Packed pro­grams

Old Bike Australasia - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

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

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