General Secretary’s Newsletter

Monday March 12, 2018 at 4:20pm
The purpose of this document is to give you all an update of various items that may be of assistance to you as some of you have, or some of you are shortly about to embark on the start of a new season.

The first update is regarding GDPR, and whilst not directly related to racing or competition, this new legislation could have a marked effect on your Club/Organisation if you are deemed not to be compliant.

What is GDPR and why change from the Data Protection Act 1998?

Changes to data protection regulations are needed as technology has advanced. Personal data is now processed (collected, stored, shared, etc.) in different and more sophisticated ways and this new technology needs to be included.

GDPR will give EU citizens more control over how their personal data is used.  It will make it clearer for organisations (including both businesses and clubs) to understand their data protection requirements. 

Although the above statement relates to EU citizens, please be aware that the GDPR regulations will affect us and despite Brexit, this will still apply to the UK.  The ACU’s IT Manager and myself have had a meeting with a consultant who is well versed with what is required for an organisation to be compliant with GDPR.   On the back of this, we have received a report from her and consequently have drafted a Guidance Note for Clubs which I hope you will find useful.    

Risk Assessments

I believe most Clubs now carry out a Risk Assessment prior to an ACU permitted event taking place.  If you don’t, then to be honest you need to be doing so.  

What is a Risk Assessment?  A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. 

There are basically five steps involved in how to conduct a risk assessment:

Step One:            Identify the risk/hazard

Step Two:            Decide who might be harmed and how

Step Three:         Evaluate the risk and decide on precautions to mitigate that risk

Step Four:           Record your findings and implement them.

Step Five:            Review your assessment periodically and update when necessary.

About every six to eight weeks, we have Claims meetings with our Brokers / Claims Handlers and Loss Adjusters and when any Claim for injury received is discussed the first question asked is inevitably “Was a Risk Assessment carried out”?  It is clear that we can’t have a ‘one size fits all’ for Risk Assessments.  For example, the Risk Assessment I carry out on the TT Mountain Course would not suit a Risk Assessment for a Trial and this is something we are looking at.   It might be going forward that we have a separate day to look at Risk Assessments for a specific discipline.  Risk Assessments have been and are covered in the Clerk of the Course seminars, but there is a view now that this subject has to be dealt with in isolation and we are working on this.


You may be aware that just before Christmas, the ACU Ltd Board of Directors decided to increase the Public Liability policy limit to £40 million, previously this had been £30 million but there has been an increase of £10 million for the PL policy limit.  Our Insurance cover provided to Centres/Clubs/Officials and Competitors is spread over three tiers with the first tier being our own Captive Insurance Company – ACU Insurance Ltd.  The other two Tiers have been placed by our Brokers with reputable Insurance Companies whom we have dealt with for the last few years.

Who is insured? 


The affiliated Organising Club / Promoter

Any Official carrying out duties at the Permitted Event

Rescue Organisations or their personnel

The Promoters / Sponsors of the Permitted Event

Competitors, and their pit / service crew/personnel – authorised to compete in the Permitted Event

Landowners – being any person authorised to give permission necessary for the
permitted event to take place on their land. 

FIM Start Permissions

In order for any ACU licenced competitor to be able to compete abroad, they need to obtain a Start Permission (as well as the appropriate FIM licence) from the ACU.  No Organiser of an FIM / FIME event will allow a competitor to sign on unless they have the Start Permission in their possession.

In previous years, the rates set by the ACU have been far too low which has resulted in the Insurance company paying out more in claims than they have collected in premiums – it has been necessary therefore for the ACU to increase those premiums so they are more realistic in comparison with current market prices.  The FIM Start Permission package has been placed under the ACU Captive.

Similar to the above, some of our Organisers have foreign riders wishing to participate in an event within the UK – and as said above they need to produce a Start Permission in order to do so. 

There have been occasions in the past where a foreign rider wishes to participate in an event in this country but has no Start Permission and for whatever reason their own Federation will not provide a Start Permission or Med / Repat insurance for that rider to compete.  Previously, this scenario has been covered by our Insurers but given the expenditure incurred in comparison to the premiums received, this Cover is no longer available from our Insurance Company, however we are looking at and working on alternatives but the Insurance Market has hardened to this.

