Local karting team principals release joint statement to address recent Singapore Karting Championship debacle

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

Just one week away from the fourth round of the Singapore Karting Championship, a joint statement has been signed by all local karting team principals (except AutoInc Racing) participating in the SKC in response to all the news that were recently published.

The six team principals – Benjamin Goh of Benz Motorsports, Peter Chua of Element Motorsports, Kapila J. of GP Racing, Jack Ong of Kart Kinetics, Raymond Low of Kartmaster Drakar Racing, Shaun Yip of Veritas Racing – have released a joint statement to address some of the quotes by Benjamin Tan of AutoInc and Yuey Tan about the withdrawal of the title sponsorship.

Finding some of the quotes inaccurate, the intention of the statement is “to refute what Benjamin and Yuey have said and set the record straight to continue working towards building the SKC into a fair and important karting series that Singapore needs”. They hope that this statement “gives closure to the issues published recently and repairs any damage that has been caused by the recent press”, so as to have “positive stories that will again put the SKC back into forefront of Singapore motorsport”.

Here is the joint statement:

SINGAPORE KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM PRINCIPALS JOINT STATEMENT

  • First time SKC team principals approach the media in relation to recent press about Autolnc pulling their sponsorship from the series.
  • SKC team principals respond to misleading quotes and unfair accusations from series title sponsor and promoter printed in The Straits Times & Cheryl Tay’s motorsport blog.

October 19th 2012, Singapore: We, the undersigned, represent several teams participating in the Singapore Karting Championship (SKC). Being a part of the series and interested stakeholders, we feel that our collective voices need to be heard, especially since the owner of title sponsor Autolnc Benjamin Tan, and Yuey Tan of Havelock Speedway (who is also ambassador of the SKC), have had their statements and quotes published in The Straits Times and other local motorsport websites.

The purpose of this joint statement from us is to clarify some of the issues recently published and set the record straight.

We are of the view that some of the recent news and quotes from Benjamin Tan and Yuey Tan are questionable and inaccurate.

To start with we would like to clarify the structure of the SKC. The organizer of the SKC is the Singapore Motorsport Association (SMSA), whilst Havelock Speedway is the promoter. The SKC is partially funded by the SMSA and the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) for the karting community. Autoinc is a sponsor of the SKC and also run a team participating in SKC.

The feedback meeting mentioned by Autolnc and Havelock Speedway was called by SMSA in their capacity as the organizer of the SKC. This meeting was attended by all stakeholders, including SMSA officials, team officials, parents who represent their drivers, track owners and officials from the promoter. lt was intended to be a closed door discussion to review rounds one and two and how the SKC can be improved for the future.

The content of this closed-door discussion was not meant for public discussion unless approved by SMSA and ALL stakeholders.

As a sign of respect and to protect the sanctity of a confidential meeting, we will not address any other issues other than those that the promoter and title sponsor have already made public.

We shall only state that the discussion during the meeting comprised of more issues other than those disclosed by the promoter and title sponsor. These issues include both sporting and non-sporting matters. We would also say that these other issues received more attention and discussion than those issues raised by the promoter and sponsor.

On the issue of media value, as disclosed by the promoter and sponsor, this was hardly (if at all) discussed or debated. The thrust of the discussion on media was mainly about the perceived biased nature of commentary and media coverage.

We would like to take this opportunity to clarify several of their quotes in the hope that we can move forward and start working towards building the karting community in Singapore and developing the SKC for a fruitful future.

1. Benjamin Tan was quoted as saying that he is “terribly disheartened to hear that some team bosses have made accusations and unfair comments about the promoters and sponsors.” and, “…it seems like there are one or two teams who do not appreciate what we have done and on the contrary, feel that the SKC wasn’t well done.”

As stated earlier, the purpose of the confidential meeting was to review the first two rounds of the SKC and look for ways to improve the series. Any comments/feedback/criticisms given during this discussion were made in good faith and with a genuine intent to provide valuable insight as to how improvements can be made.

These comments were not provided to, nor directed at the sponsor (who is not involved in the operations and daily affairs of running the SKC) but to the promoter of SKC, where this feedback could be generated into positive action to improve SKC.

We have always been appreciative of any sponsors of SKC.

2. Benjamin was also quoted as saying ‘…it is demoralising to learn of these team bosses having their own personal agendas.” and, “…but what we get in return is slander, defamation, accusations.

This quote is highly speculative and offensive. We have not gone to press ourselves prior to issuing this statement, or spoken ill of Autolnc directly to Benjamin Tan, therefore we disagree that we have committed any such slander, defamation or accusations.

3. Regarding what was said about Benjamin Tan being ‘…told a few days ago by the organizers that 99 percent of the drivers are begging for us to come back.

We find this figure of 99 percent highly questionable. Moreover, the choice of word ”begging” is offensive.

4. Benjamin has also discussed that a survey was conducted among the SKC competitors and that the majority of the responses were positive, according to Yuey Tan at Havelock Speedway.

They seem to draw a divide between the team, the team representatives and the individual drivers. They claim that they are for the drivers, but the team representatives are unappreciative. We have again spoken to our respective drivers, and their responses are very different as those claimed by the promoter and sponsor.

It must also be noted that many of the drivers who participated in the SKC this year either didn’t receive the survey or never replied.

In conclusion, we want a series that has a clear distinction between promoter, organizer, rights holder, sponsor and competitor, regulator, commentator and ambassador. We will continue to do our best to work towards maintaining and growing the karting community in Singapore, for the good of the sport.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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