Presidents report 2021
After a tricky 2020 with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the consequential cancellation of some events and rearranging of others, we were all hoping that what was a pretty disrupted year for us as a club was behind us and we would all enjoy a better year in 2021. Although COVID had settled down somewhat for us (in the NT at least) and we had put measures in place to comply with the necessary regulations, nothing could have prepared us for what was to occur on that fateful day on 06 March at Simpson’s Gap when Steve Yates was hit and killed instantly during a Time Trial. More on the event that shocked our club shortly.
Gratitude for the ASCC Committee
Those who were present at last year’s AGM will recall that in the absence of anyone putting their hand up for the President’s role, I was nominated. It should also be recalled that I said emphatically “no” as I had too much on! However, at the end of the meeting, when there was still no one wishing to take on the role, despite Steve O’Burtill doing his best, I had agreed to return as the Vice-President, and Steve looked at me as if to say well, it looks like you’re it.
At the first meeting of the new committee, I stated at the outset if there was any chance of me taking on the role of President, members would need to take on certain tasks. And they promptly did. One of the key duties that the outgoing President, Brenda Bruce, had done so well was the club newsletter. There was no way I could do this. But like a saviour in the moment, Clive Hickey (having just joined) said he would do it, and what a fine job he has done this year with it. All of a sudden, it seemed manageable. I would like to thank the committee for their commitment to the club, attending meetings, contributing to discussions between meetings and taking actions – all for the betterment of the club: Laurie Berryman (treasurer), Steve Yates (secretary), replaced by Andrea Martin, Nicola Jelenik (membership officer), Clive Hickey (newsletter, electrical infrastructure), James London (equipment management), Michael Harrison (track reports and assistance with track sessions), Richard Farrell and David Thornton – both who may not have had specific consistent roles, but helped out by contributing in so many ways. I think we have achieved a lot this year as a committee and have worked really well together, and for that, I am most grateful.
Steve Yates’ Death
I wrote a memorial piece for the newsletter and spoke at the funeral about it, so in some ways I feel I have said what I needed to say about this tragic event. However, it needs to be acknowledged that as a community (especially as a cycling community) we have been significantly impacted by Steve’s death, despite the fact that it occurred under such freak circumstances. Being President, and having been at the scene of the accident, meant that I had multiple meetings with the Major Crash Unit of NT Police who investigated the incident, as well as our official cycling body, AusCycling. As a result of this process, I received considerable feedback about the conduct of the event and I am at least pleased that we were found to have fully complied with all necessary regulations and event protocols. Both officials (Stew Clarke - Director; Dave Thornton – Commissaire) did a great job in organising, setting up and conducting the event. Nothing
can mitigate against a driver under the influence of drugs on the wrong side of the road whose focus is elsewhere.
As stated, the impact on us all has been enormous. While we cancelled several events in the immediate aftermath, many people stated they could not even get on their bikes. Even now, nearly eight months later, club members have said to me they have a sense of discomfort when riding, and some were not even at the event. As I stated at the time, you cannot not
be affected by such a tragic event. One’s sense of trust in the environment and others around us is eroded and it takes considerable time to regain this trust and confidence.
For those who may be interested in the criminal proceedings regarding the driver involved, I have been attending the Magistrates’ court where the preliminary evidence (Major Crash Unit, forensic pathologist) was presented. The current situation is that it is now in the Supreme Court and, after inevitable adjournments, is listed for next week where the defence will advise what their plea will be regarding the charges (three drug-related; one driving motor vehicle causing harm or death).
As a club, safety is one of our major concerns. It is the primary role of the commissaire for our races, but should be everyone’s responsibility. When we finally felt ready to be able to conduct our events again after Steve’s death, it was fantastic to have family members and other concerned people come and assist with events by having an extra car on the road for safety. I personally felt considerably comforted as a rider with the knowledge that a car or two was out there looking after us, so thanks to those drivers including Cherry Basso, Russell North, Ange Harrison and others.
The club recently wrote to the Alice Springs Town Council regarding safety concerns around town. Attached to the letter was a submission to the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety (Parliament House, Canberra) written by the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) - a national cycling safety charity with a mission to reduce the incidence of serious injury and death of cyclists in Australia. The AGF submission includes a number of recommendations for action - some of which we felt were relevant for the ASTC to be aware of and consider actioning. The ASTC will be inviting the ASCC to attend one of their meetings to discuss this important issue. Thanks Andrea for writing the letter. If anyone has any ideas about what could make cycling safer in and around Alice Springs that the ASTC should know about, please let me know, and I (or whoever attends on behalf of the club) can include these.
This has been the first year of the new national cycling body covering all disciplines, AusCycling, with offices in each state and territory. After a few teething issues, I think this initiative has been successful and simplified the membership process. AusCycling have put on a number of webinars on relevant topics that several of us have attended. AusCycling NT have been very supportive of the club and I particularly appreciated the support they provided in the aftermath of Steve’s death including funding counselling for those impacted.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Central Australia Rough Riders (CARR) MTB Club
After considerable discussion, an MOU was signed on 19 July 2021 between the ASCC and CARR. This is a progressive development that outlines the use of ASCC facilities by CARR including their use of the clubrooms for their meetings, and the storage of their assets on the ASCC land. Thanks are extended to ASCC secretary, Andrea Martin, (then) CARR President Ted Thompson and committee member Emma Shearer for their involvement in making this happen. It is hoped that this will be the start of a closer connection between these two cycling clubs.
Grant for Veranda and Concrete Slab
In other exciting news, the ASCC was successful in its application under the Community Benefit Fund’s (CBF) Community Organisation Grants Program for funding to build a veranda at the front of the ASCC clubrooms and a concrete slab as a base. Nichol Constructions have been hired to build the veranda and they will be liaising with Basso Concreting who will pour the concrete slab. Next year’s AGM will be the first with the new extension. Thanks to treasurer Laurie Berryman for writing and submitting this grant.
Participation Events - Come and Try Sessions
One of the things the committee has been working hard on this year is trying to increase the participation of the community in cycling. It is now a standing item on the agenda. We have had several Come and Try sessions (series) this year, some of which are still going:
- Come and Try – women only
- Come and Try track
- Come and Try track for Tennant Creek High School who incorporated this into their visit to Alice Springs in August.
While committee members were rostered on to assist with these events, this was secondary to the key people who made it happen, so a huge thanks to Reg Hatch, who ran them, often with the very capable assistance of Michael Harrison, and Andrea for helping coordinate them.
The ASCC had two working bees this year. It was most pleasing that all nine committee members attended, together with devoted club members including Reg Hatch, Kathy Moylan and Mike Heyburn. Tasks undertaken included assets registration, bike fixing, cleaning, weed-spraying of the cyclocross course and sorting out of the upstairs room at the velodrome.
Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, plans include:
- Updating the ASCC website (with a change of host as Hut Six will not be continuing this after December)
- Commissaire training to get more people trained as commissaires
- Getting a history documented of the ASCC
- New signs for events (compliant with current regulations)
- Updating/creation of relevant policies
- Update/revamp of ASCC awards