You might recall before me saying that I put in my application for Flag Marshalling this year, but because it was a tad late, I was on the reserve list. I got a call saying they didn't need any more Flag Marshals but they were coming up short with people on the Timing Crew for Pit Lane Driver ID's. I said yes and that was that.
Now, before I didn't know, but when I rocked up on Friday morning, it was all laid out for me and a few other new people. Basically, each person is assign between 2 and 4 garages (the more experienced got 4) and they had to report on every pit stop; which driver was in the car when it left, and whether they changed tyres, brakes or added fuel.
This job required that we stand out in pit lane (out of the way of course) when the car came in to observe what happened and to see which driver was getting in the car and write down the information on a log sheet. For the Friday practise sessions, we didn't need to record fuel, tyres or brakes, but on Saturday morning and Sunday practise and the race we did. The reason for this is because during the race, they have to make 3 compulsory pitstops, one for fuel (between laps 5 and 120), one for fuel and tyres (between laps 40 and 120) and one for fuel, tyres and brakes (between laps 40 and 120). Additionally, the drivers are not allowed more than 105 laps each in the car.
So, I was out on pit lane most of Friday, only Saturday morning (we weren't needed for the shoot out) and all day Sunday, which was the longest day.
It was a fun job, you feel pretty important standing out on Pit lane with the teams, next to the cars, in the pit garages watching the monitors etc. However, I will still say this; I am still a crash magnet!
The story is; that each time I have flag marshalled, there has been some sort of incident at my point, with the exception of my first Bathurst 1000, where I was on the first part of Mountain Straight, where it was virtually impossible for something to happen there. Even in the small Bathurst Light Car Club events I have had something happen where I was. I thought I was safe doing Driver ID's in pit lane and that no car would suffer my jynx. I was wrong.
I was assigned to the BOC Ford team over the weekend. On the Friday, the number 14 BOC car blows a tyre and then face plants into the wall on top of the mount. It was a pretty hard shunt, meaning Damien White was flown to Nepean Hospital. He was ok, but he looked pretty sore when he returned to the team the next day and had a look at the car in the garage. They'd had a go at putting it back together but they seemed to have decided that it was too much to fix by the race. Ok, I thought, just one car - although it was the only prang on the Friday. Saturday went pretty smoothly, seeing there was only the single qualifying session in the morning, not much went wrong. During the race though, the number 12 car decided to have a BBQ on Conrod Straight out of the blue. Ok, both BOC cars out. I was moved on to the Sirromet team of Paul Morris after that. My mate Paul Cook was joking that a) Paul Morris is a crap driver and be out soon anyway (I sms'd him during a quiet period) and b) my presence would speed that up.
For 3 quarters of the race I was still covering the Paul Morris cars and they were still in the race until Paul Morris' #67 commodore blew a left front tyre going up the cutting and Paul spinning it there in the cutting. After the race my mate Paul said they switched to the team radio for Sirromet (they had a scanner) and heard Morris say 'I've had enough of this shit' when he'd spun it - which I expected because leading up to his stint in the car, he and the team managers were chucking a tantrum about something, and while he was driving he was given 4 drive-through penalties for ignoring blue flag warnings.
Other fun stuff during the race included one of the Jack Daniels cars catching fire right outside my garage and guys from 3 teams and the Fire marshalls running to put it out. I was quite impressed by this event, where it didn't matter who the car was (the Jack Daniels team garage was further down the lane) they all rushed to put the fire out. Another highlight of my weekend was getting my photo taken with some Grid Girls. I'd never done that before, so it was something new. A mate of mine said I need more photos of them next year. I think I can manage that. :P
Next year, I'm torn between which job to ask for when (or if) I apply. Flag Marshalling I find fun, but you get more time to roam around and check it all out as Driver ID's. I'll have to think about it.
Well, I think that was mostly it...