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Old 01-30-2017, 07:44 AM   #31
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To help club racing, people need to understand that some people will never want to race a nationally organized class. The people who race these classes never travel and usually show up each week and help support the local club/track. We need to make these people feel welcome during club racing. We also need to stop trying to force them into a "real" class. They are having fun and we should just let them.

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Some other advice is to design the track layouts so there are no long straights. While many might balk at this idea, it really minimizes the motor of the moment problems that often plague larger tracks.

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And finally, it is club racing not a national event. Help others, make friends, and make sure everyone is having a good time.
These are all excellent points!

I have had the pleasure of racing on a track where the available room didn't permit any substantial straights, and the layouts actually embraced that fact. It was really fun, and put a premium on setup and driving rather than horsepower.

The most important thing is that everyone shares in the camaraderie and fun, no matter what their skill level. It may seem strange, but that's the number one reason why most people are there. On any Sunday, only one guy will win his class, but everybody can feel like it was worth being there.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:49 AM   #32
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Our local club has been able to develop a stable following of 50 to 70 drivers over the past few years for DTM EP - that's usually 4 to 5 races indoors in the winter season. It works like a magnet for everyone in the area, and here's the "magic recipe" that was found:

- indoor carpet with sub-par grip, tight, technical tracks, no long straight, no sweeper. People can be out-finger'ed but not out-motor'ed, and worst case when they crash they don't crash hard.

- 13.5 Boosted, handout quality (VST of the year, typically, I still run the one from 2yrs ago...) motor at preferential price at the beginning of the season. No blinky, meaning that 1% you can get from extra motor setup knowledge is useless because, remember, the track is too darn technical to be out-motored anyway

- Rex32 tires. Good compromise performance/wear.

- Controlled saucing. The club is providing the sauce in the race fee, same sauce for X years now (technically - unfortunately we found out this year that the formulation had changed in 2017, but again it changed for everyone the same), you have to go to the central pit area to sauce your tires at the saucing table, there are 3 or 4 bottles opened at anytime. Some club members scout the pits regularly to ensure no one uses anything else.

- free practice in the morning 30mns, then controlled practice (4mn) => reseeding based on 3 best consecutive laps, then qualifiers, mains. Meaning by the time you're in your qualifier, you're with like-talented competitors and you don't get lapped like 6 times in 5mn by the local hotshots. if you take the main's results altogether, they are highly correlated to the qualifiers results, themselves highly correlated to the reseeding results.

- And the best of it all: zero fee in the junior class, marshalled by the parents of the junior racers (usually racer dads... ). The race crew is pretty lax on what the kids can run, although not fully run-what-you-brung, as long as the mill isn't hotter than a 13.5 and the tires are round and the car kinda looks like a DTM, it's ok. Last time we got a full freaking podium of a dozen 7 to 10 year-old racing, and it was fantastic.

I think the compelling argument for me is to find a class that does NOT encourage seeking for the last bit of HP that a motor can crank out. This means a track where you cannot be fast, and non-(too-)castrated performance, so the fast guys are still fast nonetheless.

Been racing for 20+ years now at my own little club-racing level, in Europe, then in the US for a couple of years, then in Europe again. As a club-member, I have been race organizer/director quite a few times. My driving skills are so-so, but I think I have some experience understanding racing attendance dynamics. I have never seen any form of "stock racing" build track attendance. Then again, manufacturers want to push their product-of-the-month mill, because this is how they make business. We now see this is not sustainable. Don't make equipment the limiting factor, because then there's always a way to out-spend your fellow racer. Tires would be the only exception to that: controlled tires.

Rant over
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:50 AM   #33
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These are all excellent points!

I have had the pleasure of racing on a track where the available room didn't permit any substantial straights, and the layouts actually embraced that fact. It was really fun, and put a premium on setup and driving rather than horsepower.
amen to that. you beat me to the typing race
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:17 AM   #34
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The biggest thing I see, from my Club and my travels to clubs all over North America, is the successful clubs manage a balance for Joes and Pros.

