Vnuk. How it affects you
What is ‘Vnuk’?
‘Vnuk’ is a European Court judgement given in September 2014. Mr Vnuk was injured when a tractor manoeuvring a trailer in a farmyard in Slovenia knocked him off a ladder. He tried to claim compensation for his injuries from the insurer of the tractor. The Slovenian court had to consider how Slovenia had implemented the EU Motor Insurance Directive into its local law. They referred a question to the European Court, to clarify whether the need for compulsory third party insurance should include use of a vehicle as a machine (rather than as a means of transport) away from public roads. Slovenian law only required compulsory insurance for use of a vehicle as a means of transport on public roads. The European Court ruled that the requirement for compulsory insurance should cover any use of a vehicle, so long as that use is consistent with the normal function of the vehicle.
But we’re in the UK, not Slovenia?
Every country in the EU must reconsider their local law because of the Vnuk ruling. We don’t know precisely when the UK Government will begin the formal process of leaving the EU and we don’t know how long that process might take. In the meantime, the UK remains part of the EU and is obliged to consider how the Vnuk judgement impacts UK law and in particular the Road Traffic Act.
Why have we only heard about Vnuk in the last few weeks?
The Government launched its consultation on 22 December, bringing the matter into greater public focus and leading to media coverage of the issue.
Why does this affect motorsport?
The Vnuk judgement affects all vehicles which are not currently required to have third party insurance. This includes everything from electric bicycles, golf buggies, quad bikes and ride-on lawn mowers, through to forklift trucks, agricultural machines and construction plant. Even static vehicles in museums and SORN’d vehicles would be affected.
All motorsport vehicles from karts, single seaters, saloons, rally, rallycross and cross country vehicles, trials cars, production cars in autotests, and even land speed record vehicles and Formula 1 cars would be required to have compulsory third party insurance. Many competition vehicles are already road registered, taxed, MOT’d and insured, but this insurance is usually limited to their activities on public roads, and not during competitive sections. A similar situation applies to vehicles on trackdays. No insurance policy is available to cover such a compulsory obligation.
What is the MSA’s position?
The European Motor Insurance Directives since 1974 have encouraged harmonisation of rules for compulsory motor insurance across the EU, to provide adequate compensation to victims of accidents. This allows vehicles to move freely across the EU without the need to take out separate insurance policies in every country. It also promotes a healthy and competitive market for insurance companies to provide such motor insurance policies. It should not be the purpose of the Motor Insurance Directives to regulate compensation for injuries or damage in motorsport. Other sports do not suffer from similar compulsory third party insurance requirements, whether it be cycling, football, rugby, golf or any others. Motorsport competitors willingly take part in competitions and understand the risks they take. They may insure their vehicles against damage caused, and they may insure themselves against accident or injury. Over 100 years of case precedent in the UK has defined how competitors in sport may be liable to each other for injuries. The MSA has an umbrella insurance policy which covers public liabilities up to £65million for all events run under MSA permits. All competitors and officials also have the benefit of an umbrella personal accident insurance policy. The MSA believes that motorsport should be excluded from the Motor Insurance Directive. The MSA supports the UK Government’s preferred option in the consultation, which is to change UK law only when the European Commission has amended the Motor Insurance Directive (referred to as the “Amended Directive option” in the consultation document). Any other outcome runs the very real risk of stopping regulated motorsport for an estimated 200,000 participants, and pushing it into illegal unregulated events. It would also fundamentally damage the UK’s motorsport industry with over 40,000 jobs and worth £10billion to the UK economy.
What has the MSA been doing about Vnuk?
The MSA has been concerned about the possible consequences of Vnuk since late 2014. Since then we have been lobbying in Westminster, Brussels and across Europe to build support for amending the directive. The process to amend the directive has already begun. The MSA has been working with a wide range of groups including the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), the Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners (AMRCO), the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU), the AMCA and the MCIA, as well as other European ASNs, the FIA and the insurance industry. We have promoted a strong joint message to MPs, the Department for Transport (DfT), Ministers and Secretaries of State. The Vunk issue has also been a standing item at Motor Sports Council and MSA Board for more than a year. Should I take part in the consultation? The MSA is formulating its own detailed response and will communicate that response to the UK motorsport community in due course. You may prefer to wait until then before submitting your own response.
How can I help in the meantime?
Please write to your MP, bringing this important matter to their attention. You may wish to share this article and make the following key points: Vnuk has the potential to destroy your hobby and/ or livelihood As a result it could also destroy an industry employing over 40,000 people across 4,500 companies in the UK, with an annual industry turnover of £10billion. The UK is a world leader in motorsport and home to one of the strongest domestic motorsport scenes globally, with an estimated 200,000 participants.
Lastly, am I breaking the law if I compete in or organise a motor sport event in 2017?
