MOTORCYCLING NSW LIMITED DELEGATES MEETING, 17 December, 2020.
The venue for the meeting was the Ballroom of the Blacktown Workers Club, Blacktown. As usual at the final meeting of the year, before the meeting started, a light meal of finger food was served. The meeting commenced at 7.30pm with the President, Gavin Hunt in the chair. All directors were present, and over 40 delegates or visitors. Here's my view of some of the proceedings.
After the Chairman opened the meeting, he welcomed those attending, and apologised for the last meeting, which, he admitted, he lost control of, due to unruly speakers on zoom. This, combined with the very noisy venue made normal management of the meeting impossible, which was eventually closed for lack of a quorum. Since then MNSW has produced a set of Delegates Meeting Protocols, which he read to the meeting. They outline the rules of conduct of debate in the meetings. There is nothing new in them. I thought that they were similar to the rules MNSW and the ACU had always operated under, but, over time various speakers had continuously ignored them to force their opinions on the meetings.
DELEGATES MEETING MINUTES: 27 August.
During a discussion on the proposed Minikhana area at Eastern Creek, the President confirmed that the current Government thinking is for it to be in the vicinity of the new speedway, but could also be across the road on the former dump site. This whole area is now envisioned as having shared facilities for other motor sports, including a kart circuit, a motard circuit, and possibly a junior road racing circuit. The lease on the Horsley Park site has been extended for 18 months, but the board would prefer a longer term, to recoup some of the money invested in facilities, and delay the cost of restoring the site.
There was also much debate on interpretation of the constitution regarding voting rights at meetings. Former CEO Dave Cooke (Nowra) claimed that each club had the right to have three delegates attend a meeting, and each had the right to one vote. The board accepted that, except that if a poll was called, each club only had one vote. This also applies to postal ballots. MNSW's position is that for zoom meetings, having up to three votes for each club is unmanageable. Further interpretation of the constitution for online meetings is required. BOARD MINUTES: 3 September Discussion on MA's 3 Part Strategic Plan, which included centralised licencing, and many other functions. Directors O'Donnell and Charnings explained that there was insufficient detail to consider their long term effects on MNSW operations.
The Board resolved that it would not be agreeing to any changes without more details and consultation with members.
BOARD MINUTES: 15 October
A question was asked regarding an item in the minutes regarding a request from Motorcycling Victoria for support at the next ALT Meeting, for a reduction in insurance premiums during the Covid Crisis. It appears that they felt that as there was less racing activity, the premiums should be reduced. The chairman explained that although there may be less claims at present, the income is used to pay for ongoing claims, some of which go back years. Apparently the other states, including MNSW did not agree. The request was refused.
The application for deregistration of MNSW Properties has been forwarded to ASIC and is now on public notice. Confirmation of the deregistration is expected in 3 weeks. DELEGATES MEETING MINUTES: 5 November (Deferred from 22 October). Discussion on the remediation of the Oakdale MX circuit. The chairman announced that the club had completed all requirements of the EPA, and the circuit would reopen shortly.
He claimed that recovery of expenditure from the soil contractors appears unlikely as the contaminated fill is believed to have been delivered 7 years ago and also 5 years ago. No final decision had been made regarding the conversion of the $200,000 loan to the club to a grant.
BOARD MINUTES: 19 November. The Board discussed the affiliation application by Classic Motorcycle Club, which was refused at the Delegates Meeting held on 5th November. Director Tim Sanford disclosed that information he had read at the Delegates meeting opposing the application was incorrect. The Board resolved to reconsider the application at the next Delegates meeting, on 17 December.
The Board is to review the current Arbitration and Disciplinary process. This is presently carried out by the Board, but was previously carried out by the A&D Tribunal, which consisted of an appointed panel and a solicitor. The present arrangement has proved to be long and involved, and the Board has now found that it is the defendant in a hearing and has an embarrassing conflict of interest. I expect that any new scheme would require a change to the Constitution.
The chairman announced that the board had advertised for a part time (3 days per week) Financial Officer. They were interviewing the last three candidates. There was no mention when the duties would start, although the MNSW office is closed from 18 December until 5th January, 2021.
Questions on payments to H. Jackaman, who has been hired as a consultant to sort out many of MNSW's procedures. The chairman stated that Mr Jackaman's fees were a private matter, but were paid by a government grant.
Veterans MCC. Believed to be a recreational club located in the Southern Highlands, which was previously using National Motorcycle Alliance insurance for their club social activities. Approved.
