Tuesday, 31 March 2020

SAMSC Statement on SMS

It is with considerable sadness that I am sharing the news with you that today sees the end of the Scottish Motor Sport (SMS) project. Please see attached the formal notification of this issued by Motorsport UK today. Also attached is a note from Kevin Ferguson, the SMS partnership manager at sportscotland giving a little more background.
Kevin was due to speak to us at our meeting on 17th March before it was cancelled.

SMS was established in 2011 as a project vehicle through which to approach the Scottish Government, via Sportscotland, to secure an investment of public funds to help develop motorsport in the same way that such funding supports many other sports. Since then, SMS has been a collaboration between the governing body of two-wheel motorsport in Scotland, the Scottish Auto Cycle Union, and the governing body of four-wheel motorsport in the UK, Motorsport UK.

Following an initial period of set up and ad hoc funding, a detailed strategy was developed during 2015. This formed the basis of an application for longer term funding in line with the Sportscotland process of four year funding cycles. This application was successful and came into effect in April 2016. The initial phase was supported by one full time staff member which then became two from the middle of 2016. The SMS strategy was formally launched to the public by Sir Jackie Stewart at a press event held at Ingliston in May 2016.    

Since then, the SMS team have supported a range of events across several motorsport clubs as well as organising an annual club development day open to all clubs. They have also produced a number of guidance documents available to all motorsport clubs in Scotland and played an important role in running the SMS Academy supporting young competitors across all motorsport disciplines. In order to target their effort effectively rather than risk spreading resource too thinly, they have worked particularly closely with a limited number of focus clubs who will attest to the value added by the SMS team. The SMS team have also been regular attendees at the quarterly SAMSC meetings where they have provided updates on their work and responded to questions and suggestions.

As SAMSC clubs will know from our previous meetings, the four year cycle was always coming to an end in March 2020 and initially, work was progressing on an application for funding to support the next cycle through to 2024. As you will see from the Motorsport UK message, they have decided not to pursue an extension to the current cross-sport collaboration with the SACU which has the effect of bringing SMS to an end.

I do know that Motorsport UK have been working hard to develop and introduce a UK wide development programme which has been missing since the end of their GoMotorsport initiative. I am still waiting to see full details of this but I understand that it will take on board some of the valuable learning from the last few years of SMS. As you will all understand, the current Covid19 situation has diverted everyone’s attention somewhat but I am assured that something will be coming out soon. I have also been assured that those clubs in Scotland who have been getting support from SMS as one of the focus clubs will be able to get some ongoing help on outstanding projects. These clubs have already been made aware of this directly by Motorsport UK.

At this point, I want to put on record my sincere thanks to the SMS team; Development Manager Gillian Sefton, Development Officer Shabaz Khan and of course previous manager Rory Bryant for everything they have achieved since the idea of SMS was first conceived. I know that the SAMSC clubs will want to join me in calling out all that they have done and to offer our best wishes for a successful future to Gillian and Baz.

Pete Weall
Scottish Association of Motor Sports Clubs