyone to see may result in kids stumbling upon them and picking up marshaling as an interest. Something they could do locally like many marshals do, or travel internationally which is what I enjoy doing the most. We as a marshaling community certainly need more people getting involved and sadly few organizations do much about recruiting like they should, this involves the FIA and even local clubs like the SCCA in the US.
So there you have it. It’s my contribution to this hobby which is also a fun thing to do for the people that choose to participate in the project.
So far I’ve given out 100 patches from the previous batch I ordered, read more about it here: Marshal Cam Patches have arrived from Hong Kong. The patches were designed by Joey in Singapore. The red, white and blue design is inspired by the American interstate system sign while the green and yellow design is inspired by the Australian interstate system sign. This should be a neat gift I will be offering to marshals I meet on my travels to the Pacific in February.
This morning the FIM MotoGP official YouTube channel featured a beautifully put together video titled: “GoPro Behind the Scenes: A day in the life of a Marshal” from the Assen TT featuring a whole bunch of happy Dutch marshals in their respective roles during the race weekend. Behold the masterfully done video that ought to be used to recruit Moto marshals worldwide:
Neither FIM MotoGP nor Assen TT are directly affiliated with the Marshal Cam project, but this video captures exactly what #MarshalCam ought to be if more sanctioning bodies and marshaling clubs embraced the idea of marshals wearing small action cams to record their actions (whether for entertainment purposes like the video above or for more professional purposes like training or incident analysis).
Assen TT club has been a big supporter of this web site having the link to my blog very early on when I first launched it, so I’m forever grateful to them for being so awesome!
So let’s analyze the video… starting with this little gem:
Not a lot of marshals have the luxury to pedal a bike to their nearest race tracks. But folks in the Netherlands and Belgium frequently do. I’ve met them! And I’m infinitely jealous of them. It takes me at least 2 hours to drive to my nearest circuit. Although to be fair, I walked to the circuit when I started marshaling in Singapore. Some marshals are much luckier than others.
The morning equipment inspection is shown, with the flags laid out to demonstrate that the whole set is there. A flag point station is shown, and interestingly enough Flag marshals get to sit while they work. That’s pretty unusual in the flagging world. (normally we must stand)
There’s the morning meeting with what looks like FIM officials. Way too few marshals to be the entire crew so I’m going to speculate that this is just for the post chiefs and chiefs of different specialties like the marshal wearing the blue bib which is typically pit lane, marshal in red bib which is medic, and of course orange bibs are flag and track marshals.
Welcome to Assen TT Circuit! Watching this video I definitely want to marshal there at some point in my career as a Motorsport volunteer.
I especially love the sequence in the video where a track marshal adjusts his gloves followed by a rider adjusting his gloves. Goes to show that marshals are not just unpaid spectators but in fact an integral part of the event, and a crucial part of the event promoting safety as job #1!
Another shot of the Flag marshals with the full flag set in front of them, sitting comfortably observing the race and quickly displaying the correct flag to reflect track conditions. Judging by the guys face it is a relaxed and comfortable environment to do the job professionally.
This is one of my favorite screen grabs, a track marshal runs over to lift a bike off of a pinned rider. In the shot you see a fire marshal respond with a fire bottle ready to deal with whatever situation arises. It’s pretty scary to watch riders get hit or pinned under their own crashed bike, and unlike many other events with MotoGP as a track marshal you just respond to the scene first and notify Race Control of whatever happened later.
Another shot of track marshals responding to an incident, with Moto racing there’s always plenty of action, and lots of bikes to be picked up in various state of disrepair to be either sent off back on track with the rider or leaned against the ARMCO at the station to be picked up and transported back to the paddock on a back of a pick up or a little trailer like the one shown in the Assen TT video. It’s always a busy event… MotoGP
The video concludes with marshals huddling up the race winner. In this case Marc Márquez of Spain who received a flag with his racing # to take around the track on a victory lap. This activity is so common worldwide but try doing it in the US and someone will chew your head off. Why can’t things be consistent globally… marshals deserve to celebrate with the riders any opportunity they get, why not?
I think this is such an amazing video and I hope it does get used to recruit future marshals worldwide. This is what you can be doing when you volunteer as a Motorsport official (in Assen at least) come out and join in the fun folks!
Last year I did a bunch of marshal interviews for my #MarshalCam project on my 24h Enduro Euro Trip including filming some Belgian marshals at the Nurburgring 24h. This year I was the one being interviewed for German TV.
A friend from France said he saw my interview on EuroSport.
Of course I haven’t had the luck of finding the clip, but if any of the readers come across it, please be sure to share it.
For now all I have is a few snaps from friends to preserve the memories:
Big thanks to Ingo and Pol, my fellow marshals at Post 120 for taking these pictures for me. Much appreciated!
Hopefully this promotes marshaling to the race fans watching the program during the 24h Rennen at Nürburgring.
PS. marshal in German: Streckensicherung or Sportwart 😉
I am looking for a few volunteers to help me with a Marshal Podcast project I’d like to introduce to the marshaling community.
