The John Newman Site
For most of my life I have been involved with motorsport in one way or another and it has been pretty good to me. For the last 30+ years that has been with marshalling and Race Control. If you don't have the cash or inclination to race, but really enjoy the sport this is the best thing for you!
It can have it's drawbacks, mainly weather and finishing time related but it is very rewarding and still gives me a tremendous buzz.
When I retired (end Dec 2014) from working for 12 years at Rockingham circuit running race control. I continued to work on race weekends only which was great fun, but at the end of 2015 I retired from that as well.
I shall be taking the role of Club Steward at meetings from the middle of 2017. The main reason for this is the same as retiring from Rockingham, which is to go before I make a mistake, rather than because I have made one. The other reason is that the thrill of man against the elements on the bank has deserted me. I no longer feel like coping with the vagaries of our weather.
Sadly it was announced on August 16th 2018 that Rockingham Circuit will cease operations and become a car auction site as of 31st December 2018.
Perhaps this was inevitable given the history of the circuit from it's inception through many different owners and management changes, some of which ranged from incompetent to disastrous.
Suffice to say that even at the beginning it was always going to be difficult as the circuit had been conceived on the back of an upsurge of interest in oval racing when Nigel Mansell won back to back championships in F1 and Indy Car. However, by the time the circuit was completed Mansell had long retired to his golf course and the national oval fervour had waned. The original two CART American races were judged a success, but, after the second event CART went bankrupt and Indy Car did not want to fulfil the rest of the CART commitment.
The owners were then left with a circuit that had been specifically designed for several major events per year, not as a 50 week a year operation. There was considerable success with track days, testing and various race meetings, but clearly not enough to remain financially viable for ever. Allied to the fact that a number of people well up in the sport's hierarchy seemed to disapprove of the circuit led to it's eventual demise.
Some useful Links:
VIM have been very helpful to me and are doing good things for the sport, BMMC are the national club/body for marshals, MSA are the governing body of the sport as a whole. marshals.org is Julian Floyd's site which is great for volunteering, or just checking out what's on at the weekend.