Ah…..the internet

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I recently got involved in a discussion with a person on an internet forum. What generally starts out as a respectful debate, can very quickly escalate into an exercise of futility. The subject was a matter of policy regarding broadcasting and was initially made by the national manager of the organisation in a media outlet interview. The bloke I was involved in the forum discussion with, was their PR hack.

It struck me about halfway through this discord, that it doesn’t matter how much factual, proof based, information that you bring to the exchange, some people are unable to accept the truth. Now…I realize that some peoples version of facts are also up for debate. I’ve long held the belief that……”I read it on the internet” is about as reliable as “I heard it in a pub”. I try to stick to actual press releases, recorded interviews and real time live coverage to get as close to the facts as possible. Admittedly, even then, “the facts” can be distorted or photo-shopped to modify the the truth.

So….at what point in time, are people expected to put up the white flag and admit that they are wrong or is that premise just past some people’s ability?  When, the indisputable facts are presented to them and they still blindly and stubbornly stick to their guns to defend the indefensible.   When, they argue and attempt to modify the words that are on the public record.

I think we’ve all been in the position of seeing dickheads on forums, Facebook, twitter etc, go at it, like it was their life cause to tear down reality, all while hiding under their internet handles of anonymity.  It could be argued that our elected leaders get away with this behavior and get paid by us, to do it in our houses of parliament on a daily basis.

The internet is an interesting place! It gives us access to live news, medical and financial information and connects people. We can watch sport, catch a movie, do our shopping and banking, book flights and accommodation, run a business, get an education, catch up with friends etc. It’s given everyone a place to stand on their soapbox, vent their feelings, share their beautiful stories, their news, their joys and their sadness but it’s also given us the nut-bags of this world, the pedantic political types, the advertising pains in the arse, the PR hacks, the religious zealots, and the haters, a place to vent their BS.

So…..where do we go from here in our quest for the truth and logical discussion? Well, I learned one thing….You walk away at the point where you realize that the debate is going nowhere. Everyone is entitled to their opinions……even if they are factually incorrect.

….and that is one advantage that the internet has over the pub…….one click and they’re gone.

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Where to, for motorsport in Australia?

Here’s a question that some motorsport fans in Australia, may think doesn’t need to be asked. However, from my perspective….. Where to, for motor racing in this country ?

VASC’s, as Australia’s main motorsport category, is supposedly cruising along quite comfortably….. if you choose to believe their propaganda. They say they are getting record crowds at events and producing increased TV ratings. However, when you get to see their races, which in itself, is not that easy to do, due to their blackout on free to air TV, the crowds appear to be ever decreasing. In fact, there seems to be an effort by the TV producers, to not show the spectator areas, with poor crowds sometimes being hard to hide from the camera’s. The TV ratings system being used by all the fta TV stations and the PayTV network are run by the TV networks themselves, and as such, are understandably pretty general in their results. The major TV networks can use the very ambiguous information to attract advertisers by a variety of shady demographics, which can just about give them an argument to prove a point from even a losing, actual viewer numbers position. Henceforth, this is how ridiculously low viewing numbers can somehow be projected as winning figures. Keep in mind that advertising hacks, PR spin doctors and TV executives are all behind these dodgy ratings numbers, so it’s in their own best interest to cloud the figures as much as possible. If you’re in any doubt, try watching the ABC TV Gruen series about the advertising industry, to see how we are played as fools. However, I digress!

Image result for suncorp stadium brisbaneBut, back to the question of where motorsport is going in this country. The football codes, T20 cricket, and an ever increasing number of sports, have an advantage over circuit racing, with a couple of key issues. Footy and cricket have their main stadiums centrally located in the big cities and suburbs. Transport, which is usually free, gets you into the event quickly, and importantly, when it’s all over, you can get out efficiently and on your way home. Due to the issue of motorsport generally being conducted at locations a fair way out of town, it’s a major effort for fans just get get to the venue. In saying this, most diehard motorsport fans will happily make that effort to watch the sport they love. However, it’s the casual or new fans, who are going to see this as all too hard, just to get there in the first place. In the past,  up here in Queensland it hasn’t been too big an issue, due to a smaller population, and the ability of the roads to handle the traffic requirements of a day out at the races. However, nowadays, it’s a major trek to a circuit, via the overworked road network, to Lakeside on the north-side of the city, or Queensland Raceway at Ipswich, on the western outskirts of Brisbane. If you are coming from the opposing side of town, it is a good 2 hours plus, traveling time each way. In the more populated cities of Sydney and Melbourne, motorsport fans could be facing considerably more traveling time to get to their motor racing venue.

