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Old 08-21-2007, 09:30 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Local Racing Fees

Thought it was time to make this topic a thread.

What do you think is reasonable for local/club racing fees? With the recent closing of several tracks, I believe it's time to discuss this.

A little background.....

When I started racing back in 1986, it was $10 to race. For that $10, you got to show up in a parking lot at 7:30 AM, unload a trailer, and build a track. You got to sugar water the track, help with radio impound, help with lap counting (no AMB back then), and help with registration and posting results. At the end of the day, you helped tear down the track and load up the trailer.

You also had to supply your own power, your own pit table & chair, and bring all your own spares with you. There were no tire lathes. There was no compressed air. There was no air conditioning (think South Florida in the summer months).

Lets fast-forward 21 years.....

Now we have indoor facilities or permanent outdoor tracks. You don't have to help build the track or tear it down. You now have automatic lap counting. Radio impound is becoming a thing of the past. Often times, you don't have to put down the VHT/sugar water/grape soda. You don't have to run registration. House transponders are provided.

Often, power is provided. Pit tables and chairs are sometimes provided. If indoors, it's often heated or cooled. Sometimes there a tire lathe provided. Sometimes there compressed air provided. Sometimes there's a shop on site with parts.

Do you still think $10 is fair? How about $15? $20?

Let's look at inflation. According to inflationdata.com, prices have risen nearly $85% since 1986. So just by inflationary increases, my $10 entry fee should now be $18.50. This doesn't even include all the conveniences that a permanent/semi-permanent track provides me, and the fact the costs for those have risen as well.

Entry fees for National events have already increased. The ROAR Nats that were $35 in 1987 are now $70-$75. Some major events are even higher than that.

It's time to think about what you pay to race at a commercial track, or else you're going to be back in that parking lot at 7:30 AM with a garden sprayer and a pile of PVC.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:40 AM   #2
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Dayton / Cincinnati area:

Parking lot track. $7 first class, Free additional classes. Racing doing well. Building over the last 3 years to about 40 regular racers.

Carpet Track - was $10 and doing well. Jacked it up to $15 and is now closing.

Im not sure its a question of fair. Its what people are willing to spend. $15 on top of tires, parts, etc makes for a $50 race day. While those most dedicated are willing to spend that its certainly not going to grow the hobby. Not sure if it is a coincidence or not but when the track raced the race fees $5 the attendance went down to 40-60%.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:41 AM   #3
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Those are some very good points and with the savings I'm getting running Lipo and brushless, indoors I would pay top dollar 20.00.
Out doors where I have to bring my own chairs and fan and such I would pay 15.00, I think that would be fair.
Great topic by the way.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by or8ital View Post
Dayton / Cincinnati area:

Parking lot track. $7 first class, Free additional classes. Racing doing well. Building over the last 3 years to about 40 regular racers.

Carpet Track - was $10 and doing well. Jacked it up to $15 and is now closing.
Obviously, it wasn't doing well enough if they had to raise it $5.

All the conveniences that the indoor track provided (and I was just at WOH last weekend...nice place), and people thought $15 was TOO much, but $10 was OK?

I'm sorry, but anyone who feels that way doesn't deserve a track like that.

Remember, the outdoor parking lot track doesn't have all the overhead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by or8ital View Post

$15 on top of tires, parts, etc makes for a $50 race day.
And now their possible unwillingness to pay an extra $5 has made it a $0 race day.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by or8ital View Post
Dayton / Cincinnati area:

Parking lot track. $7 first class, Free additional classes. Racing doing well. Building over the last 3 years to about 40 regular racers.

Carpet Track - was $10 and doing well. Jacked it up to $15 and is now closing.

Im not sure its a question of fair. Its what people are willing to spend. $15 on top of tires, parts, etc makes for a $50 race day. While those most dedicated are willing to spend that its certainly not going to grow the hobby. Not sure if it is a coincidence or not but when the track raced the race fees $5 the attendance went down to 40-60%.
You make a tough argument there. Should or shouldn't you raise the price. I think the Q is why would you. Most of the tracks closing are raising prices to stay open not to profit. There may be an area issue here.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:48 AM   #6
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I think $20 is more than reasonable for weekly club racing, especially a indoor facility. Outdoor, I could see $15-20 as reasonable weekly. I think once you get into the $25 price range, it will deter people from racing, even some of the die hard racers.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:48 AM   #7
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I don't think 15-20 in race fees is unreasonable. Especially for a full Saturday or Sunday. Right now the local Hobby Town is only charging 8 bucks. They also just closed the indoor carpet track and are splitting their retail facility in half to rent out the other half. That's not to say higher race fees would have saved the track but it may have helped.

Something mentioned previously that I agree with is charge more realistic race fees which include racing up to two classes. Locally we also have free novice class which helps get new guys coming in.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McSmooth View Post
Obviously, it wasn't doing well enough if they had to raise it $5.

All the conveniences that the indoor track provided (and I was just at WOH last weekend...nice place), and people thought $15 was TOO much, but $10 was OK?

