What is the ACTC and who writes the rules ?

ACTCThere has been considerable debate on Facebook over the past week regarding suggested rule changes within the trialling world. What is clear from a lot of the comments is that there is a complete misunderstanding of how the ACTC operates and who creates the rules by which competitors should abide. I shall attempt therefore to clarify a few points.

First, who or what is the ACTC? The clue should be in its very name, “The Association of Classic Trials Clubs”. In other words, the organisation is an amalgamation of numerous motorsport clubs who have chosen to combine and create a single entity to provide support and governance to the classic trials world. A list of these clubs can be found on the ACTC website and I suspect most who are reading this information will be a member of at least one of them.

The ACTC then has a number of volunteers who sit on the council in order to ensure certain required functions are carried out and these are not limited to, but include:

• Overall governance of the classic trials sport
• Ensuring the classic trials community has a voice with the MSA
• Fighting for Rights of Way issues
• Running a national trials championship
• Providing a quarterly publication with up-to-date details on the events and championship
• Maintaining a website to give instant access to information and details on events
• Ensuring members receive regulations on events the member clubs are running
• Putting on an annual awards and dinner evening
• Monitoring championship events and providing guidance back to the clubs
• Ensuring there are twice yearly meeting of the clubs in order to air and discuss all current topics affecting the trialling world
• Accounting for the finances and costs associated with running the organisation
• Maintaining various documentation essential to the sport, such as the rules and regulations for clubs and competitors

What the council don’t do which seems to be the most common perception, is to create new technical rules. Yes there is a sub committee, which looks at the technical aspects of the cars and consider any suggested changes, or matters raised by a club or competitor who is unsure if what they are hoping to do is within the rules (or who feel someone else has overstepped the mark), but changes to rules aren’t unilaterally made by those who make-up this committee.

So if the council aren’t making the rules and the technical committee are only making proposals, who ultimately decides what is and isn’t allowable?

That answer is simple, it is the members of the clubs. In other words, providing you are a member of a club, it is you who makes the rules. But, and theres is a big but, YOU, only make the rules if you get involved and let your club know what your thoughts are on the issue.

There are of course numerous requirements that we all have to abide by which are determined by the MSA, but anything outside of this, such as what tyres can be used, what engines are suitable, what modifications to the cars allowed in Class 7 etc. etc. get proposed by the clubs (after consultation with its members) and then debated in an open forum.

As the club delegate is representing the club, they should therefore be representing the members of which you should be one.

Once debated, all the clubs have a vote and as in any democracy, the majority decision is final.

Now, there is one big flaw in this methodology and I shall be blunt in stating it. It only works if the club members voice their views through their delegates at the meetings!

Too many club members and competitors are happy to bemoan changes they don’t like and get on forums claiming they are hard done by, or that the “ACTC “ hadn’t consulted with them directly and life just isn’t fair! Whilst all the while not talking to their club, or delegate, or making any effort to get involved and engage themselves.

If your club delegate is not passing on the information to you as a club member have you raised this with them? Do you even know who your club delegate is? Do you know if they attended the last meeting? Does your club even have a current delegate?

At two of the last three meeting I have chaired there have been less that 12 clubs represented. If the members of those clubs are not communicating to their delegates their feelings how are they supposed to know how to vote on the issues and more to the point, what about the clubs who haven’t even sent a delegate!

If you haven’t seen the agenda or minutes of the meetings have you asked your club why?

I have been complaining about apathy within the sport for a number of years and while I am pleased to see so many get involved on Facebook and to have received numerous e-mails both for and against the current proposals, they will all count for nothing if you don’t make the effort to follow the democratic process that has been set-up and allowed the ACTC to run successfully for 36 years.

Just to re-enforce the point again, you should understand that unless a council member is also representing a club, then they don’t even get a vote on any of the issues debated. So please understand, the ACTC is here to govern the sport and carry out the vital roles that are needed to ensure its continuance, but it is you who has the opportunity to decide on how its future is shaped.

Finally, are you a member of the ACTC yourself? Are you aware of the fight for the rights of way we are undertaking, or the concern over the licensing of marshals when using forestry land? Or any of the other on-going issues that are dealt with on your behalf?

If not, why not click on this link and join and become more involved and a part of the organisation?

Welcome to the ACTC website

On this site, you should be able to access all the information needed to begin in our sport, or to participate as an organiser, marshal or simply as a spectator.

You will see from our calendar that our member clubs hold events throughout the country, so no matter where you are located, there will hopefully be a trial near you.

