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Old 10-23-2014, 06:50 AM   #1
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Default If you build it, will they come?

In field of dreams the players of the past showed up to play ball. The spectators would pay to keep the lights on, or so the story goes.

Now for RC. We don't have many spectators besides ourselves. We don't like to pay practice fees. We don't like to pay entry fees. Some are slobs and treat the facilities with no care at all and the facility falls apart from lack of repair. How can you grow a hobby when you can't keep the power on for a dedicated facility?

So, If a group of people band together and build world class facilities across the country, what kind of support from the hobby can be expected? I've considered opening my own place, but with at least 2 or 3 other uses for the building when racing is not there. Other uses would be public gym for volleyball, basketball, indoor futsal (like soccer), daycare and church auditorium (no traction compound), etc. All of these would require carpet get rolled up and stored with track barriers. It's not hard to tear up and build a track, but it does take dedication. Would a club structure with dues work?
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:00 AM   #2
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They do it: http://www.amcc.nl/
It is within a sport center.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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A track that you have to set up and break down every time isn't going to be world class. You won't be able to lay the carpet down and secure it as it should be. A subfloor is also key.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:58 AM   #4
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It is not really the same, but the TSV1871 in Augsburg, Germany has a nice indoor facility for ball sports. Among the 15 departments one is RC car. The members have to share the gym with the other sports. Once a month they build the track. On the positive side: Last year the TSV built an outddoor asphalt track.

One thing is for sure: people will stay the same. If you have to rollout the carpet/build the track for race and training it will always be the same three guys. After a while these are maybe fed up doing it alone all the time.

That is what I experienced so far in Southgermany. Drivers come and have fun, but arent't available for work even though they are members. Even if they have to pay more for not helping out

So I think in the beginning a lot of people will show up. After some years it will cool down. Only the "nerds" will be left.

To bring more drivers in and motivate the youth to come, the club in Günzburg, Bavaria ( they can use their location, a gym, for free) made a project with a near school. The kids loved it (of course!), but don't expect the parents to throw an € into their kids hobby to replace broken parts... Last time just one or two of at least twenty kids that started came to the training...

I admire your enthusiasm, but from my point of view you should have at least 20 guys burning for the hobby to start a project like this. Years later if 10 are still there, call yourself lucky.

To bring up another example from my indoor club in Senden (Bavaria): it was started by six RC addicts in 2010. they rented a place in an old factory building. The first two years, mostly the members were there. In 2012 we rebuild the track to make it flat like a potbottom. We relaunched and made some posts in forums. Suddenly we had a lot of guest drivers every weekend (30-40). The next winter season was the opposite then. All the guys who had so much fun didn't come back
Until now with guests and members we have around 10-15 people a weekend. And that is just enough to pay the expenses for energy and heating. No money left for investment. To earn a little cash to cope unexpected costs, we sell meals for guests (some only come for the food ) and host races. This is something every club should do anyways, but not for survival...

We wish to have a nice track around the corner, but we should be aware of the costs and the limited interest from the people.

My two cents...
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:34 AM   #5
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My original thought was to build a Pizza/sub/burger shop with a hobby shop and track attached and hope the food paid for the track eventually. Make the restaurant the primary focus and draw not just racers, but the whole community.

My second hobby is pizza. I used to be in that line of business 20 years ago.
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liljohn1064 View Post
.. Would a club structure with dues work?
Yes ..

5280 Raceway - Club run, no hobby shop backing, year round, permanent indoor facility funded solely by it's members .. and IMO one of the best tracks in the country.

http://5280raceway.com/
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:19 AM   #7
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Not sure about other parts of the country, but here in California it is the norm to spend $500 on a child's birthday. Pump it Up, Go Kart Racer, and places like that offer bday packages that can easily go above the $500 mark for a 2 hour event. I agree an RC track usually needs other means of income, ive seen too many that dont have that fail. I think one option is to have a dedicated set of cars and smaller track for kids bday parties, maybe in a separate area. You can run your pro track and hobby store, and then easily bring in $2000k or more every weekend w bday parties.

You'll have to find cheap space that is indoors, like a warehouse. That will be key.

