Racewars unresolved

By Grace Jones | posted on September 5, 2019

COUNCILLOR Paul Terry said during a special council meeting this week that a decision for the City of Albany to enter into a sponsorship deal with Racewars would not technically be approved since the expenditure was not included in the 2019/20 Annual Budget.

During the Tuesday night meeting earlier this week, councillors voted 12 to 1 in favour of offering a three-year sponsorship deal of $105,000 to Racewars Pty Ltd.

In addition to the $35,000 a year, the City would also spend an additional $20,000 on security fencing, grading at the end of the runway at Albany Regional Airport, drainage treatments, emergency services support, road traffic management and other costs.

Councillor Alison Goode was the only proponent against the recommendation.

The Weekender contacted Cr Goode in relation to her decision to vote against the sponsorship deal on Wednesday after the meeting.

“The Mayor is the spokesperson for council and I am not prepared to comment,” she said.

Mayor Dennis Wellington said the sponsorship deal was subject to Racewars agreeing to their conditions and did not include automatic approval for the event.

“We’ve been very supportive of Racewars and know they’ve put a lot of sweat and tears into this event with a high priority on safety,” he said.

“It’s the responsibility of the event organisers to get things right and make sure they can run a safe event, and they’ll still have a few boxes to tick along the way to ensure the event can proceed, including getting an event approval.”

Racewars organisers revealed earlier this year that the fate of the event hinged on third-party financial support to recuperate more than $70,000 in debt when the event in March was shut down early after a fatal crash.

The officer recommendation for the meeting states that Racewars would be made aware that future events would be subject to the issue of an event approval permit by the City on a site-by-site basis.

This year Racewars introduced the Middleton Beach Hill Climb Sprint Event to their repertoire that incurred four written complaints in relation to rubber being left on the road and noise.

During the meeting, Cr Rob Sutton was quick to move the recommendation having been a vocal supporter of the event in the past, with Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks seconding.

Cr Stocks said final approval would not be considered until January next year and would be subject to police clearances and other conditions.

“We have never asked anyone to submit a business case for an event before this,” he said.

“The City and council have been highly supportive of Racewars for the past three years despite the tragedy that occurred this year.”

Cr Stocks said Racewars had made the City aware that they currently had no insurance for the event and were out to tender.

In the racing safety section of the proposed business case, Racewars state they would introduce new safety standards such as mandatory roll over protection, frontal head restraints, Federation Internationale del’Automobile approved seating, and harnesses and driver protection clothing for vehicles running above 300km/h.

The council document states that the City would encourage Racewars to seek Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) sanctioning in addition to those safety improvements.

Racewars event director Jon Murray stated previously that they would not align with the motorsport body.

In May, Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said the State Government would not likely sponsor Racewars if they did not have CAMS sanctioning.

The City Council will also face a local government election prior to Racewars event approval with Mayor Wellington and councillors Stocks, Terry, Sandie Smith, Anthony Moir, Bill Hollingworth and John Shanhun up for re-election.