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This is the age old question.

So how do we do it? Spec classes? Advertising? What is the magic pill?

We used to draw 30 racers at a local race and HUNDREDS at big events.

The reason I bring this up is this dicussion came up at the last race I attended and I mentioned having a parking-lot race to attract interest. You would have thought I suggested running clock-wise. :D

But if we think about it, we used to draw TONS of interest by "having" to run in the lots. We all dreamed of having these great tracks to run on, no more setting up and tearing down. Oh that would be soo great. I know that most of the tracks I have been to are well off the beaten path. So if you do not know they are there, well you get the idea.

Now here we are all trying to get more racers so our tracks/clubs/businesses do not die.

I know that some of the "turn-off" is the cost. Hopefully this is where the SPEC stuff will come in. Like was said in another thread, the 18th offraod stuff exploded. Then all the hop-up stuff came out and it is about as expensive to run that as 10th scale. The least expensive class I have run is the BRP 1/18th class. Jason, a guy that works with me has gotten into the Nitro-pan stuff with me. He tried the Oval racing about 10 years ago and quit after one race. He saw all the tires, motors, lathes, dynos and other equipment and decided there was no way he could run. Anyway, we were working on the nitros before therace and his comment was "you know, a normal person could not just get into this." He was both right and wrong. They could get into it but odds are against them going right to the front. They would have to come to the track, talk to all the guys, hopefully make some friends and get some good advice. Some people are not willing to work that hard. That is when they have to make up their mind what level do they want to compete on.

But, I think it is up to us to make a spot for them. A novice class is always a good idea. But understand this is a class that will rise and fall with the advancement of the racers. I think it is important to get the word out about this class. If your track only has a couple of novices, not enough for a whole class, run it anyway. Let those guys have their track time, heck it will probably be easier on them if it is NOT a full field. If you guys get a little impatient waiting on them to bump up, adopt one of them. Make them better, teach them the tricks and help them out.

Pardon my rambling, just trying to get some more guys out to the races.

Here are my suggestions:

Have an exibition race in a parking-lot

Have a clinic at your local Hobby Shop

Adopt a rookie

Sell off your old stuff to a rookie, once you get them hooked it is worse than drugs. :dude:

Be a good sportsman at the track. Nobody like the guy that is so fast (in his mind anyway) that you can't even approach him.

If you see some spectators, invite them to the pits and show them around. Don't want them in the pits for security reasons? I understand that. Go up to them and introduce yourself and tell them a little about the sport.

Toss in your ideas.
 

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For us, we have 5 offroad tracks in our area (let's say all within a 30-50 mile radius) that we can run at. Attendance is never big and most of the tracks are barely running their own race program, so to speak.

So, what is happening right now is a program that is not track owned, but club racer owned, where the club schedules with each track a weekend date and time that the "club" or group of racers will rotate to that track for a race. Nominal race fee with money going to the track/shop 100%, track/shop provides race announcer, loop and transponders, the club/group brings the racers/buyers and race format. The race format will ALWAYS include a Novice class and a sportsman class in the 1/10, 1/8, and MT classes.

Since this is a club/group of racers that have promoting the hobby and growing it in mind, then it becomes each club/group member's responsibility to help out newbies and encourage those that are watching to join in the fun. The club/group does not require paying fees or membership dues, just commitment that you will do something to help promote and grow the hobby. Taking personal responsibility is something rare within this hobby, mainly because they get the ego driven "I'm in this to race for myself" attitude and are not always apt to help another racer, even if they are new. Most even have the attitude of newbies being a PITA - BAD attitude. Cause if you squash or kill the growth, who will you be racing against when you get into the expert class race? Yourself?

Any way, we have seen this work locally before and we are attempting it again here - we are getting LOTS of great responses from the tracks/shops as well as the RC community (even have some thinking about coming out of "retirement" to run again). Hope that helps someone.

Peace in da RC fleece!
PD2:thumbsup:
 

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Personally I'm sold on parking lot races if you live in a climate that will accommodate racing outside a majority of the year. It offers about as much free exposure that you can get. I know we got into racing purely from seeing a parking lot race and stopping by to watch. Quite frankly I didn't even know that R/C cars were raced prior to this. I guess I also really enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and pick-nick atmosphere that exists at a lot of parking lot racing. I also really enjoy racing on a different track every weekend, rather than the same setup weekend after weekend.
 

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calvin said:
Personally I'm sold on parking lot races if you live in a climate that will accommodate racing outside a majority of the year. It offers about as much free exposure that you can get. I know we got into racing purely from seeing a parking lot race and stopping by to watch. Quite frankly I didn't even know that R/C cars were raced prior to this. I guess I also really enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and pick-nick atmosphere that exists at a lot of parking lot racing. I also really enjoy racing on a different track every weekend, rather than the same setup weekend after weekend.
Calvin, I agree with you but the problem is setting up and tearing down that parking lot track is a LOT of work, and few people are interested or willing to help with that work, mostly they just want to go there and race and leave.
In the end the help dwindles down to the one guy who initiated the race program who is left doing all the work...and he soon decides it's not worth it.

Jerrit
 

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jerrit1 said:
Calvin, I agree with you but the problem is setting up and tearing down that parking lot track is a LOT of work, and few people are interested or willing to help with that work, mostly they just want to go there and race and leave.
In the end the help dwindles down to the one guy who initiated the race program who is left doing all the work...and he soon decides it's not worth it.

Jerrit
Couldn't have said it better myself. We have tried the parking lot thing about 5-6 years ago. Our MAIN objective was to bring in new people. Over the several years we did it we "may" have brought in 2-3 new people. You get a lot of lookers that think it's cool but not a lot that want to go out and start doing it. We normally had help with setup and teardown (thank you to those that helped!) but it still got where it was more work than what you were getting back out of it. Maybe it was just our area but I don't think I'll try it agin.
 

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many ideas.. to try to promote racing and the hobbyy...

easiest.. in vite the local cub scout or boy scoutt troup out to watch.. they are always looking for something to do that is cheap.. can't get any cheaper than watching......

find a local car dealer ship that is having a big sale promotion... get them to buy some trophies and give up some space and run a parking lot race during the big sale... extra entertainment for the potential car buyers... and great exposure for the racing.....
 

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Our club was formed in 2000 and started out racing indoors with the membership remaining static for two years with only the original club members (about six racers). We later moved outside to a large mall parking lot and immediately increased dramatically in membership (about 30 racers racing more than 60 cars - we run a number of different classes). This move opened us up to nitro racing; which, for whatever reason, has a much larger drawing appeal (both racers and spectators) in our area. We have since moved to another outside location in the parking lot of a community ball field (not quite as good for walk-on spectators, but not bad). Membership fell a little initially for some reason but has increased slightly and remains fairly steady with new blood compensating for the retirees. Our club is located overseas and we have a fairly steady turnover of expats or kids graduating and going off to college (only two of our original members are still in country and active and one of those will go off to college next year). We have built up a good group of locals who are now pretty much the main-stay of the club.

We run two 8 race point series each year and with respect to track setup and tear down, if you do not help setup or tear down, you loose your points for the day. We are also lucky in that we have our track material (sandbags and PVC piping, etc) stored in locked underground boxes we made in the grass area next to the parking lot. I know we've been lucky, but so far it has worked for us. We also try to accommodate as much racing as possible depending on the membership desires. We currently race electric stock, mod (cars) and electric trucks (throw a few jumps onto the track for the trucks) as well as nitro on-road and a nitro truck class (with jumps) for the Savages, buggies, etc. - this is usually our biggest class and draws the most spectators - probably for the excitement, noise and "crash appeal". We have novice classes if needed for the new-bees, or in some way allow them to race or at least run their car in a controlled environment - if you bring a car to the track, we'll find a way for you to run it (so far anyway). A large percentage of our racers race at least two classes with many of our club members racing four or five classes,which makes for a lot of activity rather than sitting around a large part of the day with nothing to do. Even though they may physically race together, for points purposes we break down our membership into "Pro" and "racer" catagories (as well as novice who race separately) as we have three or four people who are a big cut above the rest. Once you've won a "racer" catagory points championship you automatically move up.
 

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what we do in our club we have a run what you brung class and it is great we will have off-roaders and minis just about anything you can think we even let those who just got a TC to run with them like a novice class and have doubled our stock touring car turn out like this oh and we offer free racing the first time at the track too we built our club from 4 people our 1st week to over 30 as a usual turn-out in about a year this way just a sugestion
 

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I like the idea of free first time racing. R/C racing can be like a drug. Let them race for free one time, get 'em hooked, and then they will pay to come back!
 

