Karting Australia has extended race licences by three months in reaction to the racing shutdown caused by Corona virus laws. The organisation has also recommended its clubs do the same with their club memberships.
Below is today’s official Australian Karter communication from CEO Kelvin O’Reilly.
It’s no secret that over the past month life as we know it has changed – more dramatically than anyone could ever have imagined just five weeks ago.
This is unquestionably the most challenging situation to confront the world for nearly a century. It is having a devastating effect on countries right across the globe, both as a health crisis and an economic crisis.
What will become the ‘new normal’ is one of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds right now. There is no doubt that the world is set for uncertainty over the coming months and possibly even years. History shows that in times of great distress and uncertainty, one of the things that people so often turn to for relief from the everyday drama of daily life is sport. Unfortunately, right now no one can even do that but as soon as we are able to, between us all, we will get the Clubs back up and running again so that you can all start to enjoy your sport again.
There are two certainties:
- That it will pass and
- That everyone working together and doing the right thing is the best way to ensure that the community as a whole and our Karting Family comes through this in the best possible shape.
I am very heartened by the co-operative approach of our Member States, Clubs, karting industry and Competitors since the world started to change so quickly during the second half of last month. While the world has come to a screaming halt around us, my team at Karting Australia have been working very hard and doing everything that we can to keep the States and Clubs informed on the latest official government advice, rulings that we as a sport have seen the need to make and trying to keep the wheels spinning for karting.
We’ll keep you updated and engaged until the wheels are spinning on our tracks again and beyond.
Now more than ever, it’s just so important that the Karting Family works together, stays as positive as can be and makes good, well-informed decisions so that we all come out the other side of the pandemic ready to have some fun, with the engines revving and the tyres spinning at our Clubs right across the country.
OUR PLANNED PANDEMIC RESPONSE PRIORITIES
With our Board we have established three key priorities that will be the pillars of our ongoing response to the pandemic.
- To ensure that our Member States and Clubs are properly prepared and ready to recommence karting activity as soon as Government restrictions allow that to happen.
- To prepare our member states and clubs to conduct our sport in the ‘new normal’ environment of strained economic times and possible ongoing Government restrictions.
- To ensure that our individual members (licence holders) and stakeholders remain engaged with our sport throughout the restricted period.
We have been working on initiatives and programs designed to:
- Keep the Clubs and Member States positive and informed.
- Getting Club karting activity going again as
soon as possible once the restrictions start to lift.
- Preparing for the progression from private practice, to organised social karting to Club competition, to higher levels of State competition and National competition.
- Working with our Club development partner –
Sports Community – to provide a karting specific club support and mentoring
program that will prepare our clubs to start again quickly in the new normal
- Making sure that our Clubs are prepared to offer a mix of karting – social and competition so that there is something on offer for everyone.
- Preparing the clubs to apply for the inevitable grants that will be available from all levels of government once this is over.
- Preparing all the digital assets that we think each Club will need to use to engage and reactivate their members – as quickly and as easily as possible.
- From now until we’re back on track, and likely for many months after that as well, Karting Australia will be using the various mediums available to us to keep everyone informed and engaged about our sport of karting.
- As soon as the restrictions begin to ease, I
assure you that we will be doing everything needed to immediately allow people
back to start Social Karting and moving towards competition again.
- We’re already working with the State Associations and Clubs on making sure they’re prepared for as fast of a restart that the Government restrictions will allow.
- Developing and implementing a Volunteer Management Framework and plan to help our Clubs recruit, train, reward and retain officials.
While there is no action on track at the current point in time, and neither you nor your Club can do what they normally want to do – go karting – we must and will use this time to plan with all of our stakeholders – something that is always hard for Clubs to do with a karting season that runs for as long as our season normally runs.
Many of you would have noticed that during this pandemic we have been commonly referring to the Karting Community as the Karting Australia Family. This is simply because that’s what we are – a family, and it’s worth remembering that.
Now is the time to support those around you – take the time to touch base with those who you class as your Karting Family and see how they are going in these difficult times. If someone is feeling down, please give them a bit of encouragement.
Now more than ever our sport must act to recruit, train, reward and retain more Officials. Like most sports, many of karting’s Officials are older and in the most vulnerable category for COVID-19. We must recruit more Officials generally and more younger Officials specifically.
This is the time for our younger family members to stand up and do your bit to make sure that your club has enough Officials to run their karting events – social and competition.
Karting Australia Officials Academy powered by Rosche Paper
The basic training is now done online and I am pleased to say that since we launched the karting Australia Officials Academy Powered By Rosche paper at the end of March we have had a great initial response and have enrolled over 70 people into our courses. But WE NEED MORE OFFICIALS! Please consider enrolling now – it’s one sure way that you can help your Club.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
There are several questions that are being frequently asked that I want to address for you.
Q. What will happen with my licence and Club membership during the shutdown of karting because of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
It was only at the end of March (it seems much longer doesn’t it) that the sport really came to a halt when:
- I issued the Directive to all Member States and Clubs that all Event Organising Permits were to be immediately withdrawn until 1 May, and
- The situation related to the use of each Club’s facilities for activities that do not require an Organising Permit must be decided by each Club.
