Marshalling abroad for MSUK registered marshals
Where to go?
Each year, hundreds of marshals will leave the UK to travel to Europe or to other destinations within the world to attend a race meeting of their choosing. Marshals will attend iconic race circuits such as Le Mans, Spa and Nurburgring and as far as the USA or Australia and will attend for many different races such as the 24hr at the Nurburgring or Formula 1 at Spa. For those that fancy something different have you considered places such as the Isle of Man or Jersey/Guernsey as these small isles also run some fantastic meetings.
There are many different ways to apply and attend these circuits as marshals. You can apply directly to the organisers or get your name onto a UK team’s list. Teams from the UK attend places like Le Mans and you have to know another team member to get on the list for this event. You may not be selected each year if you apply and can never be guaranteed to travel and work with the team you have applied to. Other circuits will be only too pleased to welcome you to their circuit so do apply early.
Application to marshal abroad
As mentioned there are teams who register every year but prior to applying you need to apply to MSUK at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScgW94972QN0zoSts8dTODO11dDXXWBEDL0UC1ZmvBLVMtBvQ/viewform
Once you have applied and received permission to marshal abroad you can now continue with your application with the organising clubs. You may need to show proof of meetings attended, training received and a copy of your MSUK registration, so be prepared to send this at any request made. You will only be allowed to marshal abroad if you are grade 1 or above and have a current valid registration with MSUK.
To find out which teams are going abroad, where you can go, you can use social media, BMMC face book pages or ask around at your local circuit if anyone knows and can put you in contact with someone.
Getting to these venues will normally be at your cost. Whether going by road or air, ensure you plan your routes carefully and ensure you have appropriate insurances in place. If you can afford it, why not make it a bit of a holiday as well as some of the circuits have spectacular areas to visit in and around the circuits.
If a group of you are going by road, this is a great way to share the costs of fuel, insurances and other costs to get you there safely to enjoy the race you are attending. Do ensure you have the appropriate breakdown and travel insurance covers in place and that your car is suitable to transport you all there.
BMMC also offer for a small fee, Emergency medical repatriation costs should something go wrong. This is supplementary to any travel insurance you should have in place for travelling abroad. Details on how to apply and costs can be found at marshals.co.uk-members-insurance https://www.marshals.co.uk/marshalling/repatriation-insurance/ but you must be logged in to the BMMC site.
Staying near the circuits can be expensive depending on the meeting you are attending. Always book well in advance to ensure hotel reservations or you may find you have to stay further afield and travel a distance every day. Some teams that go to marshal abroad, may have a team leader who may ask you for your requirements and complete a group booking on your behalf. I can highly recommend the” hotel Finkenburg” in Blankenheim, for those going to the Nurburgring.
Depending on the race meeting you attend such as a 24hr race there may be the need to camp at the circuit. Ensure you have suitable camping equipment or a nice estate car to set up your bed. Cooking and cleaning equipment is also essential.
Some circuits and organisers may approve and use marshal accommodation and bus all marshals in from a central location. This type of room may be basic or on block, so you may be sharing with other marshals with communal showers & toilets. All this can be discussed when volunteering and always ask for final instructions and ensure you read these carefully to ensure you understand what is available and how the circuit activities will be run.
At the circuit
Depending on where you go obviously English may not be the first language, and communication may be difficult in some circumstances. In my experience even in European countries, the level of English is fairly good so you should be able to communicate safely for any issues whilst at the circuit. As a UK marshal, we are seen to be the best for what we do and the level of training we receive and it is not uncommon to have very inexperienced marshals on your post. Like all times you go to post, ensure you check your equipment and items such as extinguishers may be different to UK versions, so ensure you know how to use any equipment you are not sure about. Build up your rapport with your team and find out their abilities so you know who is experienced or not and look out for each other when cars are on circuit.
Most circuits will have all the usual facilities you would expect such as toilets and showers. Depending on the circuit will depend where these are located and there may be the need to drive a short distance to access shower blocks. Toilets should be provided for marshals close by or a short walk away to posts.
There are plenty of food stalls to choose from and always local supermarkets to visit and top up on those essentials. Again some circuits may provide lunch bags for marshals and sometimes even an evening meal or BBQ with entertainment sometimes thrown in for good measure.
Some meetings that you attend may pay you a small fee as a token gesture for your time. The payments will vary and should not be relied upon and received with thanks for allowing you to attend some iconic circuits. It also may go some way to pay the bar bill at the hotel!!!
Working safely at circuits
Like any UK circuit, your normal marshalling skills will be needed to ensure your safety and for those around you. You may need to concentrate a bit harder given a different venue, people you work with and cultures you encounter but always watch the traffic at all times and use any catch fencing where appropriate. Always attend briefings given by the circuit and always read any instructions sent to ensure you have appropriate knowledge to carry out your duty. If in doubt do ask!!
