by Mark Wicks
Karting Australia has continued to communicate with its affiliated clubs about the new timing system.
In the most recent document, which includes further information and a question-answer list for the clubs, KA CEO Kelvin O’Reilly accuses a number of banned members of spreading misinformation about the offer.
“We have witnessed some of the most absurd scaremongering, speculation, and distribution of false and misleading information related to this decision that I have seen in the past four years in this sport” O’Reilly wrote, before then listing the names of people he believed to be propelling the discussion (see below).
The communication is dated the evening of September 5. Clubs were required to advise KA of their intention to take up the new timing system offer on September 6.
At the time of publication, we do not know how many clubs have taken up or rejected the offer. But regardless of the level of take up, KA has stated it will proceed with the purchase anyway.
As a matter of reference, this communication follows what many consider a counter-offer to the clubs.
The initial contract distributed in late August required clubs to sign a ten-year deal that locked them in to KA-only events and effectively handed control of their venue for karting purposes to Karting Australia (KA would have to provide approval for a club to run any other karting activity, whether competitive in nature or not).
This was soon followed by a modified version (clubs were told the original contract was merely a draft) offering the clubs two options – they could still have the new timing system for free (ie, KA retain ownership) or the club could purchase it outright. Most importantly, the conditions were also relaxed, preventing just KA’s timing system from being used for non-KA karting events.
At KA’s request to the clubs, this confidential contract was not to be made public (which is why we have not published a leaked copy). As something that affects their club, one would hope members at least got an opportunity to read it.
O’Reilly states in the memo below “There is no catch, there is no conspiracy… There is no hidden agenda.”
That might well be the case.
But after an initial offer where clubs would lose an element of control of their venue, then a heavy confidentiality notice associated with the second version (plus too little time for the clubs to understand the offer), does KA not realise those very actions lead the punters to be suspicious of the governing body?
Hiding details from public scrutiny is a rather effective way of getting people offside.
Even if this was the greatest deal going for a timing system, when that happens, there’s going to be trouble getting it over the line.
To: KA Affiliated Clubs
From: Kelvin O’Reilly
Subject: New Timing System
Date: 5 September 2017
Since we announced that the Karting Australia Board had made the decision that we would be purchasing a new national timing system and supplying it free of charge for the benefit of all of our affiliated Clubs, we have witnessed some of the most absurd scaremongering, speculation, and distribution of false and misleading information related to this decision that I have seen in the past four years in this sport.
Most of it is quite frankly rubbish!
Much of the on-line discussion has been propelled by: Neville Scullion, Ralph van Doorn, Paul Ash, Di Smith, all of whom are currently serving lengthy suspensions from Karting Australia.
Mr Scullion is also now the Public Officer of Commission Kartsport Australia (the so called ‘alternate karting sanctioning body’ that registered itself with Fair Trading NSW on 6 July.)
It is notable that Mr Scullion does not appear to have announced to the karting world at large that he is one of the driving forces behind CKSA, seemingly preferring to remain anonymous in that role and conflicted in his interests, while trying the scare our Clubs and members about the motives of Karting Australia in making this necessary purchase.
It is undoubtedly a very large (but fully funded) purchase of some of the best karting timing hardware and software that is available in the world at the moment. We don’t spend this sort of money on some whim as some of these people would try to make you believe.
Here are the facts in very plain language:
1. Our current Decoders (TranX) are now approaching 10 years old.
2. The TranX Decoders are:
• No longer sold by MYLAPS;
• Will shortly be no longer supported by MYLAPS (they do not receive maintenance updates and the decoder will be ‘End of Support’ as of December 31;
3. CMS as a timing system relies upon the TranX Decoder.
4. CMS as a timing system is not simple to use and has become less reliable and will continue to be less reliable for race timing.
• We spend a lot of time (and money) supporting the timing element of the CMS.
• CMS would require significant modification and testing if to work efficiently with the new MYLAPS X2 Decoder and provide the same level of output as the new Orbits 5 Software.
5. It makes no sense for us to try to further develop our own system when we can simply buy the MYLAPS X2 system that is supported 24/7 by MYLAPS.
6. In 2018, timing of all KA events will be done using Orbits 5 software and the MYLAPS X2 Decoder. We will stop support of CMS timing on 31 December.
7. The new system uses Orbits 5 software.
• Orbits 5 is a complete and user-friendly software package, exclusively for the new X2 System.
Here are answers to some of the FAQ’s about the changeover:
Q What happens if my Club does not advise KA of its preferred option (to either take up the offer of the free system or to buy our own equipment) by 6 September?
A We will be proceeding with the purchase of the New Timing System. However, we cannot guarantee that the generous offer of providing the new Timing System to your Club FREE OF CHARGE will continue to be available. If you want to be sure that your Club gets a free New Timing System then you need to ensure that we receive the preference advice on time and the signed Agreement by the end of the week.
The Board may decide to subsidise the purchase by Club, it may decide to withdraw the offer to those Clubs who have not responded as requested or it may decide to continue with its original offer of a free system. It is not a matter that the Board has even considered. The decision as to whether a Club would prefer to spend over $6,000 on something that we are providing for FREE was never considered likely.
Q Do we have to consult with our members on a decision like this?
A Accepting a genuine offer from the controlling body of the sport to supply your club with thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment at no cost is not a matter that should require a Special Resolution of the members of an Incorporated Body.
Q Why do Clubs need to sign an Agreement with KA?
A We are spending a lot of money on the system overall. We are supplying equipment to the Clubs that has a high value and it is prudent business practices to protect the supply of this asset with an agreement.
Q Why is the Agreement for 10 years?
A Because that is the expected life of the equipment.
Q What happens if we default on the Agreement at any time?
A In simple language, we will require the return of the New Hardware and the New Software. That’s all.
Q What constitutes a default?
A This is very clearly set out in Clause 8 of the Agreement. Please read it.
Q We hire the circuit for events like Mini-Moto and a Posty-Bike race each year. Can we use the timing system for that?
A Yes. You just won’t be able to use it to time any part of a karting event that has not been approved by either Karting Australia and/or the State Association. Obviously, an alternate karting sanctioning body would not expect to use KA equipment at any of their events – just as we would not expect to use their equipment at any of our events.
Q Will our timekeepers receive training and support?
A Yes – from MYLAPS. Support is available on a 24/7 basis.
Q People on the forums have made this out that KA has a hidden agenda to control and take over the Clubs by providing them with this equipment – what is the catch?
A There is no catch, there is no conspiracy. No matter how hard you look, you won’t find one as there is no catch whatsoever. There is no hidden agenda.
• We have the money available in our Future Fund to buy it.
• We need it for the future.
• It is the best system available for what we need it to do.
• It is an investment in karting’s future.
• It is the right decision to make.
• It comes at no cost to the Clubs (other than a mail bag and a small sign) or to the competitors