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Ft. Lauderdale Driver's Meeting Address From Michael, Read By Apba Offshore Staff

Old 10-03-2003, 06:47 PM
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Default Ft. Lauderdale Driver's Meeting Address From Michael, Read By Apba Offshore Staff

Since Yom Kippur, the most sacred of Jewish holidays, is the day to ask forgiveness for promises broken to God, the day before is reserved for asking forgiveness for broken promises between people, as God cannot forgive broken promises between people.

I am at home this weekend with my family - and no, not because I needed an extra day to ensure I covered everyone to whom I owed forgiveness - but because my family wanted to be together as we always are this time of year.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of this time of reflection and forgiveness, I want to express some of my thoughts and feelings with you:

The past year has been by far the most challenging of my 5 year tenure as Offshore Chairman and the past few weeks have been the most challenging of all. Call me crazy, and trust me, every member of my family does - but my love, devotion and passion for the sport of offshore powerboat racing is stronger than ever.

Regardless of how I feel personally, though, the time has come to take a realistic look at the business of offshore racing. Indeed I believe today is a watershed moment for all of us. Today, we must all decide whether we want APBA Offshore to be a club which supports our hobby, or do we want it to be a legitimate, professional motorsport.

Separately, each can be a stand alone business. What we have learned is that they cannot be one in the same.

A club, for example, in the context of boat racing is well, like APBA Detroit, a not for profit organization where racers make the rules, volunteer committees make the decisions and one or two vendors control the racing equipment - boats and engines. In a club, racers are generally free to participate in whatever events they want even if they must belong to more than one club to do it. The members generally can say what they want, good or bad, whenever or wherever they want with little risk either to themselves or the club. The club has few sponsors and very little chance of ever securing any real ones. Clubs have little to no prize money or contingency sponsorships and they certainly do not have quality well distributed television. Clubs can survive as long as it has members and that is a good thing. As a for profit business worthy of real investment, clubs are not viable and I can say for certain the LLC members have no interest in owning or investing in a racer's club.

A Professional Motorsport, on the other hand, is the total opposite of a club. Its participants are loyal & committed to the sanctioning body. A professional motorsport is made up of real racers. People who conduct their racing business in the boat NOT on the beach. A real racer is Lance Henrichsen, who, no matter that the sanctioning body is penalizing him by putting extra weight in his boat, he sucks it up and finds a way to win. He may grumble privately but when he is interviewed on television, he credits his win to everyone else and always thanks the men and women of APBA Offshore for their hard work and making it all possible. In a professional motorsport the sanctioning body makes the rules and the decisions and the racers follow those rules and accept those decisions. Professional racers do not issue ultimatums. Professional racers do not quit when things do not go their way. Professional racers do not work against the sanctioning body they work FOR it. Professional Racers race and they promote their sport because they know that a strong sanctioning body is what it takes for everyone to achieve real success - winning races and championships against the best and making money while doing it.

As a for profit business worthy of real investment, professional motorsports are viable and I can say for certain based on the efforts and money expended over the last 5 years, and the fights we have waged and won, the LLC members have a continuing interest in owning and investing in APBA Offshore professional powerboat racing.

A club can be formed in 5-10 minutes.

A professional motorsport, can take 5-10 or more years to build, but only if everyone pulls in the same direction.

Now I know that we as a sanctioning body business have not been perfect - far from it. We have made plenty of mistakes. We have inconvenienced you on far too many occasions and we have flat pissed you off on too many more.

We know that the decision to move the Worlds from Key West is one that has made many of you want to give up and quit on us. I do not blame you. We are all sick over it. I am deeply sorry that we had to make this decision but please understand that none of the founding members of APBA Offshore, and not one of the people standing on this stage tonight would ever do anything that we did not feel was absolutely necessary and 110% in the best interest of the sport.

Nevertheless, we are committed to creating an entirely new and separate event marketing, production and promotion company by the end of this year which will be dedicated exclusively to creating a stable schedule of national and divisional events beginning in 2004. The mission of that new company will be to make sure something like this NEVER happens again.

We believe that every competitor in this room is a professional racer and we need to do our job better so you can do yours.

To that end, we have worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to finish the foundation of APBA Offshore so that we can move forward on the next phase of our work together.