Normal marshalling PPE will be required as well as good wet weather gear as climates in Europe can be challenging. Ensure you have spares in case of getting wet and do talk with the locals there to see if you can dry your overalls over the camp fires going if this is needed. Local residents support of marshals is really good with the offer of free food and drinks sometimes. Please ensure you drink alcohol responsibly to ensure you are fit for your duty each day.
For endurance racing, teams will work in rotas which will be decided when you arrive. Please ensure you have everything to hand when on post and you will normally work in pairs or small groups of 4-6 marshals. Duties normally covered will be track and flagging and these races can be a great way to hone those flagging skills.
If you need any further information on marshalling abroad, in the first instance always try your regional officers of BMMC followed by MSUK at email@example.com followed by a shout out on social media sites to get any questions answered that you currently do not have an answer to.
How to apply
Marshals need to register on https://www.motorsportreg.com/ to apply for US marshalling. Notifications will be sent out by the chief marshal via email inviting people to volunteer for events but only if you have registered as above.
Kimberly Kuzma McFarland firstname.lastname@example.org is a useful contact for marshalling in the USA.
For F1 Miami: email@example.com
Grand Prix du Canada
France Alarie : Chief Marshal (France is her first name)
U.S. Grand Prix (Austin).
Bill Armitage: Chief Marshal (also for Miami)
Long Beach IndyCar
Ceci Smith: Cal Club HQ
firstname.lastname@example.org or autopilot (viamotorsportReg.com)
(Credits to Neil Stretton & Bridget Rivers Moore for the information)
Mandy Hanforth a marshal from the midlands area, organises the team of around 40+ marshals to go to the “ring” each year. If you apply please ensure you can commit as there is a lot of organisation and manning required for the section that the UK marshals cover which is normally section 13 which includes the famous “Karusell” and “Hohe Acht” corners.
Apply to email@example.com
Le Mans is now a 5 day event, with multiple support races as well as the headline 24hr. This means that many marshals are required for the event. Even if you don’t understand a word of French, you should be able to apply and get selected.
At Le Mans, you do not normally just apply and get allocated a post by the marshals coordinator. Each post chief is responsible for picking their own team. So if you know of other marshals that already do the event you may find yourself able to join them as personal recommendations can get you straight onto a team.
If, however, you have no contacts or those that you do know have no openings, then a regular application is the way to go.
Before you can apply, as for any event overseas, you must have
- A minimum grade 1 marshals registration.
- The document from MotorsportUK that confirms you are a registered marshal. Link in this Marshalling Abroad – Frequently Asked Questions
All marshals have to apply through the ACO website.
Application for the event usually opens in February and closes in April.
The marshal’s volunteering area is a subsection of the regular ACO site, so you have to start by creating a personal profile at www.lemans.org/en. Many pages will default to French, look for the en option or use your browser translate function.
There is a menu on the left sidebar, from that select “Mon compete ACO” – my ACO account
This is the ACO official “How to apply” powerpoint. https://cdn-media.web-view.net/i/zea3xwdwuasc/Inscriptions_Nouveaux_commissaires_hors_AS_et_Etrangers_2023_0.pdf
Following the guide,
- page 2 enter your email
- Page 3 your personal details
- Page 4 create a password
Then next time you login with your email & password
Go to the sports licence area and click on my licences. (page 5)
And click on the add credentials
This will allow you to upload a digital copy of your registration card and the MUK letter (page 7, etrangers). From memory these have to be pdf files and there is a size limit.
After your credentials are authorised you will receive a confirmation email, you should then be able to access the marshals registration as shown on page 9.
Select the event you want. If you know which post/team, select the post chiefs name from the dropdown list. If not, select no preference. This is also where you could select pits or other specialist roles.
Up until this year, which is/was the 100 year anniversary, selection never seemed to be a problem. If you applied, you got in somewhere, usually with a team that could communicate in English (but not always). Be aware that although the ACO will acknowledge your application when they receive it, official acceptance letters only arrive three weeks before the event. Post chiefs select their team in May when the ACO gives them a list of all who have applied for that post. Preference is normally given to marshals who can undertake the full 5 days.
Marshals usually camp near to their post, the site provided with basic amenities by the ACO. (Water, electricity, toilets). Each post will have its own way of doing duty rotas. Catering at some traditional French posts may be communal.
It is advisable to arrive in the daytime on the Tuesday before the race. This will give you enough time to find sign on, collect your free overalls and locate your post/campsite and local shops/restaurants before the public roads that make up the full circuit are closed for racing making access to the local area difficult. Some people start the trip back soon after the race has finished. However, many choose the less stressful option of delaying their departure to leave on Monday after a good night’s sleep.
If you get confused, a useful contact is Virginie, the marshals coordinator. firstname.lastname@example.org Use google translate if you must email someone at the ACO.
Also the BMMC SE Facebook page will have members that can assist.
Remember things may change, the French do things their way and learning a bit of French relevant to racing like numbers and flag colours helps.
(Credits to Rod Germaney & Alasdair Heads for the information)