Well this will be my final
race report. After 5 years on the
committee at Auckland Car Club it is time for me to move on and to achieve a
few other goals within motor sport.
I have to say that the 5
years has gone very quickly. Today I
thought I would set out to you a little bit about what has been achieved by the
Auckland Car Club over the last 5 years just so that you don’t lose sight of
exactly what the club has been doing.
Five years ago when I became
involved the Auckland Car Club was only running two race meetings a year. It had been squeezed out on the
calendar. The dates and classes were
organised by NZIGP on its behalf.
There were no set classes and
each meeting had basically different grids depending on which groups were
interested in running on the particular dates.
Today Auckland Car Club runs
between 5 and 7 race meetings a year. It
has 6 standing grids (fast saloons, slow saloons, aces plus, northern muscle,
production muscle and classic Japanese).
We work closely with these coordinators to ensure that what dates we can
get work for them and their classes.
Most of these classes run at every Auckland Car Club meeting, although
several of them will also do a couple of extra meetings if their members are
While it has been tough for
motor racing in the last few years with the global financial crisis and the
general financial position in New Zealand, Auckland has adapted again to ensure
that there are reasonable grids. Part of
this is ensuring that we get decent dates and to achieve this race dates are
booked up to 2 years in advance.
However, just because we have booked a date doesn’t mean that we get to
keep it. An example was February 18 and
19 this year when we got asked to move off our date at Hampton Downs so the inaugural
super tourer meeting could take place.
As you could appreciate moving a date then caused a consequential
shuffling effect with a number of our other dates.
We work closely with our
series coordinators and try to hold 1 to 2 meetings a year with them to ensure
that their groups are well represented at Auckland and that any issues they
have got are being addressed. Also,
Auckland is now part of a wider group of clubs operating within the motor sport
scene in Auckland that meet 3 to 4 times a year to coordinate their activities
and discuss the wider issues affecting motor sport in Auckland.
Finally, Auckland has also
been prepared to joint venture race meetings.
This happened with the March and May meetings this year where instead of
running smaller meetings at a loss, we have run joint meetings with the
Historic Racing Club. There is an old
saying that its better to take half for profit than all of the loss and this
has certainly been the case. While there
have been some teething problems this year because each of the clubs runs their
meetings in a slightly different way, the benefit has been that competitors get
to turn up to race meetings with decent numbers. There is nothing better than sitting on a
start grid with another 20 cars around you waiting for the lights to go
out. It is also a better spectacle for
the public and for your supports that have come along with you.
The last 5 years has also
seen the opening of Hampton Downs. This
new motor racing facility is an asset to the Auckland region and we are very
lucky to have the choice of two tracks.
We will hope that Pukekohe will invest in more money in their facilities
as it would be nice to see some garages rather than the dilapidated structure
that Pukekohe has at the moment. There
has also been some talk of Pukekohe getting the club circuit going again, just
like there is at Hampton Downs building their second small circuit. Auckland will need to look to use these
smaller circuits as they are put in place in the future as the costs of track
hire are getting increasingly high.
Over the past 5 years the
cost of putting a motor race meeting on has gone up over 50%. We now need in excess of $10,000 worth of
revenue just to cover costs before we can even consider breaking even. This applies to motor sport throughout the country
and not just in Auckland. A small part of this is in the track hire,
but a lot of it is in the bolt on services like the ambulance costs which have
gone up significantly over the past 5 years.
For the year ended February 2012, Auckland still made a loss on its motor
racing activities so if you feel that the increase in entry fees were
unwarranted, I can assure you they were as Auckland still struggles to actually
break even out of its motor racing activities overall. We don’t aim to make money out of them, but
we do aim to break even.
So what will the future hold
for me? Firstly, I am still involved
with NZIGP and its activities. I will continue to represent the Auckland Car
Club within the NZIGP organisation where I am on the board of motor sport
management, the sporting executive and the overall board of control. I am also heavily involved with the motor
sport club which was set up two years ago to help promote and coordinate
volunteers within the motor sport community.
As you are aware I am passionate about growing the pool of volunteers
because the one problem I have had over the last 5 years is being told that
there is simply not enough volunteers to be able to run the number of race
meetings happening within the Auckland area.
I can assure that that problem has only got worse not better
particularly with the advent of the New Zealand super tourers and the number of
meetings that they are racing at Hampton Downs and Pukekohe. This is a challenge I am relishing and I am
working closely with Willard Martin, Chris Watson and Debbie Day to grow the
pool of volunteers. We have also been
talking to Motor Sport New Zealand and while we have had a sympathetic ear from
them, wheels do move slowly in Wellington.
Above all however, I would
like to thank you for the last 5 years.
It has been great working with the team at Auckland Car Club and more
importantly with you as the competitors and members. It is great to come down to any of the events,
whether it has been as a clerk of the course or as a competitor, and see you
all competing and enjoying yourselves.
The Auckland Car Club events have a culture that is somewhat unique, low
level club racing that shows great camaraderie and friendship. Every time I go over to the track I am amazed
at how people help each other, with parts or advice or just getting in their
and helping someone in need. We are also
racing for chocolate fish at the end of the day. The most important thing is to get out their,
have a skid and have some fun. That is
what racing is about. If you want to go
and bash up against someone else and win at all costs, go and either buy a
stock car or join one of the premier classes where that seems to be the mode of
No doubt I will see you all
round soon and watch out for the number 19 car, there is a rumour it might even
come out of retirement and do the odd race soon.