There are Insurance providers out there who will provide this cover for individuals which we are aware of and can provide details for.  So, for the Organiser, if you find yourself in a position where you have a foreign rider entered for an event but they are finding it difficult to obtain med/repat cover, then ring your respective discipline secretary in ACU Head Office and they can provide contact details of Insurers who are willing to provide this cover, and if this be the case, the Organiser/Club will deal with the Insurer direct.

Who’s Who in ACU Head Office

There have been some changes amongst the staff of ACU Head Office over the last twelve months or so, so it is probably a good time to outline below who does what and their contact details.  Relatively new to the Team is Jillian Brookin – our IT Manager and Jacky Lonsdale our new Financial Controller.  For the many of you who use the On Line Entry System, should you have any issues with it, then please email Jillian in the first instance.

Gary Thompson MBE BEMGeneral Secretary              01788 566414   
Debbie Walmsley             Assistant to the Gen Secretary 01788 566419

Richard Blyth                      ACU Press Officer                     01788 566428

Jillian Brookin                    IT Manager                           01788 566407

Sonia Goggin                      Motocross Secretary            01788 566404
Kirsty Telford           Asst Motocross Secretary           01788 566408

Mary Kerr                            T&E Secretary                      01788 566403
Madalena Miguens         Asst T&E Secretary           01788 566412
Kathy Roche                      Asst T&E Secretary           01788 566409

Michelle Haynes               Road Race Secretary     01788 566405
Rowena Perks                   Road Race Secretary       01788 566406

Tracey Cossar                    Track Racing Secretary  01788 566402


Jacky Lonsdale                   Financial Controller            01788 566411
Kalpna Vaghela                 Accounts Assistant         01788 566410
Anne Robbins                    Accounts Assistant            01788 566424
Alida Mananga                  Accounts Assistant             01788 566424

Licencing Dept

Jacqui Blake                        Licencing Manager     01788 566426
Alex Humphries                Licencing Operator     01788 566216
Jessica Hunt                        Licencing Operator     01788 566401
Yvonne O’Connell            Licencing Operator     01788 566415
Kirsty Roe                            Licencing Operator     01788 566427

Signing On and Checking ACU competition licences/Trials Registrations at events

It came to light last year that some Event Organisers/Clubs are not checking ACU competition licences / Trials Registrations when Riders sign on to participate in an ACU permitted event.  This appeared to be more prevalent with Trials Registrations and as such the Trials & Enduro Department in ACU Head Office are now making spot checks to ensure this important process is carried but before the competition starts.

Why is this important?  Each licence holder should be affiliated annually to the ACU via a Local Club and as such receives an ACU competition licence to compete.  Probably the most important reason is Insurance.  In the event of any injury sustained, we need to be able to demonstrate that the injured rider is a current ACU member and as such he has a valid licence to compete.  We can do this at ACU Head Office by checking the Licence System but it is important that each licence/Trials Registration is checked at each event to ensure that someone is attempting to compete and is not in possession of a current ACU Licence/Trials Registration.  

Specifically for Clubs who are organising Trials events, if a Rider has not got his Trials Registration at Sign On, books of One Event Trials Registrations are available from ACU Head Office at £3.00 each – and they come in books of ten. 

If you have a Rider turn up who wants to take out a Trials Registration on the day, no problem, we have Trials Registration forms available at ACU Head Office which we can send to you.

For other disciplines where applicable, One Event Licences are also available in books of ten from ACU Head Office.  They are purchased from the ACU at £10.00 each and sold to the competitor for £15.00, these too come in books of ten.

Election for vacant position on the Track Racing Committee

The Grass Track fraternity amongst you will be aware that a vacancy currently exists on the Track Racing Committee.   The paperwork asking for individuals who wish to be considered for election will be sent out in the next couple of weeks.  

The election for the vacant position will take place at the first meeting of the National Council – which this year will be held on Saturday 16th June.  The successful applicant will then be elected the Track Racing Committee for a period of 2½ years to the end of 2020 at which time they will be eligible for re-election should they wish to continue. 

Any questions on the above or anything else that I haven’t covered then please do not hesitate to contact me and may I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and successful season.

Kind regards

Gary Thompson MBE BEM
General Secretary


Auto-Cycle Union Ltd.
ACU House, Wood Street, Rugby.
CV21 2YX.
Telephone: 01788 566400