|The prestigious award is designed to recognise excellence from any discipline of motor sport and enjoys generous support from the MSA`s insurance broker Alexander Forbes. Mark will be presented with a prestigious trophy and a Ł250 cash prize at the Motor Sports Association`s Night of Champions awards ceremony on Friday 21 January.
Mark, an agricultural parts sales manager from Burton-upon-Stather, near Scunthorpe, was nominated by the Association of North East Midlands Motor Clubs, of which he is a member. He is also the secretary of the Border Motor Club and a member of the Civil Service Motoring Association (CSMA).
He has been a volunteer marshal on hundreds of rallying events – more recently as part of start and finish crews on stages – and his son Steve has now also taken up marshalling. This year, Mark competed in an event for the first time, when he navigated for a friend on the Bloodhound Stages rally – a vital experience, he says, as it helped give him a greater understanding of the duties he regularly carries out as start and finish marshal on stages.
“I am shocked that I`ve won this award – there are plenty more people out there who I believe are more deserving of this. I will receive my trophy on behalf of the many volunteer marshals who I know put in at least as much as I do,” says Mark.
“Rallying is my first love – my wife will tell you that! If someone rang up this afternoon and said can you be on a stage in Dalby Forest in the middle of the night then I`d be there like a shot. I wouldn`t care if it was cold, wet and dark.
“There have been a few hairy moments and lots of magic moments along the way. Marshalling has enabled me to become part of a sport I love. If I had to pick a favourite event to marshal on it would be the Manx Rally on the Isle of Man. It is out of this world.”
Allan Dean-Lewis, Head of External Affairs at the Motor Sports Association, comments: “Our Award Panel was very impressed by the strength of the nomination for Mark who came out ahead of very strong nominations from other regional associations and British motor sport marshals` clubs. The commitment and effort he has displayed make him a fine example to other marshals who serve our sport. He is a very deserving winner.”
Rob Hopewell, who in just a few years since becoming involved in motor sport is now Chief Marshal of the North Wales Car Club, receives a Highly Commended certificate for his sterling efforts at regional level.
The winner of the inaugural Marshal of the Year award was Stephen Green (British Motor Racing Marshals` Club) in 2003.