The SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks have lost their legal battle with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) over their future in Australia. A judge ruled in favor of upholding the ban on Thursday.
Justice John Digby of the Victorian Supreme Court delivered a harsh blow to SST fans and officials by announcing CAMS’ decision to prevent the series from competing in Australia due to safety reasons will remain.
In late September, SST was removed from the Gold Coast 600 lineup when word surfaced of CAMS not allowing them to compete, citing an incident at Perth in May in which Matt Nolan’s wheel hit a spectator bridge during a wreck. The decision had been finalized days after the race, but it did not reach SST until July 3. The matter was eventually taken to court in early October, a case that was lengthened by a day when SST officials pointed out a similar incident involving the Australian-bred Supercars, where a car’s tailpipe flew off during the Bathurst 1000 and hit a sign, forcing the legal team to further review.
Despite SST and Queen’s Counsel barrister Stewart Anderson’s efforts, Digby ruled against them.
In his defense of SST, Anderson clarified SST had attempted to make safety improvements to the trucks to prevent similar incidents from occurring again. For example, the cast alloy wheels would be replaced by forged billet aluminium, which is heavier and less likely to come off in wrecks. Anderson also pointed out CAMS had not bothered to inspect the upgrades, while Supercar legend Larry Perkins also gave his support when he looked into them, even saying the trucks’ safety was “on par with” the Supercars. CAMS technical manager Scott McGrath reportedly rejected SST’s plans and Perkins’ stance.
Furthermore, Anderson alleged CAMS violated their February agreement with SST and head Robby Gordon, where CAMS had agreed the trucks were safe.
CAMS welcomes today’s ruling in the Supreme Court of Victoria upholding its suspension of Stadium Super Trucks.
CAMS’ responsibility is to ensure we do everything we can to make motor sport as safe as possible for everyone involved in the sport, including competitors, spectators and officials. We are delegated this authority by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
The decision to suspend any category is always a last resort and one we don’t take lightly, including this category which has proven to be quite popular with motor sport fans.
Following a serious incident at a Stadium Super Trucks round in Perth in May, a CAMS working group was established to consider the safety risks of the category. A number of safety related incidents were then analysed and CAMS’ expert view was that the category posed a significant and increasing risk. It was CAMS’ view that the potential risks were too great to continue, particularly at a confined street circuit.
These concerns were put to the category manager who failed to provide a satisfactory and suitable response to the dangers identified and the decision was then made to suspend the category in Australia. It’s important to note this suspension has been in place since May, 2018.
Since then, the category’s management had applied to the Supreme Court of Victoria to overturn that suspension, filing an injunction against CAMS, however today that injunction was denied in court, vindicating CAMS’ position.
CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca stated, “Whether it is grassroots motor sport or competition on the national stage, the safety of competitors, officials and spectators is paramount and something we will not compromise on.
“As the governing body for four-wheeled motor sport in Australia, we have a responsibility to ensure we do everything possible to make the sport as safe as it can be, and we believe this category poses a significant risk, particularly on a confined street circuit.
“We have been open with the category management about these risks and what action could be taken to enable them to return to action in Australia.
“Suspending a category is always a last resort. Unfortunately we had no other alternative in this case as we believe there is a significant risk to competitors, spectators and officials.”
With SST’s future in Australia in doubt, it comes as a severe blow considering their newfound partnership with Boost Mobile.