Chairman’s Report - JRDC AGM March 24, 2019
The Past Year
Our tenure started in June of last year with great hope and aspirations of a bright
and prosperous future for our Club. Like with most new ventures, it hasn’t always
been a smooth ride, but definite progress has been made which is an indication
that we have a good team and we are on the right track.
The Independence of Speed in August was a “baptism of fire” for most of our
Board of Directors (BOD) as we struggled with various obstacles; (i) the steep
learning curve of planning, financing and executing a race meet; (ii) the nonalignment of key members of the team; and (iii) the absence of two (2) of our
superstars, David & Doug. The positive news is that we did in fact have the event
which at one point was in doubt and we didn’t lose money. There were problems
with Race Operations which resulted in frustrating delays in the race schedule,
but we made this issue a top priority for the next event.
The Heroes of Speed in October was a well planned and executed event. The
track and facilities were well prepared, the paddock, gridding and timing were
well organised, and we had a good turnout of vendors. The bad news was that we
lost money due to a poor turnout of paying spectators. Potential reasons for the
inadequate turnout of spectators were cited as (i) poor weather on Race Day
(especially in Kingston), (ii) inadequate or ineffective marketing, (iii) other
competing events and (iv) the absence of one of our Superstars, David
Summerbell. Additionally (in hindsight), we incurred expenses that could have
been avoided, but we had anticipated an adequate turnout of fans to cover these
costs. The 2-day event resulted in higher costs for Security, Marshalls,
Accommodation, Equipment rental, etc. Also, waiving of the entry fee for
competitors denied us of desperately needed funds. Financial support had to be
provided by Mark Myers and myself which is still owed to us.
One recent initiative worthy of mention have been the improved communication
with the membership though our frequent Newsletters. We hope you find them
useful and informative.
While it isn’t a new initiative, we must also acknowledge the tremendous growth
in the SS45 class which is due to the tireless efforts of Leroy “Ice” Spence. His
great work in this area is appreciated and we are sure that the club and sport will
reap the benefit in years to come as his recruits make their way up into the higher
It is also noteworthy to point out that the bikers continue to participate in
increasing numbers to provide exciting racing for our fans; may this trend
The Way Forward
The club was founded and initially funded by a group of circuit racing enthusiasts.
I am told that the founders were repaid their initial contribution within the first
year. I am also told that up to a few years ago, the club had millions in the bank
and were paying prize money to competitors. Our fortunes have certainly
changed in recent times, but it is our goal to get the club back into a financially
sustainable position. We however face an uphill battle as we have inherited a club
that is millions of dollars in debt. We owe the Tax Authorities, former Directors,
service providers and suppliers; not all of which can be substantiated. When I
became Chairman, I promised myself that I wouldn’t get into the same situation
as others who have put money into the club in good faith to keep it afloat,
because they didn’t want it to fail under their watch. Unfortunately, Mark and I
have fallen into that same trap, however we are not prepared to continue doing
this. We must find a solution.
The purpose (mandate) of the Club is to host circuit racing events for its
members, but to do so in a sustainable way, adequate financing MUST be in
place. Until we are in a strong financial position which means that our verified
debts have been paid and we have adequate reserves in the bank to host our next
event, we will need to be very frugal with our spending and the membership will
need to contribute more towards the cost of racing.
There are cost saving initiatives that need to be explored, with the most obvious
one being that we can only afford 1-day events, but this requires that we start on
time and stick to the schedule. We also need to look at ways to improve our
revenues from sponsors, vendors, spectators and members.
