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Old 04-12-2008, 04:15 PM   #1
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Default I have a theory

I have a theory...thought...question...whatever.

So, these RC deals seem to be organized as clubs that get together and race. Pretty much been how it has been done in the past. Everyone puts in their two cents, pays their dues and there are officers to run the deal. They bicker, they argue, they race, they have some fun, then they get tired of the bickering and arguing and figure the fun is gone out of it. The club eventually collapses.
There are apparently far fewer clubs today than in the past...I am sure there are numerous reasons but I think one is...You can't keep everyone happy in a club atmosphere.
I have never liked the idea of a "club" as I think the idea of it kind of alienates newcomers and has a bit of a stigma.

Maybe it is time to rethink how we organize RC events? Is a club really a requirement to have a successful organization and racing facility??

This club concept is pretty much if not totally nonexistent in other forms of motorsportsa and yes, I consider this a motorsport. Someone organizes the events and promotes it and the racers show up and race under a set of rules and classes set up by the track. I know that is simplistic, but basically how it works. No club involved.
I know this could cross the line between profit and non profit and I do not claim to know how this would work.
If it aint broke don't fix it, but the possibility exists that this club concept is broke!
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:29 PM   #2
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"Someone organizes the events and promotes it and the racers show up and race under a set of rules"

When you find that "someone", let me know!!
A club typically collapses because too few people are doing the work.

The "let someone else" do the work attitude will burn those individuals out in no time.
Try interviewing a LHS owner that has a track and see what he thinks it takes to stay afloat with a shop and racing program. You might also interview successful clubs and their leaders.
You may learn something that helps.
My guess is that there will be strong personalities willing to provide the facilities and labor to make so that you and others can show up and race.
Good Luck
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:33 PM   #3
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Anyone out there who will build a track together in metro Detroit, I'd gladly pass you the keys. It seems as far as tracks go, everyone wants to have one, not enough of them actually want to contribute the effort to make one.

I'm all for rethinking a better system. Unfortunately the system you're suggesting is one that requires someone with a lot of money, front all the costs of owning a track, and the track dies/survives depending on how well the local economy fares.

Imagine if you will that all recreational actives were commercially dependant. Say that you wanted to take your kids to the playground, so when you get to the park you have to pay money to let them play. Or if you wanted to play basketball, tennis, soccer, you would be forced to pay for each activity etc...If this were the case There wouldn't be a whole lot of places to go I tell you. That is why cities and government develop parks & recreation departments in their communities. They invest heavily without any concern for turning a profit in recreation. They build many parks, they build many facilities. Tennis courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, etc. They even build obscure activities such as skate park & frisbee golf. Why is it that RC car tracks aren't often on the list?

In my opinion a club organization is the only advocate for such activity. There really should be a national effort to get RC car racing recognized as a bonified recreational activity. Ideas?
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tomkelley View Post
Anyone out there who will build a track together in metro Detroit, I'd gladly pass you the keys. It seems as far as tracks go, everyone wants to have one, not enough of them actually want to contribute the effort to make one.

I'm all for rethinking a better system. Unfortunately the system you're suggesting is one that requires someone with a lot of money, front all the costs of owning a track, and the track dies/survives depending on how well the local economy fares.

Imagine if you will that all recreational actives were commercially dependant. Say that you wanted to take your kids to the playground, so when you get to the park you have to pay money to let them play. Or if you wanted to play basketball, tennis, soccer, you would be forced to pay for each activity etc...If this were the case There wouldn't be a whole lot of places to go I tell you. That is why cities and government develop parks & recreation departments in their communities. They invest heavily without any concern for turning a profit in recreation. They build many parks, they build many facilities. Tennis courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, etc. They even build obscure activities such as skate park & frisbee golf. Why is it that RC car tracks aren't often on the list?