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So, even before the racing goes green, on the first race of the day, motor racing has a handicap around its neck to compete with the major sporting codes, to win over the casual fan, and to give them a very good reason to get out to a circuit to see live racing in action. Motorsport, in Australia and Supercars in particular, have got a couple of big names, but to the vast majority of general sports fans, I think it would be very hard for them to reel off the top dozen or so drivers without having to put a lot of thought into it. Personality wise, motorsport struggles to get any major household names in Australia, other than Craig Lowndes, and he probably only has another season or two left in him as a full season driver. Jamie Whincup, who has accrued the most race wins in V8 Supercar/Australian Touring Car history could walk down the main street of any of our capital cities and although being recognized, would certainly not get anywhere near the attention of many of the big name players in the AFL, NRL or our national Cricket team. The same could be said for the current VASC champion, Shane van Gisbergen.

Promotion….. or lack of it, seems to be the core of the problem!                           PROMOTION, PROMOTION, PROMOTION. Motorsport and VASC’s have to get their drivers and champions out there. Get them out there as guest celebrities on TV game shows, lifestyle shows, cooking shows, renovation shows, ANYTHING….anything that gives them coverage!! Make these guys role models. Have them out in schools and in the community promoting road safety. Give the viewing public some good guys, with the wife and kids on display, and a couple of bad guys, who the public can hate. That’s where the other big sports leave motor racing behind when it comes to getting people to follow their sport. I think we’ve all seen how the sport has become so sanitized, since Brock and Johnson used to tell like it was, back in the day.

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Merchandising is another area that should be looked at. Costs should be reduced to be able to get every kid into a VASC team shirt. Flood the market with them. Remember ….if the kids and Mum are happy with the clean image, they’ll be demanding that Dad takes them to the races. All these are things that Motorsport are late coming to the party on, and are in catch up mode to keep up with other forms of sport, that have gotten the jump on them in recent years. Fly in a different guest driver from F1, NASCAR, Sports car racing or wherever, for one off drives in each race. The public loves to see the overseas guys turn up to race against the locals.

Broadcasting.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, payTV just ain’t working. The reality of present day motor racing in Australia, is that it’s major fan base is currently an older demographic. Look around, next time you go to a race meeting and see how old most of the crowd are! Free to air TV, is really the only TV outlet which is going to give them realistic TV viewer numbers. PayTV may work overseas, where there is a much bigger population base. 30% of Australia’s population ain’t gonna match 30% of the U.S. or Europe, in payTV viewer numbers. Consequently, we pay more for less, with payTV in Australia.

20170730_164501Motorsport in Australia hasn’t yet grasped or embraced the concept of live streaming. The streaming services that are offered are a very hit and miss affair. Australian motorsport administrators….Take a look at some of the overseas series, namely BlancpainGT, GT masters, Super GT and many more, to see how its done. Live racing, live timing, immediate replays straight after the race is over. Sure…. it can be argued that the live racing and replays can turn off potential attendances at circuits, but it certainly increases the popularity of the sport to modern audiences and generates an incentive for new fans to want to go to a circuit and experience the real thing in person. I’m now at the crossroads, where I follow practically all my motorsport, from overseas racing these days. I still see myself as an Aussie motorsport fan, but it has become all too hard to not only watch live local motor racing, but to have any ongoing interest in the sport when there is no major effort by the sports administrators, to give me any incentive to attend a race meeting. I still follow local motorsport, but at an enforced (by the promoters) arms length. I live and breathe motor racing! I follow it closely via any outlet I can find. However, if you make it impossible to follow, I now find myself following other more fan friendly, local, sports. Some fans may be lost, altogether.  Potential fans aren’t going to be treated in this way, and be enthusiastic in coming back again. The ridiculously high admission costs are another thing that bugs me about our local motorsport. Again, if the sport is to compete against the bat and ball codes, this issue has to be addressed.

Supercars, have what I consider to be a reasonably good product. It’s good, close, hard racing, albeit in cars that are neanderthals in design terms. They have the cream of the local racing talent in the front half of the grid, but they also have some guys that really shouldn’t be there. There’s quite a few young blokes in their second tier series, that should be racing against the big boys in the main game and that is a view that a lot of the general sporting public see as well. In my opinion, they also have an issue with racing a category of cars that are no longer relevant to the Australian motoring consumer any more. However, in racing these motor sport dinosaurs, I have to admit that the teams have them engineered to within an inch of their lives, so it is very competitive racing by a  few teams that have much superior equipment to the majority of the competition.

