There has been increasing speculation around the reasons why the 2300 Club have decided not to organise a Tour of Mull Rally in 2010. Whilst we have satisfied ourselves that the reasons that we have made the decision are completely justified, much of the speculation surrounding this is perhaps because we have not been clear in communicating more details that led us to the decision. What we have tried to do here is present some clearer guidance on where we believe we have got to….
Questions & Answers around the 2300 Club decision to not run an event in 2010
Who made the decision to not organise the 2010 Tour of Mull?
The decision to cancel was made unanimously by 25 members of the club present at our 4th March meeting
What is the main reason for the 2300 Club deciding not to organise the Tour of Mull in 2010?
We received three malicious threats to disrupt the rally in 2009 each causing big organisational upheaval. These events of last year, coupled with a fairly well publicised case around the supply of pace notes bought sharply into focus the fact that the world has become increasingly litigous. As a committee, whilst we absolutely make the best endeavours to ensure that we do everything possible to minimise risks and to cover ourselves, there is always the possibility of unforseen mishaps. Under Scottish law there is a very real possibility that we could have a situation where members of the 2300 Club Committee could be facing serious criminal charges, which could result in custodial sentances. This is an incredibly high price to pay when you are doing your best to organise the event as a hobby and very difficult to fully mitigate for.
What else was factored into the final decision?
Along with the pressures of facing litigation, we also feel constant pressure from people who tell us that they can do a better job, or just make reccomendations or suggestions as to how we could do better at what we do. The committee has massive experience of running this particular event and spend months planning for every eventuality. We really do try to do our best and to have the increasing pressure from people to do a better job becomes extremely wearing. Genuinely helpful suggestions are welcomed, but too many are actually from individuals or groups that want a change to suit their own ends or desires, rather than because they would genuinely improve things for everybody.
The sniping, criticism and organisational problems have increased to a level that cancels out the pleasure we gain. We left Mull in October 2009 dejected and have not recovered. It was not possible to proceed with a committee who were not fully committed to the event.
Unfortunate comments made since our cancellation announcement demonstrate very well what we have had to endure. These have come from a very small minority of competitors, marshals & Mull residents. These personal attacks and conspiracy theories are hurtful and damaging, especially the ones that come from "friends" from whom we expect support. However, we have also received a huge number of messages of support, understanding, sympathy, sadness, gratitude and kindness. We are massively grateful to all our friends on Mull and beyond for these. One of the most significant in this respect is the letter from David Lucas, the MSA Official Steward for 2008 & 2009. David has huge experience of many rallies and yet specifically cited the 2300 Club's organisational skills as some of the best he's ever experienced. He said about the Tour of Mull: "It was, is and I hope will be, one of the best rallies I have ever officiated upon and could certainly teach a lot of events major lessons in organisation and commitment and the welcome is beyond compare"…
Despite the fact that we feel like we are doing a good job and continue to strive to improve each year, we still get plenty of 'negative feedback'. A good example is the results of the survey that we conduct with competitors after the event each year. Typically, we get over 100 responses to the post-event questionaire and over the last six years, every single year our average performance as judged by the competitors has gone down. Clearly this is only a perception, but nonetheless it still rankles us that we are doing our best but the concensus is that each year we do it worse!
Since this Q&A was first published, some people have asked why we are now criticising competitors or said that if we can't handle bad feedback, that we shouldn't be asking for it. So, let's clarify further. Each year we ask for feedback from competitors, becuase this hopefully allows us to put on a better event the following year. This feedback is on 20 specific points. The data above is the response from one of those (the rally overall) and an average of all 20 answers. It doesn't pertain to how we could improve a particular feature, but shows and overal feeling towards the rally. Looking at the data in the table above though, there isn't a blip – this is a very clear trend and there are two possible conclusions that we can draw:
1). despite us doing our best, each year, the competitors view is that we do a worse job, and that we should therefore stand aside and let a better team take over. Clearly, expectations are higher than what we are delivering, or the trend would be going in the opposite direction… or:
2). we are actually doing a good job and generally speaking competitors are happy with our performance, in which case it begs the question, why do they mark us down each year? Given the huge amount of praise and encouragement that we have received since we made announcements that the rally may not happen in 2010, it feels like this is more likely to be the case. In which case, surely anybody reading this can see that; if you were doing your best & you thought that other people thought you were doing a good job and yet they still told you each year that you were doing worse, that would become a bit soul destroying after a while? – hence the comments from us above.
Did relationships with the Isle of Mull have any bearing on deciding to not organise an event in 2010?
