Tag Archives: Marshal

Pirelli World Challenge Season Finale at Laguna Seca Day 1 at Turn 2

So after a week of enjoying California’s Central Coast and all it’s got to offer I ran into my first snag… almost literally. The rental car got a flat tire… but it was pretty lucky how it happened and where it happened. After already getting about 850+ miles on the odometer I noticed the dash light lit up last night as I was leaving the scenic overlook at Pacific Grove after enjoying a wonderful sunset. Oops… I pulled over checked the front tires, they looked OK… then the right rear and voila… big nail head smack in the middle of the tread! Go figure… I went straight to AutoZone to pick up a fix-a-flat kit and returned to my host’s house in Salinas where for the next hour myself and my host labored over a seemingly simple task of removing the nail and sealing the tire. After about 20+ miles drive with the nail deeply seated in the tire the head of the nail got ground off, but we eventually managed to pull it out and reseal the tire. I’m so happy this misfortune happened the way it did, because if it were to happen on the drive down to Big Sur or San Luis Obispo or even to Half Moon Bay a few days earlier I would have been screwed. A lot of roads were too tight to pull over and change a tire and most places had no phone reception to call for help either. Hard to believe that in California it’s difficult to get signal, but along Route 1 there were plenty of dead zones on my Verizon phone.

mazda-5-rental-car-flat-tire-1

mazda-5-rental-car-flat-tire-2

mazda-5-rental-car-flat-tire-3

mazda-5-rental-car-flat-tire-4

mazda-5-rental-car-flat-tire-5

Happily we fixed the tire the night before the races started at Laguna Seca and what a wonderful start to the races it has been. For my first assignment I got the amazing Turn 2 hair pin at the end of the front straight. And for a quiet first day we sure had a ton of action. Lots and lots of spins. Some contact between cars. Some passes under our local yellow. Both myself and the communicator stayed pretty busy. And we were very lucky because the fields in this PWC season finale were huge. The GT/GTA/GTC field was big, the GTS field was big, the TC/TCA/TCB field was big and the Sprint X field of GT/GTA/GTC/GTS cars that only saw a few cars in Canada was the biggest field of them all.

I had such a great time, I can’t wait to come back for more!

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-1

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-2

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-3

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-4

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-5

I really liked working off of this elevated station at Turn 2, mostly great visibility and very convenient to see around the whole corner.

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-6

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-7

At the end of the day I went to hang out with Ron who I first met at Watkins Glen and who also hooked me up with my host in Salinas. Got to check out his Miata and got to shake him down for some guest passes that he wasn’t going to use so I can offer them to my host. Excellent day for sure!

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-12

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-11

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-10

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-9

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-8

pirelli-world-challenge-season-finale-at-laguna-seca-13

Happy Birthday to ME! from Confederation of Australian Motor Sport

Well aint’ that something…. I got a birthday card e-mail from the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, probably the nicest thing anyone in this marshaling hobby has done for me on an ASN level. Good on you CAMS, and Thank You!

We heard it’s your birthday this month…

Dear Russ,

To celebrate your birthday this month the CAMS Shop would like to offer you a special birthday offer: a 10% discount on all purchases over $20.

To redeem this offer, simply enter your own unique code: (want the code? ask me, I’ll share) at the shopping cart screen of the CAMS shop, before the 30th of September.

To access the CAMS Shop, Click here.

This code can only be used once, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts or special offers. Stand 21 Club Series HANS Device and Stand 21 Posts also excluded.

From all of us here at CAMS, we wish you a very happy birthday.

 

Kind regards,

The CAMS shop

Granted, this is a marketing e-mail, obviously encouraging me to buy stuff from the CAMS shop. And the offer of 10% off is a big deal, Aussies aren’t often as generous as America is with it’s frequent discounts. But I’m quite impressed with their effort to keep the organization relevant in my mind, they keep reminding me that CAMS exists even though they know that I’m an international member and that I live on the other side of the world.

