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Old 11-11-2006, 07:16 PM   #61
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Default More Racers, More Fun

In the 6 years (on and off) I've been involved with RC, these are the things that seem to have worked. I'll address the grass roots, where 90% of racing takes place. (The pros keep us driving forward, but seems to me grass roots is the cash cow that keeps filling the gas tank).

- The biggest factor keeping me racing is having fun without too many long hours or too many dollars spent. Maximize the fun side of the equation. Elite level racing definitely has a place - but not in most of the club races (yes certainly in trophy races that's fine).

- keep used (and RTR's) stocked on the shelves at local hobby shop to keep entry level cost low (I have invested close to $10M in this hobby, starting with 6 radio shack cars then a RTR, then used, finally my first 2 real kits, then used again).

- Run a spec class. Have your local sponsored drivers all buy a spec kit, charge it up and start runnin. Maybe things are different elsewhere, but around here many folks get used or maybe RTR to start, sometimes (esp. dirt) that's what the winners are running (and they have lots of fun). AND RUN STUFF THAT WON'T BREAK EASY.

- always have a "run what you brung" class and advertise it - 1st time beginners always welcome, special class, and we'll help you run your first race (and have your best friendly local drivers coach them) ! This kept me going when I first started.

- always have a sportsman/"fun" level class, either gentleman's agreement, lap time minimum (we use that) or spec equipment. Eliminate the ongoing cost and time crunch, keep it light, funny, have an MC running commentary. Let the class be mixed up. This is back to dirt oval style, ole skool, "Rubbin is racin" !

- have at least 1 weekly club race night or series that piles everybody into about 2-3 heats and finishes racing in 3 or 4 hours most days. 2 heats and a main, 7 to 10 minutes each. People have wives, families, a life. 90% want fun, relax, not obsession, maybe $50 a month not $500, race maybe every 2nd weekend for a few hours not all day every weekend. Maybe even spending an evening once in a while posting on rctech helping out a newbie.

- alternate special classes into the schedule (brushless open mod, 19T, stadium truck, 18th, etc.) on alternate weekends, not every week, to reduce number of classes.

- run in an exposed environment, this means be where people are, like the mall parking lot. We have an awesome track here (Mountwood, Parkersburg WV) in a beautiful setting. We get good turnout because of the ~dozen dedicated folks who keep it going year after year. But when they have races where people passing by can see (fairs for instance) they seem to pick up new racers.

- It's ok to offer anything and everything to those who show up and keep the bills paid. It's ok to run 12 hour races and have 10 classes if you can fill up the house. This is also great for travel "trophy" races. But if your club is dwindling, try "race lite" and go back to why most of us do this - having a blast and maybe trading some paint.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-12-2006, 02:06 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrOlds
On-road racing is not just one simple
thing.Indoor/outdoor,asphalt/carpet,so there is probably not going to be one simple answer that is the solution for everyone,everywhere.It would be a good thing to have a common place to gather ideas,and experiments towards the specific issue of local,not national racing.A "clearing house" of sorts-we tried this and it worked,we tried this and it didn't-but maybe it will for someone else-that sort of thing."Worldwide" uniformity does'nt seem to be working so well.
Yes, as much as we would like to uniform this effort, I have to agree that it will be difficult (and very time consuming) to come up with a "standard" class/format that will work for everyone.

Every area of the country (heck, even the world!) has it's own niches when it comes to what R/C classes are popular, and each area will have to find new ways to promote, that will benefit their own programs.

There has been some excellent ideas and suggestions that I have looked at on this thread, and I must say that Rich Hohwart has changed my perspective about who to target.....When he mentioned that we should target wannabe racers and race fans over the kids, It took me a few days to understand where he was coming from, but I can see it now....

We have always looked at the youngins' to help build attendance, but with my earlier post about losing the kids to video games, and other activities, looking at the wannabe racers sounds like viable plan to me....

Not that I would give up on the kids, but I'll be spending some promotional time for the wannabe racers too....

FYI, We did have two "loaner cars" (donated and pieced together by many of our local racers) that we used to give spectators a shot at wheeling an R/C around a track between rounds, and it was very successful! There was nothing better to see the faces of two brothers, brother and sister, father and son, etc. as they took a few laps around the same track they have been watching races on!!!! This practice is highly recommended!

