I just found this article I saved from 2000. It's 3 pages and seems to be pretty much what has been talked about. I am in the process of closing Rain City Raceway and this caught my eye. This is just a bit of the first page.
Guess nothing really changes.
Problems with Track closings
Created Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 11:57 p.m. by ultima19, who wrote:
I 've heard from other people about tracks closing in their area. We've lost one and will lose two more in a month or so. I was curious to see why your tracks closed or opinion on this subject. Is it finacial(low racer turn-out or expenses), bad trackowners, boredum, someone winning or cheating all the time, racing fads changed. Lets us know so that all of us can prevent happening elsewhere. Thanks...
rcvoltar (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:08 a.m.)
EVERYTHING has gone up in price except race fees. We were charging $10 in the eightys. At the rate of inflation it should be about $20 right now. I doubt that anyone would pay that price today and I wouldn't blame them. Plus the fact that any local hobby shop with a parking lot can charge $2-$5 and still make money is great for r/c but is killing the established tracks that pay rent. Hobby shops and tracks are dropping like flys all over. It always boils down to money. Jim
ultima19 (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:20 a.m.)
Ain't that the truth. It's hard getting people started in RC. They see the price or the cars(or trucks) and roll their eyes and walk away. They either can't afford it or they don't realize that these aren't toys(Tyco,Nikko)and they are meant for racing( or bashing around).
dtoys (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:41 a.m.)
Try having classes for beginners, or spec type classes. Don't forget you were a beginner once. Try to help them get a good set up. It's alot easier to learn to drive with a car that can handle well. Your track should not be so limited to where the beginner cannot get around the track at all. Try to remember this is supposed to be FUN!!!
JANTLE (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:46 a.m.)
Alot of track owners seem to forget about the novice racer that is where the feeder system begins. many entry level people are turned off by the price of competiton in stock and mod. three classes that promote entry level racing are as follows: BUSHING CLASSES where all moving parts use bushings instead of bearings, BREAK OUT CLASS if a racer turns too fast of a lap time that lap does not count or that racer can bump up to the open class. and last but not least a 2 wheel drive GEAR BOX CLASS where they can use off road and some of the less expensive kits that are on the market. It is up to the track owner/ race director to keep these people included and not feel like they are outsiders for not having the latest and greatest stuff.
ultima19 (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 1:00 a.m.)
That makes sense! I am opening a concrete track( former gokart track now owned by a church) and decided to have a points series system this summer. Also we are including Truck/buggy gearbox, DualSport/Full bodied Gearbox stock classes. These are for people who have off-road vehicles and may want to run on conrete. One of the two Off-road tracks closed so we need to keep these guys racing if they can't make it to the other track. We don't care what you race(offroad,oval,touring car), we want people racing PERIOD!! I love racing all three!
tweaker (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:23 p.m.)
I understand about the entry fee thing,personally it would not bother me to pay more to race at a 1st class place.I would never pay more to race in a parking lot where there is no elec.or store for parts.Where I used to race they had about 40 legends a night it was fun but the owner never did anything to try to split us up into differant classes when he had the chance after all you dont want to split 15 guys into 3 classes thats not any fun.Allways try to put the right people in there prospective class the novice will not have any fun getting whooped by 1st class racers every night,so they loose racers little by little untill they have a handful in each class.Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.Also try to cater to the guys who are spending the money,legends drivers dont spend alot to race and never will.Keep your rules simple and in plain view,dont keep changing rules every week.A run what you brung novice class with very few rules.No bad sportmanship should be tolerated via throwing radios,bad language,throwing cars,cheating,one warning then your out for good.Your not loosing anything,just racers that give your track a black eye.
tweaker (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:28 p.m.)
and spec racing is not the cure all for race tracks,it is fun but you cant hold the racers at your track for long periods of time just racing spec.We are racers and racers like going fast sometimes.
bubba39 (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 12:56 p.m.)