My home ASN, the SCCA couldn’t give two fucks that I exist. No birthday wishes from them. No invitation to marshal local events at Lime Rock, NJMP or elsewhere (except the personal invite from Jessie to help out at Palmer Motorsports Park with the New England Region). Nope, nothing of the sort… except they’re quick to send repeated e-mails reminders when my fucking $95 annual membership (or $65 now that I’m with Guam region) is due. Greedy fucks! I’m sure I’ve offended them deeply by speaking out about the lack of training, sure I did. So the obvious solution is not to offer the fucking training, but to pretend that I don’t exist and that I am no longer welcome in their club, except of course for that time when the membership fees are due, they’re still very happy to take my money… ugh!

I wish I lived in Australia again… that was some of the best time of my life and you don’t even have to pay a membership fee to be a part of CAMS… imagine that!

Mazda MX-5: Hello Jamie! Pit Stop in New Jersey for a North Carolina Miata Traveling to Massachusetts

Imagine you’re driving your Miata from Raleigh, North Carolina to Schrewsbury, Massachusetts; wouldn’t it be nice to make a pit stop half way to relax, grab some food and chat about marshaling? Well, that’s exactly what Jamie did while on a road trip in his 2013 Miata.

I was glad to hear he was driving through my part of the state and offered to show him a little taste of Jersey. The restaurant of choice was “White Mana” in Hackensack where I work, home of the original slider (little burgers)… long before White Castle took the idea global. White Mana is a great place to eat, chat and watch how sliders are made right in front of you.

white mana hackensack new jersey burger sliders
white mana burger sliders are made fresh, never frozen, served on potato bun cooked to order right in front of you, with diner style seating around the chef

Jamie and I met up at Vince Lombardi Service Area on the NJ Turnpike which I figured would make an easy meeting spot right on i95 before heading to Hackensack. And even there you can’t escape the reach of Motorsports with the big NASCAR official fuel sponsor – Sunoco:

jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 0
one Miata
jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 1
two Miata

jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 3

from Vince Lombardi to White Mana was just a short drive down i80 and of course every opportunity was used to take more Miata pix:

jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 5

jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 4

After we were full, Jamie’s car needed a top off so we passed three BP stations before we reached the most reasonably priced one just near the Garden State Parkway entrance to send Jamie off towards Tappan Zee Bridge and avoiding the big tolls and traffic of going through New York City.

jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 6

jamie in transit nc3 mx-5 miata from nc to ma 7

Not too bad filling up for $2.65/gallon for 93 premium where most other places were from $2.89 to $3.05 including some of those other BP gas stations we passed to get here.

After showing Jamie the way towards New England I broke off down the Palisades Interstate Parkway towards the George Washington Bridge where I remembered the neat spot to take a few beauty shots of the Miata. It’s the place where Rob Ferreti shoots some of his SuperSpeeders YouTube videos and generally a nice place to be with a beautiful view of Manhattan. The little sun shower me and Jamie drove thru was obviously far more severe at the park because most of the parking lot was flooded, which yielded some nice pix:

palisades interstate park george washington bridge mx-5 miata 1

palisades interstate park george washington bridge mx-5 miata 2palisades interstate park george washington bridge mx-5 miata 3

palisades interstate park george washington bridge mx-5 miata 4

All in all it was an excellent day. Anytime you get a chance to meet a fellow Miata owner and also a fellow marshal is an awesome day. Jamie runs the Starter stand, and I had an opportunity to work for/with him at last year’s Petit Le Mans in Road Atlanta. Now that he’s moving up to Massachusetts, the same town where Jessie lives, I’ll probably get an opportunity to learn Start/Finish job from him at some point in the future. And in my marshaling career that is the next position I would like to learn how to volunteer. So stay tuned…

Looking for Contacts in Qatar to Marshal at Losail Int’l Circuit

My goal for 2016 is to marshal in one or two new countries that I haven’t volunteered at before. I’ve published posts about my “Wish List” and all the cool places I want to experience for myself, and I definitely want to add Qatar to that list.

Does anyone have a contact I could chat with about organizing a trip for a future event?

I would most likely want to participate in their round of the MotoGP race, although I am open to the possibility of volunteering a smaller event as well. I have already experienced Bahrain International Circuit and Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, and will likely participate at the Dubai Autodorome in the near future. Losail seems like a logical choice to add to my wish list.

