The most recent round of Shannons SpeedSeries at Sandown Raceway marked a major milestone for Motorsport Australia official, Rebecca Humphreys, who became one of the first female Course Car Marshal at the national level.
With the number of female officials involved in both grassroots and state-level events continuing to grow, Humphreys was mentored by experienced official Anthony Jenkins to be the first to take the responsibility of the sole course car marshal at the Springvale circuit last weekend.
The course car marshal role aims to assist the wider officiating team, acting as the ‘eyes’ of the Clerk of Course to confirm the circuit is in a suitable condition for track activity to occur.
In her role, Humphreys exceeded expectations and thrived in an event that threw rain, oil and various incidents her way – which was all handled professionally off the back of her extensive work across Australian motorsport.
Over the years, Humphreys has played her part in vehicle recovery, event command, circuit communications and many other similar areas of work at motorsport events.
Many of the skills she has attained during her time in these areas can also cross over into course marshalling activities, while she is familiar with the roles and responsibilities under the regulations.
With her background in vehicle recovery, she can easily identify particulars in track conditions and any likely ramifications of incidents big, or small at events.
When you mix that knowledge with her experience in race control, Humphreys is able to view an ongoing situation from multiple perspectives and assess incidents and their overall impact on an event.
Humphreys enjoyed her role at Sandown Raceway last weekend and encouraged more women to get involved in such a rewarding sport.
“I think it’s great that women are able to do anything in the sport. Motorsport has come a long way in breaking down the barriers and providing support and guidance to women,” Humphreys said.
“I’ve enjoyed the Course Car Marshal role from the very beginning, and I’ve had a great mentor (Jenkins) that has supported me to achieve my goals.
“There are so many amazing officials out there and I really enjoy working with all the teams that make motorsport happen. The role really tests your skills, abilities and knowledge of the sport and I think that’s where my experience really comes into play.
“My biggest advice to females looking to get involved is to get as much experience as possible, ask lots of questions and try different roles.
“The more you can learn from the experienced officials the better. And just don’t aim at the high-level motorsport, try all levels - grassroots motorsport is really where you’ll learn your craft.”
As her mentor, Jenkins was full of praise for Humphreys and her ability to step up into such an important role.
“It was timely for the weekend Shannons SpeedSeries at Sandown to have Rebecca as the course car marshal, given I was the emergency coordinator for the event,” Jenkins said.
“It was the first time Rebecca has worked ‘one-up’ in this role and she performed the role very well. I continued to monitor her communications across the weekend and was able to observe her working to a very high standard.
“I was the Clerk of Course at the Winton Shannons SpeedSeries event and Rebecca was my first choice as the course car marshal. However, she was unable to attend.
“Certainly moving forward, I hope Rebecca will continue in the course car marshal role at select events.”
While the Shannons SpeedSeries round was her first, it most certainly won't be her last.
In addition to her future involvement in national level events, Humphreys is also expected to be part of the course car team at next year’s FIA Formula 1 World Championship round at Albert Park in March – where Jenkins will act as the Course Car Team Manager.
“This year was the first time back at the AGP in many years, it was a big eye opener to F1 and the supporting categories,” Humphreys explained.
“I’m looking forward to working with a passionate team of officials that want to showcase the sport we love. Working directly with Anthony Jenkins is priceless. I learn so much from him every time we get to work together.”