So… what’s the answer? I think the calendar for VASC’s should be more condensed. Like it or not, they aren’t going to compete with the footy codes in TV viewer numbers, no matter how much they fudge the figures. Turn it into a summer sport, for TV. I’d start the season off with the Sandown 500 in September, after the football codes are finished. Follow it up with the Bathurst 1000. This is the most popular motor sport event in Australia, so get their season under way with their showcase event early! Have a two week break and follow it up with a weekly, street circuit, sprint race, in each of the major capital cities, and maybe a few of the larger provincial towns, around the country. Realizing that we are talking about summer here in Australia, run as many twilight and night races as possible, on a Saturday twilight time. Run the season through to around March. I’d finish off the season with a top ten drivers, sprint series on street circuits in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Dump the tacky support races and go with a some F5000 and maybe one other support category. Sure….it’s what traditionally conservative motor sport administrators would initially see as impossible to pull off, but motorsport has to get out of the backwards direction it is heading, if it wants to see itself as a major player in the Australian sporting landscape.

So….Let’s see what the future of motorsport gives us……and please, let’s not go down the Formula E path. I don’t think I could stomach that.

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Hey, Australian GT -Here’s how to alienate your diminishing fans

I haven’t said a lot about  the Australian GT race series in recent times, due to my reluctant disposition towards it. In saying that I understand that Tony Quinn (the owner of Australian GT) can do with it whatever he pleases, as he and he alone, owns it. However, as an avid GT3 race fan, it disappoints me that Aussie fans of the GT3 category are unable to follow the local racing. I’m sure that the stock answer to that point would be to get access to Foxtel. For me, that ain’t gonna happen! As with many others, I consider that Foxtel is a poorly operated, disjointed product that is 95% rubbish, for the 5% content that I would be interested in. AustralianGT have taken the Murdoch/Foxtel pathway and hopped  into bed with VASC’s and this is where any potential viewers, are suffering from zero coverage.  I suppose that the question of fan access could be put to Matt Coch (PR hack for AusGT), for his thoughts, but that is probably a bit unfair expecting him to candidly answer that.

It seems to me that AusGT is at a crossroads. Do they go down a fan friendly pathway and try to gain more fans, as the Blancpain/Stephane Ratel organisation has done so well. I was initially hopeful of that taking place when Quinn and Ratel looked like becoming besties, a while back. Alas, it didn’t pan out that way. Australian GT3 race fans who choose not to take the PayTV Foxtel option are left with nothing (except the annual B12H).  Lets analyse the Fox option- Last figures I heard, was that approx. 30% of Australian homes have access to Fox. Out of that figure of 30%, how many tune in to motorsport? I don’t know the definitive answer to that! But, if VASC’s are struggling to maintain viewership, how does a poor cousin in a support category,  measure on the ratings radar? Keep in mind, that the whole methodology of TV ratings has come into question in recent times, as too how actually factual they are, with the TV broadcasters themselves, being in charge of producing these questionable, ratings figures.

Again, in my humble opinion, if AusGT is a closed shop, how is a fan base expected to grow. If their intent is to solely look after their drivers and teams and not give a toss about race fans,  those same fans will go elsewhere to get their fix of sports car racing and watch what comes out of the many overseas events that take place every weekend. Just don’t expect us to come back to an inferior race series when you change your minds and come begging for fans again. In fact, there’s probably an overload of GT3 racing, so much so, that there are sometimes multiple races, on any given weekend. Last nights great coverage of the VLN 6 hour from the Nurburgring is a great case in point, with a Blancpain sprint race on next weekend.

So, as I didn’t get to see yesterdays race, I can only go on the crowd figures turning up at Eastern Creek (sorry, Sydney Motorsport Park) that appeared on the delayed FTA channel broadcast, and reported figures from those who went to the event. Now, I’m not going to sit here behind a keyboard and tell Tony Quinn how to run his business. But strictly from a race fans perspective, get on the blower to Mr Ratel and get his advice. For my 2 bobs worth, ditch Murdoch, VASC’s and go it on your own with the broadcasting. Go with a YouTube live stream, with immediate replays available straight after the race. If you believe the crowd and ratings figures VASC’s are quoting you, you’re kidding yourself and your stakeholders.

