At the end of my last post “Sweet & Sour part 2”, I asked for the my readers / followers view and response to my dilemma of the cheating allegations that I aimed squarely at Ted Brooke the owner of the 1961 Morris Minor. I won’t go back into what I saw over the weekend I have documented and evidenced that. I created a Poll and asked should I leave my cheating report up, or take it down?
Thank you to those that voted along with your support. The results were a conclusive and massive over 95% in favour to leave it up.
So my evidence of what I saw stays posted.
I have been asked how these posts even got to the point it has now. The answer is quite simple; people started to press my buttons, pressing my buttons does make things happen in my head, I just have to deal with it and can’t let it go. The most basic explanation is when I confronted those involved with the evidence I had, it was laughed off and laughed in my face, it was ignored completely, I was told to go away, I was called a “liar” and a “sore loser”, I was even threatened with legal action, and that little lot just started to rub my nose in it. A little gaggle of cheaters sitting behind the car laughing and celebrating that they had ‘Won’ the ‘well deserved’ trophy didn’t sit to well with me or the others that were there in either. So, not only did I/We witness bad things, but it was then blatant they had no qualms about cheating.
To the point of this post; behind the scenes I had told people I emailed Lancaster my concerns and if I got a response I would too also allow them their fair say. Lancaster did respond and so did Clarion. I will show what I wrote to Lancaster and the responses in a second.
But first; I would like to make it clear that I have no grudge(s) with organisers / partners of the event at all, in fact a little more respect as they had the balls to reply to me knowing full well I would be commenting on their replies, I know they will be reading this. So Thank You to those that have contacted me and replied to me. I will keep their personal contact details out of it as I see no benefit to splash that level of detail all over the internet. All I am doing here is fighting for a pure point of PRINCIPLE, I’m not here trying to ruin events or their jobs.
I wrote an email to Richard Morley, Operations Director, Lancaster Insurance. The email was sent Thu 14/11/2019 13:45 the cut and paste reads as follows; (including a couple of typos, I had at the time and still have tonsillitis, that’s my excuse for the unforgivable errors! 🙁
“Afternoon Mr Morley,
I would like to start of with big thank you for such an enjoyable weekend 8-10 November at the NEC Birmingham. I was one of the lucky 20 entrants able to display on the Pride of Ownership a real honour. However I would like to ask the official stance on cheating within the competition you are sponsoring. Throughout each of the three days at the event the owner of the winning car the pink Morris Minor, was seen cheating by myself and others. He filled in his own voting slips and putting them into the vote boxes, passing pre filled forms to visitors asking them to post the forms as well. He even told the visitors where to tick for his car, he also took wads of the voting forms to club stands to be filled in on a few occasions. As he was next to my car it was clear to see. The joining instructions clearly stated that any cheating would mean disqualification and be asked to leave. Especially as the joining instructions specifically said there was complaints and cheating the year before as well. Vigilance should have been a priority.
The cheating was reported to the NEC organiser who confirmed in a text to me that that the cheating votes were not going to be counted, obviously many were going to be missed.
With such a blatant knowledge of his cheating the organisrrs and your staff still allowed the entrant to continue. I and others also reported the underhanded tactics to Lancaster staff in white t-shirts who didn’t seem to take it too seriously. Yet still he was not disqualified. I took a photo early Sunday morning where he was sitting at a table with voting forms going through his phone looking for contacts to complete the forms. I witnessed it.
As I’m a good sport I did not make a scene at the awards and spoke immediately to the guy representing Lancaster giving the awards and showed him the evidence. His response was an astonishing “I just write the cheques”. I showed the evidence to the Morris Minor owners club who just denied it and laughed. You representative was seen to go over to apologise the club for any misunderstanding. Again no offering to look into the evidence. I know thwt the Morris Owners club had stacks of forms on their stands, which shouldn’t of been there in the first place. I have the photograph and also the screen shots between me and NEC where the organisers KNEW of cheating and even acknowledged the cheating via text messages, yet still allowed the car to go on and win. By saying we removed the blatant cheating forms has condoned the practice to not remove the car. If you are caught cheating in an exam the exam is void, not just the question you cheated on, if you cut corners on a running track you are disqualified, not just ignore that little bit. I could have been handled without fuss by not placing the car at all, if you didn’t want the bad publicity. An even playing field was all that we requested now I feel that I need to expose this wrong doing. I am happy to have my message logs to be examined by the phone company to prove the messages were indeed sent and received as they were just text messages not WhatsApp encrypted.
