At a recent Northern Branch meeting, the Committee discussed race starts and driver obligations with Frank Phelan & Danny Blakemore, where the protocol for getting races away on time was clarified. Horses were called to the start between 4 and 5 minutes, 2 minutes prior to the start drivers should be in cart, and a 1 minute initial call up would be made to ensure horses were in the correct order. There was comment on unruly or poorly behaved horses, with agreement they should not dictate to rest of field, especially from a stand. Both starters were aware of the second row turning in for mobiles, and that the gate speed should be moderate until both lines have turned in. There was consensus that drivers need to adhere to guidelines and make race starts as smooth as possible. It was thought starts overall were of a good standard, and from a betting and image perspective, this has to be maintained.
The Committee was shown a PVC black & white number which may be introduced if it was liked. Those present agreed it was easy to see, gear up, and even clean afterwards. It was thought with numbers, simple is best and in the past, designs has become too intricate.
Items of correspondence included the Greater Canterbury Branch AGM Minutes, with workout driving fees & invoices being supported as long as the invoice was received before it was due!
The issue of the transfer of Hawera race dates was ongoing, and the Branch had sent its support.
With regard to a Welfare Officer, and Junior employment contract, the Committee discussed that the Branch had attempted to assist in this area, but co-operation was not always there from licence-holders. There was agreement that this area could be improved, and with to regards employment, obligations may be necessary. The Branch will liaise with the Cadet School in the first instance. It would also ask as to the situation regarding the winding up of cadet trust, and funds being given to Kidz Carts.
Under General Business, concern was expressed at the small number of junior drivers in the North, and the ability to fill these designated races. There was also discussion on the amount of concessions available, and how ratings can affect this if they are overlapped, or races are doubled up. Jay Abernethy agreed to raise the matter at the next ATC Racing Committee meeting.
The selection process used for maiden races was discussed and clarification will be sought at ATC Racing Committee meeting also.
With regard to Amateur drivers races, Derek Balle advised that the ATC will look at putting in reserve races and Ivor Brownlee confirmed they would definitely be supported if programmed.
Pete Cook/Dave Neal