We also had a spec class like f1larry mentioned.....open chassis, spec motor, spec gear ratio, battery limits, and even a spec body that changed every year to keep it interesting! We ran Nastrucks, VW Beetles, and even ran Euro Trucks one year....That was a fun class that did see a lot of NEW people coming out to race, just because of the unusual body styles....

One other positive I got from this thread is that most RTR'ers are just bashers and don't nessasarily want to compete in an organized program. I know this is true because I turned on four guys at work to RTR nitros and I see them bashing at work instead of coming out to the track.

They been to the track a few times at first, but haven't been back. I asked why and basically, the race days are too long and they can't dedicate that kind of time because of work and family obligations.

So, like TC Guy mentioned, maybe "newbie only" races might be an alternative to keep race days shorter and newbies interested in their new found hobbies, racing with their peers.....

One last point about RTR racers....I truly believe that RTR Racers WILL visit an organized track at least ONCE to see what it is like. What the track does to keep them coming back is up to them. Having an "RTR Only" class would be a start....Ours was based on the HPI Nitro Stock rules, but we allowed any RTR kit with similar specs.

One other thought I had was to get the national R/C mags to compile a listing of tracks that have Novice Classes available. They could put an additional symbol in their "Track Directory" legends so readers know they will be welcomed there.....ahhhh so many racers, so little time......LOL

Sorry for the rambling, we got rained out today....
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Old 11-13-2006, 08:53 AM   #63
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A note from the thread starter...

I think we have already gone way off course here with discussion of classes.

I really didn't want this thread to be a debate of class structure or "what" has killed the hobby (two subjects that will NEVER be resolved)

My original intent was, and still, is to try to create a group of individuals willing to lend their time, effort, and financial support to a targeted marketing campaign to bring this hobby of ours out of the shadows of the track and into the spotlight.

This group, as stated elsewhere in the thread would lead campaigns in various areas of the country to attract new racers, bring back old ones, and develop new ideas to boost sales and turnout at the local level.

Your local track is struggling!

You may not know it, but R/C racing for a track owner is RARELY a profitable business. Many open their doors with the dream of making piles of money, but they soon learn they have made a grave mistake. Running a track/shop is a break-even business. Ask anyone who has done it for awhile, they will confirm it.

Big races bring in the "pro" drivers and sponsors, but the rest of the year, you and I are the ones paying the bills.

It was this idea that got me thinking we (us, the local guys) could do something to help keep the doors open and maybe make our hobby better at the same time.

As I originally stated...

This thread will NOT be a place to:

Complain about ROAR Rules
Knock Companies business strategies
Complain about specific products
Debate NON-Issues such as class structures
Attempts to "explain" how RTR is killing the hobby
Give a "shout out" to your "bros"

It WILL be a place to:

Offer ideas to increase participation at the local level
Create new race clubs or race series
Come up with collective group initiatives to present to Companies
Offer ideas for new products or pricing
Create new classes
Develop new ways to bring attention to this hobby

I am still looking for people willing to step up and take the lead in their areas.... Please contact me if you are interested.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:08 AM   #64
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First project announced! The Traveling Show.

The Concept.

Run a small R/C Race at the local Mall, School or Racing oriented establishment. These races will be to show people our hobby, let ANYONE that wants to give it a try do so and to provide info, pricing and sales to interested groups.

What we need to do it.

1. 10-12 cars for "loaners". Possibly "donated/sponsored" RTR cars, kits, parts, spares from one or several manfacturers
2. 6-8 "pro guys" from the local track/tracks
3. Volunteers to hand out flyers, demo products, etc.
4. Location. This would best be the local mall, or some other indoor area that attracts a large crowd on the weekends.
5. Manufacturer support.
6. $$

The idea is to have all of this equipment shippable to various tracks that request it. That way we don't have to sell each local track on the purchase of these items.

Lets roll. Whos in?
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:34 AM   #65
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One issue with people and getting into the hobby isn't initiating interest, it's keeping intrest.

Say I go out and buy an RTR RC10 TC4. Now, In get myself some 3300 stick packs and head down to the local track. They tell me my RTR car is crappy, the batteries are all wrong, my motor isn't worth jack, and in still need to get the right tires. Hmm.. Sounds like fun! Get into R/C racing just to get insulted, called slow and useless, bang into stuff, and spend twice as much money as I normally would have.

Greeaaat.

In my opinion, we should try to start people off with indoor MX tracks, maybe with 18T's on a carpet MX track. That way, you get the ability for jumps, bumps, and dirt, but you can still turn it into a racer for that local indoor track. Plus, all you need is a Mamba and you're running in some really fun, fast races with a motor you never have to maintain.