Please could you let me know if you want to see the evidence where I will be happy to send over. Also what if anything does your company intend on doing about the obviously squewed results. I don’t want publicity, i dont want free insurance, I just want the moral and integrity high grounds to be fought for. The guy wanted the trophy so bad be managed to pull it of in the biggest classic car show in the country and you (organisers) were told about it.
I’m sorry that this has had to be noted to you in such a way.
Based on the experience of your company to date I feel that I can never be insured with you as I don’t know that I can trust the company as a whole. I am in no way suggesting you on any others at your level knew about it. But, it was raised over the whole weekend to many people. In fact there were others entrants also cheating, unfortunately I don’t have 100% proof of that.
Sour grapes from me? Not at all I had a great time there. It just seems that my principles are greater than others. Many people are the opinion “let it go” but that’s not the point. I have no doubt what so ever than I will now be black listed for events as a trouble maker.
I look forward to your responses.
I’m very dissapointed and feel let down.
Mr Morley’s job title is now different to the documents that I had researched at the time, so perhaps this wasn’t the idea person to speak to, but to be fair – Mr Morley took ownership of it and moved it along for a resolution. A good positive there.
‘Poppyseed’ Clarion’s PR Agency tried to contact me:
Wednesday 15th November 2019 at 15:38. I was unable to answer as I was unable to speak as I had completely lost my voice. A pleasant email was left on my voice mail to call back.
Monday 18th November 2019 at 11:14. I was actually asleep at this point (recovering from a fate worse than man flu obviously) although my voice was starting to come back to the dulcet tones of Barry White. A pleasant voice message was again left for me.
I tried to call PoppySeed on Tuesday 19th November 2019 12:53, unfortunately they were in a meeting all day. A text message very shortly after my call to me to say that emails were going to be on their way back to me later that afternoon. I was slightly surprised that written correspondence was going to arrive, but this is again a positive.
The first email response the next day was from Lee Masters of Clarion the ‘Show Director’ on Wed 20/11/2019 10:59
Andrea Seed from our PR Agency (Poppyseed Media) and Richard Morley from Lancaster Insurance have brought my attention to both a letter that you have written to Mr Morley and also a social media blog that you have written entitled ‘One Man and His Mustang’.
Firstly, can I thank you for your encouraging and positive words and photos that you took at the show. It’s good to hear that you enjoy the event as much as we do. I would also like to thank you for entering your superb Mustang into the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership Competition.
It is with regards to the competition that I am writing, and I want to reassure you that your concerns about cheating are being taken seriously. The Pride of Ownership Competition has been running now for four years at both our March and November shows. The competition is about bringing together some of the UK’s best privately owned classic cars and asking the public to vote for their favourite (top three) cars. This is all done in a good-natured spirit of fun, enthusiasm and passion for the classic cars that we all love and cherish.
For clarity, the competition is organised and run by Clarion Events Ltd as the owners of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. Lancaster Insurance is the sponsor of the competition. The organising, administering of the terms and conditions, voting process, vote counting and conclusion of the final results are done by Clarion, independently and without prejudice.
Should any of the competition terms and conditions be possibly contravened then the situation would be raised with me as the Show Director and reviewed by the competition organising team. I confirm that all of the voting forms for all competing cars were diligently inspected and a number of ‘non-qualifying’ votes were removed (not just from the Morris Minor) and were discounted from the final results. I also confirm that this did not affect the outcome of the top three places.
Whilst we do state disqualification in the terms and conditions, in most circumstances, once we have removed ‘non-qualifying’ votes there is not a need to take such action – it really is a last resort as we want this to be a gracious and good-natured public vote.
Finally, I don’t want you to be unhappy and we will as a result of your feedback conduct a review of our processes and Terms and Conditions for our next event. Please also be assured that you will not be black-listed as you put it. I see you as a friend of the show and your comments will help us in the future. As a gesture of goodwill, I would happily offer you guest tickets to our spring NEC show or Reis Race Retro if you would like to join us.
My very best regards
Second email response was from Mr Morley Wed 20/11/2019 11:31 some thirty minutes later with the following: (Personal contact details redacted).
“Hello Mr Dawson
Thank you for your email.
Apologies for the delay in my response, following your communication we have shared your email with Clarion Events and have been having discussions with the team there.
Pride of Ownership is an integral part of the weekend and we’re delighted that you were able to join us at the show. I understand you spoke to Andrea Seed on the Sunday of the show regarding your concerns and she has been trying to get hold of you following your email to myself. I’m sorry to hear you have been suffering with tonsillitis, I hope you feel better soon.
Lee Masters, the Show Director, has emailed you this morning and we hope that this has reassured you and addressed your concerns.
