Probe needed in wake of Bathurst appeal debacle
Supercars and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport must work together to ensure that there is no repeat of this year’s Bathurst appeal debacle, says former champion Russell Ingall.
Will Davison and Jonathon Webb’s victory in the October 9 Great Race has been overshadowed by a post-race time penalty awarded to Jamie Whincup and a subsequent appeal from Triple Eight.
The appeal was finally dismissed by the Supercars National Court of Appeal in Melbourne last night, where a three-man judicial panel deemed that Triple Eight did not have the right to appeal after all.
Rule B5.1.1 in the Supercars operations manual states that “the right of appeal against a decision of the Stewards, made as a result of a hearing, is available to an “appellant” to The Supercars National Court of Appeal”.
As the decision of the stewards was made in-race and not the result of a hearing, the stewards should not have accepted Triple Eight’s notice of intention to appeal and its accompanying $10,000 fee on the Sunday night of the race.
The failure for the case to even be heard was another twist in a debacle that had already seen Triple Eight last week denied the chance to change its grounds for appeal from that originally stated on its notice of intention.
Bemoaning the messy nature of the process, Ingall believes that Supercars and CAMS must launch a probe into the case in order to make sure that a similar scenario does not arise in future.
“The problem is that there’s so many clauses in the rule book that no matter what rules are written, they can be overridden,” Ingall told Speedcafe.com.
“I’ve been caught out by that. No matter how good your case is it can be overridden by another rule.
“Part of the problem is the racing rules are done by Supercars and administered by CAMS and then you’ve got your CAMS rules.
“We have to have more of a unified approach from both parties. It’s not about either body, it’s about the good of the sport.
“It’s hard to change anything mid-year, but once we get to Monday after Sydney Olympic Park, there should be a committee assigned to sorting this out.
“It needs to be fixed before we get to Adelaide next year.”
Supercars CEO James Warburton has been scathing of Triple Eight’s handling of the situation, labelling the decision to appeal as “un-Australian” and threatening “the integrity of the sport”.
While critical of the judicial system currently in place, Ingall says that the right for teams to appeal should not be diminished or criticised.
“It was harsh and it surprised me that James said that to be honest,” said Ingall of Warburton’s comments.
“I think everyone is entitled to a fair hearing no matter what.
“That’s not un-Australian, it’s just being fair. That’s why you have a judicial system.”
The Supercars Championship continues this weekend with the Castrol Gold Coast 600, where Ingall will complete his co-driving duties at Nissan Motorsport alongside Rick Kelly.