in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of May 31, 1999
Only in Australia... at least we hope so. It's mid-morning at Ken's shop when the phone rings with a rather strange message from a local Government employee. Despite being able to access this website from his workplace last Friday, this morning when he tried to connect, he was "greeted" with the warning: "This site has been deemed to have content of a SEXUAL nature and is therefore not accessible. Your action(s) have been logged.".
Stone the bloody crows, or what, mate? Where's all the sex here that I've been missing? Aussie Drag Babes? Perish the thought... all those young women are pure as the driven snow, or something like that. North American Drag Babes? Ditto.
So what the heck is going on here? My website host provider has a very strict policy concerning nudity, profanity and hate messages, and they've never mentioned that my site had any sort of problem in any of those areas. So what is the problem? For those familiar with web-wonking, the "meta-tags" that describe each page, using the word babe(s) are the most likely culprits. What's happened is that a "spider" program has searched out all.. or as many as they could get to... websites in the world, and put any with that word or description on their blacklist.
The whole situation is probably the result of an Australian Government intitiative last week to control web access for their employees. It seems to have filtered down through all levels of the public service over the course of the weekend. A short article in last Friday's newspapers detailed the number of government computers that had accessed porn or other unsuitable websites and the numbers were staggering. Even from the House of Parliament in Canberra.
So, in reaction, the government(s) down here have decided to swing the pendulum as far as they can in the other direction... and in the process cut off access (for their employees) to any even remotely marginal sites... like mine, obviously. Of course, this whole issue begs for the following question to be asked: "What idiot decided to give their employees web access in the first place?" We all know how little work actually is accomplished in government offices in the first place... but allowing web access too?? PS: No offense to the hard-working, dedicated public servant who brought this issue to light.
No sooner do I finish talking to the first caller of the morning than the phone rings again. "Bob, another call for you." This time it's Mick Withers, Editor of Dragster Australia, who's preparing the Top Alcohol Planners and Schemers article for the next issue of the magazine. After leaving me out of last year's review of the alcohol racers, he's determined not to forget this time around. We go over the details on the car, our plans for next season and a few other items of interest, like sponsors and all the other people who've helped get us to this point in time.
Then Mick drops a bit of a bombshell on me about the coming (1999-2000) season. After a very short, as in five race meetings, season this year for the alcohol cars, next year's schedule is even thinner. A "grand" total of only FOUR events for the National Championship Series. Two at Willowbank (Brisbane) and two more at Calder Park (Melbourne).
"How about the other four or five meetings you haven't mentioned yet, Mick?" That's all they wrote, Bob. Struth! (Translated: Bloody 'ell). I've got to look at the positive side of things though, and reason that if Australian drag racing is reaching the very bottom of a cycle next year, then I'm getting in at just the right time. From here on, it can go nowhere but up.
There are several large factors at work here: next year's Olympic Games in Sydney - which will suck up virtually every available sponsorship and marketing dollar not already committed for the next fifteen months; the lack of a real drag strip in the nation's largest city - Sydney; and the continued weakness of many of the regional tracks, due to weather, population bases and promotional problems. The solutions to all these problems won't be found overnight, but we've got time to wait for things to move forward. More time than money... much more.
Well, that's all for today and tomorrow's the day we've been waiting for... the arrival of the container in Brisbane... weather, tides, etc. permitting. It's been so long now and as the hours tick by, with the Winternationals drawing ever closer, the wait has now become almost unbearable. It'll be tough to sleep tonight, almost like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Stay tuned for the next installment; it should be worth it.