Over the course of the season F1 Stockcars.com hopes to talk to those people behind the scenes that make the show happen. The unsung, under-appreciated, under-valued heroes of our sport. Without these guys we would not have any racing to watch at the race tracks.
The views and opinions in these interviews are of the individual and may not be those of the Promoting body, the Governing body or any other organisation involved with Oval Racing.
Name: Stu Milnes
Role at Race Track: Steward / Clerk of Course / Safety Officer
Give us a brief description of what this involves? Steward runs the meeting, Clerk assists the Steward and keeps the meeting running on track and the Safety officer checks everything is in place to enable the meeting to go ahead for drivers spectators and officials.
How long have you been doing this? About 10 years.
How did you become involved in doing this? Steve Rees asked me to help when I was still BSCDA Chairman as there was and still is a shortage of officials.
What’s the hardest part of this job / role? Incidents outside your control that take time to resolve and drivers that get too excited and sometimes violent / aggressive.
Do you have to undergo any training to do this job / role? Or were you mentored? All officials have to be trained to satisfy ORCi rules and regulations however a certain amount of mentoring has to take place.
What would be the best way for others wanting to do this job / role at a race track to get involved? Approach a member of the team at any track and express a wish to get involved. We at Startrax are undergoing a recruitment drive and are looking for new and younger blood so to speak to become involved.
How has doing this job / role changed how you now view racing? The most fundamental change for me is a better understanding of all oval race formulaes. When you primarily follow one formulae you tend to disregard the other formulaes. Also being on the officials side of the fence you soon realise that it is a thankless role although a very important one that never gets the credit it deserves.
(Stu we hope that F1 Stockcars.com highlighting the importance of the Behind the scenes officials goes a little way to saying thank you for the work you ALL do.)
From doing your job at the race track, what frustrates you the most from common misinformation / missing knowledge from the every day race fan? The question in a way answers itself referring to misinformation. When a decision is taken regarding for example a racing incident or breach of the regulations its like the referee at a football match everyone sees it differently. What is slightly frustrating is that you are pushed into making a decision from all quarters and sometimes a period of reflection and discussion is better. However the internet and forums have a habit of putting too much opinion out in the public domain and sometimes fact and opinion tend to merge making it more challenging to come up with the right or best informed decision.
Do you still enjoy watching racing when you’re not involved with your chosen role / job? Yes but in the main don’t go to that many meetings without working at some level.
What do you think could be done to make BriSCA F1 better for:
1) The Fans – More information especially for newcomers and more involvement of the drivers to make them more accessible.
2) The Drivers – I would have to say peg back the cost of racing so drivers could afford to race more often and increase car numbers.
3) The race track / sport as a whole – Race tracks need to modernise, Over the years the cars and transporters have modernised year on year but a lot of the Stadiums have remained stagnant. The modern general public expect and demand more you only need look at the old “flea pit” cinemas that became extinct yet the new multiplex’s pack them in!
Do you remember the first F1 meeting you attended as a fan? Where, When and memories of? Belle Vue around 1968 I was 6 years old. Remember the colour and noise and getting very dirty as we stood on Hyde Road bend. Also remember a blue car with wildcat on the side who won a race and was hooked.
What is you fondest memory of the sport:
1) in your official role? The meetings that run well.
2) As a race fan? Too many to single one out.
What was or who had the best F1 Stock Car or Cars in your opinion? Andy Smith and the whole Smith family.
Thanks for doing your job at the race track.
F1 Stockcars.com 2012