In the late 1970’s there had been a club in Victoria called Flag Marshals Victoria which had existed for a couple of years then folded. At Race Events in the 70’s and early 80’s there was normally a call for Mechanics or Friends to help run the meetings by standing on a corner. Whilst there were no real weaknesses in this, there were delays at the start of meetings making sure we had enough Marshals to cover all points. Eventually there was a collision on the grid at a meeting at Calder where some of the field thought there was a one lap warm up and others thought there was a two lap warm up. Confusion ruled supreme and this led to an organised meeting to discuss the creation of a Club for Flag Marshals.
Paul Bennett, the owner of Pablo’s Motorcycles at the time, was one of the forces that pushed for the creation of the Club. He was the driving force that got it going. The foundation meeting was held at the Vigilantes clubrooms and an offer of sponsorship by Denso of $2,000 each year was gratefully accepted. Paul Bennett was the foundation President, with Brian Lewis foundation Secretary. A few people had issues attending meetings at the club rooms of a "bikie club", so we moved to a hotel after 3 or 4 meetings. As Flag Marshals, we have flagged Road Racing at Broadford, Calder, Phillip Island, Sandown, and Winton. We have attended a selection of non-road race meetings also, including Speedway, Motocross, Supercross, and Dirt track.
The Club Uniform
We have also used a variety of different Uniforms, and are proud to say that we had the orange overalls before Phillip Island and the Grand Prix Corporation decided that orange is the correct colour for Marshals. Prior to the orange, we tried white overalls (easy to clean, but showed the dirt too much) and also a jeans and windcheater combination. We discovered there are too many different colour jeans for it to look good as a uniform. Today, we use either orange overalls, or an orange shirt with dark or orange trousers.
Our Mascot - Fred Gassit
Fred Gassit has been the Club icon for many years. Fred Gassit is the loveable cartoon character from Motorcycle News Magazine (UK & Australia) that often gets himself into "motorcycle mayhem". We were fortunate that our Secretary at the time was a friend of the creator of the Fred Gassit cartoon series, and so he created a set called ‘Fred the Flag Marshal’. One of our life members, Colin Wilson, now has the original artwork which was raffled off as a fund raiser.
And yes, Fred is holding more sticks than flags when you look at the drawing!
Club Meeting locations - been a few!
The initial couple of Club meetings were held at the Vigilantes clubrooms, Leicester St Carlton. We then moved to Sir Robert Peel Hotel in Wellington Street, Collingwood for a number of years. When it was closed for renovations, we moved to The Vine hotel, also in Wellington Street where the SCRCV (Sidecar Racing Club of Victoria) was meeting on the same night of the month. Eventually, the Vine hotel started charging us a fee to have the meeting there (because we were not drinking enough to keep management happy).
We then tried MacAlister’s Hotel in Franklin Street for a couple of meetings before moving to Carlton Bowling Club, in Lincoln Square for a couple of years. After that, we then moved to Collingwood Football Club, Victoria Park, mainly because the MV (Motorcycling Victoria) meetings were being held there at that time. After a few years we started using the Hartwell Motorcycle Clubrooms in Burwood where we remained until Hartwell moved into their own premises at Bayswater. When Hartwell moved to Bayswater, we used the Ashwood Neighbourhood house. When the Ashwood Neighbourhood house was renovated we moved to The Notting Hill Hotel, Ferntree Gully Road, Mulgrave where the Club still meets regularly today.
Race Marshals Victoria © 2015