I’ve also worked with a Portuguese marshal from Estoril Circuit outside of Lisbon who proudly wore his Losail hat from a MotoGP event he worked there, and he highly recommended that track. So now’s the challenge to organize the trip for me. Not just the marshaling bit but also flights, accommodation and transportation to get to the circuit. I have set foot on the Qatari soil the last time I volunteered both WEC in Bahrain and the Gulf 12 hour at Yas Marina in the UAE, but never officially visited the country, I was there in transit several times because of the Dubai – Bahrain connection, as well as the Dubai – Kuala Lumpur connection where I went to volunteer the Asian Le Mans Series between the two Middle East events.

Anyway… so far I’ve found the official marshals e-mail on the Losail web site: http://www.circuitlosail.com/index.php?page=marshals  or rather Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation web site, but I’m looking for a local contact who I could ask all the questions I have before signing up for one of their events. I think with my plan to do a DTM race next year in either Austria or the Netherlands, it would be neat to diversify and go to a region I haven’t been to since 2013. The plan also includes some eastern European tracks like Brno in the Czech Republic and Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. Fingers crossed things go as planned!

Please respond with suggestions below or contact me privately. Cheers!

Elevated Marshal Posts at Algarve Circuit

Every circuit I visit provides an opportunity to learn something new, something unique. The Algarve Circuit where I worked the Maxi 32h event this weekend was no exception. In Portugal they use elevated marshal stations around the Portimão Circuit full of blind corners and significant elevation changes.

For Friday’s practice I got to work Post 06 at the exit of Turn 2 while on Saturday and Sunday I was at Post 11 in the middle of Turn 8. From Post 11 I could look directly down at Post 05 directly behind us as we were significantly higher, and Posts 12 and 13 could look straight down at us as they were ahead of us. If that creates the visual of a side of a mountain you’d be correct in thinking that, basically the circuit goes up and down a pretty steep hill. But the physical stations were no different than stations used at COTA in Texas. There were however Posts 21 and 22 that were on stilts. I kid you not, they were significantly elevated off the ground like so:

elevated marshal post

algarve elevated marshal station

To get in or out you use a step ladder, but otherwise the set up is no different than stations closer to the ground. The difference of course is the visibility advantage this creates:

algarve elevated marshal post

portimao marshal station

Looking out at the part of the course you cover as a marshal you can have an unobstructed view way downstream as well as upstream with no blind spots. And I thought that was a fantastic advantage. Of course sharing this photo on the Flag Marshals of the World facebook group I was quickly reminded how dangerous such a set up can be because there are very limited escape opportunities. Of course, track designers tend to air on the side of caution when it comes to station positioning, etc. But considering that the Algarve Circuit hosts major FIA events like Formula One testing, WEC testing, BEC racing, SBK Superbikes and the Maxi 32h race I worked; surely the safety aspect of the design was taken into the consideration. Additionally, being a modern FIA track it features a ridiculous amount of paved run off and gravel traps followed by deep tire walls, armco and safety fencing. Granted the station is directly above the catch fence but the likelihood of debris flying that high, that far off the racing line is unlikely… I would imagine. Of course no place is completely safe at a race track, but the benefit of having good visibility so you can see stuff crashing into you instead of being surprised when it actually happens and you weren’t able to see it coming has it’s advantages.

In all honesty I wish Circuit of the Americas would implement a similar idea for some of it’s stations. For example I worked Turn 12 last year and Turn 11C this year and in both cases I couldn’t see anything coming at me until the cars were right on top of me. Sure I was behind a safety barrier and a catch fence, etc. But if something were to come at me at a high rate of speed I wouldn’t know about it until the car crashed into me. And I’m not sure if that’s an entirely “safe” scenario.

Part of the criticism about the high elevation of the station is that flags were no longer at driver’s eye level. But again I think is a non-issue as the drivers coming up hill see the top of the station first where the flags are, and only have to look up at the station when they are directly in front of it which means at that point they are no longer looking at the station but further down the track at the next turn. I am all for early warning rather than a “safer” spot that is right on top of the incident or too far along that the driver can’t reasonably take appropriate action because there isn’t enough time to react.

So props to the Algarve Circuit with their implementation of a good idea. And I hope other tracks would consider using a similar concept when it is “safe” and makes logical sense to do.