Thursday 28 May 2015

Rally - Marshall call

Fancy a day out? In the woods? Bracing weather and fresh air. The scent of pine and wildflowers. Lush greenery and wonderful views. Huge skies and vast vistas. The chance to meet nice people - wearing crash helmets. Add in the occasional and uplifting whiff of warm oil and rubber, hot brakes and clutches. And also, the chance to feel that you are doing something worthwhile for your sport.

This Saturday (30th May), the organisers of the Jim Clark Reivers Rally will be hosting a 'Safety Training Session' primarily aimed at Marshals but open to any officials, competitors and even spectators.

This is your chance to refresh faded skills, learn new ones or just find out what is going on and be an essential part of it. Now, more than at any other time in the past, the sport of special stage rallying needs manpower in the stages. We need more Marshals.

The tasks are not onerous. Manning Time and Passage, Start and Finish Controls requires the ability to read a digital clock and write figures on to a Time Card - usually thrust out of a car window! In the stages themselves, junctions and hazards need to be manned, just in case a rally car goes off or to advise spectators not to get too close to the action.

This can sometimes be a lonely job, depending on location, but it allows time for the individual to spend a bit of quality time with themselves and commune with nature whilst waiting for the abrupt rendition of air intakes and exhaust expulsions, the uplifting growl of mechanics and internal combustion, and the rattle of gravel on metal. A glorious and wondrous cacophany of noise which assails all of the senses.

Oops I'm getting carried away. It may sound rather more glamorous than it is, but if you fancy giving it a try, come along to the Training  Session, find out what's involved and perhaps volunteer at your own car club's next event or one being held near where you live. You can also register your interest to receive more information which can lead to many more opportunities and rewards.

The venue is Rally HQ in Springwood Park, on the south west side of Kelso (TD5 8LS) between 6 and 8 pm on Saturday evening. I went to the pre-Border Counties Rally session and found it both informative and entertaining.

Do you know there are some nutters, sorry, some nice volunteers, who make a motor sporting career out of marshaling? We could do with many more.

Need another clincher? This will provide a unique opportunity to capture and adopt a wild midge, train it not to bite human flesh and become vegetarian, and then set it free to spread the message. What a blessing this would be for peelly waally natives and tourists if we could eventually influence a change of behaviour in the Scottish midge population. Think also of the benefit to humanity world-wide. Just a thought.

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