CAMS has handed a $5k suspended fine to a competitor for competing in an AASA Formula Ford event at Winton on 24 September, 2016.  The competitor, Paul Zsidy, is a CAMS state council member and by competing in the non-CAMS sanctioned event he breached the CAMS constitution.

CAMS released a statement last week that stated:

“The Board of CAMS met on November 4 2016 to determine a charge against Mr Paul Zsidy of Bentleigh East, Victoria. It was alleged that as a member of the Victorian State Council Executive of CAMS, Mr Zsidy breached his obligations pursuant to clause 14(b) of the CAMS Constitution by competing at a non CAMS event”AASA responded with a statement of their own expressing a level of shock and disappointment. The AASA statement reads:

“Mr Zsidy’s apparent crime against “the sport”, which was admitted, according to a statement on the CAMS website, was that he exercised his right to compete in a round of the Australian Formula Ford Series, held at Winton Motor Raceway on September 24, which happened to be at a race meeting sanctioned by the AASA. Sources inform the AASA that not enough rounds for the series could be accommodated within suitable CAMS race meetings, and that is where Winton Motor Raceway stepped in, and effectively  assisted the category to achieve its obligations to competitors, by hosting the Formula Fords at a Victorian Motor Racing Championship round.”

The statement mentions a previous incident where a State Council member was served a fine for competing at an AASA event.

“The current Chairman of the AASA, Mr Bruce Robertson, who CAMS attempted to sanction when he too served on State Council some years ago, and under a similar clause, is saddened that CAMS continues to attack its volunteer servants in such a manner. (Mr Robertson forced CAMS to back down, by engaging legal assistance, and he continued to serve for many years.) The offending clauses have since been strengthened within the CAMS Constitution.  Paul Zsidy is an exemplary competitor, administrator, and investor in the sport,” Mr Robertson said.

“It is appalling that Mr Zsidy is treated in such a manner by using such inappropriate and damaging components of the CAMS Constitution, the existence of which most CAMS affiliated car clubs and members would be unaware.”

There is suggestion that CAMS stance is financially and politically motivated, with the decision to downgrade Formula Ford being suggested as an indicator of CAMS’ motivation.

Bruce Robertson said “It is most unfortunate that the ability to compete within the sporting framework has become muddied by competing commercial interests in the sanctioning arena. This unfortunate situation, may have been triggered by a commercial and/or sporting decision to down grade the status of the Formula Ford category within the CAMS system, and with CAMS and aligned promoters not being able to provide enough race meeting slots for the category’s needs”.

Calling it an ‘abuse of power’, Mr Roberson continues;

“This outcome for Mr Zsidy is an absolute indictment on the corporate direction and capacity of the CAMS Board to understand the nuances of the sport and the expectations of the wider customer base. The whole sport should be concerned, offended and dismayed at this attitude to the sport’s participants, whether that be by competing, being an official or as an administrator or promoter. The offending Constitutional clauses should never have been added, as a means to ward off commercial threats.”

CAMS released a follow-up statement of their own, and are sticking to their guns:

“Under the CAMS Constitution, CAMS State Council Members are not permitted to participate in four wheeled motor sport activities not recognised by CAMS or the FIA – as listed in 14.(b)(ix). Mr. Zsidy knew of those obligations and has since accepted the consequences of his decision to compete at an AASA event. Given the clear nature of the breach, the CAMS Board was obliged to uphold the rule within the CAMS Constitution.”

The statement includes CAMS’ mission statement…

“CAMS is a not-for-profit organisation, focused on the administration, development, promotion and regulation of motor sport. This includes active investment towards driver development, local and international officials training, growth in grassroots participation and advocacy for motor sport towards all levels of Government.”

…and finishes with a thumb-on-the-nose to the AASA.

“Despite the AASA purporting to be an equivalent of CAMS, the organisation is not recognised as a National Sporting Organisation by the Australian Sports Commission for four wheeled motor sport. AASA is not affiliated with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and it does not recognise the International Sporting Code. Nor does the FIA recognise the authority, or existence, of the AASA.”

Links to the statements can be found below: