Monday 25 April 2022

Rally - SAMSC and the Future

Four weeks back I happened to mention that the Scottish Association of Motor Sports Clubs is looking for a new Chairperson. It has now circulated a 'Role Profile' job description giving applicants some idea of what the job could involve.

It has been sent to all member clubs, plus other folks on their circulation list, but there is apparently no intention to post this on the SAMSC website. That's fair enough as the incumbent will have to be a member of a recognised and member club. So if anyone has the desire to get involved it will need to be done through their own car club.

For those who are not currently a member of a club and fancies a rather different sort of challenge then they'll need to have a chat with some like minded friends. All nominations must be Proposed and Seconded by member clubs.

So far, it would be safe to say that the Committee has not been inundated with responses. Neither has a closing date been set - yet.

No surprise really when you see what the job entails. On that basis perhaps it is time to look at a different approach. Should the 'job' be remunerated in some way? Not so much a wage but a contribution towards expenses. With Association meetings held centrally, folks from the far north or deep south may well be put off, not just by the travelling distance, but the time spent getting around the meetings and variety of events all around the country.

'Zoom' or 'Teams' meetings on-line are all very well but as anyone knows a lot of work is done face to face away from the table and this human inter-action is not just desirable, but I would venture to suggest, vital.

Not so long ago there were two associations, one for the West and one for East, perhaps that could be looked at again, but this time on the basis of North and South which would seem to make more sense travelling wise.

Motor sport, particularly rallying, is nomadic by nature so travel has to be expected. A North/South divide might be more appropriate and practical and perhaps one Chair could officiate at each. That would of course mean the incumbent would have to travel twice as much as other committee members to co-ordinate views, opinions and decisions.

A more contentious point would be to grant the new Chair more power to represent the sport in Scotland, not just at club level, but at national and local government level. We still lack a strong presence on SportScotland and that's where the big decisions are made. If the sport has to fight for its future in the face of other organisations who think that motor sport is morally and environmentally wrong then there needs to be a way to argue the merits of each case.

There is of course another organisation some 400 miles to the south  (dependent on where travelling from) but with decentralisation one of the British government's aims perhaps our 'national' governing sporting body could consider the same. There is some precedent here in that the RSAC has long had the power to approve rally routes submitted by Scottish car clubs. This is necessary because Scots law is different from English while Forest & Land Scotland is also a separate entity from the Forestry Commission and we have our own Forestry Liaison Officer up here.

It's a minor point, but it highlights just one of the smaller issues - why did an event in the north of Scotland have to 'import' an MS UK appointed Safety Delegate from the deep south with all the additional expense that would entail. Surely the sport in Scotland should have its own qualified personnel up here?

Is it time for the sport in Scotland to have a stronger say in the way things are run? Should the SAMSC be given more powers? If so, that means a much more professional approach is needed to manage such a venture.

Anyone up for it?

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