The Road Traffic Act has not changed, which means there is currently no requirement for compulsory third party insurance for motorsport
I can’t remember exactly when I met Steve Newman but it was while I was working at Plessey Research, Caswell, just outside Towcester around 1975 – we were both quite young then. I know that I’d joined Blackbird Auto Club (shhh!) in about 1973 and, I guess, during our youthful conversations he also thought it would be good to join up as well. Steve had always been into motorsport; living in Greens Norton near to Silverstone, it’s not surprising that he got the bug quite early on and his knowledge of all things roundy roundy was immense.
We both started our rallying life as navigators so it was very unusual to find us in the same vehicle together but the photo below shows one such occasion when we paired up for a local 12 car: Steve’s actually navigating, if you zoom in you’ll see that it’s LHD.
It was during those early rallying days that he met and married Jill. There followed the tiny patter of footsteps of Hayley and Kiri. As with many relationships, these days, there was a parting of ways and Steve later married Jackie, who already had two daughters (Michelle and Kerry) from a previous marriage. A move to America for a few years followed, while working for Stack, and Aaron appeared on the scene in 1993 to complete the Newman family.
Steve was a devoted family man with motorsport always playing second fiddle so there was a period of a few decades where neither he nor I participated – we did what most people do – just talked about how great we had been and how we could easily beat all those out there today.
It was May 2014 when Steve asked me if I would like to marshal with him on the OMC Bullnose Rally which was coming up at the end of the month and during that day’s event he told me that he had recently been passing blood; I remember sitting on a bench in Buckingham town centre eating fish and chips when he told me. Steve had not been in the best of health for a while and had previously had stents fitted so this came as a double blow to him. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer a few weeks later and so, to fulfil his and my bucket list item, and on the grounds that: “If we don’t do it now, we might never do it.” in July he bought a Proton Satria GTi for us to do some local 12 car rallies. Strangely, over some conversations, he decided that he would navigate and me drive – never really understood that but there you go. A little later in the year, inspired by the Bullnose Endurance Rally, I bought a Peugeot 106 Rallye with the idea of us competing in the championship the following year – well, most of us know what happened then – they decided not to run the Endurance Road Rally Championship any more. So the Satria was our car of choice for local 12 car events and the Peugeot was to be used for the more, physically demanding events, having already been rally prepared by the previous owner.
Late 2014 saw both Steve and myself joining OMC. In the last two years we have done various 12 car rallies both with OMC, Dolphin and CMSG, the Grass Autotest at Pusey. We also competed on: The Devils Tour,
The Mercian (x2), The Morning Mist and the Exmoor Targa. We (he) also organised one of the OMC 12 cars earlier last year.
Steve joined the OMC committee this last year as Magazine Editor, a job he did very professionally – although, as with all magazine editors, struggled with lack of material from other members, myself included. He stood down as magazine editor a couple of months ago for, as he described it, personal reasons; he never gave me any other explanation.
The last rally we did was the CMSG rally on November 18th just 6 weeks ago. Steve struggled with the sight in one eye and we both had dreadful coughs. A couple of weeks later, still suffering with the bad cough, Steve went to the doctor. He was immediately sent for a chest x-ray and three days later he was sent to the JR where he was diagnosed with malignant tumours in his lung, bones and liver and also behind his eye. The irony of this is that 2 weeks before, he’d been given the all-clear from his bladder cancer.
Steve was my best friend for over 40 years. I was an Usher at his first wedding, Godfather to his younger daughter, and Best Man at his second wedding. I’ve been lucky enough to attend and share many of his family’s events over the years. I will miss you Steve.
If there’s something that we can learn from this (men) it’s to go IMMEDIATELY to the doctor if you think there’s a problem and live life for today as you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
RIP Steve Newman.
Trevor Smith Obituary
It is with great sadness that the Club has to pass on the sad news that Trevor has passed away.
Trevor was aged 69, apparently he returned from a trip to Australia and was taken seriously ill and did not recover, some sort of septicaemia.
Trevor was better known as a member of Witney Motor Club. He won OMC’s Davis Cup in 1967 which was for Autotests and Sprints at the time.
Trevor won the BTRDA Autotest Championships in 1972, 3, 5 and 77. He also won the BTRDA all rounders in 1978 and 9. He is better known as a rally driver winning the BTRDA Forest Rallying Championship in 1981 and 82.
OMC last saw Trevor at our 2015 Bocardo Autosolo competing in a Mazda MX5 under the BTRDA flag. He was the President of the BTRDA at the time.
Trevor’s Funeral was on the 21st December at 1.00pm and was held at Burford, St. John The Baptist Church.
Derek Witts Obituary
Derek Witts sadly passed away on Saturday 16th July 2016, after a battle with a blood disorder and bowel cancer over the past 3 years. Derek was 81.
Derek was in the motor trade for most of his working life. The latter part of his working life he helped and supported companies with their Quality Assurance.