BOOM! Problem solved.
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Old 11-13-2006, 10:02 AM   #66
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I think Cost is major issue... i am an avid racer, follow the bigger venues.. but looking back into how much i have spent to keep racing is a lot....

tires, are for one expensive, and you have to have them!! the batteries are ok , depending where you buy....

how do we keep new racers into this... and keep the avid racers racing!!! i have looked around, and there are hardly any new faces......

some say run 12th scale.. but 12th isnt really my thing..

electronics are getting expensive also..

adding more classes arent always the fix..

Getting sponsorships arent always the answer....you tend to just buy more!!


just been thinking alot about these same issues...

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Old 11-13-2006, 10:06 AM   #67
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Quote:
Getting sponsorships arent always the answer....you tend to just buy more!!
Sponshorship is become the death of this hobby... What happens to your local track when you have 30 guys showing up and 25 of them are sponsored? They definitely are not supporting the LHS with anything but race fee's....
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:37 AM   #68
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I think the gathering of local clubs and public areas is a very good idea.

However there will be some very hard things to overcome.

1. Liability- If you go to a big Shopping Mall it will be very difficult sometimes to get the Mall owners to allow you to take up some of there customers parking spaces to promote a hobby that provides very little for there pocket.

I would suggest finding malls that have either a Hobbyshop in it (if one even exists) and work with that Hobbyshop or RadioShack (Xmods) as they will have the pull to get an event as a customer of the Mall owner. Also if the Mall has a Toystore find out if they sell any race worthy toy grade RC cars like maybe Xmods or some of the Carson RTR's and let them know you would be willing to have a class and demo of there product during the races and even provide info leading more Customers into there store (this would work really well this time of year.)

Another option would be to try and find some other local Hobby clubs and work togather to host a hobby expo maybe there is a big Knitting club and birdhouse making club or whatever and maybe those people would like to have a outlet to attract new people to there hobby as well. These other hobbyist will more them likely have more pull then a group of young guys with "toy cars" you guys provide the energy and the promotion and they could provide the location and the means to get people's attention. One major inportant factor is look presentable keep language and horseplay down to a minimum if you are going to win over the public. Imagine an expo where Mom and Grandma go to see Quilting and jewelry making while Dad is learning how to tie a fly for fishing and Grampa and the kids are getting hooked on the hobby of R/C?

Also people need to get involved with there local government there is tonds of government land all over this great country that is dying for a use so the Local government can get additional funding for themsleves. is there a city owned vacant lot or parking lot? Ask that is be used for your local R/C club as a "R/C Park" and in turn your club will promise to up keep the land? It's a win win you get a location the city gets money from the Feds with out having to do anything. Plus they know it will be less likely to become an area for missuse.

When I used to work in the Action Sports Industry Skateboarding in public places was actually illegal and Snowboarding was not allowed at 99% of the resorts and look at both sports now. Anything is possible those that say it can never be popular or largely oraganized are just being lazy.
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:11 PM   #69
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Maybe it's just about making people aware that there is such a thing as rc racing. Depending upon a company's or hobby store's advertising budget, they should try to put ads on radio and tv and place the ads/commercials at times focusing on a male (12 to infinity) demographic. Focus the ad/commercial to grab the wannabe racer's attention. Run the ad during a NASCAR race or an F1 race. This will definitely hit more of the population and build awareness.

Last edited by Apex; 11-14-2006 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:34 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreqETag
A note from the thread starter...

It WILL be a place to:

Offer ideas to increase participation at the local level
Create new race clubs or race series
Come up with collective group initiatives to present to Companies
Offer ideas for new products or pricing
Create new classes
Develop new ways to bring attention to this hobby
I think this may have been mentioned before,maybe in another thread as they all seem to morph into a dicussion of this same thing.People that are already into cars in some way are a good group to try and expose yourselves to.I know that here locally there used to be a group that would set up a carpet track at the World of Wheels show.There are many full size car events that could be an outlet for exposure.Cars shows both indoor and outdoor are always held somewhere where there is lots of space,and a small on-road track doesn't take up that much percentage wise,at that sort of event.Especially those held at large outdoor venues.Local examples-World of wheels,Super Chevy weekend,Goodguys,NHRA nationals,Nascar/CART weekend at Kansas Speedway and more.There can be venues that may be an hours drive out from anyone's given area that is actually drawing all their crowd from the same place you are,so look out a little further than just your metro area.An autocross would be an excellent place to set up a track-there's a lot of people there that are already into something very similar,and those events are often in much more visible areas that draw spectators as well.In most any city of any size there are significant full size car events of some sort every weekend.And in seasonal locales like ours that's a whole bunch of people that have to put their existing hobby away for the winter.Every city large and small will have some sort of local 1:1 racetrack that may work with them on some sort of promotion.As an added bonus,getting out and racing on temporary tracks that no one has raced on before could turn out to be a lot of fun-TC racing getting "back to it's roots".
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:26 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreqETag
A note from the thread starter...