There were a number of positive responses to the thought I shared on the Flag Marshals of the World facebook group, but to make it happen I need a couple of people that would actually engage in conversation with me about various topics as they relate to volunteering in Motorsport through video chat.
Google Hangouts seems like a reasonable technology that we could use, to set up a meetup and record our conversation that would automatically be posted to YouTube.
From that I would also like to create downloadable audio files that people could sync onto their smart phones and listen to their leisure without draining their bandwidth or cellular data.
The way I envision the format of this #MarshalPodcast is to have three (3) to five (5) people call in and talk about up to three (3) pre-determined topics. The discussion would not be scripted in any other way than having introduced the topics in advance so the participants could think about what they would like to say before actually talking about it during the podcast.
The topics I would like to talk about could range from “how do you participate at a certain event” to “what was your experience at a particular event” or “what do you think about this safety feature when marshaling” etc.
I would imagine that participants would change from episode to episode, so that would keep the discussion nice and fresh. The discussion would certainly be open to everyone, so it would be nice to see various international marshals from around the world. As well as people that make guest appearances to discuss a particular event, or to invite marshals through the podcast to participate at the event they are affiliated with.
Participant introductions. Background stories, unique experiences, and other banter would keep the podcast interesting. And I think it could easily be used to promote marshaling to Motorsport enthusiasts that didn’t know this activity was possible.
If anyone would like to join this podcast please reply below or contact me through facebook to organize our next episode. Topic ideas and material is always welcome. I have a feeling we would rely heavily on the Flag Marshals of the World facebook group for content and subjects to discuss. Even doing a digest of things posted on the group would easily fill up a 30 to 60 minute format of the podcast. Anything longer than that would be way too long.
Hey, remember that post from earlier this morning? The one about NO FUCKING PHOTOS? Well, there were two surprises that I got to see during the course of my 13 hour work day on a quiet Sunday in the office.
First, my new Aussie buddy Thomas has posted a whole bunch of Marshal Cam videos on our facebook channel, check them out, they’re awesome: https://www.facebook.com/Marshalcam Tom did a great job of conducting very brief interviews on the marshal shuttle bus at the end of the race day while heading back to the Muster tent.
Thumbs up to you Tom! Job well done… I’ll be sending you a bunch of #MarshalCam badges/patches for your CAMS orange overalls and whatever else you will wear on your big European marshaling adventure.
Second, another marshal at Australian GP apparently posted a few videos of his work in action at Turn 2… first for the sighting lap and then capturing the Maldonado crash on the first lap of the actual race: the 2015 Rolex Australian F1 Grand Prix.
Here are the videos:
and another (older) video by the same marshal from 2013 AGP:
Now I don’t suspect the video will last on YouTube especially since FIA is very strict about unauthorized content that they solely have the rights to… and if you remember from my earlier post Marshals are not privy to ownership of anything they take a picture/video of when on duty, they’re simply not allowed to! And so, this video makes the rest of us look like douchebags, because it obviously blatantly disregards the no-photo rules set by the marshal organizers.
How is this different from taking a video and sharing it among your closest friends on facebook? Well, it’s publicly posted on YouTube and with sites like Digg picking it up, it’ll only go viral faster.
The good outcome if there ever was one to come out of this, is the person that shot the video went ahead and filmed himself during this prohibited act… and therefore should be easily identifiable so that the event organizers and/or the FIA can deal with him directly, instead of bombarding the rest of the marshaling crew the following year about the “no-photo” rule. It is my honest opinion that reminding everyone so much about “not taking pictures,” and “don’t take any pictures” and “cameras not allowed when cars are on track” all it does is remind everyone about the possibility of taking a picture and basically encourages the person to give in to temptation.
Following an excellent weekend for the #MarshalCam project at Road Atlanta over Petit Le Mans, the lucky streak continued at the Circuit of the Americas during the United States F1 Grand Prix. I got very positive response to the idea and managed to shoot several videos.
First up, Dave from Washington
Though I didn’t know him personally, Dave overheard me asking another marshal for an interview and jumped right in. Turns out Dave was actually captain at the previous turn to mine, at 11B. And we shared a few delicious meals together in Austin as he was splitting accommodation with my friends Michael and Sean.
Then Shyam jumped in front of the camera.
Shyam is a special story because I’ve known him the longest of all the marshals I volunteered with at COTA. We actually met in Singapore during my first year volunteering there. Shyam has since moved to San Francisco and has now become an American marshal, though the more accurate description is an Indian marshal from Singapore currently living in the US.
And finally Michael:
Like my buddy Julio in Australia, Michael has a ridiculous amount of experience spanning two decades. I have a great deal of admiration for him and all the events he has under his belt, including a paid stint following CHAMPCAR around including international races in Mexico.
Enjoy the videos and please submit yours for the #MarshalCam project! Thanks for your support and for spreading the word about Motorsport volunteering.