• Rob Lee

The Unexpected Post Chief

Alas this is not a new string of Sherlock Holmes novels but, whilst it is a pretty catchy title, it is instead about my weekend as a Post Chief; something that came out the blue and really did open my eyes.

Marshalling is full of challenges. Every level will throw one up, one way or another; that’s how we learn and develop as marshals. It doesn’t matter if you are a clerk of the course or a trainee, there will be something different about every week that you do.

To coin a phrase at marshalling, “every day is a school day.” For me the weekend I had over at Anglesey was a very different weekend and was certainly a very big school day.

Target was the location for my first day of Post Chiefing

On Saturday, as I got to the front of the sign-on queue, I was greeted with a smile and at the same time Nadine Lewis passed me a folder; it was at this point I knew that my weekend was going to be a very different and interesting one.

With the folder tucked under my wing, I went off to get a radio with information, tips and pointers coming at me from all angles. I’ll admit now that when you are given a task you aren’t expecting, you quickly forget all those pointers that are given to you!

Now armed with a radio, I made my way to Target (Post 2) where I also had the duty of calling in “Track Limits”; a tough Judge of Fact when I’d never done it before, but the one piece of information I was thankful I did remember was, “If it kicks up a bit of dust, it’s track limits. If it kicks up a lot, it has probably run wide.”

As you can see on the left, I had quite a few numbers circled for ‘Track Limits’ and ‘Run Wide’

The first few sessions were rather quiet for me, and I was glad as my nerves were a bit of a mess. However as the morning pressed on they settled; a good job too, as in the Formula Ford Post 89 Qualifying session, I turned into a bingo caller! At least that gave me the confidence needed to tackle the rest of the weekend as a Post Chief.

Not long after that I had a car spinning towards the tyre wall, and whilst the section was under a single waved yellow, I had to look out for cars overtaking one another. Naturally, there was an overtake under yellow, so out came the reports and I had to dive in at the deep end. That school day started with a lesson in drawing; a good tip is to always draw a diagram to go with your report as it helps the disciplinary procedures if it gets that far.

As you can see in the picture, that image helped me on Sunday when I came to reporting on more incidents.

I wasn’t alone on the first day of Post Chiefing; a good friend, Darren Gallagher, was also given a radio and a folder to do the same duty. Whilst he was initially surprised by his new role, he did notice that it was tough balancing numerous tasks, saying ” In particular flagging to warn drivers of an incident and alerting race control to the situation on the radio at the same time.” 

It seemed that the duty comes with an extra mental responsibility as he added; “You have to keep focused on the whole day even when there’s no racing, as there may be cars to recover, reports to write, radio communications to keep track of, and the track needs to be checked in between races for debris or stray car parts too.”

Multi-Tasking: Running with an extinguisher, radioing in the incident and ensuring the drivers safety (Photo Credit – Paul Williams – 07/08/16)

I think we can both say we had a really enjoyable weekend with the new duty, but Darren sums it up best; “It is a great responsibility to take on effectively running a post for the day; it was very nice to be recognised as experienced enough and trusted with this responsibility.” 

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