There seems to be much misinformation, or fake news, out there about Track Action at Barbagallo Raceway and the return of motorbike activities to the circuit from August 24, 2018. If you have the slightest interest in what’s happening – now, and in the future – I urge you to continue reading. And do your mates a favour – pass it on to them!” Adrian Chambers
I caught up with JOHN TETLEY, Queensland Raceways CEO, in Perth and this is what he had to say:
ACM: Tell me about Track Action?
JT: Track Action Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of RACERS. Its purpose is to introduce new events, and new types of events in new geographies. As such it is another entrepreneurial Event Provider which operates in the environment sanctioned by RACERS.
ACM: Are the ride days at Barbagallo the first things that you have done in Western Australia ?
JT: No, not by any means. We have sanctioned quite a number of grassroots events in WA and indeed provided our timing technology to a number of clubs here on the West Coast. We have also taken a keen interest in the potential for the Perth Motorplex as a venue to deliver RACERS sanctioned events.
ACM: Will Track Action have a permanent presence in WA?
JT: Yes, we have already leased premises to be used as a permanent office and we are currently looking to recruit a permanent part-time manager for both RACERS representation and operational management of the Track Action Moto Ride Days. I would request that anyone who believes they have the skills and approximately 100 days per year to send a CV by email to admin@RACERS.WORLD for our consideration.
ACM: What does Track Action know about running ride days?
JT: Quite a lot actually. We began delivering QR Moto Ride days at Queensland Raceway in 2005, using Champions as a contractor to do the event delivery. After we re-opened Lakeside in 2008 we made a significant investment in safety furniture so we could begin running ride days there too. Champions was selected to be the event delivery contractor at Lakeside too. The team responsible for delivering two-wheel events has close enough to 50 years experience in delivering motorcycle events – that is far more than anyone else in the country can claim. Track Action is new, but the expertise is not!
ACM: How is it that Track Action will be able to run Ride Days when nobody else can?
JT: Let’s make it clear. It is not the fault of the WA Sporting Car Club that motorcycle activities have ceased to exist at Barbagallo. Indeed, they have shown great enthusiasm to us to resume two-wheel activities at the venue. The reason we are able to resume the Ride Day activities is because, firstly, we are investing close to $100,000 in Crash Cushions to dramatically improve the survivability of incidents at the venue and secondly, those investments have made the Targeted Risk Assessment acceptable to our insurer, SLE, and therefore the events can be sanctioned by RACERS.
ACM: You have an exclusive agreement to deliver Ride Days at Barbagallo, was that necessary?
JT: We are a business and we are here to provide products that the public wants to buy at a price they are willing to pay. When you want to provide products to the public at the lowest prices, you have to have confidence that you can amortise your initial investments in people, property and safety equipment over the longest possible period so you can keep the costs down.
We had to be confident that we could recoup our initial investments and then move to a profitable position. To have that confidence, we had to have an exclusive tenure so that we can have some confidence in recovering the initial investment. There is no reason any of the other Ride Day providers already in WA could not have gone to the WA Sporting Car Club and put forward the same kind of deal to bring Ride Days back to Barbagallo.
The fact that they didn’t is a reflection on them and not on the WASCC for doing the deal with RACERS and Track Action.
ACM: Are Ride Days all that you will be running in W.A.?
JT: Probably not. With the spinning off of RACERS and Track Action by Australasian Raceways Holdings last year we went to market for a senior manager from the industry to run those operations on behalf of Australasian Raceway Holdings Pty Ltd. We were fortunate in that we were able to employ Terry and Gloria O’Neill, who had been running the Australasian Superbike Company (AuSCo). This team has been delivering all types of two-wheel events for more than 21 years – from grassroots Ride Days to national championships, including the Australian Superbike Championship and Formula Xtreme. It would be fair to say that there is nobody else in Australia to proclaim to have had the breadth and length of experience that they bring to RACERS.
Specifically to develop and grow the Track Action business, we employed Josh MacFarlane to manage and deliver events. Like Terry and Gloria, Josh has extensive experience in the industry especially in regard to retail and Ride Days. If you add up all of that experience it comes to close on 50 years; and that is not counting the experience that Australasian Raceways Holdings has access to through its other subsidiary – Queensland Raceways Operations Pty Ltd.
ACM: Will you be sanctioning and delivering four-wheel events at some stage in WA too?
JT: Actually, we already are in one form or another – about 90 events last year. Because we operate at the grassroots level most of the time, RACERS does not get onto the “radar screen” of the top level or mainstream motorsport operators. RACERS currently sanctions all the roll racing events in Western Australia, many if not most, of the drifting events, and quite a lot of off-road events. In addition we are frequently the first port of call for companies wishing to deliver product launches and vehicle testing. RACERS has just over 1600 Clubman Licences issued in WA.
ACM: it looks like exciting times ahead for motorsport generally in Western Australia. What do you expect to do next?
JT: Exciting? That is probably correct, but it will depend upon what the enthusiasts in Western Australia want us to do next. The issue is that too many people equate motorsport with racing, and we have proven, beyond any shadow of doubt, that racing is the smallest part of motorsport. That is why we prefer to use the term, “recreational motorised activities” when describing what we do with products – like Happy Laps for company social clubs and our theme events like Fair Dinkum Fathers Day that brings many thousands of dads out for a morning with the kids as well as their long-suffering wives. Fact, the most commonly owned piece of recreational equipment in the world today is a motorcar; with motorbikes not too far behind them. What we do is give people the opportunity to enjoy their vehicles just like you see in the car advertisements on TV.
For example, there are more 90,000 motorcycles registered in the Perth area. if we can get 2000 of them to come to Barbagallo three times a year, we will be saving lives by getting speed off the roads, and we will have a long-term viable business of benefit to Barbagallo as well as Track Action.
And that can only be good for the traditional motorsport adherents.”
EDITED by AC