Marshalling for the MCC
Marshals' Corner is a miscellany of marshalling-related information, mostly culled from John Aley's regular News of the Week. The opinions expressed below are, in general, those of the members and should not be taken as official MCC policy.
- Correct seating of passengers
- Time Controls and Holding Controls
- Assisting motorcycles and sidecar outfits
Correct seating of passengers (published 8-June-2012)
The SSRs state: "All passengers must remain within the seating accommodation of the vehicle on observed sections and tests. Passengers observed outside of the normal seating area, the competitor will be penalised."
'Correct' seating, like so much else in competitive motorsport, is open to the interpretation of marshals and competitors, but some examples of "incorrect" seating are so extreme that few would argue that the competitors should be penalised. The two YouTube videos below, unfortunately both of the same car on the same (non-MCC) event, show obvious examples of "incorrect" seating.
Time Controls and Holding Controls (published 5-May-2012)
This is a precis of a topic discussed in News of the Week for the week ending 05.05.12. Although not strictly a marshalling issue, this seems to be the most appropriate place to record the discussion.
All three major MCC trials include Time Controls, defined by the SSRs as "any point on the Route, duly marked on the Route Card, and identified as such, which a competitor MUST visit, and will be timed on arrival and/or departure; and a Signature will be required." When it is permissible to arrive at a Time Control earlier than the Scheduled Time it will be clearly indicated in the Route Card, generally by the phrase "No penalty for early arrival".
Some events include Holding Controls, which are not strictly defined within the SSRs, but which are generally intended to prevent congestion further down the trial route. Holding Controls are typically used where there is limited parking on the approach to an observed section or a time control - competitors are held some distance back and allowed forward as space becomes available.
Holding Controls may be manned or un-manned. Even if they are un-manned they are there for a reason and the instructions in the Route Card should be followed - the chaotic conditions at the Barbrook Time Control on the 2012 Lands End Trial were due almost entirely to competitors ignoring the instructions to wait at the un-manned County Gate Holding Control.
Restarts (published 21/28-April-2012)
Record only what you see. This is especially critical on restarts where some classes restart and others don't, even in the same coloured disc category. The results team will know what the competitor SHOULD have done, the observer records what they ACTUALLY did. Consider these scenarios:
• Case 1. A competitor stops in the restart box and gets away cleanly, this is recorded as OK. But what if that competitor did NOT have to do a restart and the marshal knew he didn't have to restart? This must still be recorded as OK as the results team will be looking for a DNS on the restart card. They will then enter the OK as a fail in the provisional results.
• Case 2. A competitor does not stop at the restart but the marshal knows he should have, how should this be recorded? This must be recorded as DNS as the results team will be looking for an OK. Again only record what the competitor actually does.
• Case 3. A competitor stops at the restart but does not get away cleanly. This is recorded as either S for stopped or RB for ran back. Do not write F for fail. F is only used when a motorcycle competitor foots.
• Case 4. The centre hub of a competitor rear wheel(s) over runs the top line before stopping. This is recorded as ORL.
Now ... what if a competitor cleans the restart and foots or stops further than 3 yards above the top restart line and is seen to do so by the restart marshal? What is recorded on the restart observer's card? Well ... what do you think? Answers from two experienced competitors:
The restart marshal should mark OK on his card. There should be another marshal to mark any stop or footing above the restart. Unfortunately this may not always be the case - I am pretty sure there was a case a few years ago of a car stopping above a restart, where I was marshal, and this not being recorded - no doubt not for the first time (the car reversed back down the hill but was given a clean in the results).
OK in my humble opinion. The restart marshal is recording what happens on the restart and up to 3 yards after. The next marshal "up" the section should be recording whatever happens further than 3 yards above the top restart line. If the Section Official hasn't placed a marshal in a position that can observe the section at this point then, theoretically, a car that stopped and restarted or a rider that footed and carried on would be unpenalised. But that's life in the MCC.
The text below is derived from that used at the Exeter Trial briefing in December 2010.
- Assess situation
- Is anyone in immediate danger?
- Is engine running?
- Is fuel leaking?
- Which way is the bike/outfit facing?
- Then ... ask the rider what assistance is needed - they may just need a hand to steady the bike as they remount
If possible ask the rider. The information below is only a guide but it will help you assist most bikes.
To stop the engine:
- Most bikes have a kill switch, often red, some you push, some you switch.
- Some bikes have an ignition key - can be found in various places.
- Failing that ... with the engine ticking-over in gear, push on rear brake to stall engine.
Hand controls (are the same on 99.9% of all bikes)
- Left lever: clutch.
- Right lever: front brake.
- Right twist grip throttle: turn away from you to close throttle.
- Japanese bikes, and most post 1975 bikes:
Gear lever: Left / Rear brake: Right.