In my opinion a club organization is the only advocate for such activity. There really should be a national effort to get RC car racing recognized as a bonified recreational activity. Ideas?
GREAT POINT!!!!!
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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Just tossing out some observations and seeing if there are any ideas floating around out there?
When I said someone organizes events, I was speaking of 1:1 races, not an RC club.
TomKelly, you may well be right about taking a lot of money, but I am not so sure why it would be much different? It would still take a core group to organize and run the events, but does it really take a "club" that you have to be a member of and would it really take a significant amount of money?
It just seems that the typical club has inherent issues that could possibly be eliminated by operating differently. I am new to this, maybe it is painfully obvious
The correlation I was trying to make was with 1:1 racing which I know is vastly different, but maybe some common areas could be found for discussion? A core group "owners" operate the event, they charge entry fees...etc.
I know there are RC special events that operate in a similar fashion..could a series also be run this way?
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkelley View Post
Anyone out there who will build a track together in metro Detroit, I'd gladly pass you the keys. It seems as far as tracks go, everyone wants to have one, not enough of them actually want to contribute the effort to make one.

I'm all for rethinking a better system. Unfortunately the system you're suggesting is one that requires someone with a lot of money, front all the costs of owning a track, and the track dies/survives depending on how well the local economy fares.

Imagine if you will that all recreational actives were commercially dependant. Say that you wanted to take your kids to the playground, so when you get to the park you have to pay money to let them play. Or if you wanted to play basketball, tennis, soccer, you would be forced to pay for each activity etc...If this were the case There wouldn't be a whole lot of places to go I tell you. That is why cities and government develop parks & recreation departments in their communities. They invest heavily without any concern for turning a profit in recreation. They build many parks, they build many facilities. Tennis courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, etc. They even build obscure activities such as skate park & frisbee golf. Why is it that RC car tracks aren't often on the list?

In my opinion a club organization is the only advocate for such activity. There really should be a national effort to get RC car racing recognized as a bonified recreational activity. Ideas?
Great idea!!! this really could happen!
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:43 PM   #7
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I'm not sure I quite understand your question. I think before when I said that not everyone wants to help, I didn't mean that in a bad way, because thats almost impossible to achieve, but clubs can find a way to encourage member contribution to the greater good.

Yes, It does take a lot of money to build a track. Many times more than I am willing to pay by myself. So yeah, thats the benefit of organizing a club if your willing to endure the torture.

Perhaps your comparisons to 1:1 racing are not quite relevant because they can depend on spectator revenue. (would be nice to do in RC too). I was thinking that perhaps the RC community should look towards RC flying and karting organizations to borrow some ideas. I was browsing a karting site today and I noticed theres a national nonprofit organization that promotes karting events such as the American Kart Track Promoter's Association http://www.aktpa.com/ They basically provide resources for setting up kart events, perhaps similarly to ROAR, but maybe a little more involved.

Of course there are many successful RC racing series out there that are well organized and keep going (with the support of club participation) such as Midwest Series, FORGASS and RCPRO to name a few.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:29 PM   #8
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Regardless of a "club" or not you still won't make everyone happy.

I do know one of the clubs in our state was working with their local government to get a "RC Park" built by the city. Basically they were going to build a dirt off-road track and a paved on-road track. The club had really done their homework not only for their sport but on the sport of others competing for the same money and space. I haven't checked into it recently but I believe they lost the battle.

The idea behind the "club" is that the members "own" the track. They get to see what it cost to maintain the track, insurance, yada, yada, yada. They often make donations both monetarily and of their time over and above their membership dues if they have any. On the flip side when you have a track owner the racers don't see the cost in maintenance and usually bitch about the costs of the race and practice fees along with everything else such as less than perfect track conditions.

The other reason a club atmosphere is used is because a "club" only has to break even on their investment. A track owner wants to hopefully make a little money also. The problem is most track owners typically don't make money from racers racing. Racers typically have most of their own parts through sponsorship or on-line so they spend little money on the hobbyshop. Most track owners get tired of all the extra work for no more money very quickly. Now I realize there are exceptions to this but they are few and far between.

I myself would like to see the manufacturers do more to support the tracks and club racing. Now I'm new to On-road racing but have been racing off-road for some time and if you've every been to a national event it's just amazing to see all of the stuff that is given away. Last one I went to I sold most of the stuff given to me on-line and it more than paid for my original entry fee costs and food costs. In reality they guys who go to the "BIG" races for the most part are going to go whether they get lots of free goodies or not. But if we could get goodies to give out at club races as random door prizes, or whatever I really think it would help keep the local races interested in the sport. You could even raffle off nicer things to help pay for track maintenance.