Tracks, Clubs and racing series have to remember that the guys in the A-Main don't pay the rent. You need the B-main down to have a Track, club or series. If the lower main guys aren't having a good time it will fail quickly. Take any bigger club, or big Race and look at the numbers, if the Pros left and didn't come back the race would still pay the bills if they have enough Joe's. You have to maintain the balance of the challenging the Pros and make sure the Joes are having a good of enough time to keep coming back.

So make sure the track doesn't break cars of people that still hit boards, try and keep the ego's in check. Don't tolerate anyone berating a new guy or a guy that is slower. Throw the fast guy with the ego out, as there are more slow guys then fast guys. Try and keep the clubs for everyone, not just the fast guys. I have watched successful clubs that where for all driver types turn into "Racer Elite" clubs and die afterward.

I have been racing since 1984, seen many clubs come and go (been a member of too many to count). It's not the motor of the month or the car of the month that kills it. If the casual racer doesn't have a good time, the Track, club or race series will die. For some it is a sport, for most it is entertainment and a chance to hang out and race with their buddies. If they don't have a good time doing it they will spend their time and money else where.
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Last edited by patorz31; 01-30-2017 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Fixed a sentence.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:01 AM   #35
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Forgiving track layouts and barriers are a must to improve racing for drivers of all skill levels.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:11 AM   #36
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Forgiving track layouts and barriers are a must to improve racing for drivers of all skill levels.
I totally Agree!
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:47 AM   #37
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Forgiving track layouts and barriers are a must to improve racing for drivers of all skill levels.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:59 AM   #38
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x4 on forgiving barriers. i havent broken a TC in a couple years, went to one track, that had the smoothest track ever, had some rigid unforgiving outer barriers. first time on the track within 5 laps both my TC and 12th came off practically shattered. i've only broken my 12th scale once and that was when my rear wheel got caught on something and ripped the rear pod.

I'm torn on going back to that track because it's the smoothest track i've ever been to, but the outer barriers make me not want to go back. Only track i've been to with that much carnage within 10 minutes.
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:35 AM   #39
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Forgiving track layouts and barriers are a must to improve racing for drivers of all skill levels.
My goodness Rick himself sharing wisdom (and good one, at that!)
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Old 01-30-2017, 02:52 PM   #40
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Organized practice, mentoring, positive attitudes, slower cars. Guests need to feel special, not ignored. Smile, explain and be patient. Keep the comfort and learning levels high. If you are not being an ambassador for the hobby, you have failed. Keep your club/shop clean, inside and out. Mothers and fathers of young racers don't want to walk through a haze of smoke or see alcohol in clear view of their kid.

It's not even about the racing, it's about keeping the interest alive until the new racer has the same passion you do.

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Old 01-30-2017, 06:14 PM   #41
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There is no more important topic.

The all volunteer, nonprofit club I'm part of has done an excellent job of cultivating new racers over time; since we started in 2009, we have turned over half to two-thirds of our regular cast while maintaining good turnouts and a diversity of classes. Believe it or not, we thrive while offering minimal open track practice. We arrive, build our tracks, practice for 60-90 minutes, race two quals and a main, pack it up, and go home.

Looking back, I would say it was our great good fortune to have organized ourselves during the trying years of the Great Recession. Lean, mean, sustainability is in our DNA. We've always paid our bills, and at the same time we've expanded our program from a single track pieced together from the remains of other programs to two complete indoor carpet tracks and programs for the indoor season, and a new, permanent outdoor paved track in a park for the outdoor season. Again, all of it financed through entry fees and racer donations. We have no corporate partners footing the bill, though for sure we have excellent partners in the Seattle and SeaTac parks departments.

Leadership

From the beginning, our club leadership has focused on offering a tightly run race program. We are competing for the time, energy, and money of our racers, so we waste little to no time. We have also strived to cultivate a program that serves everyone from the newest newb to national champions. I would say our best racers are aware of and take pride in the fact that new racers are showing up to race with our club. At the same time, we don't mess around on track. We work for our track time, so we race hard and serious, and I think that also shows well to our new racers. They see that this is an activity that rewards effort over time. It's worth the investment.