Derek joined Oxford Motor Club in the 1950’s and was a very active competitor doing Driving Tests (Autotests), sprints and rallies. In 1959 he was elected to be Vice Chairman of the club. He won the Woottens cup in 59 and 60 driving a Singer. He did production car trials in a Hillman Imp, he was overall winner of Bruerns PCT in 1965. He won local rallies like the Banbury Cross rally in 1963 (NOCC). He did long distance International Rallies like the Coupe des Alpes 3 year running in the mid 60’s,and National Rallies with the Walters of Wantage ‘Team Imp’. In 1965 he did the Oxford Circus driving test in a Ford Anglia.
Derek is getting into the Anglia
Derek had a Private Pilot’s license which he obtained in 2006
Derek and Diane attended the Club’s Centenary Diner in 2007 at Eynsham Hall and made a contribution to Centenary Year book for which the club was very grateful.
Colnbrook, Tuesday 3 May 2016
An open letter from the MSA Chief Executive regarding forest stage rallying in Wales
You will be aware that there are no confirmed fees for accessing the Welsh forests for stage rallies beyond 31 May, following the expiration of our previous Master Agreement in December 2015. In contrast, new 2016 agreements for England and Scotland were agreed in January, based on 2015 prices plus RPI at 0.7 per cent.
Due to the fact that negotiations with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are ongoing, the MSA had not detailed the relevant figures publicly. However, since NRW has now published these figures on its website (click here) the MSA feels it appropriate to respond and bring you up to date with what is a very worrying situation for us all.
As you can see from the NRW figures, last year the MSA paid £339,000 for road repairs in the Welsh forests, but NRW says that its costs for reinstating the roads in 2015 actually totalled £655,000. NRW is currently negotiating on the firm basis that it will seek reimbursement of the total cost of reinstatement.
Assuming the quoted £655,000 figure is representative over more than one season, this would mean a doubling of Welsh forestry charges, and NRW currently intends to introduce these new rates from 1 June 2016.
The MSA continues to negotiate in an attempt to convince NRW (and the Welsh Government, of which NRW is a sponsored body) that rallying’s significance to Wales is felt far beyond the sport itself, and that this bigger picture must be taken into account during negotiations.
For us there are three separate but inextricably linked aspects to consider: the sport; the industry underpinning the sport; and economic impact upon – particularly rural – communities in Wales.
Regarding the sport, it is of course synonymous with Wales, both in terms of its heritage and also in the modern era as the host country for the UK’s round of the World Rally Championship, sponsored by the Welsh Government, with whom we enjoy an excellent and mutually beneficial relationship.
There is then the industry. Quoting from the Welsh Government’s Directory of Welsh Motorsport Companies 2014/2015: ‘Wales has a well-established automotive sector with over 150 companies employing more than 1500 workers generating a turnover of over £3billion annually.’ It continues: ‘In towns and valleys, nestled in industrial estates and enterprise parks are motorsport suppliers on the very top of their game. From high end engineering through to merchandising and clothing and racing circuits through to parts suppliers, Wales has a wealth of world class motorsport companies.’
Finally there is the economic impact. When a rally takes place in Wales, the immediate and calculable financial benefit is that competitors, marshals, officials and spectators visit the area for a day and often longer. The MSA has access to UK-wide data that, although now four years old, gives a good indication of this financial impact.
To summarise that data, based on a one-day forest event with 120 competing crews, to include arrival on the previous day and some staying over to the following day, competitors are estimated to bring approximately £99,500 to the region. Marshals, officials and visitors are estimated to bring £345,000, giving a combined total of £444,500. With 10 national forest events running in Wales, this equates to £4.45million.
If we add Wales Rally GB, which alone creates a staggering £10million for the Welsh economy, we can reasonably conclude that forest stage rallying is worth approximately £15million a year to Wales. And that does not even take into account the promotional value of these events, some of which have a global media reach.
We hope that NRW can look beyond its balance sheet and fully appreciate these many benefits, so that there can be much more opportunity for negotiation. And while we must now accept that there will inevitably be an increase in charges, these could certainly be far more realistic and also introduced over a greater period, rather than overnight, which could potentially have a catastrophic impact upon a proud part of Wales’ sporting heritage.
Your governing body will continue to seek the best possible deal but we should not be in any doubt that the immediate and long-term future of rallying in the Welsh forests is currently very uncertain.
In the meantime, we would encourage those of you voting in Wales on Thursday to contact your new or returning Assembly Member to ensure that they are fully aware of your concerns for what Wales may stand to lose.
And if you do not live in Wales but nonetheless have a stake in Welsh rallying, whether by competing, volunteering or spectating in the Welsh forests and thereby filling your petrol tanks on Welsh forecourts, eating in Welsh restaurants, sleeping in Welsh B&Bs or buying goods and services from Welsh motorsport companies, please also make sure that your voice is heard, before it is too late.
Yours in motorsport,