There are many roles that need fulfilling at a race meeting, not all of them obvious. Members of the club perform these roles at local race meetings.
Clerk of the Course
The clerk of the course has overall control of the race meeting and may have a number of deputies. They are responsible for the overall safety of the competitors and also to make decisions as to the running of the meeting, for example imposing penalties for jump starts, or in extreme cases excluding someone from the meeting. They will also stop races as necessary for safety reasons.
Secretary of the Meeting
The Secretary of the Meeting, or the Race Secretary as the role is known is responsible for all the entries. They ensure that there is the correct number of entries for the class and that grid sheets are available to tell the riders know which grid positions they start from. The Race Secretary will also produce a programme of events and the race timetable. They can also be responsible for all the trophies. This role isn’t just a role that is performed on the day- the work starts before the meeting and doesn?t end until after the last rider has gone home at the end of the meeting.
Most meetings have a Club Steward and an ACU Steward. The role of this person is to make sure that all rules and regulations have been complied with in order to run a safe and fair meeting. They will adjudicate on protests and disputes. They do not have a hands-on role in the running of the meeting, but make sure that the meeting is conducted in the proper manner
Technical Official or Scrutineer
The senior technical official and technical officials check each machine to make sure that it is safe to compete, and also that it conforms to the rules. The check such things as sump plugs and oil fillers to make sure that they are wired, bearings, suspension and many other things. A noise inspector is also appointed to test machines at random to make sure any noise or environmental readings are within the rules. Technical officials also inspect helmets to make sure they are safe and have the correct approval markings and also that the riders clothing is in a fit condition to race in.
The assembly team (or the assembly angels as they are known to us) calls the riders up for their correct race and make sure they know their allotted grid position. They will also check to make sure that the machine has been scrutineered and the riders helmet is also suitable for use- you will be surprised how many riders get a brand new helmet scrutineered then go out in their old helmet. They will also check that the rider is in the correct race (yes, it has happened!).
The Chief Marshal will make sure that at least the minimum number marshals required to run the meeting have signed on, that all required equipment is available, brief sector marshals and allocate their sectors, tell the clerk of the course when all the marshals are in position and equipped ready to start the meeting and oversee the mashalling activities during the meeting.
Sector Marshals make sure that there are enough marshals on their sector and will allocate roles to them, also that there is the correct equipment in their location – that there are enough flags, brushes and dust to clear oil spills and also fire extinguishers. They are in radio contact with the clerk of the course to keep him informed of incidents, and if an incident is serious, they will radio through to the clerk of the course who will then make a decision based on the sector marshals recommendation as to whether the race is stopped. They also keep a written record of incidents in their sector of the circuit.
Flagging is one of the most important jobs on the circuit. Flag Marshals display flags according to what happens on the circuit, such as a yellow flag to warn of an incident, or convey information such as the ?oil flag? to warn riders of a slippery area of the track. It is very important that the correct flags are used as riders are not allowed to overtake under yellow flags and they have to be displayed quickly. A yellow flag shown by the flag marshal will also warn riders that there may be marshals on the circuit dealing with an incident. Incident marshals rely on flag marshals to ensure that riders are aware they are there!!
Incident marshals deal with any fallers or riders that stop in their sector. They can deal with clearing up damaged machines or oil spills and attending to an injured rider before medical help arrives.
There are several other roles on circuit, Travelling Marshals make sure that the track is clear and will follow the grid around on a sighting lap to ensure all riders return to the grid. Safety Officers attend incidents and make sure that all safety concerns, whether it be the safety of riders and marshals are attended to. Other people help out in the race office with admin, timekeepers are employed to record lap times and speeds and there are also several other people that help in selling programmes and assisting everyone else with the smooth running of the meeting.
All these positions are entirely voluntary and people do these roles for the love of the sport. Each role is open and you can train to be a clerk of the course or a technical official. There is always a shortage of qualified people and more people are needed to make sure racing will continue in the future.