An Interview With Dan Ashton

An Interview With Dan Ashton

At long last, we have the privilege of sitting down with Dan Ashton. If you haven't had the chance to acquaint yourself with Dan, it's high time you did.

 As clerk of the course, Dan is the driving force behind the scenes at numerous captivating karting events spanning the United Kingdom. Interestingly, Dan's reputation can be rather dynamic, sometimes cast as a hero and at other times as a more contentious figure. However, one cannot dispute the vital role Dan plays in ensuring the safety and seamless orchestration of karting events. Each weekend, he places himself at the forefront of the action, allowing us to revel in our shared passion for racing. Kudos to Dan for his dedication to preserving the thrill of our sport.


C1RCUIT - Welcome along Dan. Firstly lets start with, are you the hero or are you the villain?

Hi and thank you for choosing me for today’s interview! The hero or the villain… I like to see myself as a ‘hero’ alongside all the other volunteer officials & marshals ensuring events are running safely and fairly. However, I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there that see me as a villain for sure.


C1RCUIT – From my experiences of being under your stewardship, I find you a firm but fair character. You have to lay the law down, because ultimately your role is to facilitate the safe running of a sport which, frankly, is dangerous and involves kids. It’s not something that most people would choose to do. So why is Dan Ashton choosing to put himself in the lions den and be a Clerk of The Course of Grassroots Karting?

Hard but fair is always my motto and safety is always the number 1 priority for all attending an event. I officiate meetings from grass roots to British level karting. Many think it is the same job, which it is in some ways, but when it comes to ‘driving standards’ it is completely different in my opinion. British level karting you expect it to be mostly ‘perfect’ with very little mistakes. Whereas grass roots, potentially you have people turning the wheel in anger for the very first time. To answer your question as to why I choose to officiate in grass roots karting is simple. It’s getting the competitors, parents included, familiar with the world of karting for their hopeful next steps into British and maybe even World Championship level of the sport. 80% of the attendees at grassroots level are mainly attending for a good race/event with their friends and family and more importantly enjoyment and it is nice to see many people around the paddock playing together but more importantly helping people get out onto the track! But as I say, I really enjoy preparing the competitors for their future in the sport.


C1RCUIT – Invariably you’ll have good weekends and not so good weekends. Can you share with us a weekend or an incident that tested your limits and pushed you to the edge?

A very tricky question this. Of course I’ve been involved in many different meetings with incidents on and even off the track. Each incident is different in many ways and tests the limits. Making quick on the spot decisions to ensure everyone remains safe in the moment. One that sticks in my mind, there was an incident this year in The Kart Championship in bambino which was quite a hard hit. It was an easy decision to deploy the red flag not 10 seconds after the incident. It involved 3 drivers so having to deploy the medical car, tend to drivers, get marshals on scene and all the usual managing the scene of parents etc. This certainly tested the limits and after everything was dealt with, incident clear and drivers safely with the medics we had a slight pause for all of us to ‘gather our thoughts’ before restarting the track action again.


C1RCUIT – Similarly, what have been some of your best memories?

I have many happy memories in the sport, from winning championships and races myself to watching the best drivers of the sport having some great races! 2 memories stick in my mind. 1) Being involved with Trent Valley Kart Club when they hosted the 2017 FIA World Karting Championship where 2 British drivers took titles, It was great to watch! 2) I’ve worked with Darren Beavers at The Kart Championship (formally The BKC) for a good number of years now. I bring this up as the dedication of the championship, but more so Darren, is always amazing and I have some many happy memories of working with Darren and the team for sure!


C1RCUIT – What is your least favourite flag and why?

My least favourite flag is easy! The Red Flag! Not only does this flag normally mean there is potentially an incident on track that can’t be dealt with under a yellow flag or Quarter Flag! It means lots more procedures must be followed and potentially more paperwork.


C1RCUIT – What’s your favourite track to Clerk?

Easy – PFi – End!


C1RCUIT - What's the single toughest part of your job as Clerk Of The Course?

Again, quite a tough question, there are many things combined that makes the job of Clerk of the Course ‘tough’. Personally the toughest is making the quick on the spot decisions to ensure everyone is safe and the racing is fair all at the same time.


C1RCUIT – We put it out there to the paddock general for their questions, and it was interesting what came back. There seems to be a fascination with your shoes. Care to tell us a bit more about this?

Yes… my shoes seem to have become ‘famous’ within the paddocks for being extremely bright trainers, and now it’s started I just have to continue!


C1RCUIT – Invariably a person in your position isn’t going to be everyone’s best friends. But after all said and done I think there is a healthy respect for the work you do. So let’s dive in to some of the questions that we received…


What made you turn to clerking? And do you consider yourself a poacher turned gamekeeper? That question comes from Richie Mason.

Oh god, this could get messy! A good one to start with though. For sure, it was interesting going from the ‘fast’ side of the fence to the ‘dark side’! However, I feel my driver instincts are still there and certainly help me in the role of Clerk. I must add Richie has no room to speak, having recently become a Motorsport UK Assistant Clerk.


When you raced mascar/american cup cars you sometimes spectacularly disagreed with the officials decisions. Now you are an official yourself do you see things differently? That question from Richard Barwick.

Again, I feel all my racing experience is certainly helpful in the role as clerk. But do I see things differently? Yes and no. I certainly fully appreciate the effort there is to put on any race meeting however, I’ll be the first to admit we can’t always get it right in the moment or they may not agree with the decisions (which admittedly I never really did). So yes, I partially see things differently however still fully appreciate the red mist from the trackside of the fence also.


What does the quarter flag actually mean? That one is from Stu Stretton

All the appropriate wording can be found in the Motorsport UK Blue Book, but effectively… Slow down, NO overtaking and follow the leader, the race will resume on the green flag at the start line with no overtaking until you’ve crossed the start/finish line.


Dan, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing you at track, and it’s great to see you wearing one of our Racer X3s.

You are very welcome, I am always more than happy to share some of my experiences and I’m sure they’ll be plenty more experiences at the tracks in the future! It is always a pleasure to wear the Racer X3. They are such stylish, comfortable, ‘easy to use’ and affordable. I would recommend not only the X3’s but the C1rcuit Watches to anyone and will be continuing to wear the brand for sure.

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