This report is published to highlight the extraordinary efforts our club members and volunteers have gone to in order to resurrect in just 5 days, what was a cancelled Vintage Speedway meeting (as of July 27) into an event that was not only totally COVID compliant but in keeping with local authorities, club members and residents wishes.
On the 26th July club members agreed to the cancellation of the Vintage Speedway Component of the scheduled 1st August meeting,but retain the Speedway Kart Program (as published here) as all the entrants were from local postcodes.
This event is operated by the incorporated entity to administer Illabo Motorsport Park. Vintage and racing Speedway Events.
Then for Vintage Speedway part of the program the Concerns for potential COVID transmission and welfare of our Vintage entrants is best summarised in the following “Press Release.
Dated 27th July 2020
Statement by the Secretary of Gasworks Motorsport Club Inc: Kerry Phelan (0418245687).
The Vintage Speedway meeting to be held at Illabo Motorsport Park this coming Saturday the 1st August has been cancelled, being the third such event this year to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The decision was made following an extra ordinary meeting of Gasworks Motors Inc Club Members on Sunday afternoon (26th July) at the circuit.
The focus of the meeting was to make a formal decision based on the recommendations brought down from the Illabo Motorsport Park Track Subcommittee.
Members discussed the following considerations:
- concerns relating to the attendance of intra and interstate entrants to our Vintage Speedway event, where some of whom, may have had contact with the current NSW Government COVID -19 identified “Hot Spots” and the potential for local COVID -19 transmission.
- concern for health and safety of the local community.
- concern for the damage that may be caused to the Illabo Motorsport Brand its supporters and sponsors.
This coupled with the concern for the vulnerability of the general age demographic of those visitors.
The event was to be fully compliant with the NSW Department of Health’s COVID-19 Safety Plan, NSW Department Sport MVRD (Motor Vehicle Racing Ground) a Permit from the governing body Speedway Australia and the consent of the Illabo Showground land manager.
However, the key point was made that it would be easier to manage the “Fall-Out” and disappointment from our Vintage Speedway constituents, than it would be to manage the irreparable damage to our movement, should a virus case be traced to our event.
As a footnote to this statement, the consequence of this cancellation also has commercial ramifications being that the Junee hospitality and tourism related sector will miss out on a much-needed cash injection to the local economy from these visitors in these difficult times.
To conclude on a positive note the next Vintage Speedway Meeting at Illabo Motorsport Park is the 16th October 2020 – subject to COVID control and conditions at the time.
Mayor of Junee Shire, Cr. Neil Smith, said “I understand this must have been a difficult decision for the committee given the wide interest and reach that Illabo Motorsport has built since its inception in 2013. Doubly difficult given the financial impact on the club and the wider community. I do however congratulate them on making this tough decision and keeping our communities safe.”
So now to the Revised Event Program.
Saturday, August 1st,dawned cold and overcast with fog and limited visibility but from 7.00am onwards a steady stream of hardy volunteers started appearing through the mist to attend to their various duties to ensure we were ready for a 10.30am start.
Clerk of Course Joe Belling & off-sider Bob Neilson, Catering Manager Jeff Windsor, “Cappuccino Maestro” Bruce Macleod and Front Gate team Ray Toohey, Phil Taber, Kerry Phelan & Kate Hinds along with Keith Turner to set up the PA, being amongst the early arrivals.
These were followed by our great Volunteer team & supporters rostered on for the day, as noted in the task list below.
With log fires burning providing much need warmth at both the front gate and Café area the Kart entrants being the main attraction for the day started to roll in and set up. A drivers Briefing was held after the scrutineers had completed their respective duties and Club Event/Track officials introduced as noted in out event task list.
Also, a good news start for the meeting being it was sponsored by Andrew Berridge from Windscreen Professionals in Young.
Safe in the knowledge that that all the mandatory permit requirements were attended to, patrons were advised to take notice of the COVID Signage posted around the venue and particularly in the Spectator/Café & Pit Area to be mindful of the social distancing rules. To this end Club Members Helen & Ken Primrose acted as our official COVID Safety Officials for the day, doing a great job.
