Event date: 13-15 May 2022
May 12-15 was a busy weekend for BMWDCM and two of the events were held at Phillip Island. The Victorian State Race Series round 3 and National Motoring Heritage Day drive.
A large group of BMWDCM members are also part of the E30 series and are entered in round 3 and over 30 members of BMWDCM are driving down on Sunday to display their cars and support the E30 category in their final race for the weekend.
So, what did I do on that weekend?
I had volunteered as Deputy Race Secretary for the weekend to help Noel Tippet from PIARC.
What is the importance of volunteering as an official?
There are all different types of events we can officiate at, and these meetings are one of them and over 100 officials are needed to successfully run these types of events.
Volunteer officials range from pit entry, Pit exit to race control, (when qualified) and lots more.
After volunteering to help as Assistant Secretary at Round 2 of the Victorian State Series at Winton, I thought I would offer my services for Phillip Island, seeing it clashed with Bathurst and a lot of officials would be volunteering for that event I knew they would be shorthanded.
I am now a Silver Admin, and this enables me to both assist and run these types of events, but BMWDCM do not hold race meetings, so this is a perfect opportunity for me to help and also grow my skills.
It is great to work with a wide range of both senior and junior officials and listen to how they do things and also offer opinions for future events.
What was my job for the weekend you might ask?
Graeme and I arrived late on Thursday night as the track was open from 6.30pm for drivers to gain early entry to their pit garages and set up, so I joined Noel in the Secretaries office to do garage allocations and also answer any queries for sign in on Friday morning. This went extremely well, and it was surprising how many drivers took up the option to arrive early. Great idea.
Friday morning was a very early start, with us getting there at 6.20am to set up for drivers check in. This was all done in the muster shed where drivers briefing normal happens, we had a team of 2 officials and 2 volunteers, and we had the bulk of them checked in within 2 hours and then we had a few dribble in throughout the day allowing us a little bit of breathing space.
With COVID a lot has changed with how check in and scrutineering is done, so we also had to collect all vehicle log books and for those drivers wanting a licence upgrade, their licence logbooks needed to be handed in so that one of the senior race officials can observe them throughout the weekend and sign them off. This enables them to come off their Ps and get a National Licence once they have successfully obtained enough signatures in their logbooks.
Logs books need to be sorted into categories for the scrutineers to do their checks and sign off. This all seems simple but at a meeting with 250+ cars entered and logbooks with no details on, it can be a nightmare, but once check-in was over, I had some quieter time to process all the log books and get them across to scrutineering and also group the licence observations for checking over the weekend.
The day remained busy with pit crew check in and late driver arrivals flowing through the day. I was kept busy until leaving and felt pretty happy that we had processed most of the drivers so that Saturday morning would not be quite so busy.
The day finished around 5pm when most drivers and all the crew had what they needed. So back to our accommodation for a nice home cooked lasagne.
Saturday morning was another early start but instead of doing the remaining check ins at the muster shed, we figured with only approximately 40 remaining, we would process them at the base of the tower in the Secretaries office. This worked well and also saved us packing up twice and wasting much needed time.
Drivers all checked in and all pit crew signed on. Qualifying started and the weather was very kind, for Phillip Island, with only a little morning mist making the track a little slippy but very few incidents which was fabulous for all. Races commenced on time, which at an event like this is always a challenge but race control had everything under control and if there were any recoveries, they had that all noted and were keeping a very close watch on times, so that the day would run on time, as it did.
My day was filled with driver, crew and guest queries, printing of grid sheets for the grid marshals, checking all drivers had actually checked in and presented their logbooks, which they all had. Still collecting licence for observation but most of those came through in the morning. Massive day and again without volunteers these events don’t happen.
Late finish on Saturday night with some teams needing to stay behind to fix car but lucky PI has 24-hour security, and they are free to do this. Back to our rental for another lovely home cooked meal.
Sunday morning was not such an early start, 7am and grid sheets handed out to the grid Marshals and the day was off to a start with the sun out and what was looking like another fabulous day.
E30 Racing had a combined race with Improved Production, and this was going to be interesting as they always have a large grid. The race was a split grid with two rows between and both categories started at lights out. An incident happened on the first lap which involved 2 IP cars, and this took the field to safety car laps so there were only 2 laps remaining under green which was a shame.
I felt like a proud mum when I saw the line of BMWs led by a yellow Commodore coming in to support our group. We really do have a great bunch of members and it is so good to see them supporting other members doing what they love. Our group where lucky to arrive when the Brabham did the Speed comparison and it had quite a spectacular spin but managed to come back with no damage. This was driven by Tim Slade who took out the Phillip Island Outright Lap record for the track in one of the races over the weekend.
E30s last race was a 9-lap race, and I was lucky enough to be able to wave the chequered flag for their final race. As a flag marshal I have always wanted to do this and now I have, and to wave it with one of our Bell Motorsport cars taking the chequered flag was even better. Well done Alex Jory, and all the E30 racers who had a brilliant weekend. The wind was giving me a bit of stick and I did struggle a bit with the flag but managed to get it waved when all the cars crossed the finish line.
Well, that was my excitement for the weekend, so back to work for me, handing out licences to drivers and getting garage keys back, again all this seems easy, but it isn’t, when a driver or pit crew pack up and take the keys home with them, we are left at the track looking for the teams and then have to work out how we are getting the keys back.
Same with the licences and vehicle logbooks, it is surprising how many drivers leave the track and forget to collect their credentials, these all then need to be posted back to them. Just another job for the secretary and also a cost incurred. Very important to make sure you have done everything before you leave the track.
It was so nice to have so many teams come in at the end of their day and thank me for all I had done to make their weekend run smoothly. This is why I do it, to get people out on the track and for the love of the sport.
It was great working with some great officials on the weekend and I thank them for the opportunity. I do miss being out there officiating and I enjoy it when I get the opportunity to get back out trackside.
If you want to help out in anyway make sure you have your working with children’s check completed, you nominate Motorsport Australia and BMW Drivers Club Melbourne as your nominated clubs, then once you have done that, go to Motorsport Australia and do a general official’s online course.
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne always need officials for all our track events, so we encourage all who are interested to do these online applications.
If you are needing any help becoming an official, please do not hesitate to give us a call and we will be able to guide you through.
Jo Mawson | Member #2
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne