First of all I have to apologise for the lateness of this blog, I’ve went home to Barnsley for my birthday week off right after the race on Saturday 26th, and as my mum thinks the world wide web involves some kind of giant spider I’ve had to wait until now to share the joy of the Thundersport at Oulton.
Going back to bikes after months of car racing was a welcome change, I was back with a team I trust and I knew (for the most part) what I was doing. Well that was until I was nominated to try my hand at flagging for the day. Now, flagging almost strikes as much fear into my heart as working on Druids corner, mainly because it means watching both left and right to check for yellow / red / green flags, manning the radio and deciding what radio code to use should you have a faller on your patch.
Luckily for me I was at Water Tower with my friend Andy whilst the rest of our team held fort at Clay Hill. For the most part Water Tower is a pretty uneventful spot, making it a good place to learn the basics of flagging, and considering I was just handed a pack of flags and a radio and sent on my way, I think I did pretty well.
I’d always secretly wanted to do flagging, but I thought you had to have done a lot of marshalling before you qualified to be able to wave the flags (I’ll have you know it’s a very important job – especially when you bring the blue flag into play!) so whilst I was bricking it, I was thrilled at being able to have a go.
I relished in my green flag warm up laps and felt like the fat controller being up there in my box waving my little arms off, although it did get a little tiresome after the person on Druids kept putting their flag out for about 10 seconds and then bringing it in again, I was up and down like a Yo-Yo… I’m sure it was a secret test to make sure I wasn’t asleep on the job.
We also got two red flagged races, which meant I had to leap down from the box and get as close to the track as possible in order to make sure the riders flying over Clay Hill didn’t go ploughing into Druids like tiny little steam trains and cause more upset for the blokes up in ‘control.’
Speaking of control, the chap manning the radios was quite funny and made it easy for me to give my end-of race bulletin “Water Tower clear” without feeling stupid… I was the only woman on the radio after all and I do know my own voice sounds like that of a two-year old, but I’m working on it. Promise.
Luckily I didn’t have any fallers on my section of the track, goodness knows what I’ll do when I have to radio through an accident, I can fully see it going something like “Control from Water Tower, we have a faller, erm, I don’t know the number, erm, he looks okay, I’ll go and see, not be long” – That’s just a little joke, I’m learning all the codes from my cards… please don’t take me off the radio!
Next week we have the Hotrax endurance race at Oulton… two three hour races which is going to see my attention span tested to the max. I’m thinking I’m going to either love it or hate it, but as I’m in Pit Lane again I reckon I’ll get a good amount of action as bikes come to refuel, change riders and get general mechanical attention. I’ve got a new hat too, to prevent any more sunstroke problems, this is my Grandad wearing it, he’s cool isn’t he?