The meeting commenced with engine starts for the Karts, Speedcars & Sedans.
The 20 odd Karts entered split up into 3 events organised by Garry Rapmund.
Bruce Macleod & Trevor Allen as program organisers ensured the events keep rolling on with all categories getting 4-6 runs on the day. All seemed “Happy Campers “come home time.
After lunch, Peter Harris, our Car Club Registrar, led a number of our Club cars on H plates for a few parade laps around the track. It was agreed this was a bit of fun and novel attraction, with Peter suggesting we get more cars involved and do it at our next meeting.
Meanwhile the on track Volunteer Officials, Joe Beliing Clerk of Course, kept a watchful eye on proceedings with Robin Marshall presiding over Laps and Control Flags in the on track control tower. He was happy to report apart from the odd “Yellow Flag”there were NO BLACK or RED Flags shown, looks like everyone behaved themselves whilst putting on some entertaining and spirited driving demonstrations.
Also on hand to capture the interest and action for the day was our Club Photographer Ben O’Malley — a selection of highlights are in the gallery below.
Saturday 17th October 2020 (subject to COVID rules at the time)
It is always nice to finish on a high note however, whilst we had made some considerably effort in the short period there was from Monday 27th July and our event date 1st August to both publicise and explain the reason for the Vintage component Cancellation of our meeting, it appears some elements within the Vintage Speedway Movement were still prepared to “snipe at”, “pick at” what vehicle ran and criticise our decision.
To them we say: “Get the Facts right in the first instance — Before you start shooting off your know it all opinions and remarks”.
We have gone to great lengths to provide a track facility for Vintage Speedway and look forward to continuing to do so, but if elements of the movement are unhappy with our modus of operadi, just let us know, we have lots of other motorsport bodies interested in utilising our facility.
To Conclude: There’s a quaint old adage — If you can’t say something nice about someone or something, then don’t say anything at all.
GWM Volunteer TASK LIST & Track Officials for IMP EVENTS
Front Gate / Admission: Saturday 8.30am to 9.00am: Kerry Phelan, Ray Toohey, Phil Taber, Kate Hinds,
Saturday: 9.00am to 2.00pm on rotation: Ray Toohey, David Clarke, Phil Taber, Ronald Peters. Peter Nell, Geoff Bulkely., David Clarke.
GWM Café / Cappuccino Staff: Jeff Windsor, Robin ASUS, Max & Helen Harris, Jenny Birtles, Miranda Peters, Nancy Oram BBQ. Bruce Macleod, Robin Asmus,
GWM First Aid: Leslie Wright / Jeff Windsor
GWM Quad /Pit Program Co-ordinators: Gary Rapmund for Karts. Bruce Macleod for other categories. Vintage Events Mary-Rose Vella, Maria Green
GWM Water Truck: Joe Farrell, Chris Moloney & Barney Hillam.
GWM Push Cars: Peter Thomson, Tim Blondinau, Dave & Amber Paterson.
GWM Chief Steward Vintage: Terry Clarke / Kerry Phelan
GWM Clerk of Course: Joe Belling. / Terry Clarke
GWM Scrutineers: Trevor Allen Vintage / Garry Rapmund Karts
GWM First Response vehicle: Joe Oliveria / Steve Shuttleworth / Boyd Eccleston
GWM Grid Gate:Trevor Allen /Bruce Macleod
GWM Control Tower: Robin Marshall / Phil Taber
GWM Flaggies: Ronald Peters & Dylan Peters (Kart Retriever). Bob Neilson, Peter Nell, Peter Harris, Harley & Phil Saddler, Mick Lloyd.
GWM PA: Keith Turner, Tony Nichols
GWM Club Plate / Car Club Coordinators: Peter Harris, Allan Tucker
GWM Photographer: Ben O’Malley
GMW Admin: Nicholas Pyers / Wendy Harris / Helen Primrose / Kate Hinds 50/50 Raffle
GWM Membership: Wendy Harris
GWM COVIS SAFETY PLAN officers: Ken & Helen Primrose
Click on any image to enlarge