NATIONALS ALTERNATIVES – SOME MORE POSSIBILITIES
In our last update we put out a tentative proposal for an alternative format for the 2021 National Championships. The idea as put forward to the directors was immediately made public so that members could start to have their input. This plan was the first serious route to a realistic “Plan B” which we could be reasonably confident could be adapted to whatever circumstances we find ourselves in as summer approaches.
Our main priority hasn’t changed – it’s to give all our members confidence that NASA is there for you. You all really want to go racing properly again this year, and we want to help you do that. The first stage is to give everyone the encouragement needed to join clubs and take out licences, even at a time when our various governments are still sending out mixed messages about the shape 2021 will take. There’s going to be racing, of that we’re in no doubt, so you’ll all need licences. And the clubs need members and need funds to put their own plans into place, to make sure every one of our 31 race venues sees action in 2021, compared to the 11 that were able to open in 2020.
Publishing the “alternative Nationals” idea in its raw, undeveloped form had the desired effect. The League Representatives held a meeting with a couple of directors, primarily to learn more about this, and this was followed up by a meeting with the full board and the National Chairman Graham Bennett. The idea has got us all talking, which just now is the most we can hope for. The League Reps’ meeting resulted in a lot of feedback, and threw some more possible ways forward into the mix – just what we wanted.
So far we’ve had three rather different ideas put forward from the leagues. These have all been taken up for further discussion and consideration – at this stage any one of them may prove to be more relevant than others as the situation develops. Possibly we may end up using elements from any or all of them when the time comes to be making more definite plans for the season. Some of you will already have heard these, or similar ideas discussed, or you may have seen the minutes circulating of the league reps’ meeting, so we won’t repeat all the details.
Having a meaningful Nationals is still a major objective – although there are ideas for other championship structures that could also give members incentives to go out and race. In a normal season, everyone enjoys the National Qualifiers – whether you’re a serious contender looking to qualify, or a club racer enjoying the chance to race against the top drivers in your league. So a structure that puts an emphasis back on league qualifying, helping start the season on a high, is attractive to us. Some of the other ideas put a different slant on this, maybe encouraging more regional competition, but the objective is always the same – to give you members something that will make it worth you dusting off your helmets and cheque books!
Of course other aspects of the coming season are under constant discussion with a view to getting as much out of the year as we’re allowed to. Two of the main issues last year were our risk assessments having to exclude both spectators and camping. Those are both aspects of our meetings that we’re desperate to get back. One possibility that might make this easier to achieve is allowing spectators or campers but restricting adult attendance to NASA members only. This could make our plans sit easier under track and trace restrictions and could have a side benefit of helping clubs increase their non-racing membership.
You’ll have seen our separate bulletins about the online membership application forms that have been set up for you to submit to clubs through the NASA website. An encouraging number of clubs have already come on board with this, with more clubs going live on the system all the time - please keep in touch with your own club so that you can sign up quickly and easily for the new season.
We hope to have more news and updates for you later in February – as soon as our respective governments start releasing their “roadmaps” for recovery from the current lockdowns, we’ll be reacting and tailoring our plans for the season.