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Volunteer Rally Marshal Ray Smith

A snap taken by Ray Smith as he spectated the 1973 Road Rally after clocking off from his marshalling duties

On seeing an appeal for volunteers to marshal the 1973 Caravan Club British Caravan Road Rally, Club member Ray Smith jumped into action.

Smith’s interest in motor sport led him to volunteer at the event. He soon received an invitation to attend a briefing session in a South Wales pub where he was selected to man the time controls during the road section. Being at post from six in the evening to three the next morning he decided to take his father–in law along to make the tea. A friend who also joined Ray did not find the experience quite so enjoyable, disappearing after a few hours, never to return.

When recalling the safety measures put in place for marshals, Smith commented that it was in the days before high-vis jackets were used. Marshals relied on the bright halogen lights from the competing cars to ensure they were spotted while manning the night time country roads. 

Press the play button to hear Ray Smith's recollections of safety measures for marshals in 1973:

Smith was mostly impressed at the strong‑stomach of the competing co‑drivers who, despite being bounced around the roads while focussing on Ordnance Survey maps, did not suffer from car sickness.

Once his stint as a marshal was complete, Ray grabbed a few hours sleep in a car park before heading off to Silverstone where he watched the track tests and the first ever caravan race.

The Caravan Club relied on hundreds of volunteer members to act as marshals at the events. It was reported how they played a ‘vital part in the rally’s excellent organisation’.

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