Steve Tarrant – 2016 Ambassador

Ambassador 16

STEVE TARRANT

Steve had been a marshal for 10 years when, in June 2000, he was working at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. He was standing on the finish line, chequered flag in hand, when the driver of a 1969 Formula 1 car lost control and crashed, hitting Steve and another marshal Andy Carpenter. The driver died at the scene and the other marshal died later in hospital. Steve suffered multiple injuries including the loss of his right leg.

One thought that stayed with Steve whilst in hospital was “You’ve not seen the last of me”, something he has proved over the years! 12 weeks after the accident Steve was invited back to Goodwood as a VIP, an occasion he used to “test my nerve back at the racetrack and, yes, I still had it!”

Incredibly, after 2 years spent recovering and gradually getting himself back to the racetrack, Steve began to Marshal again in 2002. Alongside his marshalling Steve also worked as an IT Support Technician, a job he returned to 1 year after his accident.

  In keeping with his ‘Not seen the last of me’ attitude Steve also does voluntary work and fundraising, the highlight of which was being involved in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.In 2010 Steve responded to the Olympics volunteers appeal, and was thrilled to be selected as a medal bearer, the only one in a wheelchair. Steve presented medals at the sailing regattas in Weymouth and was also active in the Olympics PR, doing radio and newspaper interviews. This led to Steve receiving a Big Society Award on behalf of his fellow games makers from David Cameron and attending the BBC SPOTY awards. Following his involvement with the sailing Steve now regularly volunteers at the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth.

More recently Steve completed 2 world record attempts for the longest distance travelled on a Mobility Scooter in 24 hours, and in doing so has raised money for the Royal British Legion, Accessible Motorsports and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Looking forward, Steve continues to travel with his Estonian wife Sirje and will be marshalling at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed and Revival meetings, and the Le Mans 24 hours, once again. He’s also looking to promote safe Mobility Scooter use, becoming involved in training centres etc. as well as working with the Disabled Ramblers Association to assist with making rambling more accessible.

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An extract from Steve’s updates – 2016 Season | 1

Wow, what a year this is turning out to be!

Firstly, I want to thank the club for inviting me to speak at the dinner following your AGM, and then to invite me to become your Ambassador|16. It is indeed a pleasure and an honour to accept this position.

So, following the events mentioned, what else have I been doing this season? Well, so far there has been a little bit of a ring of consistency to everything: –

  • Goodwood Members Meeting – Cold
  • Silverstone Hankook 24hrs – Cold, Wet
  • Silverstone WEC/ELMS – Cold, Wet, Snow (!)
  • Anglesey “Ty-Croes Sprints” – Cold, Wet, Windy

And given that I do this for my pleasure, you can see a life in orange isn’t always the fun some people think we have. Whilst the conditions haven’t been favorable, the racing and camaraderie most definitely has been. Marshals are said to be a bit of a strange breed, and it is a hobby that not everyone takes to well, but if you can put up with the inconveniences, the pleasures far outweigh things.

But now my attention is solely focused in one direction – and the month of June for me means only one thing – Le Mans and the ‘Vingt Quatre Heures du Mans’.

I first attended the event as a young spectator back in 1983 and instantly fell in love with the race, attending 2 more times before other aspects of life took over. After I started circuit marshalling, I had plans to marshal there but then the Goodwood accident happened, and I thought my dream had gone.

But then a twist of fate intervened. Bernard Nirrengarten was a ‘chef de poste’ at Le Mans, had worked with Andy Carpenter (the marshal killed in the same accident at Goodwood that I was injured in), and invited me to visit his poste if I ever got to Le Mans, and so in 2003 I attended the event principally as a spectator but sat on a poste. This fired up the imagination, and discussions between Bernard, race director Daniel Poissenot, and myself led to my being accepted as a ‘commissaire’ in 2004. And I have been there every year since, with the except of 2005 when I was briefly in hospital sorting out a leg infection, steadily increasing the duties I could undertake.

I remained as a secondary flag marshal / observer through to last year, when I elected to change roles and become a ‘commissaire de stands”, doing paddock safety duties. And while I am not actually trackside, I have the privilege of being able to visit all of the garages to view the TV and timing screens and keep up to speed with events on track. And talking to my many driver and team friends on how the event is going.

So ciao for now, I will let you know how things go when I write next.   Steve