I think we have already gone way off course here with discussion of classes.

I really didn't want this thread to be a debate of class structure or "what" has killed the hobby (two subjects that will NEVER be resolved)
Huh??? I have yet to see any "debate" about class structure, or what killed the hobby....Only suggestions and ideas to make this hobby better, Isn't that purpose of this thread?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreqETag
My original intent was, and still, is to try to create a group of individuals willing to lend their time, effort, and financial support to a targeted marketing campaign to bring this hobby of ours out of the shadows of the track and into the spotlight.

This group, as stated elsewhere in the thread would lead campaigns in various areas of the country to attract new racers, bring back old ones, and develop new ideas to boost sales and turnout at the local level.
Sounds like you already have an objective and a plan already. I will assume that you would be the one overseeing this project. Before people will donate their "time, effort, and financial support" we need to know more about you and your experience in R/C and your promotional/marketing skills.

Right now, all we have is a screen name from the Show Me State. How about starting this campaign from the top, with a bio????
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:54 AM   #72
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i am so glad some one thinks like me!
we are this sport, we control its future!
i think cost is the most important factor!
also having the playing field fair!
my buddys and i are talking about going back to silver can racing!
1 keeps cost down
2 keeps playing field even
3 makes you a better driver because you cant use power to make up lost time, smooth is fast!

lets keep this going so we can make things change for the better!
this is a great thred!
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:04 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1larry
I think this is a great thread.

1. Promote the family fun of R/C racing. What other hobby/sport can a Father and Son/Daughter compete against each other on a level playing feild. My son has been racing with me since he was 6 years old we get to race on the same track. With baseball I only get to coach him (don't get me wrong it is rewarding for me to do that) but what is truly rewarding is watching my son improve his racing and get more and more competitive to the point where he will catch and pass me but still be able to compete against each other closely. In sports you can never really compete on the same playing feild as there will always be a physical dominance one way or the other.


Bottom line is We all need to remember to keep having fun!!!!
Watch out Larry - it doesn't take long before the kid is strutting around with that s*** faced grin - "I've beat you 6 weeks in a row now!" (as my son has now done to me! I'm getting "old," but it really is fun watching them improve and excel.
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:21 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBlack
I think the gathering of local clubs and public areas is a very good idea.

However there will be some very hard things to overcome.

1. Liability- If you go to a big Shopping Mall it will be very difficult sometimes to get the Mall owners to allow you to take up some of there customers parking spaces to promote a hobby that provides very little for there pocket.
Absolutely right....been there, done that!!!!

It's much easier for a place such as a mall to say no, rather than look into the possibility to hold an R/C event there. Plus, once they look into the insurance issues, that's usually the last nail in the coffin....

IMHO, you have to look at locations where there would be a "financial incentive" for the location to consider it. Food establishments are the best, since food and beverage sales would skyrocket for the day from the racers and additional customers it would draw.

Also, places that have "full scale" racing intrests like Home Depot, Lowes etc. would be a great place to start. Having a 1/10th scale version of Tony Stewart's car got me an HPI Challenge at a local Home Depot a few years ago.
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:40 PM   #75
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A few years ago when i was low on cash i came up with the idea of putting together a car to run in stock using my old cars/parts, batterys etc. Experienced racers could easily put a half decent car together. I was going to charge 10 a night or something for the use of it and i could definately see the person renting it for 2-3 weeks and then look at buying their own stuff. I didnt get round to doing it becasue my situation improved.

How about the club asks all the racers to donate speedos old cars etc and come up with maybe 5 cars that people can rent on a night. The thing that puts off a potential racers is the fact they have to spend LOTS of money just to see if they like it. Now if they can try it out for a few weeks to see if they enjoy it they are more likely to want to buy all of their own kit.
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