Behind The Scenes – Steve Abbott

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.

Steve Abbott at Coventry. Photo Paul Tully

Name: Steve Abbott

Position: BriSCA F1 Senior Steward

Job Description: Basically being in charge of everything on track, and some things off it. The stock car equivalent of a football referee.

How long have you been doing this? 20 + years

How did you become involved in doing this? Wrong place at the wrong time. I was volunteered as an assistant lap scorer at Long Eaton and it went from there.

What’s the hardest part of the job/role? Keeping a straight face sometimes when disciplining a driver.

Do you have to undergo any training to do this job/role? Initially it was a case of learning on the job as an assistant steward but then very much on my own. The last couple of years have seen dedicated training for senior officials organised by the ORCi (partly led by me).

What would be the best way for others wanting to do this job / role at a race track to get involved? Volunteer. None of us are getting any younger but be warned don’t expect to be earning mega bucks. My financial recompense for Belle Vue does not cover my expenses let alone the time spent away from home. EG: for Belle Vue, leave home at 9.45am arrive home 8.15pm!

How has doing this job / role changed how you now view racing? You see races in a totally different way. You tend to concentrate on specific incidents, or the potential for such, rather than take the race in as a whole.

From doing your job at the race track, what frustrates you the most from common misinformation / missing knowledge from the everyday race fan? Comments made in ignorance both by spectators and drivers.

Do you still enjoy watching racing when you’re not involved with your chosen role / job? Would love to watch but officiate in one capacity or another at every F1 meeting.

What do you think could be done to make BriSCA F1 better for –

1. Fans – improved stadium facilities; return of supporter’s clubs/fan clubs to giver greater involvement.

2. Drivers – make the sport more afffordable to a larger number of potential as well as existing drivers.

3. Sport as a whole – Develop characters more; build up for races; bring the fun back as well as being more professional.

How would you describe BriSCA F1 Stock Car racing in 2 sentences? (Just need one) The noise, the power, the thrill, the spectacle, the atmosphere – its got it all!

Do you remember the first F1 meeting you attended as a fan? October 1960, Long Eaton. Totally blown away by the whole spectacle and the buzz that went through the crowd when the flashing lights of Freddie Mitchell (38) were seen coming through the haze of the pits. Also the name ‘Ellis Ford’. Coming from a small mining community as I did, nobody had a name like that so he must be special – and he was!

What is you fondest memory of the sport?

1. As an Official – the honour of stewarding my first World Final (Bradford) and the relief of getting through it!

2. As a Fan – First World Final at Belle Vue (1962) – what an atmosphere; Willie’s World; Lundy’s World Final win at Hednesford.

What / who’s had the best F1 Stock Car or Cars in your opinion? Too many to mention really but the Albert ‘Tiger’ Griffin (178) car that went to Stuart Smith stands out as did the Ellis Ford car of 1965 and really liked the FWJ downtube car.

On behalf of all the readers of F1Stockcars.com, Thanks for doing your Job at the race track.


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