Please be assured that all feedback is greatly appreciated, and we certainly take on board all comments. We also hope to see you at future events.
OK, really nice to get the emails which I won’t forensically deconstruct the emails which would be fairly easy to be honest, I will just point out a few little things for you. It’s also quite clear that they spoken with each other and the organisers and the sponsors are not going to throw each other under a bus for bad publicity that’s for sure. The show works well as a whole and I hope it continues to do so. It’s a great show at the end of the day.
We are not stupid either that the voting forms are also a way of the sponsors being Lancaster Insurance are gaining contact details for leads for classic car insurance with renewal dates. A little side note: Classic Car Insurance is a good risk for a number of reasons; people who own these cars trailer or drive them very carefully. Restricted number of drivers also tend to be in the more mature age banding. These cars are simply not thrashed around. They are very well looked after, more so than modern cars. Restricted annual mileage means less exposure to road risks. They are usually kept very secure. Although the downside is the value of the cars for a total loss which can be high, the overall claims ratios still make this a profitable book of business.
Lancaster’s response email from Mr Morley; is worth noting that their email didn’t address a number of my specific points directly about the insurance company itself. This is partially seen to be addressed by Clarion’s response(s). Hence Lancaster have played their keep it clean card to keep out of any potential ‘misunderstandings’ from the show. Lancaster doesn’t address the behaviour of their representative towards me either.
Clarion’s response email; This was always going to be a text book response for an email. They had the right to do what they wanted regarding the Terms & Conditions when you break down the structure. The ‘non-qualifying’ references instead of the ‘cheating’ which softens the public perception of the terminology is now being used. The fact that even with the ‘non-qualifying’ votes removed the results will still stand. In other words; we don’t need to recall the trophies, we don’t need to announce any ‘errors’ Ted Brooke and others are not seen as a cheater and all is good with the world. In fact the email states “a number of ‘non-qualifying’ votes were removed (not just from the Morris Minor) and were discounted from the final results“. So it seems rife that cheating takes place and acknowledged.
However – There is no way that you can guarantee that you removed all the cheating votes, hence the call for disqualification we wanted, or just not place the car at all would have been the easiest answer on the day. The Clarion email says this little paragraph;
“Whilst we do state disqualification in the terms and conditions, in most circumstances, once we have removed ‘non-qualifying’ votes there is not a need to take such action – it really is a last resort as we want this to be a gracious and good-natured public vote.”
So it’s OK for the cheaters that they weren’t going to be thrown out, and the other entrants may as well not turned up by the sounds of it.
The upside is that Clarion offered me a good will gesture, this was always going to be a difficult one for the organisers if they did it at all. To much good will would have looked like a pay off, and too little would have been a slap in the face. I think they got it right to be fair to them and a nice offer. To save any face on either side I won’t be taking them up on their kind offer, I know that on the day it would have be fine. Thank you again Clarion for the offer.
Lancaster couldn’t do anything, as I already said I didn’t want anything from them, however they could of offered to try to beat or match my current insurance terms at renewal on a fair basis by speaking to them. I respect their response that they didn’t try that approach, by the tone of my letter they were not going to win my custom anyway. Again I would have declined any of their offers or quotes for this years premium which was a lot more than I currently pay anyway.
Both Lancaster Insurance and Clarion replied. Their responses were nothing of a surprise to be honest. Organisers and Sponsors are both needed to make these things works. Both Lancaster and Clarion pull these shows off well. Both of the have taken my points on board to make it better. Despite how this reads I did have a great weekend with Andrea and she has a great sense of humour and we did laugh together. There is no animosity on my side that’s for sure. It’s also great to know that I haven’t been black listed, but the jury remains out on that one for a while.
There is nothing else I can say with my journalistic report on the weekend now. The results won’t change – that was always going to be a certainty. The explanations were always going to be text book responses and these emails are just great examples of that. My experience was tainted at the end knowing that this pink Morris Minor will be paraded around as a genuine winner.
It’s up to the readers now to make their own minds up.
Email’s now exchanged and they hope the man with a Mustang drops it and moves on. I can confirm that he will indeed now move on and not to keep bringing this up. But, if I am at a car show and I get asked what went on I will explain it. My quest is complete, I have exposed what went on, no more actions will or can be done now, those ranks have closed. I only wanted a point a principle to be upheld, you cheat – you’re out!
At the end of the day I’m just one man with a Mustang, what chance did I really have? My next posts will car related again you will be please to hear.
Thanks to Chris Tilley for these great pics more of these which will be on a post soon.