Track closings are no surprise. The 1/10 scale cars require a minimum of a 10,000 square foot building for a 100 by 50 foot track. Pit space, an at track modest hobby shop, rest rooms can easily take up half the space in a 100 by 100 building. With rent, heat, water and electricity, these costs are difficult to recover unless you can find a old, run down building that you can rent for $1/square foot per year. That is unrealistic, but it does sometimes happen. The willingness of the racers to pay fees to offset costs is lacking today. $10 a car to race is cheap entertainment for a day. Can you do anything for a day for $10? So if racers are unwilling to pay, then the only way to make it sound financially, the whole RC car racing scene needs to downsize to a smaller scale such as 1/18th or 1/24th scale. Smaller cars means you can nearly halve the building size for a racing facility. Why not? The BRP 1/18 scale cars are getting close, but they barely fit today's electronics. Why not make microelectronic receivers and spee controls. Motors are already out there in the market.
What do you guys think of scaling down to a size that makes financial sense to rcreate a race facility that supports the spending budgets of RC racers, yet make sounds finacial sense for a private businessman to invest in and open and operate a track?
Hotrod 21 (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 1:29 p.m.)
The key is the racers at your track. The guys who have been at it for awhile need to step up to the plate, and help out the newbies. Sure, I might miss a race once in a while, but in the long run, it means more racers, and more competion. I think 3 classes are a minimum ,(if you have a big enough turn-out) Novice,or sportsman, if you prefer, stock, for the majority of drivers, and mod, or expert, for the guys with a clue.
Most don't realize this, but stock motors were originally designed to be a cheaper alternitive to racing "the fast guys". Now, with dynos, motor of the week, ect; it's not even close. I think this is what killed pan-car, and 4wd wiil fall, too if something doesn't change.
Hotrod 21 (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 1:39 p.m.)
on a more positive note, one of the things that worked here, to attract new racers, is an old truck. I keep it running w/ some help and parts from other racers--speedo from one guy, old tires from another, and almost everybody helps keep batteries charged,ect. So far this winter, at least 4 or 5 people have turned in to regular racers after running thier first race in this pile of junk! I get asked constantly to sell it, but I keep it around for the next newbie, and someone else gets to sell thier old stuff. All it takes is a little effort, some 5 year old(!) batteries, and that first race--hooked 'em!!
baloo (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 4:13 p.m.)
Here a few reasons I believe tracks close; R/C Cars just aren't as interesting as they used to be, face it, they just aren't "new" anymore. Too many classes of racing are out there and nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, 5 people in each class isn't a crowd. Even the idea of a spec class is a problem for this, it's yet another class. There doesn't seem to be a positive attitude about R/C racing now, that needs to be changed. Something ot maybe try would be cheap or free Novice classes. Are local outdoor track lets the Novice race for only $5. We have around 20 Novice racers at our club races and that makes for around 1/3 of our racers. As a hobby we need goals for racing,rankings, more large races, for example, our track creaed a Super Regional for around five ROAR regions in the Midwest and it was backed by ROAR, it would be nice to see one of these in the Midwest, East Coast and West Coast. I don't feel there are enough backed races by sactioning bodies. Too many would be better then a handful, with time the best ones would come to the for-front. If your local club or group of guys would hold nearly any kind of event in a obvious public place, this would surely bring new faces to the hobby. Just a few rambling ideas.
bubba39 (Thursday, March 16, 2000, 4:15 p.m.)
ultima19 -- Why do you have bust your butt for everyone else? Why not form a club? Charge $10 to join (goes for repairs, etc,) and give a discount for entry fees. I would raise the price for non-club members to $2 per race and still maintain the fee you think is reasonable for club members only. Work with the LHS to get the club members a 10% discount or so for members.
BTW, the $5 fee is ridiculously low. You can barely buy a meal at the local fast food for that kind of money. Raise it to $12 for non-club members and $10 for members. Second car entry is $8 for non-club and $7 for members. The upfront money you will get from membership fees will let you pay for boards, corner dots, track prep items, etc. You may want to build more pit stations. Lumber is NOT cheap these days. Receving the cash membership fees keeps you from digging into your pocket to pay for the track. It also gives people the sense that this track is theirs as well so stupid pranks and abuse are now the concern of everyone, not just you as track manager/race chairman.
Good luck on you endeavor!