Become a Bemsee Marshal!
If you’re interested in becoming a Marshal, or simply curious, you’ve come to the right place!! Here at Bemsee (The British Motorcycle Racing Club), we take the safety of our racers very seriously. The Marshals play a huge role in limiting the dangers within the sport, they are not only there to clear the incidents as quickly and safely as possible, they are also there for prevention of incidents. They are also the eyes and ears for race control and are a primary means of communication for the racers.
The Marshals are a part of the bigger team that enables racing, and whilst all of the Marshals are volunteers, their role is vital and fully appreciated by the Club.
Some of the Marshals have been heard to state that they have ‘the best seat in the house’. I’ve been marshaling for nearly 20 years and am still ‘blown away’ by some of the Marshal positions around the circuits. Marshaling connects you to racing in a way that being a spectator can never do, it places you at the edge and sometimes at the heart of the action!
The grander the circuits we go to, the more Marshals we need. With Silverstone International, Donington, Snetterton 300 and Brands GP all on the 2017 calendar, good Marshal cover will be important.
So, if you’ve ever thought about getting involved on the other side of the fence, then now’s the time to make yourself known!
How and Availability
The first thing to do is to contact me, to let me know you’re interested in marshaling. I can also answer any questions you may have. When I first started marshaling I made my fellow Marshals ears bleed with the amount of questions I asked... there really is no such thing as a stupid question, as the former Chief Marshal, Mike Hodgins, would say!!
The next step will be to provide your contact details and other information that might be relevant to you, and I will need to know your availability for the 2017 season. We can do this two ways:
1) You can register online HERE, and create your Marshal profile. Once you have registered, you will receive an activation email and can then log in to the system HERE, and select your availability. You can opt to receive e-Tickets for the MSV circuits, or you can have your tickets posted to you. At all other circuits your tickets will be sent via post.
2) I can send you an ‘Availability’ form, listing all of our dates. You can then fill this form in and post/email it back to me.
As long as I’m aware of which meetings you want to attend and I have your contact and next of kin details, you can pick either the internet or post option, whichever is best for you. It is possible for you to simply register online without contacting me first, but if you are a new Marshal with us, it is likely I will contact you so that I can be fully informed when selecting where to put you on corner at any of our meetings. It is important to me that you feel a part of the team and I believe that this starts at the very beginning.
When selecting which days/meetings you want to attend as a marshal, there is absolutely no obligation to Marshal more meetings or days than you would like to. Most of our meetings include a Friday test day and Saturday and Sunday are racing days, although there are a couple of exceptions. You can choose to just Marshal for 1 day, 2 days or the whole weekend.
Are you still considering becoming a part of this team of Marshals? If so, read on...
Approximately one week before each meeting, we will send out a couple of tickets by post or email (depending on which option you selected), and will also include final instructions, which advise you where you need to ‘sign on’ and at what times.
Please note that the online system closes for amendments to your availability on the Monday prior to each meeting. If you need to change your availability for that meeting after the system has closed, you will need to let me know as soon as possible as this impacts on sending tickets, planning allocation of corners and also ordering food and chocolates. The system is available again on the Monday after each meeting.
The Club provide a cooked breakfast on each day, a cooked lunch on Friday test day, and a packed lunch on each of our race days. In addition, at most of our meetings, we have a Marshal, Medics and Officials BBQ on the Saturday night in the Marshals campsite. This is fully paid for by the Club and we have a Marshals Support Vehicle (which I CRASH around in). This carries the equipment for, amongst other things, the BBQ, and includes a marquee and a generator.
On the Test Day (Friday at most of our meetings), you will receive expenses and an allowance is paid if you caravan or camp at the circuit. In order for us to provide you with these expenses, it is a requirement with HMRC that you become an Associate Member of the Club. All we ask is that you throw a £1 into the BEMSEE Benevolent Fund Jar, which enables the Club to help Racers and Members of the Club in difficult circumstances. This jar can be found on the signing on desk at our meetings and training day... you are then an Associate Member. The Club fully appreciates the contribution of the Marshals and looks after them where they can.
It’s not always possible to predict exactly which days and meetings you will be able to attend for the whole season, but if you can give an indication it helps enormously, from a planning point of view. So please feel free to select as few or as many meetings that suit you.