If you are looking to participate for the first time, you will find that while a lot of members like the competitive element, everyone likes to see newcomers to the sport and will take the time to help with advice whenever possible.

Although as an association we run our annual championship, you are in no way obligated to compete when registering. Many of our members join in order to keep up-to-date with what events are taking place and to receive our excellent
quarterly magazine, “Restart”.

We have eight different classes, catering for all manner of vehicles. These range from modern front wheel drive saloons, to purpose built trials specials. We welcome sports cars, conventional saloon cars, rear engine cars, kit cars and of course pre-1941 cars. So no matter what you prefer to drive there is almost certainly a class which will suit.

Our Pouncy League for the motorcycle competitors is well established and continues to gain momentum. Here you will find events suitable for trail bikes, sidecar outfits and classic motorcycles of the type ridden in the ISDT events of the fifties and sixties.

Alongside our championship trophies, we also have a number of discretionary awards, giving everyone the opportunity to take home some silverware regardless of the competitiveness of the car, bike, rider or driver. Even the hardworking navigators have their own league to compete in, allowing their efforts to be rewarded alongside the drivers.

We look forward to seeing you somewhere on the hills!

Giles Greenslade, ACTC Chairman

Time For A Change

I’ve been a part of the ACTC council since it inception way back in 1978.  I was Championship Secretary for a while back in the 1980’s and I became Chairman in 1988.   I stepped down from this role in the early 1990’s and David Alderson took over.  To help wean David into his new role I stayed on as Vice-Chairman.   18 months later David decided to retire out to Turkey and within an instant was gone.   As Vice-Chairman, this act bounced me straight back into the Chairman’s seat and I’ve been there ever since.  So by next year I will have been in the hot seat for over twenty years, which is far too long for anyone to run any voluntary organisation.  The problem with being in such a role for such a length of time is that you start to generate a self belief that “I’ve been doing this for so long that I know best” and whilst experience and an intimate knowledge can be important in seeing past the immediate problem, it can blind you to the way the sport is evolving.   I started driving in what are now called Classic Trials in 1970.  There was no formal name back then, nor were there any rules, other than the MCC SSR’s, so the nearest thing to a ruling body was the MCC Exec Committee.   As youngsters, we looked at them and thought “silly old duffers, what do they know about what competitors really want”.   Now I fear that I am on the other side of the street, with the younger generation looking at me and thinking much the same.   Another disadvantage of being in a role for a long time is that people become reluctant to try to push one out, believing either that it would be disrespectful to do so, or that there might be acrimonious fall out back on them selves.   It is always better to jump than to be pushed, and I therefore announced at the recent ACTC Council meting that I would not be standing for the Chairmanship next year.
I hope I’ve done some good during my long sojourn I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes, but I would like to think that I’ve helping in making our sport more cohesive, and better understood by those not directly involved.   I won’t be disappearing completely, as Robin Moore has also intimated his desire to step down from the Presidency.   If Council is willing to have me, then I would happily assist the new chairman from this lofty position.

A Bit of Publicity (2)

Back in July I suggested that we could raise the profile of our sport by nominating BLUE HILLS MINE as motorsport venue of the year.   With the autumn issue the MSA magazine that came out a couple of weeks ago was the voting page for all the differenet categories that have been nominated.   We now need to vote for BLUE HILLS MINE to become venue of the year.

YOU MUST VOTE NOW AS THE CLOSING DATE IS NEXT SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER

Log on to www.surveymonkey.com/s/msareaderawards2011 and click on the box for BLUE HILLS MINE.   There are other categories to vote on but you don’t have to vote on any that you don’t want to.   We need to get everyone who can to vote if we are going to win so get your friends and neighbours to vote as well.   Now’s your chance to show your supprt for our sport in a positive way.   Oh, and there are prizes to be won by voters.

Forestry Sell-Off Panel – Action required NOW!

Urgent action required – Government’s Forestry Review Panel
The government’s proposed changes to the ownership and management of public forests in England pose a very real danger to UK motor sport – and in particular stage rallying (who provide all the money) and our own events many of which now rely on Forest Enterprise land.

The Independent Panel established earlier this year to look at the forestry issue and make recommendations to government contains only one representative of leisure users – and that is the Ramblers’ Association. Consequently, there is a great danger that the interests of motor sport will not be considered in the panel’s final report; the disastrous impact of this would be to risk motor sport being excluded from both the public forest estate and any of the forests transferred into private ownership.

