• Rob Lee

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

244 days, just over eight months between one race meeting finishing and the next one starting.

Whilst there has still been racing and a couple of meetings prior to my return to marshalling, it seemed strange that it had been nearly three quarters of a year between attending race meetings.

When you finish marshalling for one season your overalls will normally be packed away for two to four months and then they will be brought back out to start again, however, the coronavirus pandemic made us wait a little longer. 

If I’m honest when the news came out from Motorsport UK that racing would be postponed in the UK until the 30 June, I wasn’t too bothered. At the time there were far more important things to worry about than racing. 

As the weeks passed and the announcement then came that motorsport could resume, I still wasn’t bursting with enthusiasm. I mean if the racing had been halted halfway through a season I probably would have cared more, but as it was at the start I seemed unaffected by it.

In the two marshalling groups I was part of everyone was getting excited, but for some reason, I just wasn’t. Fast forward to Friday 17 July, the eve of my return to marshalling, a standard Zoom quiz was taking place that had become the norm during the lockdown and for the first time, I felt excited about going marshalling. Maybe because it was no longer just talk and was about to happen or maybe it was due to the people that joined the quiz were also the people I was going to see.

Either way, something had changed.

As I woke at 5:15 am, my first thoughts were, “I’ve not missed this early get up.” Yet, I pulled my overalls on and made my way out of the house, still unsure as to how I would feel when I got there.

What I felt when I got there was… I’ve missed this. This is great. 

Back with friends and a social distanced picture. (Paul Hayes)

The buzz, the excitement, the catching up with friends, finding out where everyone was posted. I’d missed it all.

It all came rushing back to me though when I heard two things, the engines roar and the radio chatter say: “Lights to green, cars on circuit.”

I was home.

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