Welcome to the first installment of my blog where you can follow my progress from Marshalling to Racing writes Ruth Nugent
Firstly, I’d like to just say how thrilled I am to be writing for Wheels for Women and I’m very proud to make a small contribution to the team!
I am the daughter of a man who is motorsport mad and who decided as soon as I came into the world that he was going to share this interest with. My dad loves anything with wheels and an engine. When I was very young he was into trials bikes and did many competitions and over the years after meeting more people through his interest he was asked to be a navigator and was asked to become a marshal in Mondello Park. He first brought me with him when I was 12 years old and it was to a Rallycross event which personally, was my favourite event to go to from then on! He always swore that if he ever won the lotto (we can dream!) he would put me into racing before himself which, if you knew my Dad, was insane for him to say. So he is equally as excited as I am for my first ever race season in the Fiesta Zetec Championship this year. I chose this championship as it is affordable and consistently produces a large grid and from the banks, it brought the most entertainment. It will be strange not being on side lines of the track but I’ve been itching to get out on track for as long as I can remember so I feel ready as ever and I’m in full preparation mode.
However, preparation for this upcoming race season for me doesn’t just include preparation for my first year out racing, it also includes preparation for the year ahead marshalling at whatever events I’m not taking part in.
If you’re into all forms of motorsport, marshaling is the best way to be right in the middle of the action at an event. You’re hands on with the cars/bikes, you meet a variety of interesting people and you learn so much each day you’re out on the banks. When I first started marshalling in Mondello we worked on flags at a delta as well as we were on duty as an FIV. So I was hooking up broken down cars at the age of 12 (you have to be 16 and over now to be a marshal in case you were wondering!) and learning all the rules of different forms of motorsport from the banks. It wasn’t long before I started questioning why I couldn’t take part too and it came down to one simple fact – we couldn’t afford it. So instead we branched out a little and started marshalling at road events such as rally sprints. Through college, I was either working or studying and doing nothing else so I must’ve only gone marshalling about four times but as soon as I was done I came back excited as ever. In the last year I’ve been lucky enough to use that college experience and secure a permanent job which to me meant I can finally give racing a go, at long last says I!
This month Mondello held a marshal fire training day for all current and new marshals. We attended a course that was a refresher of our role as a marshal followed by an intense fire training which saw us setting cars on fire and putting them out. This is something that we always have to be prepared for, last year I helped put 3 separate fires on cars out. So we like to be prepared for whatever comes at us and this course prepares us for this and refreshes our mind. And after, Mondellos instructors were kind enough to bring us out for a spin in their Porsche 911 Carreras (perks of being a marshal!).
My first year in racing
It’s going to be interesting being on the other side of the track for once. I’m completely new to it and have been taking advice from anyone that will offer it to me! I’ve always dreamed of this so I’ve tried to be as prepared as possible for this year. I’ve registered myself into the championship, got myself fitted to the car and booked myself into another track day to get myself familiar with the car a little bit more. Thanks to Murray Motorsport I have all my race gear bought and ready to go. Apparently I need to stop wearing it around the house…
Ihave altered my gym programme to improve my upper and core strength as I know it’s something that I’ll struggle with throughout a race weekend. So I intend to improve my strength by the time race season comes around. I had never even thought of sponsorship in the beginning of my planning so it’s something I worked at over the last while and I’ve been lucky enough to say that Women in Technology & Science, The Irish Society of Colitis and Crohn’s Disease and Gormanston Tyres have agreed to support me this year.
The rest of the marshals I work with have already been a huge support. They have done nothing but encourage and help me in whatever way they can. I already know I’ll feel safe out on track knowing they are all around me. There isn’t a better bunch of people to trust in the event of an emergency on track.
If you’re interested in joining us marshals on track for either car events or bike events feel free to message me for more information on how you can do so.
6th February, 2018