Tidewater Sports Car Club (TSCC) is very disappointed with the continued harassment of our organization and volunteer staff by external organizations and members in regard to site acquisition for the 2023 season. While our initial position was to take the high road while a select few individuals publicly defamed TSCC, the continual spread of those falsities makes maintaining that position untenable. Below is our explanation of the sequence of events that occurred. We will not be naming individuals or organizations as we believe that is unnecessary and unprofessional to do in a public setting.
TSCC began discussing site acquisition with our potential sites in August of 2022. These discussions were long before any contact with other organizations in the area, which began in December of 2022. During this time TSCC worked diligently to secure dates for the 2023 season with these locations. TSCC has existing relationships with these sites and has run events there for the past 3 seasons with one site making up nearly half of TSCC’s season one year. TSCC received a written estimate of the number of dates expected to be available to our club for the following year and was ready to accept those dates when they became finalized and available. During this period, one of our staff members had a conversation with a now-former staff member of a local organization and mentioned that the TSCC had dates with this site for the following season. That former staff member stated that another organization had not received notable support from the site in regards to dates for 2023. It was only after this private conversation that the other organizations made contact with TSCC about sharing dates and to discuss the shared utilization of the site.
TSCC agreed to attend a meeting between organizations and made clear to the others that it was our intention to run a full autocross season for 2023, as had been discussed with the venue since August of 2022. TSCC offered to collaborate on ALL TSCC autocross events at this site for 2023, in which TSCC would assume ALL risks and responsibilities including site costs, insurance, cones, fuel, staffing, marketing, fees, setup, take down, software, et al.. In return, the other organization would be billed on the event as a partner and receive 20% of net revenue for simply attending. This offer was made with no expectation of reciprocation to TSCC in regards to any events those organizations hold independently. This offer was rejected and the meeting continued. TSCC did not agree to sit down and divide up site dates at a later point with the other organizations. It was TSCC’s understanding at the conclusion of the meeting that another meeting may happen if deemed necessary, however there was no concrete agreement in place.
TSCC was wary of attending this meeting, as it had been stated verbally by another organization’s leadership, directly to TSCC leadership, that TSCC should not exist as an organization and that only nationally affiliated clubs should host events.
In January of 2023, over one month since the meeting between organizations and with no contact in that time, the site provided 27 available dates to TSCC and another organization. Despite public allegations, TSCC did not immediately take every date. TSCC did not respond to the site contact for over 10 hours since the original email, in which time no other organization made contact with TSCC or with the site. Of the 27 available dates, 23 of which were weekend dates, TSCC elected to reserve 7 for our 2023 schedule, scheduling around long-standing previous commitments and keeping with the expectation set between TSCC and the site in August of 2022. TSCC did not claim every available date with the intention of sub-letting those dates, nor did TSCC ever work to “block out” another organization from the site. TSCC reached out to the other organization’s leadership as a courtesy after selecting dates for the season informing them of the dates chosen before releasing the 2023 schedule publicly.
Regrettably, the other organization’s leadership made no effort to contact TSCC to discuss their concerns before publicly and personally defaming our staff members on social media. Despite this course of action, TSCC remained open and willing to discuss with the other organization and entered into a series of negotiations regarding collaborative events between the two clubs.
These negotiations were done in private at the request of TSCC. Negotiating in private is a standard and expected practice to prevent external influence on decisions. This was not an attempt to hide or obscure, but to give these discussions the best chance possible to succeed. No statement or update had been made previously as TSCC respected the terms of negotiation the club set out. However, the TSCC board felt it was now necessary to release the details of these negotiations to fully share what happened. TSCC had reached out to the other organization’s leadership for permission to share the proposals. TSCC discussed with members of the other organization’s leadership about why TSCC felt it necessary to release these documents and the process in which we would do so, taking suggestions from their leadership about how to proceed. All 3 proposals are attached at the bottom of this page in full. In keeping with the spirit of maintaining organizations and individuals unnamed, the names of the club and individuals have been redacted from those documents.