We recognise that Marshals have a life outside of their marshaling role and life happens. It may be that you have put down for a meeting that you can no longer attend. Conversely, it may even be that you find you can attend a meeting you have not put down for. Either way, if you could just let me know, by either changing your option online, emailing or calling me, then I can take this into consideration when planning allocation of corners and ordering packed lunches and burgers for the BBQ.
What You Will Need
You’ll have noticed that the Marshals all wear orange overalls...
For the 2017 season, many of our Marshals received Bemsee and Dickies branded overalls and jackets. Please note that these have all now been allocated, however, if you did not receive the attire for 2017, this will be borne in mind if we receive a similar deal in the future..
I would suggest that you give marshaling a try before purchasing any overalls. I will help you out where I can and it may be that a Marshal may have a pair for sale or loan, and the experienced Marshals can advise you where to purchase them from. I can provide you with an orange bib for your first few meetings, so that you’re visible to the racers whilst trackside and you will also need a good strong sturdy pair of boots to support your ankles, some gloves, for picking up hot bikes and racers, and some waterproofs of some sort. Colours to avoid are red and yellow... you don’t want to inadvertently be mistaken for a flag!!
Many bring everything but their kitchen sinks because they’ve been caught out and learned the hard way. Once you’ve attended a meeting or our training day, you’ll have a better idea of what will be useful for you as a Marshal. A touch of humour and a smidgeon of common sense may prove to be useful assets.
You don’t need any previous experience, we’ll give you full training. We run an annual Marshal Training day in February of each year and this was on 18th February, 2017. The training includes guidance and hands on practice with flags and dealing with incidents.
Whilst basic aspects of first aid are covered in our training, you don’t need any first aid experience. You can be assured that at Bemsee meetings we make use of a fast response system which means that a trained medic and/or doctor are never far away.
Ideally we prefer for all new Marshals to attend a Training Day, but if you missed this, please don’t worry. We often have new Marshals start during the course of the season and are used to looking after new Marshals and ensuring that you receive the correct information prior to going out on circuit. You will learn a lot on the job, under supervision, with experienced Marshals. If you couldn’t attend the Marshal Training Day and are new to Marshalling, please make sure I know when signing you on and I will sit down with you before you go out on corner and explain a few things to help you.
We won’t throw you in the deep end. It’s my job, as Chief Marshal, to support and help you in your role trackside. I will put you with other, more experienced Marshals, and they will act as your mentors. They will show you the ropes and look after you.
Training is ongoing for all of us. I’ve been marshaling since 1998 and I’ve probably made every mistake in the book and undoubtedly will make many more before I’m finished. We work as a team and are all there to support each other, limiting the damage of any mistakes and covering each other’s backs.
Please be assured that there is no obligation to do anything you feel uncomfortable with and you can learn at your own pace. Your personal safety, and that of your colleagues, is THE most important thing. We can’t help the racers if we’re in danger ourselves.
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to show an interest. On behalf of the Bemsee Marshals Team, I hope we will be welcoming you into our fold some time soon. I’m very proud of our Marshals, they really are a great bunch of people, from all different walks of life, and I love supporting them.
You can contact me via the details provided below, alternatively, if you’re at one of our meetings, drop in to the race office and ask them to contact me. Providing I’m not out on circuit, I can come and find you and introduce myself to you.
Karen Higgens – BMCRC Chief Marshal
Mobile: 07792 320442
BMCRC Marshals Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/groups/BemseeMarshals
In the main, photos are courtesy of www.badboyzphotography.co.uk and www.jtwmotorsportphotography.zenfolio.com
Marshalling isn’t the only area where you could help. We are always looking for dedicated people to get involved in:
Better known as Mike Hodgins, the Club's Chief Marshal, stepped down from that role at our last Brands meeting in October 2016.
Mike H was honoured for his stirling work over recent years (since 2009 - seems longer!) by the assembled Orange masses in the Kentagon over Sunday breakfast on the last day of the season. It's traditional for the Marshals of the Year award to be given out on this occasion and makes the last Brands Brekki one of the meals of the year too!
The Marshals awarded Mike a framed photo of the assembled masses taken at the GP meeting during the year, a photo-book of Marshal antics and an engraved whistle.
Mike is seen here receiving these gifts from new Chief - Karen Higgens.
Mike will still be with us assisting with training and working on post for 2017, so we've not got rid of him entirely.
Marshals of the Year 2016
His last act was to present the Marshals of the Year award for 2016 to Tony Brennan from the Isle of Man and Clive & Linda King, who live next door to Brands! (see pic below)