Oval Racing Council
16th March 2020
This year has seen an unprecedented march from the ORCi and their members against the non-ORCi quite to the annoyance of many, but its statements seem to be a little vague in places. Backed up by the fact the organisation has no contact information, it's quite understandable how annoyance becomes anger and seemingly directed towards just one member of the organisation.
The appointment of a new promoter at Swaffham was the icing on the cake for the ORCi, who quickly pinged out a statement that was reproduced by all associated promoters and was also added to their website, a site that is rarely updated. That statement pointed out ORCi licensed drivers would be banned for racing at non-ORCi tracks, that for me created the question what is a non-ORCi track? A non-ORCi track is quite broad and 99.9% of racing in this World takes place on non-ORCi tracks, what the ruling really means as it cuts a few key words are oval tracks that promote the same form of Hot Rod, Stock Car and Banger racing as the ORCi in the UK.
As many online are confused by what is or isn't non-ORCi I thought I would clear up what constitutes being non-ORCi and when they will be banned.
Does a driver get banned if they race on their playstation? No, don't be stupid
Does a driver get banned if they gamble on motor sports? No
Does a driver get banned if they try some go-karting? No
Does a driver get banned if they race on the long circuits with organisations like MSA or 750MC? No
Does a driver get banned if they race Autograss? No
Does a driver get banned if they race on 400 metre oval track but only run or cycle? No
Does a driver get banned if they take their race car to a static car show that is not affiliated to the ORCi? No
Does a driver get banned if they watch racing at a non-ORCi oval track? No
Does a driver get banned if they mechanic for another driver on a non-ORCi oval track? No
Can staff from an ORCi track get banned for watching racing at a non-ORCi track? No
Does a driver get banned if they test their car at another promoter's track? No. There were many occasions when drivers would test at Arena Essex before racing at Ipswich that evening.
Does a driver get banned if they race a similar specification car (Hot Rods, Stock Car or Banger) on an oval which doesn't have ORCi status? Yes, the ban will be enforced to just one quite specific matter.
The proposed ban is just trying to stop people racing at selective tracks that are competition to the ORCi tracks in the sense of crowd and drivers. I know it has been in place for many years in some guise but if your promotion is good why would a driver look elsewhere to race – is it because you don't treat them right, don't have enough meetings, don't fulfil all their needs.
A driver has to put in a considerable amount of effort and time to race, he/she requires that from mechanics too as well as their hard earned cash spent on the race car, transport and upkeep. Then a promoter who profits from all drivers wants to stipulate rules that I believe is a step too far. A driver will also bring in their fair share of family members who add to the income of the promoter, something they might now being losing. I’ve read some crazy comments about the reasoning to this, insurance has cropped up a few times, yes my house insurance is void if I go into another house, unbelievable Jeff!
The ORCi are a self-sanctioned body they have standards that are probably higher compared to other oval tracks but the guidelines they are working towards are not MSA or FIA. They may have training days (which I applaud) but they are ultimately an organisation run by those that benefit from the actions, the directors being the promoters. Corgi Gas registrations for example, are not owned by heater manufacturers like Worcester Bosch or Ideal, they work together for the greater safety of the industry. The ORCi is not impartial body, their purpose is to be a stronger unit for a select group of stock car promoters. Their attempts to crush the smaller promoters has seen a rebel alliance align forces in the shape of the National Stock Car Association or NSA for short.
I should note that there are 2 sides to the argument, you've also got the non-ORCi promoters who are operating with the same aim; provide entertainment, have happy drivers who have enjoyed racing and at least cover their costs. Their stance on drivers racing at others tracks is the complete opposite, yes you can race at other tracks if we have no racing on that day.
The top 3 English drivers in the current National Hot Rods standings are Aaron Dew, Jason Kew and Chris Haird. Where were they before Nationals? Dew raced in go-karts (not ORCi), Kew started his racing in Juniors at Standlake (not ORCi) and Chris Haird started in the Hot Rods at Peterborough (not ORCi). Many drivers have stepped up to the stadiums and more prolific formulas over time but will this trend continue if the ORCi continue their grip on where a driver should or shouldn't participate.
In the scenario of a Junior Banger driver (as that is getting the most coverage recently) who is registered to a promotion where there is no racing on a given day I think they should be free to race where they like. They should also not need to gain permission to do so, their car, their money, their time. They should be no further consequences, it's really that simple. Yes their allegiance should be with the promoter they license with, they prioritise racing on their tracks but free to race elsewhere should the opportunity arise.
In a time when the number of oval tracks is at its lowest, tracks are closing and not being replaced - the sport needs to stick together not fight amongst themselves for petty gains. The politics of oval racing needs to change, it needs to change for the better as sadly it's a shrinking sport that has many outside forces hurting it whilst the internal fracas splinter itself further. These actions are not going un-noticed, the occasional fan is starting to see the impact and shying away their events.