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A CRY FOR HELP (RC tracks Closing)

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A CRY FOR HELP (RC tracks Closing)

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Old 01-24-2019, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
The simple question is if you had a 35x50 foot area for a track and your family depended on that track for income how would you set it up and what would you use it for?
For me personally that is an area we basically had last year. We had a group who wanted to continue the racing action from the summer into the winter and got a separate club going to do that for those who wanted winter racing. Due to the size available, we focused on mini vehicles, the LC Racing 1/14 scale being the premier one and this has worked very well. We even use these vehicles outdoors on the summer clubs astro 80 x 100 track.

Based on what we have seen, and we are in a new place now that is a little larger (about 45 x 45ish) but doesn't have a "barrier" in the way that limits vision, the initial cost outlays can be a little tough at first, but the biggest part of cost is rental of space. Here in this area there are locations that are open, and will sit open for possibly years. But when you talk to some places on using some of the area, you swear that there is gold in the floor boards.

Now I get it that heat, electricity, etc isn't free, but when the place has nothing coming in versus something coming in, assuming its not going to be trashed, something is greater than nothing. And if it gets foot traffic in the door in say a mall, that can spill over to other businesses like food shops.

That said, community centers have been a saving grace for us and another club. They lucked out as the location is in a basement that they have done wonders with that was not being used anyway and we support them as much as we can (2 hrs away).

As for the vehicles we are using, based on what i am hearing from the LHS owner who at one time had a track and then closed it (he stated it was due to costs to maintain the place and that made a variety of people mad), it may be that mini scaled vehicles can help keep racing going when factored against the size of a facility you need to race at.

As for things at a track that make it unappealing to people to race at, the biggest factor I would agree with would be people who are jerks to others. Just because you can wheel an rc car doesn't make you gods' gift to others. Unfortunately this appears to be lost on people, and I hate to say it, its almost as if it takes a certain mindset of people who can dedicate themselves in some fashion to turning a minature steering wheel really fast to move a vehicle that is about 50 feet away that they have no form of social skills at all.

Personally, I get the most enjoyment out of the hobby seeing others enjoy the hobby. There have been plenty of times I'll stop what I need to work on so I can help someone else get situated with their car after they smacked the wall for the 20th time at full speed and broke something.

But knowing that I got them back on the track and having a good time, its been worth it.


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Old 01-24-2019, 04:43 PM
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These discussions are always "fun". I think the "amusement center" concept may help quite a bit. It is a tough sell for new comers to spend 6-8 hours at a "race day" and they only get 15-25 minutes of drive time (assuming 3 5 minute races and a battery or two of practice before racing starts). Traditional Race days most likely need to be retained (once a week or so?).

The expense is high to start as well (as stated above). a true stock clash (slash?) with a staff member checking that the slash is "stock", and rentals could match up spec for spec with those who brought their own trucks (all race together). The number of differing "classes" also causes confusion.

I have been racing for years (think original RC10, but never consistently. "Back in the day, there was Novice (run what you brung), stock (hey you are starting to know what you are doing, use this 27turn motor and a 6 cell pack) and Modified (hey you are fast, run what you want in that chassis). If turnouts were good there were MULTIPLE mains and a bump up or two. I like this format.

As far as cost, we racers do this to ourselves, from a track/racer point of view, why do we NEED transponders. I used to race direct and I used the 10 key. Competant race directors can do this (or get a second "computer guy". The laps are accurate enough for club racing (this would not work for large/regional events, I know). The track has to buy numbers and someone has to know how to 10 key (A skill that can be learned in 10 minutes).

For tracks to grow, racing must be FUN. People must feel it is time well spent, not a "Chore" or a "job" to be fast

Just my 2 cents
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Old 01-24-2019, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TimF View Post
I have rented cars at 2 tracks and both were disappointing experiences.

Track #1 was OCRC in SoCal and the buggy they rented was a B4 which was a RM with dated geometry and a crappy RTR radio with no expo nor steering speed adjustment... not saying they need to include a high end system, but a cheap FlySky radio would've been phenomenally better!

Track #2 was Full Throttle Hobbies in New Mexico, it was a carpet track which rented SC10's, again a RM design which was dated, but they didn't include carpet tires which made the truck impossible to drive!

All I'm saying is that if you're gonna rent out vehicles, then at least give folks a fighting chance, there's no way I'd ever be a repeat customer when traveling to respective areas on future family vacations unless I brought my own gear.
This is a great idea for all tracks. I believe the manufacturers should supply tracks with kits for new racers to try out. First class kit (B6.1, TLR, Yok, etc) decent radio (Flysky would suffice) and decent electronics (Hobbywing, Reedy, etc). Have these cars set up by guys at track that know how to build/setup a car (Jackie at OCRC would be top choice for example). Have the cars race prepped ready to go (toe, camber, diff setting, ride height, transponder, EVERYTHING) including the best set of tires you can buy for surface you're running on. Race prepped and sauced and broken in. Let these be rented by people who want to try racing. Imagine having a hooked up car that drives perfect out of the gate. Tons of traction because it's set up properly. Not saying the driver will know what to do with it, but at least he/she can have a car that is race ready and can actually feel what these cars can do. Prices for these rentals would be more $$ ($40-50 comes to mind, maybe they can use part of that off price of new kit if they buy from shop) as well as first class support from the track (like having a pit man you can ask questions to). If that doesn't hook someone in the hobby then it just wasn't meant to be. But if it does, you'll have a customer for life.

You could even do a Groupon and advertise "Come try RC Racing for $45...Everything included" or something like that. Have a separate class just for those drivers (or rookie)

Again....thinking out loud
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TimF View Post
It is a tough sell for new comers to spend 6-8 hours at a "race day" and they only get 15-25 minutes of drive time
Thank you. My feelings exactly. It would make this hobby a lot more accessible if those with other interests/commitments/responsibilities could come out for a few hours & have fun racing toy cars. Our club has midweek evening club racing that's great for this, but I can't help but feel turnout for weekend club racing would be better if it involved less of a time commitment. Obviously, the bigger points races have a place as full day events, but make it easier for people to come out for the smaller ones.
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Old 01-25-2019, 02:30 AM
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40 to 65 entries at our local track.every week. a few times 80.

2 heats an the mains... 5 minutes each.
5 classes
beginner, race what you have, 2 wheel drive only.
stadium truck.. stock and mod
Short Course truck, stock and mod

Jack keeps things moving.
marshall-ing.. you do not marshall right after your race.. you are docked a lap..
you do not want to loose a lap for the main.. just saying.

sign up.. 11:30, racing starts at 12:00,,, all over no later then 4:00...
to quicken .. one would need to go to..1 heat and the main.
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Old 01-25-2019, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by chuck_thehammer View Post
40 to 65 entries at our local track.every week. a few times 80.

2 heats an the mains... 5 minutes each.
5 classes
beginner, race what you have, 2 wheel drive only.
stadium truck.. stock and mod
Short Course truck, stock and mod

Jack keeps things moving.
marshall-ing.. you do not marshall right after your race.. you are docked a lap..
you do not want to loose a lap for the main.. just saying.

sign up.. 11:30, racing starts at 12:00,,, all over no later then 4:00...
to quicken .. one would need to go to..1 heat and the main.
Waiting on marshalls is honestly what drags the day out the most. I like the way we did it in the UK, from the start to end the system is on auto, you have 2 or 3 minutes between rounds, there is a table right off the track by the stand. You walk off the stand, grab your car, put your radio and car on the table, then walk out onto the track to your marshall position. There is no going back to the pits whatsoever between driving and marshall duties, and the race clock keeps counting down.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Sandmaster10 View Post
I agree that a club owned model may have to be the future for tracks here in the states. Even the tracks that are successful aren’t really profitable, they just make enough to keep the doors open. It’s a labor of love.
In South Africa most tracks are club owned and run, there are no shop owned tracks in my area. However, the local hobby shops do get involved sometimes with helping out with track stuff, and spares support from a trailer on race weekends. Since rent can be so high, one thing that is popular here is renting out unused tennis courts (dying sport here) at sports clubs and converting those into either on-road or off-road (if enough space) tracks. The sports clubs are happy for any extra income.