The AUSGT racing yesterday actually sounded pretty good, but who’d know-

…if a tree falls in a forest…….

 

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unFair Work Commission

Today’s news from the Australian Fair Work Commission, that retail and hospitality workers are going to lose some of their weekend penalty rates beggars belief. Most of these people are already on low hourly rates, and depend on penalty rates to survive.

For years we have been fed stories from employers about how tough it is to operate and survive and how they can’t run their business profitably when they have to pay workers penalty rates of pay, at nights and weekends. If that is the case, why bother opening?

Will the weekend and public holiday surcharges that some establishments make customers pay, now be removed?

I know that many people are employed by the retail and hospitality sectors, however I am going to make an effort to steer clear of as many of these greedy establishments as possible who are now going to be paying their already low paid staff even less.

These same selfish operators who are already screwing their staff have now been given the green light to go at it even harder.

To be honest, I couldn’t care less if they all went broke. It seems to me that due to their lousy service they couldn’t keep their business’s operating properly without having to resort to these tactics.

Where the hell is the Fair Work Commission in organizing to have our ridiculously highly paid politicians wages brought back to a realistic level? One thing these leeches seem to all agree on, is their greed to continue to bleed taxpayers for their high salaries, over the top superannuation schemes and lifelong travel perks.

I am also having a tough time balancing up how we can pay the CEO’s of our large companies huge multi-million dollar salaries when these same people are taking away the wages and conditions of lower paid workers who are literally living on the bones of their arse already.

Of course, we’ll hear from the various retail association groups, that retail outlets are doing it tough and that we should be all looking at spending our money in shops, rather than on-line. Good luck with that!!                                                                                                              I, along with a huge and ever growing amount of shoppers, will more than ever, do our shopping via the internet, rather than do business with these dishonest employers who treat their own staff with such disrespect. They will, of course attempt to play the guilt trip card on us, by suggesting that we are only hurting the employees, by shopping on-line.

Well…… along with our political leaders who now feel the blowtorch from various forms of social media, I think that these organizations and traders who are screwing their staff need to be named and shamed. They have been hiding behind their wall of anonymity for way to long.

Name the CEO, the business owner, the restaurant owner, the retail outlet owner, when they have been found and proven to be ripping their staff off. The recent accounts of the 7-Elevan group in their terrible treatment of their staff should have brought criminal charges, but didn’t. Organizations pay their political party donations and get away with their corporate crime, at the expense of their hard working employees. Lets make these bastards hurt a bit! Make them worry about their business going down the tubes! Let them feel some pain about their home, family and lifestyle taking a hit, much like what they are doing to the thousands of their current employees around Australia at the moment!

It used to be said that employees were the backbone of a company. Is this the way that modern day Australian companies look after the people that work at the coalface, making the profits that keep organizations in the black? I think that the result will be, that a lot more employees will just be adopting a “turn up and go through the motions” approach. Why go the extra mile for a boss that treats you with such contempt?

Most of these same corporate crooks are still registering large profits each year. When is enough, enough?

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2017 Bathurst 12 Hour

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Just got home from a week away after attending the 2017 running of the Bathurst 12 hour race and having time to reflect on what a great race this years event was. My son and I went together again. This is our seventh B12H race and it just gets better every year. The 2017 race had it all. A great list of international teams and drivers and a stellar list of top shelf local entries.

Race reports are out there in great numbers from every man and his dog who were there to witness this years race, so I don’t feel the need to add my account on the actual race itself.

We arrived on the Friday night after our drive down from Brisbane. We had a minor annoyance to the start of our race weekend when I copped a speeding fine just out of Warwick heading towards Goodiwindi on the Queensland/NSW border . 3 points and a $243.00 fine wasn’t the ideal way to start the weekend, however there’s no point in whingeing or even arguing the toss with Queensland’s finest. Although, it did make us wonder at the time, as to why we counted 5 x motorcycle cops and 11 x police cars (not counting the unmarked ones we didn’t notice) on this 150 klm stretch of relatively light traffic area!  Never mind, we were on our way again, and had a great drive down the Newell Highway and arrived in Bathurst about 6pm on Friday evening.