All of the lawsuits involving the APBA matters have been settled. We have a new 5 year exclusive license agreement in place that is renewable for additional 5 year terms. Many of you might say, wow, we went from a 99 year deal to only a five year deal? That cannot be good. Well, that is a decision we all made for the benefit and protection of all parties. We all believed that this deal ensures that both parties work together toward the common goal of promoting boat racing. The parties are free to continue the agreement forever and if we all get along and treat each other with respect then I am sure it will. Let's see what happens. Afterall the original license was only 10 years and the new license is essentially a return to that.

This Tuesday we also secured a new, more solid than ever 2 year contract with General Motors to remain as the title sponsor of our premier series. Our view is that this really gives us two years to prove our worth so we can secure a bigger and better contract for the future. If we decide that we are committed to our goal of becoming the next great professional motorsport then I have no doubt that such a deal is part of future.

Yesterday, we also finalized the formal written agreement with Orange Beach, AL. for this year's APBA/UIM Offshore World Championships. The REAL World Championships. The ONLY World Championships. We are confident that the event will be one of the greatest if not the greatest events in history. I know Gary Nichols and his team are committed to making that happen. In fact Gary and I had a nice conversation this morning with Don Allen, who is the current president of APBA, and Don is planning to attend the event. He assured Gary that APBA and Offshore are moving forward in a positive direction - together as partners - and that there will be NO APBA sanctioned event of any kind in Key West this year or EVER, at least not without APBA Offshore. Indeed, we have had discussions with Key West officials about staging our own event there next year and those we spoke to are thrilled. They KNOW what an APBA Offshore event means - Genuine Professional Racing - and they want us back there as soon as possible. So do we, and if we all stick together, we will.

We also are totally committed to doing whatever it takes to keep our current sponsors, secure new ones and repair any damaged relationships with former sponsors.

So with the Yom Kippur Holy Day (Day of Atonement) upon us, I ask each and every person in this room to forgive me for any pain, suffering or ill feelings which I may have caused you this past year in and most especially in recent weeks. I especially want to thank Pop, Dee, Mike T., Paul, Drew, Ted, Steve and every member of the APBA Offshore National Support team and I ask you to forgive me for everything I have put you through this year. I know many of my decisions have created hardships for all of you but here you are, still with us, working hard and pouring your hearts and souls into a sometimes thankless job all because you love the sport, you love the racers, and you love each other. Well, we love you all too you can rest assured of that.

Finally, I want to respectfully ask each and every person in this room, whether a racer or crewmember, or support services personnel, to join with us as the true pioneers and founding members of America's next great professional motorsport. Thank you and see all of you in St. Pete.

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Old 10-03-2003, 07:39 PM
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Thanks Mike..

Have a great holiday season..

See ya in St. Pete..

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Old 10-03-2003, 07:40 PM
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Thumbs up Here's to the future!

The past is the in the past so lets move to the future with hope that we all can work together for the future of all of boat racing. Mike you and your family enjoy your holiday with the people that matter the most in life.

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Old 10-03-2003, 07:46 PM
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Michael, I'd like to make two wishes for this weekend. First a great safe race in Ft. Lauderdale, and second, that you have a peaceful and relaxing time with your family. You have earned that. I believe that you have played the hand you have been dealt as well as anyone could have. I think that you were backed into a corner and forced to make decisions that you knew were going to be unpopular with many. One can only do what one can do. For whatever it's worth, I think you did right.
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Old 10-03-2003, 08:56 PM
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Last edited by georges; 10-03-2003 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 10-03-2003, 10:36 PM
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Originally posted by georges
What did you want? Mike's head on a platter?

Mike - Thanks for the best OSO post in a long, long time. The future is for those who choose to look forward, and the past belongs to those who are determined to live there. Bring on the racing.
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Old 10-03-2003, 10:47 PM
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Thanks for the post,Mike. The air is finally clearing and we know where you are heading,and I believe it's the right direction. Hope to meet you in Orange Beach,Al. Gary and his crew are working hard to insure a wonderful,enjoyable World's for racers and fans alike. Thanks for hangin tough. Magicfloat
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Old 10-03-2003, 11:27 PM
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C-Spray, could not agree with you more.
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Old 10-04-2003, 12:04 AM
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Great Post Mike
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Old 10-04-2003, 04:48 AM
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C-Spray, I agree....


Race towards your future, and leave the past in your wake......
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