The first pic I saw upon opening OBA 48 was that oil spill cleanup at the top of the editorial: Grrrr: A pet hate! But the article was articulating what many are aware of, but are reluctant to discuss: the ridiculous size of the Nats (Australian Historic Road Racing Championships) programme. We have run the Nats four times in Perth, with a tighter schedule each time. Last year, the entire three days was a game of unattainable catch-up, with each crash or breakdown causing uncalculated delays and throwing the schedule out the window. As a result, relations between race control and the workers were testy at best, and nobody assisting in running the meeting had an enjoyable weekend. Guess what will happen next time we’re shopping for helpers? In addition, the Nats attracts a small percentage of once-a-year entrants whose bikes are sub-par, and whose riding skills are rusty: either by crash or breakdown, these no doubt wellintentioned folk are the cause of delays to a programme that can’t afford them. They are also evident at the Pukekohe Classic each year...
To be fair, the standard of bike, and of race riding at Lakeside was very good. The entry was massive, the machinery impressive, and after the initial shock of having three different groups of people yelling “You can’t do that!” at one, things settled down and an excellent weekend unfolded. But like you, the first thing I thought when looking through the programme, was the small amount of race time the riders received for their not-inconsiderable entry fee. I’m not sure it wasn’t one of those think-on-yourfeet decisions which featured all weekend, but if the organisers were going to be using rolling grid positions, then in view of the fact that Thursday was a practice day, perhaps one Friday morning qualifier would have sufficed, and they could have given each class an extra race on the Friday afternoon. I signed on and worked on Recovery 1 on the Friday, and we had customers after nearly every session, mostly from crashes or bike failures at the Karrussell, so even if they had raced that afternoon, perhaps they would have struggled to get the whole schedule through. As you’re no doubt aware, the HMRAV Southern Classic at Broadford has a full programme with plenty of rides, but they are steadfastly maintaining their Period 5 cutoff, and seem unlikely to change, so that works for them. Similarly, the Sheene Classic at Eastern Creek run P6 and New Era, but have seemingly limited interest in the older classes. Are these the beginnings of a solution? Also organisers of the Island Classic, with P5 Unlimited as their feature class, have embraced P6 but are left tapping their toes while P2 solo and P3 sidecars flog slowly round the vast expanses of a quick circuit: not too sure they’ll keep these classes on the programme as they are clearly not totally suitable to the track. Regarding the VMX split: the reasons are unclear, but twice recently the post-74 Nats have been cancelled: once was from poor planning and publicity, the other time was from the meeting being scheduled to run in Tasmania, and receiving little support from mainland clubs. Yet the message is clear, for the VMX guys the split will work, and they have accepted the idea.
So good on you for bringing it to the fore, lets hope now we can get some dialogue happening, and groups can put aside their personal agendas, get thinking, and sort out the Nats so we can all get some track time! In closing, I never heard anyone whingeing about lack of laps at Lakeside during the meeting, but I bet it occurred to plenty of them on the way home... Glenn Ducey Perth, WA Thanks for the email. I wasn’t sure whether to write this editorial, as I didn’t want to appear to criticise the people who work so hard, but I felt it was time… You mention rolling grids – here’s another pet hate of mine. I reckon where you qualify is where you race. Sure it can be tough if some quick bloke has a problem in qualifying, but that’s life. That way, there’s only one grid position for everyone (riders AND officials) to remember. There were numerous problems with this at Lakeside, as there are at other meetings, and they all take precious time to sort out, hence more pressure on everyone. Me? I just want to trace, not sit around the pits for 95% of the weekend. – Ed