MOTORCYCLING NSW LTD. GENERAL MEETING, BLACKTOWN WORKERS CLUB,
26 June, 2019
The meeting opened at 7.55pm, after a delay waiting for a quorum. Newly elected President, Gavin Hunt, was in the in the chair, with continuing directors Christine Tickner and Vice President Tim Sanford, and new directors Dave Charnings, and Matt Sexton. CEO Dave Cooke was present with Ms Amy Knop as Minute Secretary.
***************** After opening the meeting and introducing the new directors, Gavin called for a minutes silence to honour the passing of a notable personality in our sport, Graham (Checkers) Stewart. (See item below).
The minutes of the last General Meeting were read and adopted. In business arising, a delegate questioned why an expense item "Shoalhaven Complex Acquisition" of $5,000.00 is shown, when he understood that the Nowra venue had been returned to the former owners.
The CEO Dave Cooke offered a long and complicated explanation. When MNSW initially planned the proposed road race circuit at Nowra, it was always intended to incorporate the existing 1,000 acre MX, Off Road Ride Park and Enduro area across the road into the "Motoplex" plan. These venues were on government land held under permissive occupancy by Nowra District Motor Cycle Club.
To avoid the possibility of the government cancelling the lease, MNSW arranged for that club to start another club, Nowra Motorcycle Club, and transfer the membership to the new club. The deal allowed the new club to a number of subsidised hirings during the year. This left MNSW as the sole member of NDMCC, and the lease agreement intact. MNSW then spent several hundred thousand dollars upgrading the circuit and facilities. The circuit is very popular, with a major event attracting thousands of spectators only two weeks ago.
Eventually, in April 2017 MNSW finally decided to abandon plans for the road race circuit in the face of insurmountable opposition from the Joint Regional Planning Panel, after spending around a million dollars on the project.
MNSW no longer needed the MX venue, so returned its control to Nowra Motorcycle Club, which has since been struggling to manage the venue, and recently has contracted management to a private promotor. At a recent meeting the club members decided that they would like to return control of the venue to Nowra District Motor Cycle Club, which is controlled by MNSW, and still holds the lease on the property. MNSW, while quite happy to assist the club promoting events on the circuit, doesn't want to manage the day to day running of circuits. I hope this matter can be resolved soon; it would be a disaster if this great venue is let to decline due to lack of management skills.
BOARD MEETING MINUTES OVERSEAS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GRANTS:
The board has decided to offer a $2,000 grant to riders selected by MA to be part of a junior or senior national team in any discipline attending an overseas World Championship event. Older readers may remember that many years ago the ACCA used to offer grants for Australian competitors to the Isle of Man TT races.
NEW AFFILIATIONS: An application for affiliation was received from Classic Motorcycle Racing Club Inc.
(The MNSW Constitution requires MNSW to notify other clubs of a new application for affiliation. If there are no objections, the board may approve the application. There are 4 grounds for objections, one of which is that approval may be detrimental to the viability of an existing affiliated club. If an application is refused, MNSW may offer mediation between the parties, conduct a ballot of MNSW clubs, or refer the decision to a MNSW General Meeting).
The office had already notified other clubs of the application, and one objection was received.
The board resolved to request more information from the club on several points.
1. How many, and what type of events did they intend to run?
2. Where did they anticipate their members would come from?
3. Did the club intend to take over the running of the International Festival of Speed?
This minute was not discussed, but when raised in general business, the meeting was informed that the application has been withdrawn.
There is a PCRA race meeting to be held at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday, 6th July which I will attend as a flaggie, and hopefully learn more about this split.
ELECTION OF PRESIDENT & VICE PRESIDENT:
The annual elections of President and Vice President were held by the board; Gavin Hunt was elected President, (last year Vice President). Tim Sanford was elected Vice President, (last year President). A clause in the constitution states that only directors with at least one year's experience may nominate for the position of President. So the only candidates were Christine Tickner, Tim Sanford and Gavin Hunt.
MA INSURANCE FUNDING MODEL: The CEO discussed funding models proposed by MA to cover the cost of running the insurance provided by MAIL, MA's in house insurer. The cost is around $3Million per year. The suggestions include taking all permit fees and some other charges, via RiderNet. MNSW is not happy with this plan, as it has long used lower permit fees as a way of subsidising safer modes of competition.
When asked if MA was considering risk based rider insurance, the CEO replied that it had been considered, but other states were not in favour. Enduro was the highest risk form of competition, as the risk of hitting objects on the side of the track such as trees is extreme. (I've tried that!). Other forms of racing have eliminated most of these hazards. MX was most numerous and expensive as far as claims are concerned; with road racing, accident numbers were low, but the claim costs are often very high.
Time is running out for a decision. The new funding model is supposed to come into operation on 1st January, 2020.
Clubs need to know what their race meeting overhead costs will be, and riders need to know how much entry fees and rider insurance are going to rise.
WEST MAITLAND VENUE:
Readers may recall my mention of MNSW interest in a disused dirt track circuit at Maitland and its possible reuse as a motorcycle rider training area. The land is adjacent to an existing MX circuit and is owned by the local council. Initially it appeared that the council was supportive of the scheme to reopen the site, which has not been used for 10 years, but recent correspondence has cast doubts on the viability of the project.
MNSW has been informed that the council would require a full development application, which should include a new access road, fencing, a bridge, toilets, plus any work needed for the track area.
No form of competition would be permitted. CEO Dave Cooke estimates the council requirements could cost over $300,000. The board will now reconsider whether this project should proceed, but it has two years to decide.
KURRI KURRI SPEEDWAY TO CLOSE?
There appears to be serious doubts over the long term future of the Loxford Park Speedway near Kurri Kurri. The circuit is on land owned by Norwegian company Hydro Aluminium, which ceased production in 2012, and the smelter was recently demolished. The land is believed to be under consideration as a residential area.
The speedway is a popular Hunter Valley attraction with full floodlighting and amenities, and has hosted rounds of the Australian Championships. The loss of this circuit would be a serious blow to speedway racing in NSW.
The adjacent MX and Dirt Track circuits are not believed to be under immediate threat, as they are on a lower area, but whether they would be acceptable near a housing estate is doubtful.
VALE GRAHAM (CHECKERS) STEWART
The sport of motorcycle racing has lost one of its most colourful characters, Graham Stewart, who died on 9th June, 2019 aged 55. Graham was widely known for his distinctive checkered flag waving at major race meetings over many years, ranging from international road races to super cross. Graham came from a family of race officials; his father Peter, was member of the ACU Management Committee and a prominent Race Steward, his mother Jenny was often involved in event Promotion and Lap Scoring, his sister Tracey was involved in equipment scrutineering at race meetings. The funeral was held at Minchinbury on Monday 17th June, and was attended by a large crowd of the motorcycle fraternity.
I knew Graham for all of his career as a starter, and I am sure he will be sadly missed by everyone in the sport. I offer my sincere sympathy to his wife, Evon and his family.
The meeting closed at 9.00pm.
Regards ..... Dave E.
PS: To ex Ryde members;
I am finally nearing the end of collating the club's archives and photo collection. I hope to distribute it to ex- members on thumb drives in 2020. There are some gaps in my collection of Ryders News, so if you have a collection in the dark depths of your shed, please send me a list of the years and issue numbers.
The combined club photo collection is now over 3000; if you wish to add your collection, please contact me.