A statement from Dave Cooke, CEO of Motorcycling NSW March 25th 2020.
We are all aware of the Covid-19 dangers affecting our community. For the past few weeks Motorcycling NSW has worked closely with the Office of Sport and NSW Health to keep our clubs and members up to date on the status of the virus, and its effect on our sport as soon as new information has come to hand.
Last night the National Cabinet met to decide further restrictions around the activities Australians can undertake, and the travel we can engage in.
This morning I had a phone hook-up with the Minister for Sport, the honorable Geoff Lee, and the Chief Executive of the Office of Sport, Karen Jones, to go through last night’s National Cabinet decisions and what it means for our sport. There are a few details which are still being clarified, but the one thing that is clear is that all sporting activities in NSW will cease as of midnight tonight. For us, this will include competition, practice days, social ride days and coaching. At this stage it is not known when we will be able to recommence activities, and the Government will keep us advised as the situation develops.
The majority of clubs and promoters have taken a responsible approach to this crisis and already cancelled their upcoming events for the next couple of months, and I would like to thank our clubs and members for the responsible way they have tackled this issue. The cooperation between the clubs and my team in the office has been amazing. This is a difficult time for all of us, including my hard working team, and I really appreciate the kind and professional way everyone in the sport has worked with them. After all, they are actually your team… I just look after them for you.
MNSW is now in a position where we must immediately cancel all remaining allocated permits for any event until further notice. We will work with clubs to try and get this done as quickly as possible and refund any permit fees paid.
We know what is happening right now will hurt our clubs and all of our members, and we will work with our clubs to help those who strike any financial hardship in the coming months, as we know that your bills for rent, power, etc, don’t disappear just because racing stops.
As for what this means for MNSW as an organisation, it is really very simple. MNSW is owned by its member clubs, and therefore owned by everyone in the sport, as you are all club members. Our board of directors are all volunteers voted onto the board by the sport. Our sports committee members in each discipline are also volunteers. Everyone gives of their time to make the sport better for everyone. It’s the reason why it works. I often hear it said that we make a lot of profit from the sport, when the last few years have actually seen large losses, mainly because we have invested over half a million dollars back into clubs in the form of grants and loans for infrastructure improvements. I anticipate that the impact of Covid-19 will result in a huge loss for 2020. It will eat into the cash reserves we have, which were put away for a rainy day, or a cyclonic day, like this one.
Right now our job is to continue to work with our clubs to make sure they are in the best position possible to hit the track running as hard as we possibly can once we are given the all clear to ride again.
This will be a difficult time, as everyone will have things other than motorcycling on their minds in the coming weeks as this crisis worsens. We have unfortunately had to make one role redundant, and the remainder of the MNSW team are now working from home for their own well-being. We will continue to support everyone as best we can.
The best way to contact us will be at the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
Once we get through this, and we will get through this, we will then be able to assess what has gone on and do what we can to make sure all of our members are looked after so they feel they have been treated fairly. The State Controlling Bodies are already discussing these matters with MA, so it is already on the radar. Any decision on these things now would be pre-emptive, as we simply do not know what we are about to confront in terms of its scale, or what will be required to make things right.
Motorcycling NSW (and under its previous guide of the Auto Cycle Union of NSW) has been the custodian of motorcycle racing since before the first world war when we conducted the first event in the Bathurst area over 100 years ago. We saw this sport through WW1, WW2, and many other issues which had the potential to devastate the sport. This will be no different. We are already planning the sport’s revival. We will bring the sport back bigger and better than it was before. We are also very much aware that many of our valued members will be in a very different position financially when that day comes. We are making plans for that too. When we are ready to roll again, we will have some exciting news for you all to get you out there on your bikes having fun again. And I think we’ll all need a bit of fun in our lives when this is all over.
For now, the safety of our riders, their families, and our wonderful volunteers is always our first priority in any decision we make. That’s why we have a world class volunteer training program, in-depth track standards and inspectors, credible junior pathways and coaching programs, and why we own our own insurance company to protect our sport and look after our members in a way nobody else can. These things, and all the other things we do, will be even more important as we navigate our way out of a situation that none of us have ever dealt with before.
I’d like to thank our board of directors for their support in the last few trying weeks, our wonderful clubs and volunteers that we deal with all the time, and most of all, our dedicated team in the office who have stepped up and taken on these challenges with an attitude of genuine care and respect for their clubs and members.
I also acknowledge the Office of Sport for their assistance, advice, and support, and Minister Lee for the care he has shown for all of the State Sporting Organisations.
Most of all, to all of you, our riders, families, and volunteers, I simply say be healthy, support everyone around you, and wash those bikes. I expect them to be beautiful and sparkly when we get this great sport back on the starting line.
Yours in motorcycling