He has raced both road bikes and dirt bikes over the past 45 years, is still actively involved in road racing and is the current NZ Classic Motorcycle Racing Register’s F1 Champion.
He was the CEO of Motorcycling NZ (MNZ) for nearly four years and, during that time, he led the organisation to successfully run two motorcycling world championship events.
Pavletich has this year put himself forward to be elected into the role of MNZ president and the result of that election process will be announced at the 101st Annual General Meeting of Motorcycling New Zealand in Wellington on Sunday, May 19.
Today he gives us a little more insight into what he hopes and plans to contribute to the sport, if he is elected …
“Hello motorcycle enthusiasts, my name is Paul Pavletich. I have put my name forward for the role of President of MNZ this year.
“Voting has already started, so please remember to vote. It’s important. This is your sport.
“My platform is simple and, in my view, an important effort to improve our sport.
“I’ve been asked to put a short summary together to expand on my thoughts.”
Raising the profile of motorcycling in NZ
“There is work to be done in this area. Often when I turn up at events it can be like stumbling across the meeting of a secret society. Our sport is exciting, colourful, and often a great spectacle. If we are able to secure the funding, I believe there is a place for a ‘motorcycle show’ on NZ television. We need to get into the lounges and living rooms of the New Zealand public. This country is blessed with long-standing, high-quality motorcycle journalists who need to be given the resources to spread the word.
“We need to emulate NZ Cricket’s very effective marketing. That sees, near spectator-less matches in empty stadiums televised, and the results mentioned on prime time news programmes multiple times daily.
“I’d like to see more focus on the MNZ website as somewhere to go to first for news.”
“One area I would like to see more attention given to is additional training programmes for flag marshals and officials.
“These amazing volunteers make it happen. Without them our sport as we know it would not exist.
“I want to see a consistently high standard. As a long time competitor, I have experienced both excellence and chaos in high pressure situations. We must pursue excellence in this critical safety area.”
More female competitors
“New Zealand women have proven themselves on the sporting stage across the world time and time again. Why are there so few out there mixing it up with the men in NZ motorcycling?
“Currently NZ is blessed with two superstar women motorsport role models, Courtney Duncan and Avalon Biddle. Let’s use their profiles to encourage more women on board.
“Encourage natural terrain tracks to encourage and retain a greater range of riders
“What I am saying here, is often riders walk away from the sport in their 30’s. I believe there are a number of reasons, such as more family responsibilities, mortgages etc. Often the feedback I receive is, the jumps are just too big, and I can’t afford to be off work injured if I crash out on them. This isn’t such as issue for the A grade and elite riders, but our base and core is more risk averse. Of course we don’t want to “dumb down” the sport but we need to keep our average club members involved and then their kids become involved as well.
“For example, a couple of years ago, my club, the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club, softened the track jumps and landings, and have had an increase in rider numbers at the Harrisville track.”
Attract more international competitors to NZ
I’m positive there isn’t an MNZ member who hasn’t dreamed about the “big stage” out-braking Valentino Rossi or block-passing Eli Tomac at a sold-out stadium in the USA. If you are one of the chosen ones, it’s not impossible, but it is increasingly difficult to realise this dream. I was talking to one of the senior executives involved with the FIM last month about how a young rider makes the grid at the highest level. His answer was honest and kind of depressing. He stated that first you need immense talent in your chosen discipline. Then he went on to say, you need to lease a semi-competitive machine on a road race grid. You are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars for World Superbikes series. For Moto GP it increases to millions of dollars. The grids are mainly Spanish and Italian riders. These nations organisations have invested heavily in rider academies to fill the first talent hurdle. They also have the huge population base to generate sponsorship required and reach the massive television audiences.
“So, my answer is, let’s continue to grow our home-grown series. Some great work has been done over the past couple of years in this area. We can get on the map, by bringing over a range of high-profile riders to increase the level of competition. This would reach the world press, thus getting our riders on the map. It creates contacts and can offer great pre-season build up for riders from other parts of the globe.”
“I want the organisation to focus on cost control for the members.
“The cost of housing in New Zealand is a crisis on many levels. It impacts our sport directly.
“An example of this would be the average cost of a house in Auckland is now $1,000,000.
“A cheaper option one or two-bedroom unit will cost you $500,000 to $700,000. If you listen to the news or follow the market you will see the regions are on the rise. I have read in some areas 25% increases in the past 18 months.
“New Zealand’s older population bubble who can’t afford an additional rental property in Auckland and a massive population increase has created a buy up situation in the regions. So, rest assured the cost creep is coming your way.
“Other considerations for the organising clubs are the cost to hire a circuit in the North Island is substantially higher than in the South Island. Motorsport should be a sport for young and old. Not just 40-plus who are generally on higher wages and bought their houses in a much more affordable era. Generally, motorsport is done with disposable income. If you were lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family or are affluent in your own right or have secured sponsorship, you are one of the lucky few. It’s a major stretch to the majority to make any grid these days, especially for the younger generation.
“I believe we need to ensure our introduction and medium classes are affordable. Particularly in Road Racing. It may mean reducing the number of classes we currently have. I would work closely with the Commissioners who drive each discipline to ensure the best outcomes.
“In conclusion, I hope I have expanded on my platform. Should I be selected for this role I will be open and transparent on discussion and direction. I will be approachable by anyone in the MNZ membership and extended motorcycling community.”
If you have further questions, feel free to contact Paul Pavletich on 021 974515.