The panel is currently consulting with the general public to find out ‘What the forests mean to you?’ It is essential that as many people as possible from the motor sport community make their views known to the panel.

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF ENTRIES IS SUNDAY 31 JULY 2011.
The panel is asking the following questions:

Q1 – What do forests and woods mean to you?
Q2 – What is your vision for the future of England’s forests and woods?
Q3 – What do you feel to be the benefits of forests and woods to:
a) you personally;
b) society as a whole;
c) the natural environment; and
d) the economy?
Q4 – We would like to hear about your suggestions of practical solutions and good practice which can be replicated more widely.
Q5 – What do you see as the priorities and challenges for policy about England’s forests and woods?

In order to submit feedback to this consultation, simply send an email to: [email protected], detailing your name and answering as many of the questions as you wish.

PLEASE RESPOND BEFORE THE END OF THIS WEEKEND.
It is essential that as many people as possible emphasise the importance to motor sport of continued access to the public forest estate. If we fail to do this, there is every chance that the requirements of motor sport will simply not be considered by the panel.

A sample response paper can be found on the MSA website with some key issues highlighted that you might like to consider when completing your submission. You do not need to answer all the questions, but please respond in your own words, as this is significantly more impactful than an obviously orchestrated campaign.

Further information about the panel and the consultation process can be found on the defra website.

A Bit of Publicity?

Here’s a plan……
Or just the germ of an idea. Those of you who hold competition licences will have received, about a month ago, the summer issue of the MSA Magazine. In it (page 68) is their plan to launch their “Reader Awards 2011”. One of these is VENUE OF THE YEAR. Why don’t we try to raise the awareness of our sport by nominating BLUE HILLS MINE as our venue of the year. I don’t supose we will win, but if we can get enough nominations, we can get the name BLUE HILLS MINE on the shortlist for all to see, which is good enough for the publicity as it will hopefully make the roundy-roundy crowd ask “what is Blue Hills Mine?” and remind them that there is more to motorsport than circuit racing.
All you have to do is send an e-mail to [email protected] nominating BLUE HILLS MINE as your choice. I appreciate that you may think other sections might make better choices, but this is about solidarity and Blue Hills might at least have been heard of by some of the non trials crowd.

To recap, and for those reading this who are not immediately involved in our sport but want to help:-
E-mail Subject: MSA Magazine Reader Awards.
E-mail Text: I would like to nominate Blue Hills Mine for Venue of the Year as it is the best trials venue in the country.

All e-mails sent are put into a competition to win a ride around Silverstone in an Ariel Atom, but they do need to be in by 21st July – so don’t mess about.

Spill Kits

Love them or think they’re pointless, You are going to have to accept that spill kits are here. From 1st January every car will be required to carry a “small spill kit” that satisfies MSA Regulation J5.20.13 This no doubt leaves you wondering exactly what should consititute a small kit, something that J5.20.13 make abundantly UNclear, and also wondering how to obtain something that will satisfy the scrutineer without breaking the bank.

Happily, Tim Wellock has come up with a solution that should satisfy all. At scrutineering on the Exeter, he plans to have available a supply of valid kits for competitors to buy for just six of your hard earned quid. So when the scrutineer asks to see your kit, just delve into your pocket, offer him the exact change and goods to the value will become yours. Hopefully, unsold stock will then travel with the scrutineer to following events ’til all competitors are saved from spill.

Kingpin Tyres

Tris White has taken me to task for my comment in RESTART that the Kingpin K4S tyre would be banned overnight if the Council decided that it should not be on the list. That is of course only one of a number of possible outcomes. It is equally likely that the tyre would remain on the list until the end of the championship year (December 2012/January 2013).

It is also possible that circumstances will overtake us anyway, as it would seem that this pattern is becoming a hard to find item already. I just want to caution people against building up stocks of this cover only to find themselves with spares on their hands that they cannot use or get rid of.

Welcome

Following on from a suggestion by Torbay Motor Club at the ACTC May Council meeting, as Chairman I am starting this BLOG as a way of providing information back to trials folk as to what is happening within ACTC and what the council are thinking about.
I will write about MSA rule changes that have or are about to happen and how they will be implemented. Equally importantly, I can give you the opportunity to dicuss possible future changes that are being considered and why. That way you can expess opinions for and against before anything is set in stone by the 22 car & 10 Motorcycle clubs who form the ACTC Council.

Read this Blog and comment on the issues of the day.