After checking in to the Bathurst Explorer we were off to a pre-arranged dinner and get together with the guys from the Shakedown Sportscar and GT racing forum, at one of Bathursts fine restaurants, Pantano’s Bar & Grill. A brilliant night was had by all, meeting a lot of the guys we only know by their forum handles. Great to put faces to names. Interesting seeing a lot of the teams and drivers there as well. It was a real case of the Who’s Who of the international sports car racing world turning up. I had a bit of a fanboy moment when I literally bumped into Lena Gade from the Bentley team on the way out.

Saturday, we headed straight to the track. Qualifying and the top ten shootout followed. I don’t know if I’m a fan of the shootout, but hey…. if it generates a bit more excitement, why not! I’m probably a bit more of a traditionalist…..a straight out session, setting grid spots for race day would do me, with teams and drivers given a 20 minute session, timing their qualifying runs to perfection, would be just as exciting.

Both of us are not much into any of the support categories, so we were quite happy to spend part of the day around the back of the pit area, checking out what the teams were up too, and then getting our way up to the top of the mountain for the last qualifying session and the shootout.

I’ve said this before, I don’t think it’s possible to take any poor photography at this place. However, there does seem to be much more of the hated catch fencing springing up around the track every year. It’s becoming more of a challenge to find the better spots for photography each year nowadays. Never mind….. the harder it becomes, the better we like it. The keen amateur photographers at the circuit, manage to find ways to circumvent the barriers they place in our way.

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We had brilliant weather all weekend, albeit a bit hotter that I would have preferred. Plenty of water kept the hot temperatures at bay. One of the things we’ve done over the last few years, has been to pick up a 24 pack of bottled water before leaving home, which generally keeps us well hydrated over the weekend.

With the circuit being literally only 5 minutes from the Bathurst CBD, we’ve found it just as easy to head into town for food, instead of purchasing the dodgy racetrack tucker.

Saturday night saw us hitting the hay at a realistic hour, ready to rise early for the 5.45am Sunday morning race start. For me, the jury is still out on the Sunday race start time. I follow the thinking of the 5.45am to 5.45pm, twelve hour race, with commercial free to air TV calling the shots, for a viewer friendly time frame to maximize their ratings, and I’m absolutely certain the promoters aren’t going to jeopardize the brilliant coverage of the race, that the Seven Network have provided over the last few years. However, to put my self interested, motorsport, race-fan hat on, a Saturday 8.00 or 9.00am start, with them racing into the darkness, would be a better option, leaving Sunday to travel home. As I understand it, this has been proposed in the past with the local council, who are now co-promoters, knocking it on the head. For the aforementioned reasons, I can’t see any day & time changes happening anytime soon.

I have long been critical of Virgin Australia Supercars (or the crowd formally known as V8 Supercars), who took over the running of the Bathurst 12Hour from Yeehah Events a couple of years ago, however I’ve got to admit, the race, under their control, has certainly gone ahead in leaps and bounds since they took over. That is certainly not a criticism of the way Yeehah, under the  leadership of James O’Brien ran the show. If anything, he and his team put the race out in front of the world, to the point where it is now.

Race day saw  a large crowd heading into the track for the 5.45am start. We took up our regular positions at the exit of Caltex chase, out in front of Rydges, well before the start to get ourselves organized. I have been considering watching the start at the top of the mountain, but this year, we decided to stay down the bottom again, for another reason.

Brad, (aka Maverick) from Shakedown had made arrangements to get the forum members into a great little spot on Conrod Straight, not accessible to the rest of the race day crowd. I don’t think I would be wrong in saying that just about any motorsport fan in the country, would be green with envy at getting up there at the B12H or the Bathurst 1000k race, held in October. What a brilliant spot! It’s something else watching the cars thundering down off Conrod at peak speed, around 280-290 kph and generally not backing off as they head into the chase. Listening to the different cars as they flew down through there, made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The scream of the Ferrari, the low ground shaking rumble of the Bentleys, the various notes of the Audi’s, Aston Martins, BMW’s, Lamborghini’s, McLaren’s, Nissan’s, Porsches and all the other racecars was insanely brilliant.

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My son and I are track wanderers when it comes to race meetings we attend, so to head off from this great piece of real estate was a big call, but there is only one Bathurst 12 Hour per year, so we decided to head back up the hill to catch as much of the race from as many vantage points as possible. Which meant of course, to transverse as much of the top of the mountain as possible, from the cutting, across the top of the mountain, all the way around to Forrest’s Elbow.

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We did, as we have done in the last few years, come down to the front straight, to witness the last couple of hours of the race, from up top of the pit complex. This year there was, thankfully, a fair bit more shelter on top, with a bar and shade facilities provided.