You will note through our February Newsletter that the JRDC Bay Rental Policy
was enforced in 2019. Unfortunately, the decision to apply this rule may upset
some members, but we are committed to transparency and good governance, so
we ask for your collective support with this potentially contentious matter. You
will also note that the rental rates have been adjusted to more accurately reflect
“value”, but in my opinion, there is still a disparity between the cost of a tent
versus a Bay. Unfortunately, we have greater demand for Bays than we have
supply and the only way to solve that problem is to build more. The JRDC BOD is
willing to facilitate the building of new Bays by active members (who would be
assigned the Bay for a period to be negotiated), but this initiative has serious
risks. The lease of the Dover property is on a year-by-year basis, so there is no
guarantee that the member will get the expected return from their investment. If
we are to proceed with this initiative, it will be at the sole risk of the member(s)
financing the build out. In the 2019 allocation, the JRDC BOD has reserved one (1)
Bay for Management to issue on a meet-by-meet basis to address any issues that
may arise such as an overseas Visitor or a disgruntled member that may have
been seemingly disenfranchised by the Bay Rental Policy. It must be clearly
understood by all members that despite tradition and long-standing
arrangements, the Bays are the property of the Club and not the previously
assigned member, therefore the assignment and rental rates can be determined
by the management in alignment with the stated Policy and as they see fit. Any
dissatisfaction with the Policy or recommended changes should be addressed at
the AGM.
The existing lease for the Dover property expires on March 31, 2019. We have
been verbally advised that our request for an extension will be granted, but only
for one (1) year. We are in the process of finalizing the documentation. The
Trustee in Bankruptcy has advised that the Courts have ordered that they dispose
of the property, hence the short tenure being offered. We have also been advised
that once a value has been determined, we will be given an opportunity to be
included in the sales process.
While we have made significant gains in Race Operation, there is still room for
improvements. At the Easter meet (April 22, 2019), we plan to have 3 wreckers
and 2 recovery vehicles to shorten the time to resume racing after an incident.
We plan to divide the track into 3 sections and place 1 wrecker in each; the
recovery vehicles will work across all sectors. To avoid confusion, we will also
insist that they only take instructions from the Clerk of Course.
For the Easter meet, we plan to standardize the entry fee for all Competitors to
$6,000, except SS45 which will be $4,500. We also plan to standardize the free
passes issued to competitors which will be 1 Driver and 2 crew passes. These
bands will be high security armbands that will be issued the day before race day
along with an infield parking pass to avoid any hold up at the gate on race day.
Competitors will be allowed to buy tickets at a 20% discount on a pre-ordered
basis only. Orders will need to be submitted to the assigned person a minimum of
2 days prior to race day; these tickets will be pre-packaged and ready for payment
and collection at the gate on race day.
We feel that our biggest area of weakness is Marketing. We have invited Jason
McLeish from JAA unto the BOD to take on the role of Director of Marketing. We
are hoping that his expertise and network along with the contribution from others
will greatly strengthen this critical function.
Our Articles of Association state that we should have an AGM every 12 months. It
was our intention to have this AGM earlier in the year so that we would have it
out of the way long before the first race meet at Easter; however, that did not
materialize mainly due to the delay in receiving Financial Statements. Going
forward, we plan to dramatically improve the management and reporting of our
finances which will allow us to have our next AGM in January 2020.
You will also note that we are following the prescribed rules regarding the
rotation of Directors which states that 1/3 are to retire each year. This rule is very
important for good governance as it facilitates renewal while providing stability. It
is my intention as Chairman to build a team of skilled and committed Directors
that will all play their specific roles in fulfilling our mandate and developing the
club. It is also my desire to encourage other Directors and members to prepare
themselves for the challenge of leading this organisation, as I strongly believe in
term limits (even if they are self-imposed) especially for voluntary organisations
such as this one.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the important groups that drive this
organisation; (i) The Competitors/members, (ii) The Fans, (iii) The Sponsors and
(iv) The Management Team. I would like to thank Monique for her many years of
service to the JRDC and I am sure she will continue to make herself available as a
resource of knowledge as the need arises. I would especially like to thank Rosie
for assuming the role of Managing Director; she has carried a very heavy load
over the past few months and we are hoping that the new members of the team
will help to relieve that pressure. While we are not yet in the position to
financially reward her for her tremendous efforts, we are still committed to doing
so when it becomes possible.
We look forward to a successful 2019 and beyond.
Peter McConnell
Chairman JRDC


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