M/cycle Sport Crossroad ?

Posted: Fri 19 Dec 2003

Is motorcycle sport in NZ now at a crossroad?
Most readers will be aware that an unsavoury and unfortunate rift has developed between the Bay of Plenty Motorcycle Club and Motorcycling NZ.

Due to not having sufficient facts of the matter the writer is not prepared to comment on the cause or causes. Suffice to say that cool heads needed to prevail so that this unsavoury matter could be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
But my recent exchanges [Wot] Publicity ? - 3: demonstrate that the current MNZ CEO, Trevor Gill, is more inclined `to shoot from the hip` than he is `to pour oil on troubled waters`. The petulant response to the questions and criticisms that I had the temerity to raise was not appropriate for the CEO of a National sporting body - and that is a view that has been privately extended by a large number of `names` from within the sport.

One hopes that the sage personnel within MNZ can now prevail - as MNZ needs a unified body of NZ motorcycle riders - and those riders need to have confidence in the body that is to administer their chosen sport. Namely MNZ, as I don\'t think fragmentation of administration is the answer.

However readers may gain some background of the affair and form their own opinion from the - BOP Website: or this - Forum: and also the following article that appeared in the `Whakatane Beacon` in July.

The Whakatane based Bay of Plenty Motorcycle Club is on the verge of breaking away from the sport’s governing body in a bid to provide a better deal for grassroots riders.

The club is currently affiliated to Motorcycling NZ, which oversees motorcycle sporting activities throughout the country by issuing event permits and competition licences for riders.
Traditionally the affiliation to MNZ (formerly the Auto Cycle Union) has provided clubs with a degree of quality assurance through its rules and regulations, which govern officials’ roles, and with liability insurance to protect them financially in the event something goes wrong.

Though a long-time member of the union, BOPMCC is now questioning the value for money its riders are getting out of the deal.
Club president Tony Rees said rider licences cost $80 for a senior or $50 for a junior, plus about $3 from each day’s entry fees goes to MNZ.
He claims that amount is enough to start turning riders off the idea of taking part in events such as a club motocross championship round – especially if they are only interested in having a ride to see if they like it.
Additionally the club can now obtain its own liability insurance as and when it needs it and the costs are less than the MNZ affiliation.

Rees said BOPMCC has already started running events without MNZ permits and is allowing unlicensed riders to enter races.
The club maintains its officials are well-drilled in what is required, and Rees argues racing on a motocross track in ability and engine-capacity graded races is safer than putting all-comers on a trail ride where bikes vary from 50cc to 500cc and riders from rank beginners six year-olds to experts.

Such trail events, he points out, do not require MNZ permits or competition licences because by definition they are not “competitive”.
“But at least on a motocross track the St John Ambulance is at most a kilometre away, on a trail ride that could be 20 or 30km through inaccessible country.”

Rees estimates as many as 50 riders have entered the club’s motocross champs at Awakaponga as a result of the policy to allow unlicensed riders to compete. “And that’s what we’re all about; growing the sport by letting people have a go.”

While the club looks likely to break away from MNZ, it has signalled it does not want to do so without giving the union a chance to argue its case. MNZ chief executive Trevor Gill has agreed to meet with the club to discuss the issue but a date and venue have yet to be confirmed.
Rees said MNZ has proposed meeting in Tauranga sometime in the next two months.
By then, however, the club’s MX champs and the problem they pose for MNZ could well be over.

Readers will note that the present status represents a huge regression into the debacle that exists now. One can only hope that the ultimate result, whatever it is, will not harm Motorcycle Sport in NZ and on a more positive note - benefit the sport.