The RC community is tiny here, but we get fields of 30 to 50 drivers, and the tracks/clubs mostly break even.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:16 AM
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I raced an RC Pro event recently where they had you marshal the 2nd race after yours... this gives drivers plenty of time to casually walk down the stand, go put their batteries on the charger, and then they can immediately take marshal positions for the next race with minimal time.

One of my biggest peeves are the RD's who threaten to dock a lap but never actually enforce it... and it's typically the same 2-3 drivers who repeatedly shirk their responsibility. They usually see if there are enough drivers to fill position the first round, then assume they can skip duty the rest of the day, but never take into consideration if someone leaves early or drops out of the heat for whatever reason.

I love our Wed night program, they host a max of 6 heats, and do 3 rounds starting at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm, guaranteed to be done by 9pm... you can show up at 7pm and know you're good to make the race, it's a best 2 of 3 rounds heads up with no quals. Everyone gets a chance to start on the first row with 3 rows deep and max of 12 drivers per heat with up to 4 cars on a row... it can be fairly chaotic starts at times, but this helps us get used to congested starts so when we have traditional qual starts in the mains on Saturday, it feels so much more spread out we rarely run into false start issues on the weekend. They don't do re-starts on Wed, the offending driver must hold up if they take anyone out, the RD does a good job of enforcing clean racing.

I suggested to the owner on the 1/8 track to consider splitting the programs up to let electric-only run first, then have nitro's run later (or visa versa), then each program could have a shortened race day and folks could run more classes without worrying about marshal duties, etc... it would be a win-win every which way you look at it. In general, I don't like marshaling for nitros because there are too many drivers who refuse to back off the throttle when on their lid. Another gripe is unequal marshal time.... no fun racing a 10 min main and getting stuck marshaling for 30 min. My request fell on deaf ears and with a couple other contributing factors around higher costs in general for 1/8 racing which helped me decide on taking a break from 1/8 racing for a while. After I finish selling my 1/8 gear, I plan to get into 1/10 Oval, where they will run 1/10 turf in the day and then immediately follow up with 1/10 oval at night.... ironically this is exactly what I was asking them to do with 1/8 electric/nitro split, doh!
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:24 AM
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My local track closed this week. In Norway, it's not set up like in the US and not attached to a hobby shop at all. We just had a dramatic drop in membership and people coming to use the track. Unlike the USA, Norway has had a really down economy for a few years (tied to Oil and Gas) so there's not as much money floating around and everyone makes less than in the US to begin with so I suppose the first thing to die off are expensive hobbies. The closest track now is hours away
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Old 01-27-2019, 10:55 AM
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personally, I always wondered if it would be worth trying to have people marshall before their races. Sort of paying up front versus all the "bad credit" being seen when folks don't marshall after lol.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
personally, I always wondered if it would be worth trying to have people marshall before their races. Sort of paying up front versus all the "bad credit" being seen when folks don't marshall after lol.
I could see this working 2 races before, but it would slow the program down to get from the marshal position over to your car, turn it on, etc... or risk losing practice time
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
personally, I always wondered if it would be worth trying to have people marshall before their races. Sort of paying up front versus all the "bad credit" being seen when folks don't marshall after lol.
most of the time.. my class runs forth or fifth... with total of 8 or 9..

I marshall first or second.. and right after I come off the track... so 5th or 6th...
if I have the time.. I might marshall 3 times per Round...
some of the guys are too ( less mobile ) to marshall quickly anymore.
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cjcoffroad View Post
Locally, the biggest issue is rent prices. With the good economy, price per sq. foot has shot through the roof on commercial property. That right there will shut a business down. Pair that with the desire to purchase online to skip sales tax, local business feel the squeeze. It seems that the out of state purchasing to avoid tax will come to an end as states institute laws to charge sales tax even on web purchases. I think a huge bump to the industry would be to attract new younger racers. Look how much parents spend on club baseball etc. Why couldn't those dollars be spent at a track? I think there should be a bigger push to bring in new racers, but I don't exactly have the answer on how to do it.
Comparing RC to club sports like Baseball does not work, a lot of parents do the club sports to help get their child on the HS team and eventually any kind of scholarship for college. RC costs more that travel baseball IMO. I have two boys and one is on to college in the fall and the other races and plays travel baseball. I buy our kits used and get a lot of parts on-line just to afford it. The closest hobby shop that has enough inventory is over 50 miles away. But we make the drive for Friday night racing.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:29 PM
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my local track does not support my model so I have to buy online. They mainly push their house brands. I pay my track fee of 20 dollars and buy all my snacks there and have never missed a opportunity to pay. If I had to guess ,I would assume 50% dont pay for the track time , unless its race day.
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassbuster View Post
You guys want a expensive hobby/sport? Try Bass Fishing. Now you dont have to have a boat but for most of us its a necessary item if you want to compete in large tournaments and be competitive while not depending on someone else to get ya into where the fish are.