Naturally, we have been giving serious consideration to the impact that the shutdown will have on our Clubs and on your licence’s. If your licence and/or Club Membership is due to expire shortly, if you can, I would really like to encourage you to renew your licence and Club Membership – to keep them both current.
For every licence that remains current, we will be applying ‘BONUS MONTHS’ to it and have recommended to all Clubs to do the same with Club Membership.
Initially, we have decided to extend all current Drivers Licences (as of April 1) by three months from the actual expiry/renewal date that is recorded on CMS. You will get an extra 3 months added to your licence. Even if the restrictions start to ease in 2 months’ time and the Clubs can open up after 2 months, you will still get an additional 3 months on the life of your licence. If the restrictions have not started to lift by July 1, then we will review the Bonus Months program again.
1. If your current licence renewal date is prior to 30 June 2020, 3 additional months will be added to your licence from the actual renewal date recorded on CMS when your licence renewal is processed.
That will happen automatically through CMS when you renew your licence – you don’t have to do a thing.
Your current licence is due for renewal on 21 April 2020.
- You renew your licence on or before 21 May 2020, your new licence will be due for renewal again on 21 July 2021. (Refer to Competition Rules Chapter 4, Rule 12 c).
Your current licence is due for renewal on 21 April 2020.
- If you renew your licence on 22 May (you let your licence lapse by not renewing it within 30 days prescribed in the Rules), your new licence will commence once the licence is applied for and will be due for renewal again on that date in 2021.
2. If your current licence renewal date is 1 July 2020 or later, three (3) additional months will be added to the actual renewal date of your licence.
That will happen automatically through CMS – you don’t have to do a thing.
- Your current licence is due for renewal on 10 October 2020.
- It will now become due for renewal on 10 January 2021.
Your Club Membership
Membership of your Club is between you and your Club – Karting Australia and our Member States can only recommend a course of action for them to follow.
Just as Karting Australia and our Member States are extending your licence to compensate for the forced shutdown, we have strongly recommended to all Clubs to provide similar benefits with your Club Membership.
Q. When Will
Sport is certainly one of the most impacted areas of life in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the constantly evolving situation with the pandemic and the Government imposed restrictions, it is not possible to say for certain when karting will be able to resume.
Probably the only certainty at the moment is that the restrictions will most likely come off more slowly than they went on and that is something that we will be prepared for.
Karting Australia’s focus right now and for the foreseeable future is to work with our Clubs and Member States to make sure that when the restrictions do ease, we will all be ready to go karting again.
If the restrictions are eased differently and/or at different times in different States, then we will look to get on-track activities up and running in accordance with the restrictions that are imposed at that time in each State.
Example: If the Queensland Government relaxes the restrictions on public gatherings before any other state, then the Clubs in Queensland will not have to wait for restrictions to be eased elsewhere before they can get started again.
Q. What will
the new National and State calendars look like and when will races be held?
It’s too early to tell. Once we get an understanding of when and by how much the social distancing restrictions will be lifted, we can then begin a full review of the National Calendars – AKC and Rotax Pro Tour and the various State Kart Championship events.
We are going to do everything possible to run the remaining rounds of the Australian Kart Championship and the full Rotax Pro Tour but of course, this depends on when the Restrictions are lifted sufficiently to do that. We currently have a number of different National Calendar options and event format options that we have been working on so that we are well prepared but they are completely reliant upon when competition will be able to start again.
State Karting Associations will be doing the same with their State Karting Calendars. Many of them have already started reviewing and considering their options, we will be working closely with all Member States to ensure the best possible schedule is maintained throughout the second half of 2020.
Both the Race of Stars and the Ultimate Club Racer II events are very unlikely to proceed this year. The final decision will be made following further discussions with the stakeholders in these events.
The Building Better Kart Clubs Conference that was scheduled to be held in August has been cancelled. In its place will be the direct Club mentoring program that we will run with Sports Community over the next few months.
Q. How Can My
Club Best Survive the Shutdown?
We hope that all member Clubs will come through the shutdown period in good shape and we want to work closely with them to make sure that they do. Some will be able to access some government funds and grants and Karting Australia will be working closely with all member Clubs to help them prepare for what we have started to term REIGNITION – the time when Clubs are permitted to start operating again and when you can start driving your kart again.
Right now, the best way that you can help your Club, if your Club membership and licence are due for renewal is to renew your membership and your licence. We encourage you, where possible, to support your Club and support your State Association during this time and renew your licence to ensure that you are ready to go as soon as we can get back on track.
Q. How Long
Will You Continue to Put Out Updates to the States and Clubs on the Pandemic
and the Government Restrictions?
As long as it takes to get karting going again.
We will continue to provide advice and guidance to our Member States and Clubs right through the restricted period and into the time that we are back in full operation.
Dedicated COVID-19 Information Page
Since this pandemic became very real on Friday March 13, Karting Australia have put out a lot of information advice and when necessary, directions to the Member States and Clubs and have regularly updated a dedicated page on our website with all of the latest information. The COVID-19 information page will remain active and will be updated with every piece of information that we produce and distribute through to the end of the pandemic.
The page includes all the communication to the State Associations and Clubs, files to assist Clubs with managing the crisis and Information Posters.
Karting Australia – Chief Executive Officer