Or they could provide track sponsorships. I remember there was a company that gave our club something like $1000 or $1500 for track improvements because we used their products. I think they were called roaddomes. Anyways they had a contest where they were giving away so many of these and interested tracks had to be using their product and submit a paper discussing what the funds would be used for. They liked ours so we got one of the sponsorships. If more of the manufactures would help build and keep tracks operating then they would ultimately (hopefully) sell more of their products.

The problem with your original analogy is that in 1:1 racing they get money from their sponsors, the manufacturers, and fan support through the sale of tickets, hats, shirts, and everything else under the sun.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:50 PM   #9
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I think the success of a club is highly dependent on the officers and especially the president. We have a local club which has expanded in members and non members immensely with the take over of our new president. The club is financially very successful now and the track has many new upgrades and more scheduled this year. The member's role at the track is to help out when needed on a volunteer basis for track maintenance and when extra turn marshalls are needed. Members are also expected to be helpful to newcomers and assist as needed.

Our new president is very defensive of turn marshalls and doesn't allow people to mouth off on the driver's stand. He has put in a huge effort to get everything just right. Under his management, the track atmosphere is much more friendly, more competitive and tons more more fun. We rarely see tempers flare anymore and if it does he will ask the people to leave.

I contacted a local newspaper to see if they wanted to do an article on RC Racing in our area. The reporter and photographer were out there tonight talking to people and taking pictures. Hopefully, this will help promote the club and RC racing even more. To get RC Racing more mainstream, it must be covered by the media. Don't be afraid to engage your local media to cover large events. The most they can do is not show up but I think they are always looking for an interesting story and we can offer them that. The trick is too not to try and impress the reporter with the complexities and the excessive expense of the hobby, it needs to be positioned from an entry level perspective so it doesn't scare away the masses.

A club atmosphere can be successful, ours is proof of that. We had many of the issues explained in the first post to this thread under our previous president. Our new leader has created a very positive synergy at our track and reinforced by the continous strong attendance week after week. We are lucky to have him!
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:40 AM   #10
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The idea behind the "club" is that the members "own" the track.
That is the idea but there are members who only want to use the track for driving and do not care about the club and maintenance. And I have seen people "taking over" the club and claim the facility as theirs

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I myself would like to see the manufacturers do more to support the tracks and club racing. Now I'm new to On-road racing but have been racing off-road for some time and if you've every been to a national event it's just amazing to see all of the stuff that is given away.
Believe me, you do not want to have a factory or shop bounded to your club.
Members will do their best to come into the picture for free stuff of even a sponsorship even with the costs of loosing friends.

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Or they could provide track sponsorships. I remember there was a company that gave our club something like $1000 or $1500 for track improvements because we used their products.
With the right PR guy every club can get their sponsors by placing signs arround the track and mentioned them in the club magazine.

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The problem with your original analogy is that in 1:1 racing they get money from their sponsors, the manufacturers, and fan support through the sale of tickets, hats, shirts, and everything else under the sun.
The main problem is that a lot of potential (non-rc) sponsors do not have any interest of sponsoring a small local club because the reached public is to small.
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:52 AM   #11
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There are so many valid points in all o the post above and I know this for a fact first and foremost you need people to care about the racing in general. The abuse of a few people would be an easy matter and would die off very fast. I use for example our club we had many people that were interested in helping and donating and assisting but as soon as they saw only a few were interested in doing what we were doing to make things happen they quickly faded.

A few of the die-hards stuck it out and were thrilled once we accomplished tings like new asphalt, new drivers stand, and new boarders. They lost interest because the fact of the matter was there were more people that were only interested in racing and not in sacrificing for the over good of the track. No one realized the bigger picture of having something that we never had before. Well I wont say no one but I will say most and the burden of responsibility when rested on a few this removes the fun from the fact that this is his or her hobby and it becomes a job. Once you make your hobby a job the fun is lost and so soon will the interest in doing things be lost very soon behind it.