- Earlier British bikes:
Gear lever: Right / Rear brake: Left.
- Usually found at the bottom of the fuel tank.
- Most bikes turn quarter-turn to shut off fuel.
- Older bikes may have a push-pull tap; push in to turn off fuel.
- Some modern bikes may have an automatic tap, or even no tap at all.
Before picking up a bike make sure that
- Engine is not running.
- Bike is in gear.
- Bike is facing up or down hill - not across the hill.
- If possible, flip down side stand.
- Ask rider for suitable lifting points – they know their bike. Picking it up by its indicators probably won’t endear you to the rider! Don’t grab hot exhaust!
- Use legs to lift, not back.
- With the bike in gear, it can be moved by pulling-in the clutch. When the lever is released, it will stop the bike from moving.
- Stand downhill of bike and put a foot behind tyre to stop bike running away.
- Can the bike continue up the hill? If the rider has run out of grip then they won’t manage to restart. Send them back down the hill to either take another run or use the escape route.
- Before letting the rider set off ask them to check the controls (brake levers not broken, and throttle still returning).
- When pushing, try to push down and increase weight on the rear wheel.
- As rider sets off, look away so as not to get hit in the face by flying debris.
All of the above plus:
- The sidecar is much lighter than the bike, so lift sidecar over bike.
- If turning across the hill, keep the bike above the sidecar.
- Outfits pull to the left when starting, so point towards right if attempting to restart.
- Marshalling equipment
The Club currently has in excess of 5000 items of equipment which are regularly distributed around the country to assist with the running of our events. This page has information about the Club's equipment, its distribution, and what to do if you have been left with any equipment after an event.
The Club’s Equipment Officer is Peter Batty who can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0117 9650890 (before 9pm).
- The Club endeavours to supply most items required to make an event happen, at the right place, and at the right time.
- This includes all the signage, high visibility clothing, stop watches, radios, etc.
- The Club will do everything reasonably possible to make its events run smoothly, and to safeguard those involved.
High visibility clothing
- In the early days of MCC events the observers (marshals) wore paper armbands. These have since been upgraded to reflective, high visibility arm bands.
- We are now introducing the much more visible MCC waistcoats for the safety of our officials and marshals during both day and night. MCC events have always been "low profile" with the desire to minimise any impact we have on the countryside that we briefly visit. High visibility clothing, whilst a departure from our more traditional image, is a common sense move for the safety of all those who help us.
- The designs of MCC signs are being standardised. We hope that those familiar with the old style of MCC signage will appreciate the clarity and sharpness of our new signs.
- These are colour coded.
- Yellow is for the main event route, or for Class 0 combined with the main event route.
- Green arrows are for the Class 0 only route.
First Aid Boxes
- We endeavour to make a First Aid box available at most locations that we visit. This is for anyone to use but, due to current legislation, it is the responsibility of the person requiring the contents to select them - MCC officials and marshals are not permitted to dispense items from the First Aid box.
- We do not have personnel qualified to dispense medical products at every location. Common sense must prevail. The First Aid box is for basic treatment. If anyone requires more than minor medical attention, do not delay it calling for it.
- The Club does not supply wooden stakes, or any standardised fixings for its signs. These must be supplied by the Chief Official for the Section.
- Torches are not supplied.
- All observers are required to bring with them “soft” pencils for marking the Observers Records Card.
- ... and don't forget your warm waterproof clothing, food and drink.
Distribution and collection
- Prior to an event the organising team decide the type, and number, of items required for each section or assembly point.
- The Equipment Officer contacts the Chief Marshal for the event to confirm the delivery address for each package of equipment. He confirms whether or not somebody is available to sign for the receipt of the delivery, or to request details for a safe delivery location.
- The package containing the allocated equipment should be delivered a minimum of seven days before the event.
- Upon receipt the package should be checked against the inventory list and any queries sorted-out immediately. Do not leave it until the night before the event!
- The equipment must be repacked in the new bags supplied and be available for collection on the Tuesday ten days following the event.
Return of equipment
- If you have any of the Club's equipment, or know of its whereabouts, please contact Peter Batty at email@example.com or by phone on 0117 9650890 (before 9pm).
- You may consider that it is just one item, but someone on the next event would like to have its use. Your effort will be appreciated!
- Remember ... the cost of replacing lost items, or even items which you have but which are required by someone else for the next event, comes out of Club funds - and that means your money.
- The logistics of MCC event organisation is mind boggling - equipping 600 marshals at 40 separate locations is typical for one of our major trials.
- It is only by constructive feedback from marshals that we can improve our events and we're only too well aware aware just how frustrating your day can be if you do not have the tools to do the job.
- But ... when you have had a great day out, you could also let us know!