Welcome to the year-end edition of Chairman’s Chat.
I have to admit I feel a bit of a fraud doing a year end message after only being in role for five weeks but that’s the way things go. There is one word which has dominated 2020 – COVID. Along with every other aspect of day-to-day life, motorsport stopped, adjusted to the new ‘norm’ and, for some disciplines, has re-started.
As far as racing is concerned, we supported the slightly delayed annual BTCC visit to Knockhill, along with SMRC and Super Lap Scotland race days. Club members also marshalled at the Knockhill Rallycross organised by Darlington and District Car Club.
Those of you that enjoy speed events had a very quiet year. As far as I am aware no sprints or hill climbs made the starting grid in Scotland during 2020.
Rallying started off positively with the single venue Grant Construction Stages at Knockhill and the Snowman Rally kicking off the Tarmac and Forest Championships. However, this was not to continue and no further stage rallies were held north of the border. Some of our members were however involved with the M-Sport Return to Rally Stages held in Greystoke Forest in August which showcased new requirements established by Motorsport UK including contactless timing.
Talking of evolving and continuing, I must mention the tremendous work done by the Trainers in the Club, and also Rupert Hine from Scottish Association of Motor Sports Clubs, who took training out of the classroom and onto the computer. A comprehensive programme of training was delivered this year with attendances regularly being in the region of 120. The 2020 programme concludes on 29 December and there is still time to register for this festive special. Dates for 2021 will be announced shortly.
I also want to draw your attention to our wonderful motorsport-themed Club Christmas Tree, which was drawn by Cadet Marshal Katie, age 12.
So that was 2020. What about 2021?
Clubs and Championships are getting dates in the calendar. However, as you know the Government guidance continues to evolve and we now have the situation that the whole of Scotland will be moving to Level 4 restrictions from Boxing Day for three weeks (I appreciate there are some members reading this update outside Scotland). Already, some of the events early in the year have put out the ‘postponed’ signs. It is too early to say how busy the year will be but what I do know is that Clubs are working hard behind the scenes to deliver COVID-19 compliant events as soon as they are allowed to do so. To help with your planning you will find a selection of Club calendars at www.smmc.org.uk/2021 that can either be printed off or used as a screen saver.
A training plan is also being developed which hopefully will manage to include some practical training to complement that provided on-line.
The cancellation of events in 2020 severely dented our income and whilst we have reserves to see us through, it did mean that the scheduled purchase of a new Rescue Unit was put on hold. The Trustees will revisit this decision during 2021 once we have a clearer idea of when events will re-start.
As part of the Club’s move to charity status we have taken the opportunity to reduce costs by moving bankers. This will impact you all as the payment details on your Standing Order for membership renewals will need to be amended. Further details will be provided in my next update to you.
One area that we know needs attention in 2021 is the number of Radio Controllers available to assist with the planning and delivery of safety communications on events. If you are interested in finding out more about this challenging but rewarding role please contact the Motorsport Radio Group Co-ordinator, Grahame Douglas (email@example.com)
Finally for now, a reminder that we continue to host weekly Coffee Mornings and fortnightly Quiz evenings. A real good laugh and fair to say that very few questions relate to motorsport. The next quiz is on Thursday 14 January and further details are on the Club website at www.smmc.org.uk
So, in closing, on behalf of myself and the other Trustees of the Club, Stay Safe, have as merry a Christmas as you can, and I look forward to meeting you once circumstances allow in 2021.