EDDIE FORMAN A Marshal for 21 years writes a short time in the day of a Marshal.
The Last Crash.
I saw the Honda rider lose control and the crash started mid corner, down went bike and rider.
It's a funny thing the human brain it has this amazing ability to slow things right down, no matter how fast things are moving, my brain started assessing the situation, there were only two of us marshals to cover the whole incident so it was down to us.
Quickly almost uncomanded I was at the gap in the tyre wall, you wait.....and wait..... and WAIT.
It seems like hours but is in reality only a split second, and then you see it, what you have been waiting for a waved yellow flag from the flag Marshal, you also know that the other flagging point 100 yards up the track will by now also be showing a yellow so approaching riders will have passed two yellow flags before they get to you, a simple waved stick with a piece of yellow material on it, BUT this and your training are now the guardians of your safety, as you move across the gravel trap and onto the race track.
Assess the situation, bike on the racing line bad, radiation cap has come off water flowing out of the radiator bad, fuel leaking out of the filler cap on to the track bad, but most of all rider not moving partly under his machine very bad.
At times like this a normal Sunday, your training kicks in its all about priorities, your own safety, then rider, other competitors, lastly machine.
Rider not moving...Bad, are you OK? Stupid question I know but you are looking for a response, a bit of a groan, and slight movement...Better still not good but better, the bikes are still coming past so you kneel next to the rider, you are wearing bright yellow overalls and look like a large traffic cone, in a way you are marking the stricken riders position, all the time look up the track to see what is coming, we don't want any surprises do we?
Asses the situation quick, COME ON QUICKER....he is not moving, you look up the track maybe 50 yards and desperately make a X with your forearms, COME ON for what seems like hours you wait, and wait and wait, then you hear it a loud whistle, then the yellow flag changes to red, this is what you were looking for, Race Stop from the sector Marshal.
Almost simultaneously the rider starts to move, “can you crawl to the side of the track” you ask, and without further conversation he starts to make agonisingly slow progress to safety, by now the paramedics have got out of their ambulance and are running down towards you and the rider.
You did not want to pick him up for fear of increasing any injuries he may have had, but it's a balanced call if he had really had been serious danger you may have had to drag him off the track, and you only have a split second to make your mind up.
The rider is now with the paramedics, so priority is the machine, get it up and off the track as quickly as possible to stop the stream of fuel leaking onto the track surface, rider looked after, machine, now you have moved down the priority list and are thinking about the track surface and the rest of the meeting.
Bike upright fuel leak stopped, how to move the bike?, pull the clutch in, but where is the bloody left hand handle bar?? it's snapped off and dangling on the end of the clutch cable, so you grab it and pull it in, one, two, three, Push the bike moves but how to steer it with only one handlebar?
You grab the fork leg and somehow aim it between the gap in the tyre wall you left what seemed like hours ago but in effect was may be a few minutes ago.
Bike off track, next racing surface treated, not too much cement dust, let it soak in and then brush it clear.
Incident cleared up racing starts again, but why am I feeling out of breath??
EDDIE FORMAN A Marshal for 21 years.