BRSCC HQ AGM – Chairman’s Speech – April 21st 2021
Good evening and welcome to the 2021 AGM. Thank you for taking the time out to attend the AGM of your club, a mutual racing club, run for the benefit of the members to take part and assist in motorsport in many ways.
The BRSCC has seen some significant changes over the last 2 years since the last AGM. With the temporary suspension of motorsport 12 months ago, the required changes to social behaviour, potential economic fall out of the global pandemic and not forgetting for one moment the sad suffering or indeed loss of loved ones who have struggled with the pain of the Covid virus and it’s knock-on effects.
At this moment let us remember some of the great people we lost through the last 12 months:
Ken Mellor (ST-XR assistant coordinator and former driver)
Sir Stirling Moss (former VP of the club)
Roger Stebbings (Marshal, Steward and club member)
Peter Browning (Former Director, founding team who set up the Formula Ford Festival)
And of course, mentioning the Festival, we lost Brian Jones.
Please remember them all and raise a glass this evening!
Like many businesses back in March and April 2020 we were faced with significant challenges but no visible route through them. We had many circuit contracts and commitments in place but no income, as we had no race entries.
I must thank, on behalf of all club members, the HQ team and the Exec Committee for supporting the club on an almost daily telephone conference in working through the crisis and potential chaos. I especially mention Glynn Lee, Noel Taylor, Paul McErlean and Chloe Bambury.
I must also thank the loyal staff of HQ who were placed on furlough, something new at the time for most people I am sure and people found it quite distressing with the future unclear at that time.
Motorsport UK were very supportive to the sport. The circuit owners all stepped up and reviewed the position of club motorsport and I am pleased to report back that all the circuit operators supported the club.
At the end of 2019, (seems such a long time ago) we had some quite significant changes to the management of the club. Paul McErlean had joined us as the new Chief Operating Officer. Paul has successfully built a small, dedicated team to work with all staff and coordinators in promoting and optimising the club race days, championship reinvigoration and of course, progress with innovation and new opportunities. We are very grateful for the assistance from Mandy Andrew and Greg Graham, together bringing years of experience and passion.
The number one challenge last year was to confirm a race calendar and ensure the grids were full. I am pleased to report that the average grid size did increase and whilst the club ran fewer events, it was significantly more feasible, returning a small profit on race operations.
At the end of 2020 we organised an office relocation.
Following the sad passing of the office landlord, it was felt prudent to relocate to a newer, more modern and purposeful office, without excess expenditure. I am pleased to say the new office is in use, combined with some home working.
We also looked into a new IT solution to replace the legacy REV-UP system. The club investigated options and has now had delivered and set up a new system for members to volunteer and to enter races. Thank you to the HQ team who have had a serious task of getting to grips with the new system, a floating calendar and part-time furlough to deal with. I am sure we will look back and reflect and see all of the positives from that.
I would like to thank my fellow Board members of the BRSCC who worked to support the club. The board were fully supportive of the Exec Committee throughout 2020 and as a result we will see very shortly the first of our planned new Rescue Vehicles. I would like to thank Midland Centre Chairman Trevor Parry, EA Member and Director Steve Webb and Midland Centre committee member and Rescue Vehicle Captain Matt Greenwood for getting this project over the line.
Reflecting on our many race championships we ran very successful meetings involving Caterham, a great set of championships and not forgetting their passion and drive to bring 50 new drivers to the sport every year.
Mazda saw maximum grids of Mk3 and Mk1 cars. The National FF1600 championship, competitive to the end, was merged with the Northern and Super Classic Championship, a decision made through lack of available track time, but these two will be stand-alone for 2021.
Our Fiesta Junior Championship turned heads, great racing and who can forget the phoenix-like growth from 5 cars to 15! Something that shows hard work, passion, dedication and determination will pay off, thanks go to Laura Payne and the team that support her.
You may recall that we acquired the BMW Race Days Compact Cup championship back in 2016, this has continued to thrive, but we cannot sit back on our laurels. At the start of 2020 I was approached by Greg Graham with his idea, which has now developed into the new City Car Cup Championship. We are aware of the number of cars in build and we look forward to the full grids and close racing this will provide. Also, for the first time that I can recall, we the BRSCC actually own a race car for development. An investment that will allow us to progress further with new opportunities.
This year the Fiesta championship will see the new turbo version arrive. Getting new cars through development and testing requires a lot of patience and the opportunity to test and race them. This has been enabled by Paul and Greg’s innovation and ideas including the Clubsport Trophy, a home for many car types.
We are really proud to announce that the Aston Martin Owners Club has decided to join the BRSCC and run their races within our race meetings. We will also have a dedicated AMOC day at Mallory Park in August, something that we will look to promote jointly with the venue.
Returning to the BRSCC is the Track Attack Race Club series. Welcome back. The new ZEO Sports Proto series has joined the BRSCC along with the Modified Ford Series.
We have been appointed as the organising club for the new Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship and we continue as the appointed club for W Series, FIA F4 British Championship certified by FIA and British GT Championships.
At the end of the 2020 season, we delivered an excellent Formula Ford Festival event at Brands Hatch. While numbers were lower than expected, we saw the live TV coverage and great racing, joined by the ever-popular and close Mazdas.
2021 will see the 50th running and I am pleased to say that we are already planning a great Festival. Look out for the announcements throughout the season.
We are unable to run race meetings without the dedication and time given up by so many volunteers. Thank you to all of our marshals, officials, admin teams who have had many challenges through this last season. Some of the challenges developing into new ideas and opportunities to innovate the way we run race meetings. I hope that the pre-event online meetings, so much more efficient and economical on time than travelling, allow us to deliver a great service to our members.
Financially, we found the 2020 season challenging. The new management and control of finances led by Director Noel Taylor and managed by Chloe Bambury saw the club return a small surplus. Something that we are continuing to improve upon for 2021.
Thank you to the centres who meet and plan the relevant race meetings. We have the local resources that they use and also hire out, including radios and rescue vehicles. Thank you to the RV crews who do travel to assist at other race meetings.
I can’t deliver a report without mentioning something about our future. We are keen to continue our recruitment of officials and marshals. The sport has been reliant on an ageing population of very experienced and dedicated people. We need to encourage more of our friends, work colleagues and acquaintances to come and try out motorsport for themselves, as a competitor, an official, a marshal.
We are also due to announce more additions to our race portfolio for 2021 and beyond, some exciting opportunities for both traditional and also climate-sensitive racing.
Chairman, British Racing & Sports Car Club