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Behind the checkered flag - the unsung heroes keeping motorsport safe

PUBLISHED: 13:07 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:07 12 August 2019

Marshals watching over Snetterton. Picture: Mark Thompson

Marshals watching over Snetterton. Picture: Mark Thompson

Archant

From the pits and paddock to track-side and behind the scenes, marshals are an essential part of motorsport meetings running smoothly.

Marshals at Snetterton helping push a car out of the way. Picture: Richard StylesMarshals at Snetterton helping push a car out of the way. Picture: Richard Styles

A marshal's job is essential in providing safety at race tracks all over the world and it is the same for volunteers at Snetterton, just off the A11 in between Attleborough and Thetford.

The Snetterton 300 circuit hosts rounds of the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbikes and countless other club-level and historic categories on both two and four wheels. All of which marshals must attend.

There are different types of marshals around a track including, on-post, start line, pit and paddock marshals.

Ricky Hawkins, who has been a post chief marshal at Snetterton for 11 years said: "A usual day includes an early start, well, for some of us.

Marshals at The Snetterton 500 circuit recieving their morning briefing. Picture: Ricky HawkinsMarshals at The Snetterton 500 circuit recieving their morning briefing. Picture: Ricky Hawkins

"It starts with breakfast and a briefing, then we are on post and ready to go for the day."

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Marshals do not just run onto the track for a piece of debris or when a car ends up in the tyre wall, they produce reports on incidents, spins, contact, debris and the all important issue of cars exceeding track limits.

Mr Hawkins said: "Motorsport would not happen without marshals. They ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Andrew Jordan secured the West Surrey Racing/BMW partnership its 200th British Touring Car podium with third place in race two at Snetterton Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyAndrew Jordan secured the West Surrey Racing/BMW partnership its 200th British Touring Car podium with third place in race two at Snetterton Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

"They get the appropriate help quickly and are the front line between the track and race control. They try to make sure racing is fair by reporting misconduct and dangerous driving."

At the British Touring Car Championships on August 4, there was a big incident in the Ginetta GT5 race which saw three racers damage their cars.

Mr Hawkins said: "Basically, on-post marshals first reported incident in race one, helped drivers out of car, stayed with them until medics arrived, put out a car fire, cleaned up debris and oil spills and helped cars onto recovery trucks.

"It is really hard work, but it is also a great way for people to get involved if they're interested in getting closer to the sport they love."

Aaron Clifford was seriously injured in a crash at Snetterton Circuit. Picture: BSB/Dacid YeomansAaron Clifford was seriously injured in a crash at Snetterton Circuit. Picture: BSB/Dacid Yeomans

Further information can be found on Facebook - Snetterton Marshals, Instagram and Twitter @SnettMarshals or you can email snettertonmarshals@gmail.com for more information.

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