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Opening The Door To Motorsport.

Motorsport in Australia is thriving in some areas, not so in others. There’s categories and events that many would not be aware of, yet they’re at full strength. The one make Hyundai Excel series is one, FoSC or Festival of the Sporting Car is another. State level motorsport country wide is flourishing with the champions of the next generation out there in their Formula Vee, Formula Ford, perhaps their Formula 3 or Formula 4. There’s young ladies and gentlemen campaigning in a near fifty year old Holden HQ from Barbagallo to Baskerville, and veteran drivers such as John Bowe racing in all sorts of cars at all sorts of events.Molly Taylor is driving her rally specced and prepped Subaru in rallies around the country, and of course we have just seen Perth’s Daniel Ricciardo win at the Monaco F1 GP, and Will Power creating history by being the first Australian to win the Indy 500. Underlying all of these events is one crucial component. The officials working in front and from behind the scenes.

A huge proportion of how a motor sport event is built and staffed is thanks to officials that give up their time to be a part of the world’s biggest family. The family of motorsport. I recently wrote an article for Australia’s biggest aftermarket spare parts for classic cars company,Rare Spares article , where I talked to three people at various stages of their motorsport careers. Each of the three will state unequivocally that they simply can NOT go racing without the volunteer trackside officials.Here’s some points of view from those that are the steel behind motorsport.

Carolyn: “In 1998 I won tickets to Oran Park truck races from my ISP and got bored watching so I asked the girl at pit in how she got the job. She sent me to the office who referred me to timing. It was great fun and I’ve been to many events and race/ rally locations since. Highly recommend it.”

Marcus: “I’ve been around motorsport all my life. Dad raced Speedway on Tassie when I was younger.. Dad was also a track marshal so as a young bloke in Sydney first time spent many hours at Amaroo and Oran Park playing in the dirt as you do at a young age.. In November 1987 I had my first experience on a flagpoint at Baskerville and I was hooked.Did my first Bathurst 1000 in 1988 as a 15 year old what a eye opener.. In the years since I’ve been around Australia flagging at ATCC and Supercars.. For last 10 years ago I started doing more lower key events and clubbies because there was more satisfaction.. I still do the occasional big event but love doing club events… I’ve been blessed to have many mentors in my journey, obviously my father David and my Uncle Ted that taught me basically everything.. I’m very proud to be Fire & Recovery trained on top of my flagging… I’m at peace when I’m track side.”

Evan: “I started in Newcastle as a steward in 1978 with Newcastle Sporting Car Club, later also as a scrutineer and Clerk of Course – mainly rally, khana-cross and hill-climb. After moving to Sydney in 1986 my focus changed to circuits, with a little of the others still on the side. Sydney is a totally different beast to Newcastle – however having been NSCC’s State Council Delegate enabled me to get to know the right people of the time. Joining the ARDC was also of significant benefit as well as participation in a number of State panels. Basically like so many things in life, networking and training and proving yourself to the right people reaps rewards.”Cody: “I got into motorsport through a long time friend and fellow volunteer firefighter for the NSW Rural Fire Service. We both volunteered as fire marshals, he quit and here I am here 16yrs later still officiating. After we joined came as a officials no, because our RFS training used as recognition of prior learning.”

Corey: “Always had an interest and wanted to be apart of motorsport but never had the money to drive so i choose the next best thing to be involved and now wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Teena: “ Used to work in the field & wanted to be involved again.It’s interesting to note a big part of being an official is the training aspect. CAMS, The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, is located in offices around the country and have a solid training program for beginners through to upper echelon players. Start off with CAMS here

Circuits around the country have events where at a driver’s level, a potential official can see what it’s like to be on the tarmac. Sydney Motor Sport Park have a slightly more focused option. Called Startline, it showcases aspects of the western Sydney located track that many would not otherwise get to see. People get to meet well established officials, get a guided tour of the venue, have explanations of which roles can be available and how Australian motorsport officials have traveled to international motor sport events such as the F1 Grand Prix. It’s completely free and is highly recommended for anyone that wishes to become a trackside official. Here’s where you can get on to the Startline

Me? I’ve worked trackside at the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix as a communications marshall. This is the link between trackside and race control, the eyes and ears, that reports incidents and advises race control of the status of what’s happening. I’ve worked at Rally Australia, Barbagallo Raceway, Oran Park, Bathurst, and have been the “voice” of Sydney Motor Sport Park since 2004. And like everyone mentioned here, I started by having a door open.

Come and join our family. The motorsport family.

(A big thanks to the officials that gave of their time, surnames for privacy reason have been deleted).

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