The Executive of the AJSBA have decided that we have no option but to cancel the 2013 Australian Watercross Finals. You will be aware that early this year we were denied a permit to have the event at the Gold Coast. Since that time we have struggled to find a site that would be both economically viable and suitable for the event. Detailed below are the reasons for our decision:-
Financial – We are aware that in the future the AJSBA may need to financially support both the Race Director and the immediate Past AJSBA President in any court action that may or may not occur. While the AJSBA has Directors insurance for these costs and our insurer has said we are covered and will support us we have to take into account costs which may not be covered by that insurance. It is impossible in the current climate in Australia for the AJSBA to put on an event of this size without corporate sponsorship. The 2012 event run very well by Gee Racing had a lot of support. However Gee Racing is unwilling to run the event unless it is on the Gold Coast. We understand this as corporate sponsors need exposure and would not support an event at a dam or away from population centres. We could have got a permit in Sydney but the cost of transporting people and gear to Sydney, housing and feeding them for the duration, was a cost we are not prepared to cover given the reasons above. Likewise dams and lakes away from the Gold Coast are unattractive for financial reasons.
Safety – This is a major concern for the AJSBA and while very good at the 2012 finals we would need to increase it exponentially to meet the demands that would be placed on us. Experienced rescue riders would need to be imported adding to the costs. Paramedics/Ambulances/Fencing/ barriers/crowd control/security are now a huge part of any public event and need professional input to achieve the desired result.
Government Inaction- It is now some 13 months since the tragic accident in 2012. We are yet to see a police report being sent to the coroner. When it does reach the coroner it may be a year or two before any action is taken. This situation is entirely unacceptable to both the AJSBA and the family of the rider. The lack of any finding is being used as an excuse by other government departments (Gold Coast Waterways Authority, Marine Safety Qld) to deny us access to water.
Marine Safety Qld are also telling the QPWC how races should be run by, in their words “we have an expert who has stipulated that qualifying must be done for all races with the fastest skis getting pole position”. They won’t tell us who the expert is but the QPWC has no choice but to accede to their demands or face denial of permits. While we don’t see the new regs as onerous they do mean we are told to do certain things by people who have no experience in PWC racing. Of course there will always be some qualifying in oversubscribed classes but this method puts the fastest PWC on one side of the gate and concentrates them at the first turn which is not a great idea.
We do however intend that the 2014 titles will take place. I have sent a letter to the Queensland Police Minister asking why there has been such a long delay. I would expect that letter to cause a shift in Police Forensic Crash Unit time frames.
The Executive will now move to schedule an AGM in a few months where all issues can be openly dealt with and a new executive elected.
Ross Moore (President)