Based at Killarney Motor Racing Complex near Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa, we officiate at most forms of motor racing in the Western Cape including Main Circuit events, Karting, Short Circuit, Drag Racing, 4X4 Challenges, Hill climbs etc. at National, Regional and Club level. This club is a section of the Western Province Motor Club and are affiliated MSA (Motorsport South Africa)
WHO SHOULD JOIN?
To join you need a passion for motorsport in general, a level head, a serious concern for safety (your own as well as others), be physically active, and able to work as a team member.
You do not need experience as your training and grading will be given in accordance with the guide lines set out by MSA, the controlling body for motorsport in South Africa. You will gain experience through practical and theoretical training.
Marshaling has various sections including Flag, Fire, Pits and Incident.
As a Flag Marshal, you are the only communication available with the competitors using your flags to convey a dangerous situation, changes in track surface, faster competitors wanting to pass, slower and service vehicles on the track ahead and whether a race has been stopped. You will have to be able to "read" a race, and based on this predict what is about to happen and take decisions to be able to effectively provide the correct information to the competitors.
As a Fire Marshal, you are going to have to extingush fires in or around vehicles, be able to extricate drivers or riders from their vehicles, possibly deal with injury, and primarily ensure the safety of all involved in an incident. This may include moving vehicles to safer positions while racing continues and are normally involved in the more serious incidents. This is a position attained by training and experience.
As a Pit Marshal, your duties will include crowd managment and control, organising competitors to get ready for their race, paddock control as well as the normal safety applied to all marshalling positions.
As an Incident Marshal, you are the first on the scene at all incidents and will have to identify changes in track surfaces, clear oil or debries form the circuit assist drivers or riders at an incident, convey to your flag marshal the danger or changes in track surface, monitor competitors for rule infringments and extingush fires. You also have to look after your own and others safety.
The recent initiative shown by Killarney's popular Walker brothers, in launching a marshals training fund, has been greeted with enthusiasm by every competitive section of the Western Province Motor Club.
Literally putting their money where their mouths are, the Walkers have got the ball rolling financially and set an example that has already been followed by several of the racing categories, with the rest expected to follow suit before too much longer. The main club has also offered to match the collective total, rand for rand, for the balance of the year.
Commenting on the scheme, the WPMC chairman Brian Smith said
"While it is our collective objective to have the most efficient marshalling team in the country based here at our circuit, this cannot be achieved without the necessary essential training."
"It goes without saying that it is in the best interest of every competitor to have skilled marshals on site."
So just how many marshals are necessary for a circuit to operate at maximum efficiency?
According to Paul Lehman, the club’s chief marshal, Killarney’s needs include 13 in the pit area and another 13 in each of the five corners. Four are required for the fire crew, seven to ensure a rapid track cleanup when necessary and finally, another eight to serve as flag marshals. Naturally these duties require a switch from time to time and every team member has to be familiar with all of them.
Motorsport South Africa, the sport’s controlling body, has marshals graded from one to 10, in the General Competition Rules & Appendices handbook that is published annually. Every marshal is expected to reach grade four, which qualifies him / her as a senior Fire, Flag and Incident Marshal. Grades from five upwards, are achieved after promotion to Deputy Post Chief (5), Post Chief (6) and eventually Chief Marshal (10).
At Killarney the marshals have various vehicles, including a fire tender, at their disposal. They also have their own clubroom at the end of the pit area. But while enjoable, it is a recreational activity that also requires a high level of dedication and enthusiasm.
Because although duties are rotated as much as possible, they include officiating at rallies, 4x4 challenge events, drag racing and stock car meetings. These, together with all the main circuit activity, can keep a marshal busy on most weekends.