A race observer? Me???

Having kind of done marshalling courtesy of a marshal training day at Whilton Mill, I’m well on my way to completing the set with my latest stint at officaldom courtesy of volunteering to help Llandow Kart Club run the Super One Series third round last weekend. Although I had a mini panic attack when told I was to act as the observer on the final corner, it was another enlightening experience. It’s not an easy job: as the grid approached I focused on the closest karts and wacthed those until they past the apex and then switched back to pick the next candidates. Where they were bunched closely, I just had to watch the apex – I could see the final 10m of the entry to the corner but it’s at the apex where the lunges or rear shunts came. Yes, it can be a very difficult task especially in the larger grids and there will be times when the observer misses a big incident simply because they are watching other karts but, if I can do it…

I did have help: the clerk was also stood at my corner for much of the meeting but that enabled me to discuss everything we saw and get his view on things. There was a lot to learn: that you needn’t necessarily give someone room who has run wide provided you aren’t deviating from your line (it’s down to them to back off and fall in line), that the best clerks really do see the sport as non-contact (this Super One clerk handed out a warning to pretty much every initiator of contact) and, if you gained a place from making contact, the chances are that you’d be losing that place an four more! I got the sense that there was some inconsistency however as there were some incidents reported at other corners that perhaps leniently went unpunished. It really enforced the feeling that clubs *must* have dedicated observers: neither the clerks or the marshals have a primary role of reporting incidents. It’s a concern of mine as the Llandow seem to have done away with race observers for their club meetings.

So it’s two down and two to go although I cannot see myself acting as clerk, nor scrutineer anytime soon 😉

My office for the day...

My office for the day…

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