Per the request of the other organization, TSCC provided a written collaboration proposal for the 2023 season, with TSCC taking into account the claims made by the other organization’s staff in their public posts. TSCC initially offered to collaborate on 3 events in the middle of the season, two to be led by TSCC and one to be led by the other organization with the other organization choosing which date they led. All other dates held by the respective organizations would be run independently and not held to the terms stated in these proposals. The proposed dates of June 18th, July 2nd, and August 6th were chosen due to the complaint from the other organization that “prime” dates were unavailable. For these events, TSCC would assume responsibility for paying for the site, providing insurance for the event, operating registration via motorsportreg.com, and collecting waivers. These terms were in place due to the nature of our club’s insurance, and we will expand upon that more later in this statement. For these events, the lead organization would be billed first on marketing material, provide staff and equipment, and complete course design. Course designs would be agreed upon by a representative of both organizations for safety purposes. Net profits from these collaborative events would be split 80/20, with the majority going to the leading organization. In addition to the autocross dates, TSCC proposed a joint test and tune event to be held on a Saturday before one of the collaborative events, taking into account the other organization’s complaint that Saturdays were prohibitively expensive. The test and tune would be split 50/50 net profits or losses, with the leading organization of that Sunday providing equipment. Staffing responsibilities would be split for the proposed test and tune. Membership pricing would be honored between organizations for joint events.
In addition to the events, TSCC requested the public statements made by the other organization to be removed and an updated statement made retracting the comments and announcing the collaboration. It was stated that both clubs were expected to operate in good faith and deconflict through private channels. TSCC requested that the active negotiations be held in confidence between the clubs and all future public communications be agreed upon by both organizations. Finally, TSCC offered to allow the other organization to use event results from any event to supplement their season if they felt it necessary.
The other organization provided TSCC a counter-proposal after reviewing the one sent by TSCC. The proposal from the other club shared a different perspective and requested 4 collaborative dates: July 2nd, August 6th, October 29th, and November 19th. Of these 4 events, 2 were to be led by TSCC and two led by the other organization starting with TSCC and alternating. All other dates held by the respective organizations would be run independently and not held to the terms stated in these proposals. For each collaborative event the lead club would be responsible for all aspects of the event (site fees, insurance, registration, waivers, tech, course design, and safety) and would provide their own equipment. 100% of the funds collected for each event would go to the lead organization. Membership pricing would be honored between organizations.The other organization stated they already had two test and tune events planned and were not interested in an additional joint one. Finally the other organization agreed to remove the social media posts if an agreement between the organizations was met.
TSCC felt that the comments made publicly by leaders of the other organization did not align with their private request and sought to offer a third proposal.
Taking into account points made in the second proposal, TSCC offered to collaborate on 3 dates, with the other organization able to pick from 4 options they previously proposed: July 2nd, August 6th, October 29th, and November 19th. All other dates held by the respective organizations would be run independently and not held to the terms stated in these proposals. TSCC would assume responsibility for site cost, insurance, waivers, and registration. We provided the other organization with reasoning for this requirement:
TSCC purchases event insurance for the complete season at the beginning of the year, rather than per event, and has completed the underwriting process for the 2023 season. By altering the number of events, it changes the per-event cost for all of TSCC events through the insurance carrier. In light of the insurance renewal period at the end of January, necessary for our event at VIR in early February, TSCC will maintain all administrative tasks for collaborative events.
For the three events, TSCC would lead two events while the other organization would lead one. The other organization was free to choose which event to lead. For the two events led by TSCC, net profits would be split 80/20 with 80% going to the other organization. For the event led by the other organization, the other organization would receive 100% of the net profits. Membership pricing would be honored between organizations. TSCC requested that the active negotiations be held in confidence between the clubs and all future public communications be agreed upon by both organizations.
Additionally TSCC agreed that the other organization would have first right of refusal for any additional dates that became available from the site during the 2023 season.
TSCC felt this was an equitable offer, taking into account the other dates available for each organization at the site throughout the year. While drafting this offer TSCC sought further information from the other organization regarding their tentative schedule in an attempt to better understand their position and to work towards an equitable solution. TSCC’s request was met with a refusal to provide that information, stating “At this point we do not have one. It all depends on your response to the counter proposal.” This contradicts the second proposal where it was stated “…already has two Test & Tune events planned…” and made it difficult for TSCC to view their position.
