In Pit Lane turns 100 but future in doubt

Friday, 23 February 2001 - Getting old is easy, you just hang around long enough and it sort of just happens. Australia's only primetime Motorsport show In Pit Lane celebrates 100 episodes next Tuesday night with a return visit by the shows very...

Friday, 23 February 2001 - Getting old is easy, you just hang around long enough and it sort of just happens. Australia's only primetime Motorsport show In Pit Lane celebrates 100 episodes next Tuesday night with a return visit by the shows very first guest Ford Tickord Racing driver Glenn Seton. Seton, along with Darren Pate was the first guest on the show almost 6 years ago when In Pit Lane began on the now defunct Optus Localvision network.

Since then the guest list on In Pit Lane has been a who's who of Australian and International motorsport from World champs like Sir Jack Brabham, Troy Corser, Scotty Cannon, US NASCAR star Lake Speed and local legends like Peter Brock, Larry Perkins, Russell Ingall,Mark Skaife, and Craig Lowndes.

Already this season new Holden factory driver Jason Bright has appeared live in the In Pit Lane studio with new Konica driver Leanne Ferrier a week after Seton. Also this week In Pit Lane continues it's support for grass roots racing with a look at the Jaguar XJ6 Sprinter series.

As in the beginning In Pit Lane is produced entirely by volunteers many of whom also work on the track as Flag and Pit Marshals and on several race teams. The show also serves as a valuable media training ground for young drivers who are given the rare opportunity of extended live television experience. Many of todays top V8 superstars made their first ever live TV appearances on In Pit Lane.

Sadly the long term future of the program is now in doubt following moves by V8 supercars governing body AVESCO and the TEN network to restrict access to this years Shell series. In Pit Lane's application for series accreditation has been refused and individual promoters say new conditions placed on them by series host broadcaster TEN will restrict the shows access to circuits to Friday's only.

According to In Pit Lane host Brett Ramsey the new rules will make it impossible to report on the V8's and major national championships currently running alongside them such as F/Holden, F/Ford and the Australian Sports Sedan Championship. " In the past we have been able to film on Saturdays, mostly off track stuff, interviews with interstate teams and drivers unable top come into the studio live on a Tuesday night" said Brett " Now with these new restrictions it won't be possible to do this as all of our crew have full time jobs outside of In Pit Lane and can't take the Fridays off. Mike Drewer from the Clipsal 500 office in Adelaide rang me to say we were welcome to apply but we could only attend on Friday. We're certainly not going all the way to Adelaide for only one day especially when you've got to pay for it yourself."

The In Pit Lane crew also attended on raceday gathering information, attending media conferences and organising driver appearances. This now can't be done. Brett said that the move to restrict In Pit Lane and other electronic media raised a number of serious issues regarding freedom of the press, restraint of trade and the publics right to receive independent media reporting and criticism. "No one denies TEN needs to protect their rights to broadcast the events but should that give them the right to restrict other media from reporting important national events , several of which are now substantially funded by taxpayers- I mean it's hardly as if we're a threat to them".

In Pit Lane has committed itself to two series in 2001 but the crew and RMITV Student Television will review the shows future later in the year. In Pit Lane is screened LIVE every Tuesday at nine thirty P.M from the studios of RMITV in the heart of the city via Australia's most watched community television station Channel 31 Melbourne.

-Brett Ramsey

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series V8SUPERCARS
Tags TV