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Thanks to Shane van Gisbergens antics late in the race, there was plenty of entertainment, which saw the race fittingly go to the Maranello #88 Ferrari, who were the far superior team all weekend.

 

The race lived up to expectations and more, but although we have noticed the big changes, like a lot more factory and corporate involvement, it still has that nice, small time race feel about it.

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There is no doubt that it has hit the big time. More so this year than in previous years, but when you can see, meet and talk to the drivers and the teams over the weekend, get photo opportunity’s when they present themselves but without the arrogance of V8SC’s and F1, it makes it a great experience. I think the teams and drivers enjoy the relaxed, laid back Aussie atmosphere of the event as well. img_8997

Let’s hope the organizers can keep to the winning formula.

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2017 motorsports calendar

JANUARY

13-14                 DUBAI 24H/24Hseries                         Dubai   U.A.E.

28-29                 IMSA DAYTONA 24H                           Daytona  Florida  U.S.A.

FEBRUARY

5                         BATHURST 12H                                    Bathurst NSW  AUST

MARCH

4-5                      AUSGT                                                   Adelaide  STH AUST

4-5                      VASC                                                      Adelaide STH AUST

11-12                 PWC                                                       St Petersburg  FLORIDA   U.S.A.

17-18                HANKOOK12H/  24Hseries                  Mugello      ITALY

18                       IMSA SEBRING 12H                             Sebring  Florida  U.S.A.

25                      VLN                                                        Nordschleife   GERMANY

25-26                 AUSGT                                                    Albert Pk Melbourne VIC  AUST

APRIL

1-2                     BLANCPAIN SPRINT                              Misano  ITALY

7-8                    HANKOOK12H/24Hseries                    Red Bull Ring  AUSTRIA

8-9                    SHANNONS NATS                                  Sandown   VIC   AUST

8                        IMSA                                                        Long Beach (1H40M)  CAL  U.S.A.

8                        VLN                                                          Nordschleife  GERMANY

8-9                    PWC                                                         Long Beach  CAL   U.S.A.

8-9                    AUSGT  (trophy)                                    Sandown  VIC  AUST

8-9                     VASC                                                        Symmons Plains TASMANIA AUST

16                      WEC                                                         Silverstone6H   U.K.

23                      BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE                     Monza  ITALY

22-23                 VASC                                                        Phillip Island VICTORIA  AUST

23                       IMSA                                                       Barber M/sports Pk  U.S.A.

29-30                 ADAC GT masters                                  Oschersleben  GERMANY

29-30                 PWC                                                         VIR   U.S.A.

MAY

6                        WEC                                                          Spa 6H    BELGIUM

6-7                    IMSA                                                         COTA  (2H40M)   Texas  U.S.A.

6-7                    BLANCPAIN SPRINT                                Brands Hatch   U.K.

6-7                     VASC                                                         Barbagallo  WEST  AUST

6-7                     HANKOOK24H/24Hseries                     paul Ricard   FRANCE

14                      ELMS                                                         Monza  ITALY

14                      BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE                      Silverstone  U.K.

20-21                VASC                                                          Winton VICTORIA  AUST

20-21               ADAC GT masters                                    Lausitzring     GERMANY

20-21                PWC                                                          Mosport   CANADA

27                      PWC                                                          Lime Rock Pk Conn     U.S.

27-28                NURBURGRING24H                                Nurburgring   GERMANY

27-28               AUSGT (ENDURANCE)                             Phillip Island VIC  AUST

27-28               SHANNONS NATS                                     Phillip Is  VIC  AUST

JUNE

3                       IMSA                                                          Bell Isle  (1H40M)   Detroit Mich    U.S.A.

3-4                    BLANCPAIN SPRINT                                 Zolder   BELGIUM

10-11               ADAC GT masters                                    Red Bull Ring    AUSTRIA

10-11                AUSGT (trophy)                                      Winton  VIC  AUS

10-11                SHANNONS NATS                                   Winton  VIC  AUST

17-18                WEC                                                          Le Mans24H    FRANCE

17-18                VASC                                                          Hidden Valley NTH TERRITORY  AUST

24                      BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE 1000K          Paul Ricard    FRANCE

24                       VLN                                                           Nordschleife  GERMANY

24-25                 PWC                                                          Road America   U.S.A.

