Of the major series this summer, only the TRS has come up with worthwhile fields and this alone will make the series successful. the way the TRS people have gone about their job is a credit to them.
Many of us will be able to remember the time when motor racing in New Zealand was organised, run and promoted by individual clubs. Come the summer and the meetings at Baypark, Pukekohe, Levin/Manfield, Wigram, Teretonga, Dunedin perhaps, Waimate and Ruapuna were all run separately, but within a common area of interest.
Everything was under the control of the central governing body called variously, ANZCC, MANZ and now MSNZ, and motor racing promoters and circuit owners met frequently to discuss matters of direct interest to themselves
These were different times and while it worked well enough, it was obvious that if there was to be some sort of uniformity to the international part of the season, there needed to be an umbrella organisation.
That organisation — a promotional company — was created to organise, run and promote the series, but directly under the control of what was now called MANZ.
But problems arose.
At the heart of the matter, I believe, is the fundamental structure of the way motorsport is run in New Zealand.
Only a very few car clubs affiliated to the parent body actually have anything to do with the big league events, or motor racing circuits. Yet each of these affiliated car clubs has a person who is their representative at the Annual General council meeting of the parent body. In many cases, these people have held that position for many years and they have never really had any real interest in what formulae are being raced, or what the politics of New Zealand motor racing are.
They are simply interested in the overall welfare of the sport and the effect that has on their club. Their club may be in a small remote area and they run two hillclimbs, a bent sprint and a club rally each year. What happens in the V8s at Teretonga, or Hampton Downs is really of no interest to them.
And most of the work of the parent body is taken up with looking after the affairs of the majority of clubs outside the small number involved in motor racing.
So, the new promotional motor racing body started to feel it operated alone and was not really answerable to anyone but itself. That led to an increasingly arrogant and stand alone attitude that can only have been historically encouraged by some members of the parent body.
In recent years the arrogance of the promotional company was also tainted by increasing levels of ineptitude and personal empire building.
Remarkably, while it was obvious to many people that motor racing in New Zealand was going to hell in a handcart, the parent body did nothing.
But neither did the member clubs scattered across the country. Come each annual general meeting and the affairs of the promotional body were passed over without any opportunity for rigorous questioning and probing, because few of the representatives of these member clubs really had any interest.
Then there was a changing of the guard at the parent body which allowed the promotional body to spin completely out of control.
I find it difficult to accept that these people who retired from the national scene had no idea of what was going on.
But their departure left a vacuum into which a group of self interested opportunists moved. And move they did.
The result of all of this has been the events of the past 18 months or so — the emergence of the rebel V8 Supertourers, the slow moving of the official V8 series, wasteful (and embarrassing) legal challenges and finally the total collapse of the promotional company that was originally set up by the parent body.
Now we have the total capitulation of the official V8 teams which was really the only way that this situation was going to be resolved.
We also have the parent body saying piously that the collapse of the promotional company and the current mess has nothing to do with it. That is plainly wrong.
As the parent body it had the final responsibility to ensure that the sport was being managed in the best possible way in the interests of the sport and it’s individual members, all of whom were, ultimately, shareholders.
I would sheet home the bottom line of responsibility to the individual club members, most of who, like everyone else in the country, knew what was happening, but did nothing to stop it.
Over the past decade or more, the sport has lost momentum because of mismanagement, wrong decisions and a lack of resolve.
This summer, with the single exception of the TRS, the sport will stall. Again, except for TRS, the other major supporting races are notable for a level of entry that is pathetic. And the mismatch and fudging of support races at the major meetings is farcical.
All of this was as obvious as greyhound’s testicles a year ago, the rumblings of collapse were evident two or three years ago — that was when something needed to be done. Not two months ago.
But the declaration of peace, of the merger of interests between the two rival V8 factions yesterday is not a cure. It’s only a temporary reprieve for the problems of a racing formula that has no long-term future.
The management of the sport is still in total disarray.
— Allan Dick