Well that is my plan. Problem is I have a good job that pays well, so for me I see rc'ing as a hobby and not something I'll make more at than my current career. (I am a software designer).
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:37 AM   #8
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To me you'll need three businesses attached to the track to make it work: First a big hobbyshop, second a good restaurant/family oriented, and third a private gym/playground..... All these businesses should support the permanent asphalt track facility, and none of the racers should ever have to come to the track for anything else but race at a very low race fee $20 or less...
This idea that racers should volunteer to work on a track that does not belong to them will never work.... If you own the track, then maintain it yourself, but still keep your customer base by not charging too much for people to race there...
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by liljohn1064 View Post
... Would a club structure with dues work?
Probably the only way you'd guarantee long term investment would be using the club business model. Racers come and go for various reasons, and really can't be considered reliable long-term income. However, if I were a club member, I would expect a permanent racing surface; not a multi-purpose facility where I'd have access restricted by a pre-set schedule, and the surface quality varied from week-to-week.

A multi-purpose facility could work better for a carpet off-road program, since the vehicles are far less dependent on a smooth, wrinkle free surface.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:52 AM   #10
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Here in Colorado, we used to have a beautiful, indoor off-road facility that was housed in the same facility as a go-kart track and restaurant. They used to rent 4wd shortcourse trucks to kids for birthday parties. Unfortunately, the kids weren't always the best drivers and would break quite a few parts. I shudder to think about how much time the track staff had to spend mending their fleet.

The facility eventually shut down the RC track. It's understandable when I would often find myself the only one there on many evenings. Clearly, my single track fee was not enough to cover the track staff salary, water (it was a clay track) and electricity. Thankfully, I'm now a member of the aforementioned 5280 Raceway club, so I pay my monthly dues and access the track whenever I want to.

I think the thing that probably causes most new onroad drivers to lose interest are the maintenance costs and difficulty. I transitioned over from offroad and just wanted to swap my electronics over to the onroad cars, plop it on the track and get going. However, the electronics weren't an easy shoehorn since I either didn't have a 17.5 motor for the touring car class or a 1S speed controller for the World GT or 1/12 scale classes. And then, there's the whole tire preparation thing whether that be traction compound or foam trimming. Coming from offroad where I would just scrub my tires down every few runs, this seemed a big hassle. Then, there's the matter of how much more difficult it is to drive onroad cars on carpet. I'd make a mistake, slam a board and break a c-hub.

We can build all the beautiful tracks that we want and get them to come the first time. The trick is to make it fun and affordable enough to keep them coming back. I keep thinking that indoor, off-road carpet racing like what you see in the Euro Offroad Series would hold promise here in the USA for both temporary and permanent track locations.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:55 AM   #11
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A real pizza restaurant plus a real rc track... Sounds nice! Now just the location has be good enough to bring in customers.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:04 AM   #12
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If great racing and pizza are what it takes, then come visit us in Seattle!

Going strong and growing since 2009. But what do we know? Just a club with two temp tracks in a park. We are not the droids you're looking for
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by PutAwayWet View Post
If great racing and pizza are what it takes, then come visit us in Seattle!

Going strong and growing since 2009. But what do we know? Just a club with two temp tracks in a park. We are not the droids you're looking for
This place is king of temporary tracks. It feels like a permanent one, just cover the basketball hoops and you wouldn't even know.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:12 AM   #14
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THAT will not work because folks come to pizza shops on their way to somewhere else. You want to have folks stay there with their kids at least three hours a day so the hobby could have decent exposure...... The track should also have a kids(6 to 16 years old) class with RTR's(like the Apex tc) just to keep the kids involved.... A gym or after school facility is the best way to keep the kids involved, but you will need the hobbyshop there to provide support...
Probably the most important thing here is the coverage of the racing events, for both kids and adults, through a dedicated website with a points system and a huge in house series like the ets in Europe... It should generate enough buzz to attract sponsors, tv stars, the media,etc...You bring the kids, the kids bring the stars, the stars bring the media, the media brings the sponsors, etc...... The kids should see the Rc track as a path to mini stardom. They will all want to join then.....lol.....
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A real pizza restaurant plus a real rc track... Sounds nice! Now just the location has be good enough to bring in customers.

Last edited by bertrandsv87; 10-23-2014 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:23 AM   #15
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...or buy some land and pave a 150'x70' area w/ asphalt. Bingo, you've got your own track and can do what you want with it and maybe start a club and charge entry fees.
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