Trucks boss hits out at CAMS after court ruling

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Trucks boss hits out at CAMS after court ruling
Andrew van Leeuwen
By: Andrew van Leeuwen
Oct 15, 2018, 2:44 AM

Stadium Super Trucks boss Robby Gordon has hit out at the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport in the wake of a court ruling that upheld a suspension placed on the series down under.

The American series and the Australian governing body have been embroiled in an ugly dispute since May, sparked by a wheel from one of the trucks hitting pedestrian bridge at Barbagallo Raceway.

That was the catalyst for a suspension put in place by CAMS, which came to light in the lead-up to the Gold Coast Supercars round when the Stadium Super Trucks were replaced by the V8 Touring Car Series on the support card.

The dispute ended up in a Melbourne courtroom last week, SST organisers filing an injunction in a bid to get the series back on track.

However the court ruled in favour of CAMS, with the suspension set to stand for the foreseeable future.

SST owner and creator Robby Gordon has since issued a statement slamming CAMS for the processes that led to the suspension, rubbishing suggestions from CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca that the governing body tried to engage with the series about rectifying safety issues.

“CAMS issued to SST the disputed suspension notice two days after the Perth event without complying with its own rules requiring an incident report and without any prior communication to SST,” read Gordon’s statement.

“Despite repeated submissions from SST on no less than six occasions, CAMS failed to address SST’s detailed safety proposals. On 11 July SST sent a set of detailed proposals to CAMS addressing CAMS’ stated concerns. Those proposals included replacing the cast wheels with stronger forged wheels and tethering the hoods to the vehicles.

“To date, CAMS has failed to respond to any of those proposals. Despite CAMS’ failure to respond, SST proceeded to install the stronger forged wheels and tethered hoods, at its own considerable expense.

“We disagree with CAMS’ assertion that CAMS put their concerns to us at any time. CAMS did not engage in providing guidance on how to improve safety and failed to even consider the measures taken by SST.

“CAMS officials in their evidence to the Court acknowledged that they did not know whether the measures taken by SST had addressed their concerns.”

Gordon’s view echoes that of Boost Mobile boss and SST stakeholder Peter Adderton, who last week told Motorsport.com that there had been no dialogue between the two parties about making safety-related changes.

The Gordon statement also hits out at an alleged claim from CAMS technical manager Scott McGrath that the trucks are fitted with ‘lift kits’, as well as threatening to “pursue all options” in a bid to avoid the suspension affecting agreements such as a three-year rights deal with Adderton.

“SST has always been and remains willing to work with CAMS to address the concerns raised by CAMS,” the statement read.

“SST challenges CAMS to meet and immediately to review SST’s proposals. SST have numerous contracts in place that it is about to breach, ie series sponsors, TV commitments and driver/driver sponsor agreements, as well as a three-year Boost Mobile agreement as stated by CEO Peter Adderton. CAMS is forcing SST to breach these agreements.

“But if CAMS continues to fail to respond, then SST will have no alternative but to pursue all its options against CAMS.”

A CAMS spokesperson told Motorsport.com following the outcome of the court case that the governing body is open to addressing its safety concerns and lifting the suspension if possible.

The court findings can be found in full right here.

FULL STATEMENT FROM ROBBY GORDON

CAMS issued to SST the disputed suspension notice two days after the Perth event without complying with its own rules requiring an incident report and without any prior communication to SST. Despite repeated submissions from SST on no less than six occasions, CAMS failed to address SST’s detailed safety proposals. On 11 July SST sent a set of detailed proposals to CAMS addressing CAMS’ stated concerns. Those proposals included replacing the cast wheels with stronger forged wheels and tethering the hoods to the vehicles. To date, CAMS has failed to respond to any of those proposals. Despite CAMS’ failure to respond, SST proceeded to install the stronger forged wheels and tethered hoods, at its own considerable expense.

We disagree with CAMS’ assertion that CAMS put their concerns to us at any time. CAMS did not engage in providing guidance on how to improve safety and failed to even consider the measures taken by SST. CAMS officials in their evidence to the Court acknowledged that they did not know whether the measures taken by SST had addressed their concerns.

The assertion made by Scott McGrath to the Court to the effect that the SST Trucks have lift kits is both false and absurd. SST trucks do not have lift kits at all. In fact, SST trucks have a lower centre of gravity and are lower to the ground than the production ute sold by manufacturers in Australia.

In considering whether to issue the injunction sought, His Honour said: “In the circumstances, maintaining the status quo carries the lower risk even if it ultimately transpires that refusal of the injunction was in error and the plaintiff succeeds on its claims at trial.”

In a statement by CAMS CEO on 11 October 2018, Mr Arocca stated that “we have been open with the category manager about these risks and what action could be taken to enable them to return to action in Australia”. This assertion by Mr Arocca is false. SST points to the evidence before the Court that the internal report prepared by CAMS in June 2018 was not disclosed until the day before the hearing. Further the documented communications between the parties confirm the falsity of Mr Arocca’s statement. One would think that if Mr Arocca believed his own statements, then someone from CAMS would have addressed the detailed proposals that SST presented on the 11th July. They have not.

SST has always been, and remains willing to work with CAMS to address the concerns raised by CAMS. SST challenges CAMS to meet and immediately to review SST’s proposals. SST have numerous contracts in place that it is about to breach ie series sponsors, TV commitments and driver/driver sponsor agreements, as well as a three-year Boost Mobile agreement as stated by CEO Peter Adderton. CAMS is forcing SST to breach these agreements.

But if CAMS continues to fail to respond, then SST will have no alternative but to pursue all its options against CAMS.

SST CEO
Robby Gordon

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About this article

Series Supercars , Other truck
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
Article type Breaking news