Day TWO -Getting on Track

Did I mention yesterday that my feet hurt? By the time the end of the day at the Olympic Park ended my feet were killing and on the way back to my room I was desperately trying to think of how I was going to manage five more days of standing. As I cut through the shopping centre an idea formed. I popped into Boots and made my way to the ‘Feet’ aisle where I found a selection of seemingly overpriced in-soles. However, desperate times call for desperate measures so I chose the Sport variety. Yes, it did seem like rather a lot of money for a bit of foam and gel, but oh my god, they have been worth every penny! Today was day two of being on my feet all day, but my feet have hardly complained… calf muscles have taken over that job.

IMG_7204After an early briefing on another beautiful morning we got ready for a morning of Rescue Car training (also known as ‘how a golf cart works when towing a trailer’). It took a while, though, to get everything and everyone in place ready to begin. Everyone took turns to make sure they knew the safety aspects to check, how to start the cart and then take it for a spin (not literally) along one of the rescue lanes alongside the track. There is one particular corner
onto one of the main rescue lanes that we will have to IMG_7203negotiate which is particularly tight, but we did pretty well trying out the different angles that the cart can take to get the trailer round it.  Some angles were more successful than others, however, as the pole on the corner can testify to, but it is still standing and the trailers are all intact so all in all it went pretty well.

Once everyone had taken a turn we waited for the go ahead to move out to our Marshall Posts on track, ready for the afternoon of practice. We had to wait for a celebrity to try out the track first, though. Today we were joined by Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen who took a couple of the Shell concept cars out for a spin. Given that Shell has posed tis challenge to students across the globe, the company thought it only fair that it also took the challenge. So there is an Urban Concept car and a Prototype car designed and built by Shell. In addition we also have the Project M Concept car and a driverless car. Once Kimi had tried out the track then it was the turn of the students.

Accompanying us at all the posts are professional marshals, volunteers from the Netherlands who marshal at a variety of motorsport events there. These 40 volunteers have a wealth of experience at motorsport events and have marshalled at the last 4 Shell Eco-Marathons held in Rotterdam.

At last we headed onto track where Elizabeth and I quickly found post 2 and the two professional marshals we would be working with today.

There have been a lot of amendments to the schedule and arrangements over the first two days, understandable given that this is a new track in a new location. So at our post we had to wait a while for the Marshal tent, flags and safety equipment to arrive. That didn’t stop us from ensuring that whenever the track was open for practice we prevented anyone from stepping onto the track for their own safety and the safety of the drivers.

Practice sessions were held for the Urban Concept cars and the Prototype cars, although

not all of them made use of the sessions today. many cars are still going through their technical assessments, but tomorrow will see a full day of practice and many more cars taking to the track.

It wasn’t long into the afternoon that we became very glad of the protective gear we had been issued with. The bright red boiler suit and the bright orange waterproof jacket went a long way to give us some protection from the rising wind and the rain. An ample packed lunch and a coffee run during the afternoon meant we were fuelled enough to deal with it and still keep our eyes peeled for people straying not the track. Fortunately we didn’t need to deal with any crashes or breakdowns in our area, although we did witness a rather spectacular 360 degree spin which the driver handled very well.

A delayed start to practice due to the rain meant a slightly delayed finish and a briefing ready for another early start tomorrow, when the team I am in (Delta Team) will be manning the rescue cars.

Today may have been another long day with a fair amount of waiting around, but seeing some of the cars take to the track and the reactions of the students when they saw their creations in action, made me feel very proud to be a small part in this incredible event.

Tomorrow will be much busier – there will be more people around the track and more cars on the track practicing. Good night all!



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