It takes a few dedicated people that do not have ulterior motives to accomplish things for the greater of a club. You have to use the word CLUB to make sure that each person knows and understands that with this great place to race comes responsibility that must come from each and every member, not just the President and its officers. Every member must take an active role in order to see how much work is actually put into making things happen. When this is done and only when this is done will you get people to realize that yes you want to have fun but at the same time there must be a diligent effort put forth to maintain what you call your track. You must in fact treat it as if were your home, because for most of us it really is.


By the way all of the points here are valid and many guys that have experienced issues that posted I commend because if not for the few handfulls that make things happen where would we all be ! !
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:08 AM   #12
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in Australia, NSW two of the most successful clubs have been run as not for profit organisations. My club is 30 years old, has hosted the 2001 worlds, and is still going strong (www.moorebankraceway.com) the other club in NSW (www.pdnracing.org.au) racing only at nights, has 80+ drivers each night (races buggies onroad, 8th scales tourers) and is also a club, not for profit.

other club's in the NSW area that have stood the test of time are clubs. There are only two private tracks, one not going so good, the other is an electric only venue and is very succesful.

Also in Australia (QLD) most club's are not for profit and going very strong. The biggest onroad club in Brendale hosted the 2006 tourer worlds...it's also a club.

You need people to run it, and you need to foster a collectivist attitude....you can't be individualistic when it comes to this hobby or, as you guys are now experiencing, you will suffer from lowered venue numbers. Pull your fingers out of it, and start teaching the young kids to help, and tell the older guys to lead by example!

it works all over the world, so there is no reason why the yanks can't do it.

the other long term benefit with clubs is that young kids see the benefits in working together. Any club with 10 guys helping and a core group of 5 will always get more done that just one guy running a private track, it's a pure numbers game, and that's the beauty of working as a team.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:19 AM   #13
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in Australia, NSW two of the most successful clubs have been run as not for profit organisations. My club is 30 years old, has hosted the 2001 worlds, and is still going strong (www.moorebankraceway.com) the other club in NSW (www.pdnracing.org.au) racing only at nights, has 80+ drivers each night (races buggies onroad, 8th scales tourers) and is also a club, not for profit.

other club's in the NSW area that have stood the test of time are clubs. There are only two private tracks, one not going so good, the other is an electric only venue and is very succesful.

Also in Australia (QLD) most club's are not for profit and going very strong. The biggest onroad club in Brendale hosted the 2006 tourer worlds...it's also a club.

You need people to run it, and you need to foster a collectivist attitude....you can't be individualistic when it comes to this hobby or, as you guys are now experiencing, you will suffer from lowered venue numbers. Pull your fingers out of it, and start teaching the young kids to help, and tell the older guys to lead by example!

it works all over the world, so there is no reason why the yanks can't do it.
I may be completely wrong when I say this ( I hope) but it is my impression that outside the USA, RC clubs seem to thrive better, and have less friction getting established in public park areas. Surely we can look to tracks setup in other countries and use them as an example when making the case.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:22 AM   #14
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For those of you that don't know Tom Kelly he is the one and only guy trying to keep a club going in the Detroit area. He has been trying for years but with no success. He deserves a lot of credit for all his work and believe me he has tried everything to get a club going!

I really don't think the Americans are very good at Clubs, maybe we are just lazy (that should start an interesting debate). I have been involved with clubs (racing boats and cars) since the 1950's and I can tell you as a fact that all but one of them has gone away.........the usual excuse is the people just don't have time to do all the work that is required. I have seen lots of club members offer to pay money rather than attend a work party two or three times a year, or help with the events. Simply, more money than time! Unfortunately the majority of people that race R/C don't have enough money to race and give money to the club that gives them a track to race on.

When Josh Cyrul opened his track people bitched like crazy because he wanted to raise entry fees to support the track and the huge costs of keeping the doors open. Well the cheap people won...he had to close the track because he couldn't afford to pay rent and feed his family.

In Toledo the Club runs one of the nicest tracks in the country, trouble is it is barely a club, there is a small group that does by far most of the work. Again, quite normal for a club.

In Cincinnati I think that club started when a couple of people payed for the track paving out of their own pocket.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:46 AM   #15
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genesisG4 you have a pm
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