So, who exactly are our hard-working Orange Army and why do they give up their weekends to stand out in all weathers? Let’s meet a few of Loton Park’s marshals to find out what makes them tick. We thought we’d start off with the entire Evans family, Ruth, Pete, Pete Junior and Lara.
How did you first get involved with marshaling?
Ruth: When we were passing Loton on August Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon 2015. I was driving us, I just turned in to Loton as a surprise for Pete and Pete Jnr. We stayed and spectated until the end. We then went to spectate a few times in 2016. We liked talking to the drivers and the marshals were so helpful too.
Pete: Although Ruth likes to take credit for us becoming marshals I had been pa
ssing Loton for years when I was a Rolls Royce apprentice in Shrewsbury. And wanted to take the family there for some time. Unfortunately, Ruth was driving on the Bank Holiday Weekend, so she likes to take full credit for it!
Pete Jnr: Despite Mum and Dad saying that they are responsible for our new “hobby”, I feel it was all down to me that we had begun marshalling as my deep passion for motorsport started when I was 9 years old and saw a Mustard- yellow Lotus Esprit V8 Twin Turbo GT with Low Wing (pre-facelift), possibly 1998 parked at Loton.
Lara: What really happened was that after spectating several times, we were later driving past when a driving school was running and Dad drove us in to ask about marshalling for my brother. They said, why not come to the next meeting in September. So, we went to take my brother (it was the last meeting of 2016) and the sign on marshal (Jan Bayford) asked what the rest of us were doing while he was there - which was just spectating - so she suggested we all could marshal as well - and Voila - we did.
Ruth: Ah, yes…and we had only gone there for the Saturday so we drove home to Wales and returned first thing Sunday morning for a second turn.
What is it about marshaling that makes you keep coming back?
Pete: In the beginning it was to be closer to the cars and track action, but now it’s about being with friends and feeling part of a team and enjoying drivers and marshals’ company.
Pete Jnr: The reason I go marshalling is to bide time until I am old enough to race my own 1967 Lotus Elan Series 3 S/E with Works Racing Head finished in Sirus White.
Ruth: I just really get a buzz out of standing trackside. It’s so busy, needing so much concentration - it’s like a weekend going meditating. And because you never know which post you will be on, and who with, new people to try my best Ken Dodd and Tim Vine jokes on.
Lara: It’s like being in a big family but with lots of interesting personalities. We get looked after by all the adults. They’re really nice. Now I’m 16, it’s being able to marshal on the hill.
If you could marshal at any venue in the world, where would it be?
Pete: I don’t have any preference, just anywhere with the friends and marshals we have got to know. (and the ice cream van)
Pete Jnr: Shelsley Walsh - I want to live there too.
Ruth: Anywhere at Loton, or Shelsley Top S - and I’d love to invent a new hill climb up Llandudno’s Great Orme Tramway road.
Lara: Loton - because I know the hill quite well and there are lots of run-off areas.
What's been your most memorable day trackside so far?
Pete: My most memorable day trackside was arriving for the very first time at Shelsley Walsh first thing on a glorious morning, meeting Chief Marshal Mick and being given the keys to the pickup to drive to the top paddock for the morning with Ruth and Lara, the only time we’ve ever worked on post together. The afternoon we were on different posts. We were made so welcome there.
Pete Jnr: The day I saw my dream car in the Loton paddock - a 1958 Lotus 15 Buick 3.5L Dizzy Adicott car, and meeting the owner/driver - Malcolm Thorne - one of the first fantastic drivers I’ve now met.
Ruth: My first Emergency which was at Loton on Post 7 where a car went straight on quite a long way across the grass and into a fallen tree and I was on Fire duty. I don’t remember all the details, just that I held the bottle for ages and didn’t do much - and needed to eat lots of chocolate afterwards as adrenalin needs lots of energy. (But Pete’s has just reminded me how proud our first day at Shelsey Walsh made me of Lara - she’d been marshalling top paddock at Loton for 6 months and was soooo much better than me at getting the drivers to park where she wanted at Shelsley- I was pretty rubbish at that!!!)
Lara: As I’m now 16, Yesterday (Saturday 31 March 2018) was the most memorable. It was my first day on the hill itself, we had an incident and I got to help and find out what to do at an incident in person. I was more nervous doing the hill itself for the first time than I thought I’d be too.
What are your marshaling plans for 2018?
Pete: To try to build and improve on my knowledge from last year.
Pete Jnr: I don’t marshal the Paul Matty Sports Cars Hillclimb Championship meetings because I help Mr Matty and the other drivers in his championship, but I’ll do as many of the others as I can.
Ruth: We started off thinking we’d do about 1 meet a month, but we know we’ll probably do loads more.
Lara: I want to do as many posts at Loton this year as I can and my first hill post at Shelsley Walsh, but I’ve got GCSEs this year too.