Annual General Meeting 2023

03 November 2023 / Word by Ian Combes, Photos by Bryan Shedden

The 2023 MX-5 Club AGM was held at the Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club on Friday 27 October. This was only the second time that we’ve been able to have a face-to-face AGM since those dark days of COVID-19 – that seems so long ago now, but it wasn’t too long ago at all. Many thanks to our amazing Vice-President Joe Kovacic for organising the venue and lining up such a tasty selection of finger food for us!

One thing that we did carry over from the COVID days is that we offered a Zoom option for our members who could not attend in person. We are getting better at that – still a little tricky to juggle a live meeting and Zoom attendees as well though.

We had 48 members attend the AGM in person, and another 11 via Zoom.


I have attended a few AGMs now, and I think that this was a great night in the historical context.

When I thought about how I was going to summarise my Presidents report in the AGM, I ended up with more notes that I had in the actual report. So, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ll recap on the points I raised.

At the 2023 AGM, we had a number of committee members retiring, joining the committee or changing roles with the committee.

Andy and Vicki Bottomley retired as the Sydney northside convenors – Sydney is a tough chapter to organise as I said last year with Bryan and Ann Hicks, but they did a great job and left a good legacy. Welcome to Stephen and Maree Eccleston as the new Sydney conveners.

Chris Cameron retired from the committee as Hunter co-convener. I’d like to thank Chris for all the hard work on the committee over many years – not only as a convenor, but as Regalia Officer, among many things. Chris will continue to help in background with special projects as part of our program of continuous improvement.

Michael Soulos retired as Club Captain after 11 years in the role. That’s a long stint for anyone, so, many thanks to Michael for all the work over those years! Michael will keep the Brass Monkey organisation as an ongoing project.

John Purcell is stepping into the Club Captains role  – moving sideways from Hunter co-convenor. John’s experience and expertise will be extraordinarily valuable in the Club Captain’s role, since one of the goals for the future is to implement new strategies such as sharing of resources to make the life of convenors that bit easier – this includes central storage of material such as run documentation – an area where John has considerable expertise.

David and Elaine Gazzard joined the committee as the new Hunter convenors – welcome guys! I’m told that the Hunter Chapter even has succession plans in place for later, but I hope that David and Elaine are with us for while!

Chris Wyatt and Brigid Gallop retired as RPM convenors – thanks for keeping the RPM chapter ticking over guys. In particular, I really enjoyed the 10th anniversary lunch – it was great! Sandra Duric has taken over as RPM convenor – welcome to the committee Sandra!

Gordon Stephens joined the committee as the inaugural Governance Officer, which is a new role on the committee. Good governance and managing the Club according to best practice is a mission that I set myself when I stepped up as President – the establishment of this role underlines that importance. Gordon and I have already had many robust (but productive) discussions! Ian Mash is also a valuable contributor to this work, aside from being the General Committee Member.

The Club has almost a full committee, of motivated and talented people. Best of all, the dynamics and culture in your Club’s committee is exceptionally healthy and positive. A pleasure to serve on this committee.

We do have a significant vacancy in the form of the convenor for the Mid North Coast Chapter. We have been trying to get anyone up there to put there hand up, but so far no luck - we will keep trying – I really hope that we don’t need to dissolve the chapter.

The work being done by the committee goes well beyond “business as usual”. Bearing in mind that most committee members are still working and have limited time, we are not only keeping the club operating but are continuing to improve how the club operates. Some of these improvements will be of direct benefit to the members of the Club, but others are more aimed at ensuring that the Club is here in the long term to provide the events and services that our members have come to expect from the Club.

We have had a mini-makeover of the website – thanks to Bryan Shedden for driving that. The main improvement is that the website is now mobile-friendly!

One of the earlier projects during last year was to effectively relaunch the historic and classic vehicle registration scheme. That involved reviewing and overhauling all the documentation for the scheme, updating the website and setting up proper centralised record keeping to track registrations. Thanks to Louis Serret and the working group for this work.

We now have new online regalia shops for the Club and the chapters, with a streamlined ordering process – thanks to Fiona Shedden getting that up and running.

We have a new Google Workspace for sharing and storing files within the committee – many thanks to Geoff Smith for his invaluable expertise in setting this up. Not of direct benefit to members, but this is important for data security, maintaining organisational resources and succession planning.

All the reports for the AGM can be found below:

Unfortunately, David Lawler was not able to attend the AGM, but his report is well worth reading – very insightful. This last year have been tough for our motorsport. The cost of living pressures have just been horrific, and this is reflected in the deficit over the last year. It should be noted however that the committee did take the decision to substantially subsidise the 25th Anniversary of Motorsport in late 2022, which exaggerated the deficit. It only seems yesterday that we had the 20th Anniversary – not sure where that five years went! Not even being able to run track days at Sydney Motorsport Park could entice members to enter the events. The participation rate is lower than even during COVID. Even motorkhanas struggled, which is the most cost-effective form of motorsport. MX-5 Cup is the only branch of our motorsport doing well.

This was the first full year for our Treasurer Helen Green, and the financial report reflected her expertise as a CPA. Helen highlighted the ins and outs of the accounts in the meeting.

Michael Soulos gave a detailed report as Club Captain, since this was his last report in that role – also well worth a read.

Once the reports were accepted by the AGM, we moved onto the awards presentation.


Awards Presentation

The full list of Membership Tenure Awards can be found here. We had 67 members who qualified for 5-year badges, 50 who qualified for 10-year badges, 10 who qualified for 15-year badges, 5 who qualified for 20-year badges, and 2 who qualified for 25-year badges. Unfortunately, no-one who joined the Club in 1993 has maintained continuous membership so there were no 30-year badges awarded this year. The photos below show the presentation of badges to all recipients who were able to attend in person. 

5 Years

Jake Murphy, Vijay Teyjas, Alexander Webber, James Vassar, Inma Vassar.


10 Years

Leo Ascone, John Jentsch, Francis Sims, Steve Fisher, Phil Donnelley, Jason Brown.


20 Years

Keith and Marilyn Bridgement ... who have never owned an MX-5.


Five Club members have qualified for the MXV Award in 2023 – Phil Reid, Norm Barker, David Lawler, Rod Nicholas and Brian Clayton. Earning an MXV award is no easy feat, so many congratulations! Only Norm was present in person to receive his award, although Brian and Rod dialled in via Zoom.


I did struggle with the Presidents Award for 2023. There were many people who deserved this award. It is difficult to have to choose one or two from a number of worthy candidates. One factor is that we had a number of members retire from committee positions as described above. That is always a list I look at. In the end I decided to give the award to Andy and Vicki Bottomley. The Sydney Chapter has always been hard to organise events in with the broad spread of the chapter. The Sydney Chapter is more active now than ever. That of course is also due the efforts of Bryan and Anne Hicks. Andy and Vicki have left behind a legacy of volunteering that I hope will see the Sydney Chapter continue to do well into the future with Stephen and Maree Eccleston continuing the good work. Like I say though not an easy decision, but congratulations to Any and Vicki!



Ian Combes



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