Program

We have maintained a very consistent set of classes over time, and we have largely followed ROAR's lead when it comes to our class rules. We run Stock and Mod touring, Stock and Mod 1/12th, F1, Novice, and Scale Spec. For those paying attention, the most important classes in the lineup are Novice and Scale Spec. Our only "skill" class is Novice. Everything else is a racer class. There is absolutely no expectation that people "move up" to faster classes. Personally, I don't believe in that terminology or concept. High skill, slow speed racing like we have in Scale Spec is absolutely the best venue for new racers to develop a durable interest in the hobby. The interest and luster of the class is enhanced by the participation of experienced, quality racers.

Sustainability

This sport can be maintained on a tight budget, in an expensive city, season after season. We are proving it. Expenses must be kept in line. Endless hours of expensive, open track practice for a few diehard racers is too often the death of a program. The key is not endless hours of practice. The key is reliable, sustainable venues over time. Our two batches of excellent gray CRC ozite have tons of life of them. We absolutely did not rush out to replace perfectly good rug, and we have no intention to do so, so long as there is good life in our rug. Our turnouts have suffered not one bit, and we do send racers to IIC, MHIC, Victoria, and other black tracks. We adapt. It's no big deal.

That's probably enough for now
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:54 PM   #42
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An entry level car would help,the next step would be to keep the experienced drivers out of the class. Let the new guys compete with each other rather than against a guy with years of experince and who also runs 1/2th, mod ect.
classes.
THIS!

I started in VTA and it was fun, I like the look of the cars and a spec tire, but long time fast guys were lapping me like 4-5 times. Its not their fault they're fast, I knew I was slow and struggling with setup, tire prep, etc. A rookie class with a spec car with no seasoned drivers would be real nice, simplify the setup. But then when you're ready to graduate to a faster class, u need a new chassis and possibly all electronics.... But.. I think it is an ok idea to get your feet wet for less $ especially since some n00bs don't stick with it and bail. You could point potential new racers to Tower Hobbies and say buy these items, build it and go.

Local track is considering a spec class with the Tamiya Team Hahn semi trucks, that would be fun and a good way to get started. And its a TT01 so you could do some other classes with it later.

Friendly and helpful racers and track owner helped me feel welcome, that is a necessity. Another track people with put a towel on their car as you walk buy and say "don't steal my ideas". Brrrrrr.......
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:18 AM   #43
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You could point potential new racers to Tower Hobbies and say buy these items, build it and go.
ha - here we go. Nope. you first point them to the LHS that runs the track assuming there is one, and even if it is overpriced. If no LHS at all, then TH/Amain, yes

I still don't like the thought of an "entry class". I'd rather have minimize the number of classes but ensure the competition is fair within the classes and that series/quals are properly leveled.

You cannot prevent fast guys from running "slow" classes if they want to - and I believe you shouldn't, you can think about a variety of reasons why (you can be fast and struggling to join both ends at the end of the month...). But you can prevent them from lapping the field if you have enough racers per class so that within the same qual you don't have guys going 25% faster than others. To do this, you need either more racers so many quals of all classes are filled (which everyone is struggling with), or you need less classes...

Any kind of "controlled/entry" class effort is getting out of hand after a while. Always has, always will. That's the nature of competition.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:30 AM   #44
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I've been involved in clubs at various times, and in the early days of my involvement, I spent a lot of time wondering how we could increase participation.

I put a lot of effort into "rules" and "structures" and "help".

None of it made any difference.

The clubs that I have seen that are successful tend to have a few common themes:

- Consistent race dates - the club/track is there pretty much every week
- Simple rules - New racers don't want to be forced to run a basic car. Almost every new racer I have seen "upgrades" to a second-hand high end car within a few weeks of starting to enjoy racing (because high end cars make you faster ).
- Approachable racers - unfortunately I am not that approachable overall . But if you happen to have a few approachable guys around, that tends to bind the racers together.

Some of these clubs had terrible tracks (in my opinion) and terrible driver etiquette (in my opinion) but had full attendance week-in-week-out.

Focus on making it easy to take part.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:47 AM   #45
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@Sosidge, man, 2001 like me... old farts
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