JULY

1                        HANKOOK12H/24Hseries                      Imola   ITALY

2                       IMSA                                                           Watkins Glen 6H    NY   U.S.A.

8-9                    SHANNONS NATS                                    Eastern Creek  N.S.W.   AUST

8                       VLN                                                              Nordschleife   GERMANY

8-9                    AUSGT (ENDURANCE)                              Syd M/sport PK NSW AUST

8-9                    VASC                                                            Townsville  QUEENSLAND  AUST

9                       AUSGT  Endurance                                    Eastern Creek   AUST

9                       IMSA                                                             Mosport  (2H40M)   Canada

15-16               ADAC GT masters                                       Zandvoort    NETHERLANDS

16                     WEC                                                              Nurburgring6H   GERMANY

22                     IMSA                                                             Lime Rock (2H40M)   CT   U.S.A.

23                     ELMS                                                            Red Bull Ring 4H  AUSTRIA

29-30               BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE                          Spa 24H   BELGIUM

29-30               VASC                                                             Qld Raceway  QUEENSLAND  AUST

29-30               PWC                                                              Mid Ohio    U.S.A.

 

AUGUST

5-6                   IMSA                                                            Elkhart Lake  (2H40M)  WI  U.S.A.

5-6                   ADAC GT masters                                       Nurburgring  GERMANY

5-6                    AUSGT                                                         Qld Raceway  QUEENSLAND  AUST

5-6                    SHANNONS NATS                                     Qld Raceway   QUEENSLAND  AUST

12-13               PWC                                                             UTAH    U.S.A.

19                     VLN                                                              Nordschleife    GERMANY

19-20               VASC                                                             Eastern Creek   NSW  AUST

26-27               BLANCPAIN SPRINT                                    Budapest  HUNGARY

26-27              SHANNONS NATS                                        Winton  VIC  AUST

26-27              HANKOOK24H/24Hseries                          Algarve   PORTUGAL

27                    ELMS                                                             Paul Ricard 4H  FRANCE

27                     IMSA                                                            Virginia Int Raceway  (2H40M)   U.S.A.

SEPTEMBER   

2                       VLN                                                              Nordschleife   GERMANY

2-3                    AUSGT                                                         Symmons Plains TAS  AUST

3                       WEC                                                              Mexico6H          MEXICO

3                       PWC                                                             Circuit of the Americas  TEXAS   U.S.A.

9-10                 SHANNONS NATS                                       Phillip Is  VIC  AUST

16                     WEC                                                              Austin6H            U.S.A.

16-17               ADAC GT masters                                       Sachsenring   GERMANY

16-17               BLANCPAIN SPRINT                                    Nurburgring  GERMANY

16-17               PWC                                                               Sonoma    U.S.A.

17                     VASC                                                              Sandown 500 VICTORIA  AUST

23                     VLN                                                                Nordschleife    GERMANY

23-24               ADAC GT masters                                        Hockenheim   GERMANY

23-24               SHANNONS NATS                                        Morgan Pk   QUEENSLAND  AUST

24                     ELMS                                                              Spa4H  BELGUIM

24                     IMSA                                                              Laguna Seca  (2H40M)   CAL  U.S.A.

OCTOBER

1                       BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE                           Barcelona   SPAIN

7                      IMSA                                                               Road Atlanta  (10H)  GA  U.S.A.

7                      VLN                                                                  Nordschleife   GERMANY

8                      VASC                                                                Bathurst 1000 NSW   AUST

14-15              PWC/SRO inGTchal                                       LagunaSeca  U.S.A.

15                   WEC                                                                  Fuji6H      JAPAN

21                   VLN                                                                  Nordschleife    GERMANY

21-22             VASC                                                                 Surfers Paradise QUEENSLAND  AUST

22                   ELMS                                                                 Algarve  PORTUGAL

28-29             AUSGT (ENDURANCE)                                    Hampton Downs NEW ZEALAND

NOVEMBER

4-5                 VASC                                                                  Auckland  NEW ZEALAND

5                     WEC                                                                  Shanghai6H     CHINA

10-11             HANKOOK24H/24Hseries                             Circuit of the Americas    U.S.A.

11                   AUSGT                                                              Highlands Park  NEW ZEALAND

12                   AUSGT (ENDURANCE)                                    Highlands Park NEW ZEALAND

18                   WEC                                                                  Bahrain6H      U.A.E.

TBA                 VASC                                                                 Newcastle  NSW  AUST

 

 

 

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The race, religion, immigration debate

The ongoing debate that rages in Australia over race, religion and immigration continues.

