SST sponsor calls for information from CAMS over ban

Wednesday 17th October, 2018 - 1:44pm

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Stadium Super Trucks was to have raced on the Gold Coast this weekend

Stadium Super Trucks sponsor Peter Adderton has called for CAMS to provide information to category organisers regarding its ban which he claims has not yet been disclosed.

Adderton is the founder of Boost Mobile, which was to have become the naming rights sponsor of an Australian SST series under a three-year deal inked earlier this year.

The series was banned from racing in Australia in May, with an application for an injunction rejected by the Victorian Supreme Court last week.

Adderton has since approached CAMS himself regarding the ban and the reasons for SST being in breach of its agreement with the governing body, ostensibly for safety reasons.

He claims that CAMS has not advised SST as to what modifications it needs to make in order to be compliant with its agreement with the Australian ASN.

“We are investors and fans of the sport, and it is incredibly disappointing to see how this entire situation has been handled,” said Adderton in a statement distributed to media (See below for full statement).

“For me, making sure everyone has the same information is a crucial part of being able to move this discussion forward.

“CAMS says this information has been supplied privately, SST says no such information has been received and that they are jumping through hoop after hoop in a desperate bid to save the season, without guidance or feedback from CAMS.

“I have approached CAMS asking for this information, with nothing forthcoming.

“Unfortunately my attempts at engagement and communication were met with personal accusations and unpleasantness most unbecoming of a governing sporting body.

“I have been involved in motorsport for a very long time both in Australia and the United States, and in all this time dealing with IndyCars, NASCAR, Supercars, MotoGP and others, I have never seen anything quite like this.”

Speedcafe.com has communicated the statement to CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca, who confirmed that he had been approached by Adderton in issuing the following reply to the claims:

“First of all, Mr Adderton is, as far as we know, a sponsor according to his own emails to me. We find it extremely unusual for us to be engaging with a sponsor on safety matters,” Arocca told Speedcafe.com.

“In addition, it has been determined by a court that Stadium Super Trucks are unsafe. Affidavit material was provided by both parties and that set out many of the reasons for either side’s position.

“I’m not going to engage in a public debate with a sponsor over a safety issue.

“If Mr Gordon or his lawyers want to hear again the reasons why we believe the Stadium Trucks are unsafe then I will be happy to repeat them to those people through the appropriate channels.”

Court documents reveal that series owner Robby Gordon, SST’s local operations staffer Nathan Cayzer, and its legal representation, conducted a teleconference with representatives from CAMS including its General Manager of Motorsport, Scott McGrath, in July.

It was McGrath who convened the working group formed in the wake of the Barbagallo incident when a stray wheel hit the pedestrian bridge in May, which banned the series two days after the event, and who conducted the investigation into the series.

The ban is technically a determination from CAMS that SST organisers have breached their agreement with the governing body to hold racing at CAMS-sanctioned events in Australia due to failure to comply with certain safety standards.

While the transcript from the July teleconference was not admissible as evidence due to a clause in the series’ agreement with CAMS, the judgement demonstrates that CAMS and SST’s legal representation had engaged in correspondence prior to the teleconference.

Specifically, the judgement demonstrates that SST organisers were aware of CAMS’ concerns regarding wheel breakages, loose bodywork, regularity of rollovers, and driving standards, even if they refuted the extent or severity of those matters.

It was that disagreement which led to CAMS’ General Counsel, Tahli Preston-Dixon, invoking the dispute resolution procedures which precipitated the teleconference.

SST organisers claimed to have addressed CAMS’ concerns by replacing the cast iron wheels with stronger forged iron, modifying bonnet mounts, and improving driver training processes.

An email from SST’s legal representation also accused CAMS of having “no intention of resolving the dispute in good faith (and) no intention of responding to the plaintiff’s proposals.”

Affidavits from McGrath and CAMS Director of Racing Operations, Tim Schenken, demonstrate that CAMS did not believe SST had proved that its initiatives would satisfactorily resolve the safety issues which CAMS had identified or, in the case of driving standards, be implemented in time to be effective for SST’s next event which was to be this weekend’s Vodafone Gold Coast 600.

The judge found in favour of CAMS and upheld the ban owing to the safety concerns, CAMS’ “broad contractual discretion” to enforce safety standards, and the proximity of the Gold Coast event to the court proceedings.

Adderton’s comments in full

We are investors and fans of the sport, and it is incredibly disappointing to see how this entire situation has been handled. For me, making sure everyone has the same information is a crucial part of being able to move this discussion forward. CAMS says this information has been supplied privately, SST says no such information has been received and that they are jumping through hoop after hoop in a desperate bid to save the season, without guidance or feedback from CAMS.

I have approached CAMS asking for this information, with nothing forthcoming.  Unfortunately my attempts at engagement and communication were met with personal accusations and unpleasantness most unbecoming of a governing sporting body. I have been involved in motorsport for a very long time both in Australia and the United States, and in all this time dealing with Indy Cars, NASCAR, Supercars, MotoGp and others, I have never seen anything quite like this.

With all this in mind, it’s remarkably simple and in the spirit of servicing the fans of the sport CAMS just needs to publicly document everything SST needs to do from their perspective to gain their compliance. If these are fair and reasonable steps, consistent with the standards used by other races on the circuit, then SST can look to address them. Right now they feel like the goalposts from CAMS are constantly moving, which I’m sure as the governing body they would also want to dispel via a public airing of such requirements. Fans need to have full confidence that CAMS is working in the spirit of trying to bring a fair resolution to the matter.

Speedcafe.com has been established to provide a daily motorsport news service to the industry and fans in Australia and internationally.

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