Go Karting in Canberra. Photo: Kate Leith
Kart racing enthusiasts in Canberra can't decide who should be in their driver's seat.
Canberra Kart Racing Club's disagreements have caused the track to be locked, funds frozen and affiliation suspended with its NSW governing body.
The ACT Supreme Court ordered the club, which once provided formula one ace Mark Webber with an early training ground, to consider a no-confidence motion in its executive.
Formula One champion Mark Webber honed his early driving skills kart racing in Canberra. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Members are divided over governance issues, conflicts of interest, how to upgrade the track and facilities, including a new two-storey clubhouse.
Reporting on the dispute the Kart Sport News website says: ''And you thought the federal government had problems. It seems a new committee was voted in at a meeting in May, however, the outgoing committee argue that these appointments were not constitutional and are therefore invalid.''
The executive, headed by Bruce Otter, says on the Canberra club's website it is disappointing for 240 members to have facilities closed while making substantial progress towards upgrading them.
Mr Otter, public relations officer Tony Prendergast and member liaison officer Kylie Otter did not return calls on Sunday.
The club, which originally raced at Mount Ginn until the early 1970s when it moved to Fairbairn Park, received an ACT government community grant of $12,500 in the 2011/12 financial year and has been in discussions over a master plan to upgrade the track and host national events.
Past president Tom Nipperess, who joined the club in 1973 and was recently re-elected new president by the breakaway group, said members were fed up with the club's management, and had either left the sport, joined other clubs, or lodged a previous vote of no confidence.
''It seems the old committee was running things not to the wishes of the membership, that's putting it fairly kindly,'' Mr Nipperess said. Members were fascinated in managers of an amateur club seeking Supreme Court intervention.
''What do you achieve going to that expense? We are all hoping it will be resolved and we can get the facility opened for the members.''
Track manager Mark Connell described the conflict as a power struggle. A returning officer had been lined up to make sure everything was above board.
''It's a pity but Canberra has always had a bit of a problem with 'this lot and that lot' type of thing. I have been the meat in the sandwich many a time,'' he said.
''Both my ears burn because one lot are in one ear and the other lot are in the other ear.''
Mr Connell said the club provided invaluable experiences to teenagers learning to drive, and had an agreement with Canberra Grammar School to make the track available.
''As far as kids go, karting teaches them a lot about driving and what will happen if they push the limits,'' he said.