Classic Motorcycle Club. This application had been referred by the board back to the Delegates meeting, after Director T. Sanford disclosed that he may have misled the last meeting. Tim offered his apologies to the meeting for his misreading of figures related to PCRA race meeting losses. The $1.6M figure he mentioned, was the total turnover of the meetings, the loss was $138,000.
Greg Roberts, representing Classic MC, presented a strong case on why their club should be affiliated, stating that some members of PCRA were unhappy with the way it was heading, and wanted to start their own club which would suit their aims. He admitted that the club had plans to eventually run an International Classic Race Meeting.
He added that if affiliation with MNSW failed, they had been invited to affiliate with MA or Motorcycling Queensland, possibly promoting their events in Victoria or Queensland. They also had the option of affiliating as a private promotor. Life Member Ron Kivovitch, a past President of MA and MNSW, supported the application, saying it would be a disgrace if a NSW club was affiliated to another controlling body.
After considerable discussion a vote was taken, with 17 in favour of affiliation and 4 opposed. Now that the club is finally affiliated 18 months after the first application, it will be interesting to follow their progress.
Several Delegates expressed their disappointment at the cancelling of zoom Delegates meetings. The zoom meetings gave country clubs an opportunity to be involved in meetings and contribute to discussions. It was noted that MNSW has already advertised the dates of the 2021 Delegate's meetings, all to be held at Blacktown Workers Club. The chairman acknowledged that the zoom meetings had been a disappointment, due to a combination of poor venue, inadequate equipment, and poor behaviour on the part of some delegates. MNSW has recently introduced its Delegates Meeting Protocols as guidelines for conduct during meetings.
The Board was investigating an alternate platform which could mute or disconnect unruly speakers. This may require outside assistance. So a resumption of on-line meetings is not completely out of question. Former CEO Dave Cooke, now delegate for Nowra club, complained about the delay in the transfer of the ownership of the Nowra MX and Enduro property, which is currently being operated as a ride park. The President explained that the matter was being handled by MNSW's lawyers, Teddington Legal. He agreed that there were problems in the transfer as the Nowra club was a company, but MNSW would not be taking any short cuts to speed up the process. He suggested that more co-operation would assist the process, and both parties must rigorously follow the legal requirements. MNSW has offered to pay Nowra Club's legal expenses to expedite the transfer.
Meeting Closed 9.45pm.
COMMENT: This meeting was a vast improvement on the November meeting. The venue was quiet, and after the President read the new meeting protocols the discussions were much more orderly. The conduct of the meeting was much more civil, although several speakers still needed to be called to order.
As evidence of the improvement, this meeting closed before 10pm, having run out of business. The last meeting ended at 11.00pm, and barely reached Committee Reports before the meeting was closed.
FLOODLIGHTING AT SMP. 2
I attended the first night motorcycle race meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park on 11th December. The meeting, which was promoted by St George MCC was held on the Gardner circuit, (the original layout). I was a flag marshal on flag point 4. The new track lighting was excellent. One prominent ex-rider told me that the lighting was much better than several overseas circuits he had attended. Of particular note was that the lighting covered run off areas on corners, so that riders didn't disappear into the dark if they overshot a turn.
There were cars competing on the skid pan (now also flood lit, and directly behind flag point 4), and they were sometimes noisier than the bikes! The meeting had about 85 riders, started at 6.30 pm and finished around 10.45pm, with 10 events, plus time trials. There was one red flag stoppage, and a few other hick-ups, but generally the meeting ran OK. Some riders had tail lights on their bikes, making them much easier to see from behind. Bike numbers were very hard to read, especially if painted with gloss paint, and riders with black leathers were very hard to follow. Here's a couple of before-and-after photos to give you an idea of the lighting, taken with my old Canon pocket camera.
View from flag point 4 looking back to 3.7 at 6.30pm
Same view at 8.30pm.
From flag point 4 looking towards flag point 5 at 6.30 pm.
Same view at 8.30pm. Note bike with tail light near FP 5.
After the races, Turns 2-3 from the top of the hill, 11.00pm.
Turn 5.6 and South start line from top of the hill, 11.00pm.
Overall I think this meeting has opened a whole new opportunity for bike racing. If the cost is reasonable, this may give smaller clubs the chance to hold events at Eastern Creek. The next St George meeting will be held on 8th January, 2021.
Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
LATE NEWS: Today, Sunday 20th, new Covid travel restrictions have been announced for the Sydney Metropolitan and Central Coast areas. I haven't heard any mention of closing race venues or attendance limits yet, but things are changing very quickly. Limiting non-essential travel is already recommended, so stay safe.