My First Fire @ BARC Meeting Saturday 19/06

Ever since I’ve started as a marshal I’ve been dreading my first fire, partly because I’ve never used a fire extinguisher in my entire life, and partly because I can hardly carry one of the big red monsters, never mind run over to a flaming car, and swing it around whilst covering the flames in white powder…. Well the big man in the sky must really be looking down on me this month as he’s given me heat exhaustion, had my boyfriend dump me over the phone AND given me a lotus in flames. Brilliant. Cheers for that Lordy.

Obviously I’m not going to give you the fire goods right away, I’ve got to set the scene and ramble on a bit first, otherwise this blog could have probably been about as long as a Facebook status, so I’ll begin at around 7.45am.

I got to Chequers to sign on with my buddies Andy and David, and miraculously we all found ourselves on the same post (before Andy was sent packing to Water Tower just before the start of racing) Deer Leap. Now I LOVE Deer Leap, other than being in the pits, it’s most certainly my favourite post on the entire circuit because you get to be involved in the start line stuff as well, which means lining up beside the cars at the start of the race to make sure there are no stallers, and waving all the cars into Parc Ferme at the end, as well as making sure all the cars line up nicely should there be a red flag.

Matt Sayle Photography

My post chief for the day was my new best friend forever Nigel Jones, and whilst I am so terrible that I cant remember the other people’s names on post (sorry!) we did have a pretty good team and all got on like a house on fire. (see, I’m still teasing you with the fire mention… yikes!)

After a rather uneventful morning’s qualifying, well apart from a bloke from the Sports Saloons setting off his fire extinguisher in his car by accidentally pulling the ‘extinguisher’ cord instead of the ‘electrics.’ Oops. Luckily for him though, he managed to hoover all the powder out, get himself a new extinguisher and get out on track in the afternoon – only to have his wrists slapped at the end of the day for making too much noise out on track. Boys and their toys eh?

During the afternoon I had so much fun waving my yellow flags at the end of each race and watching all the cars being lined up on the grid before setting off in a roar of engines and a cloud of smoke – if you’re a new marshal, I really recommend asking for a go on Deer Leap as you’ll realise how awesome a job we have, getting to stand so close with our little yellow flags in our hands directing people here there and everywhere. It’s just so much fun, especially when you’ve not had much chance to be very ‘involved’ before.

Matt Sayle Photography

To tell you a little bit about my ‘extra responsibilities’ last Saturday – I got to stand along the start line at the start of each race and keep my eyes peeled for any stallers or any drivers waving to try and get my attention – then I hold my yellow flag aloft and wave it like my life depends on it to warn all the other drivers that, if they continue in a straight line they’ll probably plough straight into the back of the poor old sitting duck. Luckily I didn’t have any stallers (or problems) to warrant the use of my flag at the start of the race, but I didn’t get to hang out near Parc Ferme and help the Start Line Marshals direct the cars into the scrutineering bay at the end of each race by waving my flag and pointing everyone in the right direction.

It was during one of those ‘Enter Parc Ferme here please racers’ that a little silver Lotus trundled along all in front of me with flames spouting from the back of it. I was busy waving my yellow flag and making sure my figure of eight was big enough when I heard someone shouting “It’s on fire!” and almost threw up on the spot. Quite frankly they are the words that strike fear into my heart (as well as “I just don’t think it’s going to work out” over the phone at 11pm) and I looked around for some kind of pointer as to what the hell I should be doing.

Matt Sayle Photography

Luckily for me though, my partner in crime David had already grabbed an extinguisher, yanked out the pin and legged it over to the inferno and was busy dousing it in powder whilst I tried in vain to wave my flag in a more furious manner and paint a ‘scared’ look on my face to warn the cars that I wasn’t simply smiling and directing them off the track, but trying to stop them driving right into the burning car straddling the track and exit road.

To be fair ‘inferno’ is a bit of an exaggeration – I am a journalist after all – in truth it was a few flames coming from somewhere at the back of the car, but still, it was the first time I’d seen a car with flames coming out of it, so it did make me a little bit scared, especially since I’d been informed that very morning that washing my overalls would wash all the flame retardant coating off and id ‘go up like a Christmas tree’ if I was near a fire. I didn’t want that, it’s my birthday on June 30th and I’m having a party and everything.

Matt Sayle Photography

My final bit of excitement came when some of the little tykes towards the end of the day managed to roll two of their cars on different laps, meaning the race was red flagged twice and myself and the other marshals had to make sure all the cars formed a neat line down the left hand side of the grid, leaving enough room for rescue units and whatnot to make their way through. We all got to stand on the track and force all the cars to one side of the track, then told them to turn their engines off, and then on again and answer any questions they had in between. It was all rather exciting and I felt dead important despite not being able to answer many questions and not having redone my lippy in time for this marshal/driver debut. That’s just a little joke before everyone starts moaning about lipstick… oh and FYI, there’s a reason I always wear lipstick, so if you’re THAT interested in my beauty regime, just ask yeah?

Anyway, did you like that? A little bit of excitement for you all, you can call me a hero if you want to, if you don’t that’s okay, I’ll just sit quietly now and get myself ready for the Thundersport GB on Saturday. Crikey it seems a lifetime since I’ve watched some decent bike racing, back to the vehicles I love this weekend… who’s on deck? Come on…. it’s the last meeting before my birthday! P-a-r-t-y.


One comment

  1. Excellent blog, touch wood i’ve never had a fire but i’m not full on marshal like you. I shall be there on Saturday and so looking forward to the bike racing. It’s been a life time since last there. See ya there Ruth.

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