Unfortunately, after this proposal the clubs were unable to reach an agreement and the negotiating process was halted. While it is certainly disheartening we did not come to an agreement, TSCC felt that we negotiated in good faith and put in a significant effort to resolve the situation. TSCC continues to be open to discussion and remains in contact with leadership of the other organization.
We believe these happenings and negotiations clearly prove that TSCC had no intention of sub-lease the site or attempting to profit off events not hosted by TSCC or in conjunction with TSCC. Our offers show that TSCC was never concerned about the financial aspects of events and was willing to pay for most, if-not-all, facets of the event without any expected return while taking on 100% of the risk in the event of a loss. TSCC simply reserved dates for our 2023 season, dates that were negotiated far in advance of any involvement with other organizations, and nothing more. TSCC offered to open up our events, assuming all risks and responsibilities while offering a portion of the net profits for nothing in return to other organizations with no strings attached initially. When that was rejected TSCC continued to be open to discussion, despite the publicly damaging allegations from members of other organizations and worked in good faith towards an equitable solution. While we unfortunately were not able to reach an agreement, the statements that TSCC took every date, attempted to sublease the site, profit from all events including those not hosted by or in conjunction with TSCC, and attempted to block out other organizations from the site are provably false.
Beyond the autocross events for the 2023 season, we would like to discuss additional false claims that have been made against our organization.
First, TSCC’s autocross and HPDE events are individually self sufficient. Autocross is not, and has never been seen solely as a revenue stream to host HPDE events. Autocross is a staple of our calendar and a time for our community to come together to enjoy amateur motorsport. As demonstrated by the offers made by TSCC to the other organizations, the finances of the events are not and have not been of primary concern for the club. In all honesty, an entire season of autocross does not come close to covering a single day of HPDE.
Second, TSCC’s addition of social events outside of autocross and HPDE are unrelated to the events of other organizations. Our announcement of these events, dated February 5th, predates the announcement of other local organizations’ event schedules. As stated in that announcement, we had selected the Saturday before our events for the social events to leave other weekends open for our members and not overload our volunteer staff with duties. It is completely unfounded to assume this was done in malice and we fail to see the issue with offering a different type of event, hours away, from a potential conflict with another organization. This rings especially true for us when the other organizations have scheduled autocross events on the same day as TSCC events in past seasons without a word being said.
Third, we take the accusations against TSCC and our volunteer staff regarding that staff member’s private event extremely seriously. At no point has the club’s funds ever mixed nor will ever mix with this individual’s private event. Their event is completely unrelated and entirely divorced from the club’s finances. We wish to make this point very clear. Their contract is separate from the club’s contracts and any payments related to their event come directly from that individual.
Finally, we reject the statement from some individuals that organizations “own” sites. The sites’ management has made their facilities open for numerous groups to use and TSCC has a history of operating at many of them. We find it highly hypocritical of certain organizational leaders to decry that TSCC has attempted to “steal” a site while they publicly and privately discuss attempting to run on sites that TSCC has secured and where only TSCC has ever run. TSCC has no issues with other clubs looking to run at sites TSCC has secured, however we do find issues with the two sided statements coming from some of these organizations’ leadership. Additionally, a local organization’s leadership spoke to TSCC’s leadership in person about how they could leverage external, national-level influence to secure exclusivity at a site, one they have never run at to add, while simultaneously accusing TSCC of “stealing” that site from another organization.
While others may discount our position and continue to share their personal opinions, TSCC stands firm in the actions taken and our actions moving forward. We will not allow the hatred and vitriol of a vocal minority to affect the positive attitude of the club at our events. We find it unfortunate that the situation has come to this point and that after two and a half months some still feel the need to continue these attacks. TSCC has attempted to navigate this situation with professionalism and respect, even when that same sentiment has not been afforded to us. With this statement we are closing this chapter and moving forward towards a positive and successful season. We continue to hold no ill-will against any other organization or member and all are welcome at our events. We refuse to allow the actions of others to spoil our community.
To our members, we can guarantee that this topic will not be the focus of our staff at events nor will it be allowed to poison the mood. We welcome all to attend and look forward to a wonderful 2023 season.
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