This is the last over for me. Last month I tendered my retirement from NZ VMX duties after having served on the committee for some 7 years. The decision was not easy but a necessary one none-the-less as other commitments now have greater priority in my life despite my love of the sport.
But what a blast it has been. When I first joined the ranks the normal attendance at events was around 50 riders – nice, relaxed and informal but not really that viable. The committee at that time was just really a loose group but one which had a desire to grow the sport by tailoring events that encouraged participation but also to put the club on a more formal footing.
A lot of effort from the committee and interested riders has been spent on getting the right balance of classes and race order in place and I think successfully managing the tension of the old (pre 86) with the new (pre 96) bike technologies. Race order changes have also prevailed over the years trying to get the best balance of track conditions for the short, medium and long travel bikes throughout the race day which has also encourage participation. Concurrent with this has been an ongoing effort to better formalise the club structure by becoming formally incorporated and actively working hard to meet associated compliance requirements. While this is an extra overhead it affords riders greater liability protection to both riders and committee members and therefore the additional time and effort is worth it.
Being better organised has also meant that the club has grown to the point that it up until COVID 19 attendance at events had been averaging 140 – 150 riders which really the maximum capacity that can be handled on any given race day.
Behind the scenes has been a bunch of good people working very hard on committee and organisational duties. I cannot overstate the dedication of the crew. While there has been a change on the line-up from time to time they have all been dedicated to the task through thick and thin – It’s been a privilege to work with them all.
So where to from here? Well there is an AGM coming up on the 30 May after the last round of the 2020/21 series and this is an opportunity for the club members to initiate change but also to become actively involved in organisational duties. It is important to have a solid foundation of committee members and round organisers who are willing to put in the hard yards to pull of the miracle that happens at each event. The hard yards is definitely made easier by many people sharing the work load so think about what you can offer and the contribution that you can make. I can tell you it is not a thankless task either – I have frequently and genuinely been thanked by many club members over the last 7 years and I have very much appreciated the support.
The second aspect is that if you are thinking about change proposals (classes, race orders etc), irrespective of what is being proposed it will require a trade-off decision to be made. As an example we know that we have capacity to run about 30 races in a day allowing a bit of time for contingencies. By adding another class, that adds another 3 races in the day – so what’s the trade-off decision? Eliminate a class, race under lights, start racing at daybreak, race over two days (includes increasing entry fees to cover two days cost of land and first aid) and so on? These are not easy decisions to make so it’s important when proposing a change the consequences are thought through including who will do it and how will it be resourced.
Gosh the last couple of months have flicked by quickly. Lemmee see now – Patea VMX, Virgin Swamps Vinduro, the Grand National VMX and the Six Mile Junction Vinduro – my goodness there has been a lot on. We have been blessed with great venues and great opportunities to ride. Also fantastic to see a brace of South Islanders come up to the Grand National to swell the ranks of the event and really add to the atmosphere.
And coming up now are the two finals of the VMX and Vinduro Series. The return to Kuratau for the VMX final provides for a big track in a weather safe venue where even it rains (it wont) the track will hold up nicely – so don’t hold back - get your entries in now. For the final of the Vinduro series, we return to Tar Hill just south of Tokoroa. It’s been a few years since we based out of this location but any many ways it’s my favourite venue – maybe it’s the long bush and forest single track trails or the opportunity to blast down old State Highway 1 on a vintage enduro bike. While I wont be able to ‘race’ these events (bung eye and all that) I hope to be able to get out on the bike and at least have a potter around.
Right enuff said - it’s in your hands!
See you on the flip side.