Stewards are responsible for ensuring that, as far as possible, events are run in a safe and fair manner. Could this be a role for you? Go ‘Inside HQ’, in July’s edition of Revolution.
In motorsport, the Steward’s main duties are to see ‘fair play’ and to ensure that the event is being run in a safe manner. For some events, the Chief Steward is appointed by Motorsport UK, with two Event Stewards appointed by the Organising Club. This panel of Stewards will then work together as a team to reach decisions and take any actions required during the event.
For Road or Navigational Rallies, Autotests, Trials and Cross-Country events, there is no Motorsport UK Steward appointed. In these instances, there may be a minimum of one Event Steward (appointed by the Organising Club), but there will always an odd number to ensure a consensus is reached and decisions are not left unresolved.
Those acting as a Steward can have no other official role on the Event and must submit a report to Motorsport UK.
Why are Stewards important?
Stewards, whether Event or Motorsport UK, oversee the safe running of an Event, supporting the Clerk of the Course who is responsible for the operational aspects. In the majority of disciplines, they also act as the second judicial body, adjudicating on Appeals against the decision of the Clerk of the Course.
They have overriding authority in matters of safety (except on events where a Safety Delegate is appointed) and ensure that the General Regulations are being upheld.
Event Stewards must be well versed in the organisation and running of motorsport events, so it is necessary to build up experience over a number of years, receiving advice and guidance from those already in the role. It is this experience that is crucial if you want to progress from Event Steward to Motorsport UK Steward.
“I became involved in stewarding because I wanted to help make the decisions in the sport rather than just complaining about them,” reveals Alex Maunders. “I had worked at a kart circuit when I was younger, and after my legal studies were completed, I approached BARC about becoming an Event Steward.
“I submitted a short email setting out my experience, what I understood the role of a Steward to be, and why I was interested in it. Soon I was invited to observe the Steward panels, and eventually I became an Event Steward. With BARC’s support I applied to become a Motorsport UK Steward, and with the assistance of the team and my mentor, I was granted my licence in 2021.
“I have been an Event Steward for British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) support races at Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Snetterton, Croft and Knockhill. I had my first meeting as a BTCC Steward at Donnington Park earlier this year, and I have also attended a couple of international events. As a Motorsport UK Steward I have been to Mallory Park with the 750 Club, and last year I was at Brands Hatch for the Formula Ford festival.
“Stewarding affords me the opportunity to consider the regulations and incidents in detail,” confirms Maunders, “it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday!”
An Event Steward needs to demonstrate impartiality, common sense and be able to work as part of a team. Local knowledge and an understanding of the logistics of a motorsport event will be useful, as is some recent experience in the running of events, plus a sound working knowledge of both the event and Motorsport UK regulations.
Karl Peterson has around 12 years of experience as a race marshal. Four years ago, he and his wife Kay were asked to assist the Chief Marshal with some administration at their local circuit. At the same time Karl agreed to take on the role of organising Taster Days for new marshals. “It was these Taster Day experiences,” reveals Peterson, “which gave me a good background knowledge of lots of different motorsport roles, while I tried to visit as many people as possible during my tours. My regular interaction with the Stewarding team then prompted a recent invitation to try out the role of Event Steward for myself.
“With motorsport, I have always tried to have a go at any opportunity which comes my way. The experience was fascinating and informative, and I already have a second date scheduled. I have a lot to learn about the role of Steward. My experience has been positive, and the team supportive. This role is an important part of our sport, which ensures fair play for all. If you get the opportunity – go for it!”
If the idea of Stewarding appeals to you, then speak with your local motor club and ask to get involved – they will be happy for the offer of assistance and can help you get up and running. You can also visit the Motorsport UK Learning Hub – which includes an Introduction to Event Stewarding module, outlining the role and its responsibilities.
As well as being part of the team running a motorsport event, becoming an Event Steward is a fantastic steppingstone and provides the practical experience needed before becoming a licensed Motorsport UK Steward.
Who are the Motorsport UK Stewards?
Motorsport UK Licensed Officials are appointed to most permitted motorsport events to ensure that they run in accordance with the regulations, which are designed to ensure – as far as reasonably possible – safety and fair play. As a Senior Official, the Motorsport UK Steward must be at least 18 years of age.
Adrienne Watson was the Motorsport UK-appointed Steward at the 2022 Formula 1 Lenovo British Grand Prix.
With a career spanning 30 years, Watson has undertaken numerous roles in motorsport, as she explains. “I was originally a membership secretary for the British Racing Drivers’ Club, and I got more interested in the competition side of things.
“I got involved in being the championship co-ordinator for a couple of the championships, then when the BTCC moved to the super touring era, they asked me to go and be championship co-ordinator for that. And from there I went on to do Formula BMW, both in UK and Europe, and World Finals.
“As a result, I got involved in writing regulations. Then, when I had to take a step back from working full time in the sport, and wanted to put something back, it seemed obvious to be a Steward, because most of it is around regulations and interpretations of regulations.”
“I went through the training programme in 2012. Since then although I train multi-discipline, I’m mostly doing car racing. The training programme that Motorsport UK have put together is very good in that it will give you a good grounding, everything you need. And then you just really need to go out there and have as much experience as you can. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
To learn more about Stewarding, and how to get involved, visit https://www.motorsportuk.org/volunteers/officials/
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