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RideFast July 2020 2

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All the NEWS proudly

All the NEWS proudly brought to you by HJC HELMETS MOTOSPORT SOUTH AFRICA VS MOTOMEDIA. AND MAKING GOOD ON A PROMISE. By Glenn Foley (Publisher) As you all must be aware by now, we are not fond of doom and gloom in our publications. Our intention is always to promote motorcycles and the fun aspects that they bring to everyday life. We have no affiliation to any sporting body – and thus owe nobody anything. So – here is an interesting story about the behaviour of South Africa’s MSA – Motorsport South Africa – who are effectively in charge of South Africa’s national racing series. We have no problem or opinion on the manner in which they run our national race series, that is not our indaba. But we do feel that in terms of basic common sense and public relations, these guys could perhaps use a bit of guidance… Get out your popcorn and read on: The Saga begins. The phone rings – it’s Neil Smith who has kids who race Karts… Glenn – sorry to tell you this, but you have been named in an incident at a Karting event as a person who abused an official. Karting Event? They don’t have handlebars. A clear case of mistaken identity. No problem! I’ll call MSA. I mean for 20 years we have promoted all of their national racing events at no charge to them in both of our publications and we generally do a lot for the racing fraternity. No sweat we can clear this one up quickly. A phone call to MSA “Hi guys – I am aware that someone has identified me (From a facebook photo), and I just need to tell you it wasn’t me, I was actually away on Quads 4 Quads, our four day charity ride that runs from JHB to Richards Bay raising funds for QASA.” That simple right? Well not really. A follow up email was sent on that same day (This was in NOVEMBER 2019) saying the same thing – and then I promptly forgot about it and headed out to the Honda Africa Twin launch. (Here is a big sigh). The phone rings. It’s Neil again. “Sorry Glenn but they don’t believe me, but I have just been to the hearing and when I told them you were not at the event – and they don’t believe me, so sadly, you are being dragged into this all.” Wow! OK. No problem. I have met one of the judges, whatever who was at the hearing so I get hold of him. “Hey just to let you know it is a case of mistaken identity – I have NEVER been to a Karting event.” The reply was somewhat vague to say the least – and it was all promptly forgotten about again. A couple of days goes by and my phone beeps. It’s a watsapp from an agency representing one of our advertisers containing PDF document labelled court of enquiry 12322 – with a single line: “Is this true?, I found it on the MSA site” I open the PDF to discover that they have published my name as the person responsible for abusing an official at a karting event… it reads like this – you can go and look it up on facebook: “An unidentified individual was present at the National Rotax Karting event held at Zwartkops on 22 September 2019. This unidentified individual used foul and abusive language towards the Club Steward Mr Michael North. This individual was later identified as Mr Glenn Foley by eyewitnesses.” Please bear in mind that this is after telling MSA - no less than 3 times that I was nowhere near the race. This was published on their social media pages. The mind actually boggles – and to get these findings from someone who advertises in our magazines is downright embarrassing. So now – as is normal we start getting a bit pissed off. Phone MSA. Chat to the lady who I spoke to first. Ask to speak to the boss – Adrian Scholtz. No sir you cannot talk to him but a guy called Vic can chat to you. Poor old Vic. He had no idea about the whole thing, apparently having just started with MSA. His suggestion – please drop us a mail so that we can clear it all up. Another mail is sent, this time a bit sterner in tone something like: “Would you please be so kind as to remove my name from your findings and perhaps now you need to publish an apology.” And in Nov or was it early Dec, I offered to publish the whole affair if nothing was received. We did receive a very kurt reply from Mr Scholtz to the effect that – we should not threaten them. There was no threat, it was a promise. And nothing happened on MSA’s side. And we did not publish this feature in December because – well it’s the holiday season, perhaps MSA has more important things to do. Lots of correspondence happened along with us trying to be the nice guys – and we need to say here that we spent some money and reached out to legal people for advice. The advice was – “Sure, let’s sue this lot for defamation, potential loss of business etc,” but time and money and etc, and we don’t really have time for crap like that. Incidentally, in January, MSA won a case against a bloke forcing him to retract statements involving MSA from his facebook page. They took him to court and forced him to cease and desist and all sorts – and then they published those judgements on their pages. An interesting development given that MSA can publish whatever they like… More emails and a mail from Vic – “Help us to help you (we liked that), send us an affidavit of your whereabouts at the time of the event.” We decided to be the nice guys and sent MSA a sworn affidavit stamped by the police, with letters from eye witnesses who were at our event telling the good people at MSA where we were at the time of this incident. The Silence was DEAFENING. So see the timeline this started in NOVEMBER. Fast forward. Brief flurries of mails to MSA all ignored, more legal advice - and along came lockdown. Surely during lockdown, with NO racing or events, MSA would have the decency to address this problem… It also gave another advertiser time to look at MSA’s facebook pages and stuff – and the phone rang again. “Hey Glenn – have you seen what MSA has published about you?” This is the third person who we do good business with to make us aware of the problem. So anger bubbles again – and we send MSA another mail – because their phone line is not working: Guys if you no not remove my name and publish an apology, I will publish this whole saga. This is for the JULY issue. Hey presto – I get a response, and if ever there is a half-baked response – they amended their findings to the following: “The Court heard evidence from all parties present, and finds that:1.1. An unidentified individual was present at the National Rotax Karting event held at Zwartkops on 22 September 2019. This unidentified individual used foul and abusive language towards the Club Steward Mr Michael North. This individual was later identified as Mr Glenn Foley by eyewitnesses. Then they tag this under their findings in bright red: Note: Mr Glenn Foley, who was not present during the hearing, subsequently denied that he had been present at the karting event in question and that he had therefore been incorrectly identified by the eyewitnesses – see attached affidavit. Is it an apology? I think not. A retraction? I think not. From what I read – and I am no lawyer – this just means that I am still guilty of the offence but I have told them that I was not there. So how do you like that? We await our apology from MSA – and please rest assured that we were NOT at the said karting event. We have even sent MSA the wording that we would appreciate they use – and this was my last email to them: Dear MSA. I would like to discuss this all but your phone lines appear to be down. Vic, Allison and etc Ok I am back at the office and I have had time to think about your response. I find your amendment wholly unsatisfactory. Basically your new finding still says it was me and that I deny the charge. Vic - this could have been resolved at the very beginning and I invite you to read through all of you mails up and down to us. The saddest part of this and I quote: Note: Mr Glenn Foley, who was not present during the hearing, subsequently denied that he had been present at the karting event in question and that he had therefore been incorrectly identified by the eyewitnesses – see attached affidavit. But your findings still intimate that I am guilty of the offence. It does not matter what I say - a crook is innocent until proved guilty. You found me guilty without any due diligence. You have not acknowledged that you as MSA are wrong in even associating my good name in all of this. You have not asked for a single witness to prove my whereabouts on the date of this Karting event. Astonishing! And you guys are charged to run our national race series! My suggestion to you- and bear in mind that I finish the latest magazine tomorrow, is that you publish the following: We have found that Mr Foley was nowhere near the event and we apologise for publishing his name in our findings. To date – no such apology has been sent or published. Our opinion – MSA very offside. It is really sad – a simple apology would have avoided a lot of frustration. We don’t like any form of negativity in our magazines, but sometimes when there appears to be no amicable solution – these are the measures that need to be taken. MSA – we look forward to your apology in this matter – and we’ll see you all at the races soon. 12 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE JULY 2020 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE JULY 2020 13