The decision to not run the event was made by the whole 2300 Club Committee and does not reflect on the relationship between the 2300 Club and the Isle of Mull. This relationship has always been excellent and a source of enormous pleasure. We have not expected anything from Mull; Mull has been the ‘giver’ and we have been the recipient. Whenever we have asked for help it has been given willingly. We have always expressed appreciation to Mull and the individuals and organisations that help us.
There have been rumours that we have cancelled the event as a direct result of the actions of Mr. MacFayden and we would like to publically refute this. The treatment Mr. MacFadyen has received has been detestable. None of it has originated from the 2300 Club. Our entire efforts have been to remain amicable. We deplore the way that Mr. MacFadyen has been treated and have expressed this to him personally.
Do the costs of running the rally have a bearing on the decision?
Last year we made a loss in excess of £10,000 running the 40th event, but we were already aware that making the event special was going to cost more money than usual. Despite the fact that the event costs rise each year, we have held the entry fee constant for a number of years. In terms of money, our main ambition is to break even each year, or at least get as close to it as we can. Our overall cash flow each year can be in excess of £75,000 and so we do have to be very careful about how we manage money. The fact that we made a significant loss or that we may have had to slightly raise the entry fee for future rallys was not a factor in our overall decision to not run the event in 2010.
Could other interested parties organise a similar event in October 2010?
Whilst we spend a good chunk of the year organising the rally, there is still plenty of time left before October 2010 for another motivated and organised team to step in and run an event on the Island. The reason that we have made the announcement so early in the year is because if we waited until we had applied the full due dilligence to establishing our position with respect to litigation and covering all the risks and then decided not to do it, it wouldn't allow other people to step in and that would just not be fair to the Isle of Mull and it's community that have supported us so well over the last 40 years. The Act of Parliment that allows us to run a Closed Road Rally, is not tied to a particular individual or the 2300 Club and so could be used. Equally, licences that are granted by the MSA and insurance policies would be available to other organisers.
There are already moves by various people to run an alternative event this year. We have offered our help and support.
Do the 2300 Club plan to run the Tour of Mull again in October 2011?
Having read the answers to the questions above, it should now be clear that we didn't take the decision to not organise the event lightly. We do now have the time to fully evaluate our options with respect to running an event in 2011 and so right now, the only statement that we will make is that we are keeping our options open. This is something that we will continue to debate as a club and continue to investigate if it's possible to put the necessary safeguards in place to protect our members. We will also factor into the decision if we still feel that the pleasure we would get from doing it again, will outweigh the pain that is caused by all the people that give us "feedback"…
Are there any parties who the 2300 Club need more support from to allow them to organise the event effectively?
Much has been speculated about why we have decided to not run the event and if any individuals or groups could have given us more support or done things differently. It should be stated on record that it is certainly not the acts of any one individual or indeed group of people that has caused us to shie away from organising the 2010 Tour of Mull. We do feel well supported by the residents of the Island and we do feel that it's still our job to convince residents to allow us to run the event rather than expect them to ask us to run it or indeed provide any financial or other type of sponsorship. We also recognise, as we always have, that a car rally on the doorstep is not everybody's idea of a good thing. We feel that we get plenty of support from the Police, Roads Department and other official bodies, without whose support the event would not be possible. Finally, we clearly do get support from competitors, as is evidenced by the fact that we still get around 200 people applying to compete, when we are restricted to starting only 150 cars.
Did the 2300 Club write the article on the "For Argyll" Website?
There has been rumour and speculation that somebody from the 2300 Club wrote or contributed to the article on the "For Argyll" Website. This is absolutely not the case, it was written by an independant journalist. Similarly, it has been suggested that 2300 Club members contributed to the defamatory remarks made following the article. Again, this is not the case. As has been stated above, there is no expectation from the 2300 Club that the Island should be approaching the 2300 Club to try to make it easier for us. We take the whole of the organisation of the event, including garnering support from Mulleachs, as our responsibility. Clearly, in an ideal world, everybody who wanted us there, because they saw a benefit of some sort (financial or just pleasure) would do their best to make it so. Often however, the pressures of day-to-day life get in the way and people can start to take a good thing for granted.
Link to Article on Argyll News website: 2010 Tour of Mull Rally Lost
NOTE ABOUT COPYING OR REPUBLISHING THIS INFORMATION
This not an exhaustive list of questions that have been raised, but does cover the main issues. It is possible that as other issues & questions get raised that we will update this page. We are aware that a number of other forums & websites are carrying stories about these issues and so would request that rather than copy & paste all of this text, that people simply link to this page. That way, if we do change anything, people will be looking at the most uptodate version. This should help reduce the risk of more unecessary speculation, rumour & gossip.
Please link to: http://www.2300club.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=541