They are the unsung heroes- the men and women who are there before the public arrive, sit all day in freezing rain or beating sunshine, and clear up after the spectators have gone. They are the ones who are first on the scene when things go wrong, placing themselves in danger so that drivers and the public remain safe. We were lucky enough to speak to Sam Waters, one of the Goodwood Marshals at this week’s 73rd Members Meeting.
What preparation do you have to do for a big meeting like the Members Meeting?
The same as any other meeting really, read all instructions – sign on times and location etc. Only difference with the big meetings is to leave earlier than usual to allow for traffic.
How often do you train & what does training comprise of?
The MSA have a minimum requirement of completing one training day every other year, however, Goodwood Marshals Club organise training days for all aspects or marshalling every year, usually between November and February when there are fewer motorsport events to clash with. I believe it’s always worth attending training more often than the bare minimum required, First Aid procedures, Flag and Safety Car procedures change regularly, so it could be two years before you find out about these changes!
Why do you do it?
A love of all forms of motorsport! Marshalling allows you to be involved in the event, and have the best seat in the house! I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to as many events as I do if it wasn’t for marshalling!
What are the best & worst elements of being a marshal?
Best – Being involved in the event and not just ‘there’. Being able to attend some of the best events in the world.
Worst – I was at Brands Hatch the day Henry Surtees was killed, a horrible day and really does make you realise just how dangerous motorsport can be.
Standing around in the pouring rain all weekend
How do you attract new (and young) members?
Goodwood Marshals Club have a recruitment tent at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival Meeting. The tent is a fantastic opportunity to talk to motorsport fans and to give them the options of how to get involved.
What was the highlight of the Members Meeting for you and why?
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 72nd Members Meeting last year, it was an amazing weekend, best way to describe it is to say imagine the Goodwood Revival without the crowds! I am also going to the 73rd Members Meeting, and really looking forward to the AMG handicap race – hearing the F1 Car go round the Goodwood Circuit will be incredible!!
What has been your proudest or most exciting experience when marshalling?
Being selected to Marshal the Goodwood Revival in my first year of marshalling ... my first ever race event was the 2008 Goodwood Revival.
Being selected to Marshal the 2010 Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Meeting Sir Stirling Moss at the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed, and being invited into Goodwood House after the prize giving (a perk of being a Marshal)
Standing at the Chicane at the 2014 Goodwood Revival as the pre-war cars come through just a few metres away, barely lifting off through the chicane.
Being on a post on the Grand Prix Circuit at Brands Hatch, out in the trees, away from the crowds and the high debris fencing ... just us and the cars
What's the furthest event from Goodwood (in either location or spirit) that you have marshalled at?
2010 Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Loads and loads of events at Brands Hatch
What do you think is the biggest advantage regarding your involvement in motorsport through marshalling?
Being able to attend as many events as I want to, wouldn’t be able to afford to go to as many events as I do if it wasn’t for Marshalling.
What is your ambition with regard to marshalling?
To be selected for the British Grand Prix again
To go to Le Mans for the 24hr (although probably as a spectator), the Isle of Mann TT (again, probably as a spectator) and to get to the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
The Goodwood Marshals Club was formed in 1998 and is independent from the Goodwood group of companies. It is affiliated to both the MSA and the ACU. For more information on the club, including details of how you can become involved, please visit their website: http://www.goodwoodmarshalsclub.org.uk/
Marshals are needed at every track for every event, not just at Goodwood. To find out more about marshalling in your area, please visit the British Motorsports Marshals Club at https://www.marshals.co.uk/