Chris (bovinator) wrote,

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The 24 hour race... Part 2... :)

I was going to do this yesterday wasn't I? Whoops... forgot about that. Oh well...
I'll fill you in on what happened on the Saturday and Sunday...

7am Saturday
Signed in again, and learnt that we were on the same spots for the whole weekend that we were on yesterday. Thus, meaning we were not required until Lunch time. This time around they gave us a cool medallion each for their appreciation of us volunteering, and a sew on patch saying the Bathurst 24 hour Race.
Paul, Lyndal and I went down town to get something to eat and Paul and Lyndal wanted to get some things for while they were on duty.

10.30am Saturday
Went back to Lyndals place and sewed on our patches to our overalls that we wore for flag marshalling. Only took about 30 mins to sew it on (mine was an ultra DODGY job, but it was the first time I had sewn anything on so bite me ;)). After that we all took a bit of a nap to maximise our energy for the next 24 hours.

12.30pm Saturday
Went back to the mount, that morning we had discovered that we could actually get our car up to McPhillamy Park, at the top of the Mount so that meant we could go straight up to our points without having to meet down the bottom. Seeing I was on the inside of the track, I had to wait until the track was opened after the 2 Hour Showroom Showdown race had finished before I could cross over. Michael Brock, son of famous Bathurst winner Peter Brock actually won the 2 hour race in a Mitsubishi Lancer. The same Lancer that bunny hopped through the sand trap the day before leaving debri and sand all over the place, which actually caused Fitzgerald's Porsche to slam into the wall and put the 999 car out of the 24 hour race (they went back to their Super Tourer Porsche, which was fine for racing, but not as quick as their 999 Porsche). Anyway, I got over to my point, and we actually didn't do anything for about 2 and a half hours before the 24 hour race started. In the mean time they had some display laps of Valiant Chargers, an Italian Maserati, that was apparently the Italian 24 hour champion or something from Europe and an old Ferrari Dino going around as well.

4.00pm Saturday
The race starts without any incident and the Ferrari and the Monaro are leaving everyone behind.

6.30pm Saturday
I finished my shift and walked down to the compound were we could rest and eat. I was pretty buggered, so I checked out the sleeping van after I had something to eat and drink, and actually slept for 5.5 hours!

12.30am Sunday
After I had woken up, I had something to eat and walked up to my point to take over. As I was walking up, I discovered the Safety car was out, and then the truck drove past with the Ferrari on the back. It had actually gone out of the race after about an hour with a blown oil pump (I think) and it had taken them 3 hours to get a new engine in and get back on the track. They apparently had been back since 8pm and were racing pretty quick, setting good pace and catching the Monaro (although there was little hope being 3 hours down), but then at 12.30am it caught fire at the top of the mount after blowing the engine, I guess they pushed it just a little too hard.
The next couple of hours were fairly uneventful, but it was really cold on the top of the mount now, and 2 marshals had just been taken down to the Medical compound with Hypothermia (one of them was from Darwin - not used to the cold lol).

2.00am Sunday
This was when my baptism of fire happened. Being a trainee, I hadn't been flag marshalling or Communications marshalling with an accident in my sector. Until now. The No 6 Porsche, which was a foreign entry, overshot the corner coming into the esses (about 20 meters before me) and went into the sand trap. After bunny hopping through the sand, he came out sideways and slammed heavilly into the tire wall dead opppsite me. It stopped in a cloud of red sparks with a loud CRUNCH. I called it into Race Control straight away indicating there was an accident in the esses and it was blocking the race line, not to mention all the debris and shit that it had dragged onto the race track. Then the next car through was the No 29 Mitsubishi Mirage, which seemed like it didn't see the porsche sitting in the middle of the road, or our Yellow paddles waving like mad. It crashed right into the side of the Porsche, sending the Porsche further down the track. Now we had 2 cars in the middle of the track. After calling this one in, the call came from Race control for the Safety Car, so there I was, standing holding the Safety car sign with one hand, waving a yellow paddle with the other and trying to push the button to talk on the comms as well. Just after the Mirage came through, probably the 2nd car through was the Monaro, luckily we were waving our Yellow paddles like crazy and so he slowed down just in time to go around the debris and get past the scene without damage. It took 50 minutes from the time of the Porsche first hitting the tire wall to when the race went back to green flags. After the race I was told that I handled it really well, so I was pretty proud of myself for that.

From then on, till 6.30am not a lot happened, we switched back to flags at about 6, and I watched the sun come up around 5.30am. I was relieved at 6.30am, so I went down and had something to eat and got some more sleep, although not as much this time. We went back on duty at 12.30pm and we were on till the end of the race. The Monaro had obtained the lead back from the No 24 Porsche of David Brabham at about 1pm and then went from there to win the race.

Flag Marshalling explained...

For those of you unsure, a flag marshal's job is to tell the drivers in the race what is going on around them, this information that we convey to them through flags (or paddles in the case of night) is vital to them driving safely in the race. We have various colours of flags, blue, yellow, red, green, white and a yellow one with red stripes. For 2 points on the track, in the case of Mt Panorama, down Conrod straight and Pit Straight, they also have a black flag and a black with an orange circle in the middle (it's called the meatball flag). The checkered flag is only on one spot, at the start/finish line.

What the flags are telling the drivers:
Blue - (waved) means there is a faster car coming up behind the driver you are waving it to that is about to lap them.
Blue - (stationary) means that there is just a faster car trying to over take. We didn't use this motion at the 24 hour.
Yellow - (waved) means there is an accident just down the track, the marshalls can see it so be very careful!
Yellow - (stationary) means there is an accident a few sections ahead, watch for the waving yellow for where the accident is
Yellow - (waved with Safety car sign) the safety car is on the track.
Note: While the yellows are out, the drivers are not allowed to overtake any car until they see a green flag.
Green - (waved) Track is clear, back to race conditions.
Red - The race/practise session is over, return to pits on this lap.
White - (stationary) There is a very slow moving vehicle ahead in this section
Yellow with red stripes - (stationary) This is the debris flag, it means there is debris, oil, water, something on the track, so be mega careful
Black - (stationary) means that that driver has recieved a penalty and must enter the pits, usually to observe a stop-go penalty.
"Meatball" - Tells the driver that the car has been disqualified from the race and they must pit straight away.
Some examples would be that in practise we would give a meatball to cars that would have leaking fluid and stuff like that, while during the race they would just get a black flag and be asked to fix it before going back on the track. To get a meatball during a race would require the car to be a large safety risk to the driver and other drivers.
I think we all know what the checkered flag means. ;)

Hope that explains it all. :)

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