Willesden Road Race 01 Sept – Chief Marshal’s report

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Many thanks to all the marshals who turned up.  We just about had it covered, with most marshalling points reporting an incident free morning and afternoon’s racing.  A few horse boxes, a few horses, but nothing we can’t gloss over.

My point at the Drift Road junction with Fifield Lane was a mixture of excitement every 20 minutes interspersed with not much happening.  I found myself ruminating on the question of whether there is a formula for the number of sheep you need to keep a field suitably mown.  I watched a beetle crossing the busy A road.  It seemed to sense the car vibrations, and stop to let them pass before moving on.  It got to the safety of the middle, advanced, then doubled back.  A vehicle went past at speed, and the beetle had vanished – either into a parallel universe, or stuck to a Pirelli tread hurtling towards Windsor. Needed to work on its sense of direction and timing.  A new feature this year was a piece of chalk found by the road, which I used to mark off the laps.  I shall bring chalk always from now on.

The first race had passed without any problem, and I was all set to pack up for lunch. Then the race reached my marshalling point, and a wobble in the tightly-packed bunch caused a multiple rider pile-up.  I was alarmed as it was right next to a row of concrete and flint blocks.  A few injuries were apparent and an ambulance was called.   I spent the next half an hour in an ecstasy of flag-waving and arm gestures, like the  most extravagant Italian policeman in the middle of a busy intersection.  Then I gave a guy training for an Ironman triathlon event a lift back to his car.  He had broken a spoke in his Cosmic Carbons and faced a five mile push in his socks.

After the event, I saw the organiser paying a chap not to mention the business with the numbers.  A rider was awarded some handlebars,  in recognition of his steering abilities.


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