I'm sorry, but anyone who feels that way doesn't deserve a track like that.

Remember, the outdoor parking lot track doesn't have all the overhead.
I continued to race but many didnt. If we are on RcTech as regularly as me and you then obviously we are more into the hobby then some. People just dont want to spend $30 on tires, $15 on race fees, $20 on parts / disposables to race. WoH made the same if not more money on race fees when it was lower by getting more people to race. Their costs didnt go up by having more racers. Race fees are only one component to racing. If WoH had gone to rubber tires and allowed lipo but then raise the race fee it might have been better received.

Just my opinion of course. Obviously there are lots of factors in tracks closing, doing well, etc. WoH was nice but perhaps it was too nice? If it were half as nice would people stop racing there? I would suspect not.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:55 AM   #9
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I would like to see a survey on the tracks that are doing well and the ones that are not.
I mean is the one closing imposing a lot of rules and such. And are the ones prospering more open and free spirited. Or visa versa.

Is a Ma and Pa labor of love track the ones doing well or the ones for profit, approached as a business.

A franchise track may be in the future for some areas.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McSmooth View Post

And now their possible unwillingness to pay an extra $5 has made it a $0 race day.
It was already a $0 day for those unwilling as they stopped racing. It just made it a $0 for the rest of us. But who is to blame? The people that quit? Why do they care?

The fact is the hobby is expensive and there are only so many of us willing to spend the money to do it. We could have 30 people who regularly pay $500 a month to race or we could get 300 people who regular pay $50 a month to race. We need to decide which direction we want to go and see if we can bring the cost of racing down not up to bring the numbers. If that even works.

While I personally would pay more (I never did state that) I just dont think many others will. The results on RcTech will be skewed b/c we tend to be those that are the most dedicated. Ask the kid who just bought the TC4 RTR and see what the responses are.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Rhodes View Post
I think $20 is more than reasonable for weekly club racing, especially a indoor facility. Outdoor, I could see $15-20 as reasonable weekly.
I agree. In fact, the local track here still charges $10. I give him $15. I should start handing him $20.

And that $10 back in 1986 got me 2 hrs of practice, 2 quals and the main.

Now I get 3 hours of practice, 3 quals and the main.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UN4RACING View Post
I would like to see a survey on the tracks that are doing well and the ones that are not.
I mean is the one closing imposing a lot of rules and such. And are the ones prospering more open and free spirited. Or visa versa.

Is a Ma and Pa labor of love track the ones doing well or the ones for profit, approached as a business.

A franchise track may be in the future for some areas.
There are so many factors that it becomes difficult to compare. Some differences between our two tracks:

Outdoor track (doing well):
$7 to race, free second class
very laid back atmosphere
good exposure (outside near a mall)
long standing hobby shop supporting it
allow lipos
rubber tires
good promotion of the races
good feedback on the forums/website
rules are a group decision by the racers
low overhead

Indoor track (closing)
$15 to race
caters to the top-end racers
not a terrible location but people dont really see it
newer hobby shop supporting it
did not allow lipos (talk of changing)
foam tires only (talk of changing)
didnt promote races (or host many big races the final year)
ignored their forum
rules seemed decided by a small group of racers
super nice facility/track = high overhead
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McSmooth View Post
I agree. In fact, the local track here still charges $10. I give him $15. I should start handing him $20.

And that $10 back in 1986 got me 2 hrs of practice, 2 quals and the main.

Now I get 3 hours of practice, 3 quals and the main.
McSmooth,

Out here in NorCal many tracks are charging $20.00 for the first class and after that it varies from $10.00 for the second and $5.00 for the third to $5.00 for the second and the third is free.

FYI guys, we accepted this long ago...... step up or you won't have a place to race.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by or8ital View Post
Carpet Track - was $10 and doing well. Jacked it up to $15 and is now closing.

WRONG! It was a $12 race fee. The re-constructed pool table smooth track surface, the additional 60 pit spaces, the additional monitors, the free use of tire truers, and the new scoring software WAS well worth the piddly $3 increase per race.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:35 AM   #15
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Here in midwest (chicago area) is about $15 1st class....10$ 2nd class range. We have 1 high end outdoor 1/8th track and 1 good and new indoor carpet track in IL...both charge the above amount. I think these fee are very acceptable and are accepted by the regulars that travel around 1 hour each way.

The extra $5 will definitely change everyones decision about going out racing....however, I don't think that extra $5 will help the track OR made them close. Cause the overall charging is just not big enough to make profit. We have couple tracks (good one too) closed due to lack of hobbyshop sales or the lease of the store.....not really the track fee/racers amount related.

Racing fee is NOT how these track make their money....most of the time, is the hobbyshop inside.

I am very surprise to hear that racing fee was $10 21 years ago....and 21 years later, only raised $5....

BTW....we do have hobbytown outdoor track still charge only $10 plus $5 2nd class..........average 25-30 racers per SAT.
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