After all is said and done, the main focus of this discussion, should be on the law….. nothing else! The media seem keen to pigeonhole people who carry out illegal activities, if they are part of a particular racial or religious group. This then gets used as a defense for breaking the law, with them pulling out the race/religion discrimination card to claim that they are being victimized by the police and the legal system. Unfortunately, the judiciary always gives them the benefit of doubt. I think that the basic rule of law should always be applied with any illegal activity that anyone commits. It shouldn’t matter what color skin you have, what religion you belong to, what age demographic you fall under, or what your country of origin is. If you are an Australian, by birth or by becoming an Australian citizen, you are obligated to respect and obey our laws and culture. We would certainly be obliged to do the same, if we visit any other country in the world.

The affirmation that everyone takes when becoming an Australian citizen reads as follows –  “As an Australian citizen, I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I uphold and obey.”                                                                                                                                                 Rather simple and straightforward I would have thought, and therefore leaving absolutely no doubt on the responsibility, of anyone who commits to come to our country and take up permanent residency. Aussies have always been a breed of people who tell it as it is. I think we’ve all seen the posters and bumper stickers -“If you don’t like it, LEAVE”. It’s rather direct and to the point, but a real statement that most Australian’s believe in.

Lets define “real Aussies”. Australians are people from many diverse cultures, nationalities and religions who have come to our country to live, over its short history. We have after all, only been here since 1788, when the First Fleet arrived (or invaded, depending on your point of view). The indigenous people of Australia are the original traditional inhabitants of the country. The rest of us, are all immigrants. We came from the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and many other countries from across the length and breadth of the world to this beautiful continent, to live, enjoy the great lifestyle that we now have and to worship whoever we choose, without persecution. New immigrants arrive and are welcomed every year. The vast majority of them are grateful to arrive in Australia, and are so happy to be in a peaceful place where they can take advantage of what our great country has to offer, be educated and work and live in a safe environment without having to  worry about survival, on a daily basis. Australia has always prided itself on our willingness to accept people with many different religions, cultures and skin colors, even if some of the politically correct crowd among us, would try and make us all out to be homophobic, racist bigots. From the post war baby boomer suburb where I grew up, we made friendships with families who emigrated from U.K, Greek, Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, German and Russian backgrounds.Throughout the two and a bit centuries of our country’s history, families from these and many other diverse multicultural backgrounds, have built Australia into the great and successful nation that it is today.

In recent times however, a small minority seem to arrive here bearing an extreme grudge against Australians and want to create trouble. This is where the “If you don’t like, LEAVE” idea, originates from. It is a sentiment that most people would have, in relation to a visitor to their own homes. We throw the welcome mat out to all invited guests. If they aren’t happy visiting someone else’s home, accepting the hand of friendship on offer, discussing and respecting everyone’s opinions, not becoming violent when you disagree, then I guess it is time to LEAVE and go somewhere else, where you can resort to fighting when you oppose your hosts beliefs and lifestyles.

Having said that, some Aussies have opinions on our political leaders that can become quite heated sometimes, but therein lies a difference. We can choose to disagree and do it in a peaceful manner, without resorting to open warfare between the disagreeing factions. This is what our democratic right allows us to do. It’s something that we fought in two world wars  to achieve and confirm, and to hold as a right of our freedom and democracy.

I keep on returning to the fact that we already have laws in place to take care of antisocial lawbreakers who choose to buck the system. There seems to be a whole industry set up in our legal system by lawyers to primarily look after the interests of lawbreaking recent arrivals to our country. Our media industry seems to hold the belief that it is better to fan the flames of discontent to get a good story, than to be a part of solving this potentially serious issue.

To simply shut the doors to immigration, doesn’t solve the problem. It actually stops good, legitimate immigrants who have something to offer to our communities from coming to Australia to give something back, for their shot at living and raising a family in the most beautiful country on the planet. We used to call ourselves the lucky country. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There was no luck involved. It was pure hard work and the tenacious attitude of our past generations that got Australia to where it is today.

I believe that our immigration laws should be changed.

The welcome mat should still be out, but only to those who appreciate the values that we have and hold dear, in this country. I think that a citizenship certificate should have a cooling off period and be revocable if the holder is a continuous serious offender.

If you play up……. you’ve worn out your welcome, pack your bags, thanks for coming.

 

 

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