In the first of a new series, British Motorsports Marshals Club chair Nadine Lewis writes about her weekend for Overtake.
June has had unbelievable weather and we enjoyed the sunshine on our recent trip to Belfast.
Northern Ireland is our clubs’ smallest region in terms of membership but what it lacks in numbers it certainly makes up for in heart. I am in my second year in the position of National Chair for the British Motorsports Marshals Club and am trying to visit all the regions and get involved in the different disciplines our members volunteer for.
Our previous visit to Belfast was for the region’s 60th anniversary celebrations last year. A well organised evening with a raffle the likes of which I have never seen – we had to chose our prizes carefully as we had to carry them with us on our return flight!
This time we returned to the familiar surroundings of a race circuit – my first love when it comes to motor racing. We visited the circuit back in November for a tour but this time it was to officiate.
We were collected from our hotel by one of the regulars and whisked the short picturesque journey to the circuit. A few familiar faces greeted us as the marshals congregated. The circuit is run by the 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland and they generously provide all officials with a hearty Irish breakfast before signing on commences.
After a briefing we were taken to our allocated posts. I was at Colonial – a fast approaching second bend that tightens on the exit. This could get interesting!
A good turn out of marshals meant reasonable manning but everyone was prepared to do whatever duty was required. I am graded as a Post Chief but offered to take on flagging duties not my greatest expertise but I was struggling to understand some of the accents over the radio so left that duty to my local Examining Post Chief for the day!
A mixture of championships racing – Fiestas, BMWs, Historics, Superkarts and the headlining National Formula Fords – meant some interesting qualifying and exciting racing ensued. We had a couple of karts stop with us and they dutifully helped to drag their machines off the track to safety. An MG midget proved much heavier than it looked with a mechanical issue and the guys did a great job to relocate it to a place of safety behind a tyre wall in the heat. Needed a breather after that!! The Formula Fords put on a cracking race for their finale unfortunately a couple of incidents at other posts resulted in Safety car interventions but very close and exciting nonetheless.
Various incidents and activities meant I ended up waving every flag ai had at some point or another and sometimes two at a time. I think I may have appeared on the footage with safety car board at one point too! A cameraman was located at our post too for the day.
The 500 club asked drivers to make donations last year and presented each of the marshals with a personalised fleece – although they weren’t needed on that particular day they will certainly come in handy! Many of the marshals officiate at hillclimbs, sprints and rallies too so they work in all disciplines.
There’s a real family atmosphere at Kirkistown and visitors like ourselves are openly welcomed. Being put on an interesting post with friendly team members makes the day enjoyable.
Hello and Welcome is Belfast’s motto – so it is for Kirkistown – we will certainly return!