MOTORCYCLING NSW LIMITED DELEGATES MEETING, 18th February, 2021.
The venue for this meeting was the Ballroom of the Blacktown Workers Club, Blacktown. (The meetings are held in the Ballroom, to comply with for the current government rules on guest spacing. Delegates are required to book on line, so that adequate chairs can be set out). The meeting commenced at 7.40pm 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.
DELEGATES MEETING MINUTES: 17 December.
An item in the minutes of the December meeting referring to changes to the constitution raised some discussion. At that meeting there was considerable argument over voting rights of delegates at meetings, especially the difference between an ordinary vote, a poll and a postal ballot. I admit the constitution is a bit ambiguous on this matter, so the board resolved to review that section.
A delegate pointed out that there are many references in the constitution which refer to duties and responsibilities of the "CEO". As the company no longer has a CEO and appears unlikely to have one again, at least in the short term, provision must be made for another employee, or possibly a director to carry out these duties. So these matters must be reconsidered. There was also a suggestion that the current practice of allowing private promotors to be granted affiliation to MNSW should be reconsidered. It was suggested that the relationship between MNSW and private promotors should be a strictly commercial arrangement, possibly as contractors. Director D. Charnings has been tasked with reviewing the whole constitution. He told the meeting that he has already started on the review, and over 100 changes will be required. Naturally, the proposed changes will be forwarded to clubs for their opinions.
During the reading of the Financial Report a question was raised over the income of "NMA". NMA, (National Motorcycle Alliance) is a non-profit road-side breakdown service for bikes and cars, managed by MNSW. According to the report, NMA's income for the last year was $280,000. The question was, if the majority of the members of NMA were not members of MNSW affiliated clubs, would their fees be taxable? The president explained that the board was aware of this matter, and had received advice that as the alliance was a non profit organisation, the ATO would not take any action until the turnover was much greater. The report shows that the service made a healthy profit last year, but I would be interested to know if this was after recovering all the actual costs, including office staff etc.
BOARD MEETING MINUTES, 19th NOVEMBER
An item in the minutes noted that the Supreme Court had requested more documents for the ongoing court case of Race Pace Promotions v MNSW. This matter, which claims restriction of trade by MNSW is being brought by former director Michel Constantinou, and has been simmering for months. The meeting was informed that before the matter gets to a hearing, a mediation conference will be held next Friday.
Let's hope that some sanity can be applied to the mediation and leave our sport controlled by our representatives, not court orders or legislation. The outcome of this case could influence the relationship of private promotors to MNSW in the constitution review presently in progress. I hope that this matter can be resolved without having to go to a hearing, and avoid the appalling cost of barristers etc.
SPORT COMMITTEE REPORTS
Mick O'Brien gave a report on the recent St George MCC night meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park. The meeting was progressing well until event seven when a rider fell approaching flag point 5.6.
The rider appeared to be seriously injured and after preliminary treatment by the on course ambulance team, outside assistance was called, and two ambulances, a medivac helicopter and three police vehicles attended. The meeting was subsequently abandoned. Since then I have been informed that the rider is recovering satisfactorily. See picture below.
Bob McGlinchy, Delegate for Bankstown-Wiley Park gave a report on recent sporting trials activities. He mentioned that in Victoria and Queensland, AMA, (Australian Motorcyclist Association) was taking over trials. I feel that this is a very bad sign. Last April this organisation published complaints it had sent to the NSW Government questioning MNSW's right to licence race circuits in NSW and the legality of Motorcycling Australia Insurance Limited.
Nothing has come from the government on the complaints, but it appears that the group is moving on to Victoria. The main attraction of AMA for clubs promoting sporting trials is the cost. Due to the low number of competitors at sporting trials, MNSW has always had a much lower fee structure for trials compared to other events, but this is not the case in other states. MA would like to have standardised permit fees across the country, along with centralised permits. Unless the fees are set relatively low, this could encourage more clubs to follow AMA. This could cause a division in the sporting trial ranks as competitors could be required to join a different organisation to compete in championship events. While trials could be considered a low-risk sport, it is not no-risk, and occasionally riders do get injured. The real value of the AMA insurance cover will be seen when a claim is made.
On a similar theme, I have heard reports that legal action is pending over an accident at the Nowra MX circuit which was conducted under an AASA permit. AASA, (Australian Auto Sport Alliance) is a Victorian organisation which was set up as a rival to CAMS. It expanded into motorcycle sport and at one stage was issuing competition licences, race permits and licencing circuits. It's main base in NSW was Wakefield Park Road Race circuit, but it eventually withdrew from motorcycle sport in 2016. It will be interesting to see how the case proceeds, and whether AAMA has any real insurance backing. The fact that the accident occurred years ago is not unusual, especially if the injured rider was a minor at the time, as a court may require proof of long term recovery prospects.
Life Member Ron Kivovitch asked for an update on the plans for the proposed bike-car-kart speedway at Eastern Creek. The President announced that the government has abandoned provision for the bike and kart circuits due to the cost estimates exceeding the budget by $30Million. Apparently the car speedway will proceed, as it was promised as a replacement for the Granville speedway, which has been resumed as a marshalling yard for the planned Western Sydney Metro. This is a serious disappointment, as MNSW had envisioned having a mini bike area near the speedway sharing some of the facilities. There was also the chance, if the government approved, of moving the MNSW office to the area. Discussions are continuing.
During a discussion on the two year extension of the lease of the Horsley Park mini-bike area, the President mentioned that the long awaited toilet improvements were nearing completion. He also mentioned that the site had recently been broken into and a bobcat, quad bike and other equipment stolen. The venue is in a fairly isolated area, apparently well known as a dumping area for stolen cars and rubbish. In an effort to improve security, the board is considering if the venue would be suitable for other bike activities such as rider training.
The President announced that the board was going to have a review of race circuit safety standards. The rules have barely changed in 25 years, but during that period bikes are more powerful and faster, so the safety standards must take this into account. As an example, the distance between jumps on MX circuits will need to change, as will run off areas on corners. The current MA race circuit requirements were a development from the MNSW version so all the rules will have to be reviewed.
He also mentioned that the Kick Start program will also be reviewed. Kick Start was originally devised as an introduction to novice riders to develop their riding skill and bike control. It was meant to give riders the ability to safely ride in club days to further develop their skill. Unfortunately some rider are going directly from Kick Start to Open meetings, and becoming a serious hazard to themselves and other competitors. A minimum number of club days may be required before entering open meetings. The Board has decided to appoint a part time (3 days/week) Technical Manager. The appointment commencing 11 January, is for a 3 month trial period. His name is Dave Byron. At the end of the trial period there will be a review and the terms and conditions will be reconsidered.
Director Tim Sanford suggested that when his current term as a director expires, he will assist in the re-introduction of the Arbitration and Disciplinary Tribunal and sourcing appropriate members. (Tim was on the Tribunal some years ago when I was a member). The board has now agreed that the current practice of directors sitting on the panel could cause conflict of interest problems. They are also reviewing the policy of using external investigators, and may revert to the previous system of an appointed panel of up to 8 suitably experienced members from within our clubs.
Meeting Closed 9.15pm.
This picture of the accident at SMP 5.6, was taken nearly an hour after the meeting was abandoned. The ambulance helicopter is in the background, near the south circuit start line.
Regards ........Dave E