Lets start with fishing rods and reels. Rods can be 100.00 and upwards of 300.00 Reels can be from 75.00 to almost 700.00 I have around 20 rods and reels all for different techniques.
Baits. Man you can spend thousands on baits. Hard baits and soft baits. Remember only artificial baits are allowed.

Boats. Get a used from 10000.00 to 60000.00. Want a nice new Bass Cat Jaguar. You'll spend 110K

My boat ran 47K in May 2011. Brand New! I have won some money but nothing compared to what I have spent. The top guys are millionaires. Most top local guys are earning 100K plus a year. For the most part. Those that are local competitors are just donating there money. Entries are anywhere from 100 to 300 dollars for a tournament.

Oh did I mention I also race RC I have 3 T4's a B6.1 and a B6.1D

LOL

When my then BFF and I were 15 years old we bought a 14' John Boat and then built a deck in between the 2 seat decks with a live well and we used a 15HP Mercury tiller motor and we would KILL the pros in tourneys.
Our rods were bought at K-Mart, at a total cost of $50 each, with the reels costing us the most at $39.99 (Diawa PT33P) and we each had just 2. One for the trusty ole Texas Rig and one for Top Water lures (Mainly Rapala No 11 or 9
in silver or gold shad) The John Boat cost us $400, the materials for the deck and live well cost about $75, the motor he had from his older brother's 12' John Boat. We had 2 Plano 2-sided tackle boxes, one that had just about every
color Culprit worm in 7" and then we had like 4 colors of the super culprit 10" worms for days we fished lakes known to have lunkers.

As it is Bass Boats are WAAAAAAY Overpriced and you're better served to buy a Flats Boat for the same or less money for way more boat. (My brother in law's family started Ocean Master before selling it and the son then creating Ocean Runner – Same exact hull – and still own Angler boats so I know a lil something about boats). Ranger was the main proponent of escalating prices for bass boats and I could not believe they were selling little $21' toys for $90K!!!

But since they were doing it with the clout their name carried (today Johnny Morris owns the company and did to the brand what he did to the Mako Brand… takes dangerous and illegal shortcuts that led to a drastic drop in quality for both brands),
Other less expensive brands like Skeeter also increased their prices in accordance to Ranger's price hikes, and people just keep paying the money.

That's the same mentality in RC these days. Manufacturers keep raising prices year after year and people keep paying the outrageous prices.

As for tracks themselves, where I race locally (it's a 40 minute drive for us) the land the track sits on is a designated dead space and the club was given permission to build the track on it free of charge and the racers pooled their money together to buy the dirt mixture, and one of the members is a licensed electrician and he did all the wiring for everything for free, Track maintenance is a group effort (I've volunteered several times) and they price was quite fair initially. Then I got slammed with a huge project at work and could not race for almost 5 months and when I returned, I was stunned to see the fees had doubled!!!

I mean, I do pretty well, but I run 2 classes and my son races 2 classes and factoring in having to buy several sets of tires for all 4 cars every time we race, $100 to race 4 cars is a bit much IMPO.

Paintball fields suffered the same fate from overcharging people. Initially, due to the love and passion players have for the sport, they continue to play, but eventually they get to the point where they ask themselves when is enough enough, and eventually,
competitive tournament players stopped playing. Tracks need to assess the big picture and devise proper budgets to keep customers returning week after week in order to sustain themselves indefinitely rather than make a greater profit in the short term
ad risk turning customers off/away.
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