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Joe Nuuube

If you advertise an upcoming race have the courtesy to post the results, nothing worse than finishing 1st or 2nd in the A and no one knows, all tracks should have a class for new racers, they won't come bace after getting yelled at or spend all the race moving over for fast guys, my LHS throws you a coupon for a free practice and first race free with a car/truck or radio purchase, these things help at least, my $.02
 

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OK........this is an idea I'm working on right now.....Talk to the local news paper's sports editor and see about getting the results printed on the "scores" page. Our local paper does all the normal sports plus local stuff including golf and bowling....but the other day I noticed dart league scores in there.....It would be free advertisement.
 

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Well you get out there with some Bolink Legends cars and put a demo on.There the cheapest thing you can get and you have a blast with them. This weekend I did my car show and had three guys come out with there Legends cars. While there were out there I got on the PA and told the folks about the friday night races and to talk with the drivers about the cars.

It's great to have a permanent track but with no exposurer you'll not get anyone new unless they walk into the hobby shop.The problem with permanet track is the people get lazy and they won't go out to where the people are.
With the new batteries (lipo's)- radios and brushless motors it makes things easier than before for someone new.
 

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...a lot of us guys who have been at this for so many years...get lazy sometimes...and forget things we did...so many years ago the help draw attention.

I deal I was involved with for local racing many years ago, I contacted NEWSPAPER Sports guys, Radio DJ's, and local TV Station SPORTS guys

At one of our races, we invited some of these guys to the event to drive Specially Prepared cars with THEIR NAMES and there Station/Company Logos on them.

(This was road course racing prior to the TC days, the cars were all Associated 10L's, but were equipped w/ maubuchi motors and 4 cell packs)

We had little trophies for ALL the participants, and for them coming out - what they gave us was EXPOSURE. The TV Sports guy had a camera man with him that did some very good film footage of our event, and everytime we had an event coming up we could call the TV station the thursday before the race, and they would air segments of that race and talk about our upcoming event.

The radio guys gave us good plugs too, talking about the fun they had...and giving the details about our upcoming events too.

The NEWSPAPER guy, also gave us good plugs when ever we called him and let him know of an upcoming race...and they'd put our short story and results in the paper.

THE KEY IS - YOU have to do all this leg work yourself, just like getting a race covered in a MAGAZINE - Do IT Yourself...
 

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I did that all back in the day for 20 years.The problem in our town is we had two clubs and one hobby shop racing. One of the clubs pissed off the newspaper so nobody could even put a free plug for the weekends events.It did not even matter when we had a regional or national event here.The radio guys never showed up and a few times the TV guys would showed. Then we had the guys on cable back then try to sock it to the hobbyshops with a paid commercial that never aired. But up until I quit doing all this nobody else would do the thankless job. Guess what they still don't have anyone doing it and the racers are less and less.Where are all the racers- well if they can't see you racing and you won't make a effort to go to where the people are who's fault is that?
Don't mean to sound so negative but I did the thankless job- you've got to find another diehard to take their place.
 

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BullFrog - 100+% agree.

We use to be able to race at our local fair ground in conjunction w/ just about ANY other event..then a small LHS moved in the grounds property and put in a small offroad track and paint ball arena...well THEY pissed off the fairgrounds SOOOO bad, you mention RC Cars to anyone on the fairboard...and they escort you OUT of the office. It was the ONLY Place we ever had where we could set up a track for FREE and have 100's to 1000's of spectators depending on what the companion event was.
 

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Donate your RC magazines to help our hobby

Take your old RC magazines (RC Car Action, RC Driver, etc..) and give them to your local doctor's office, dentist office, or any other place that has a waiting area. My wife has dropped off piles of them to our dentist and doctor's office, and each time they were thrilled to receive them. I don't know about you, but most of the time, when I'm in a waiting room, all I usually find are magazines like, Woman's Day, Parenting, or People magazines. I don't think I'm the only man who struggles to find something good to read while waiting.

Most of the public doesn't realize that this RC hobby is so in depth. Browsing through the magazines in just a few minutes will change their perspective quickly. Additionally, many of the magazines have the track directories listed in the back. I think if we saturate many of the waiting rooms with RC magazines, it would only help. So if you have a stack of RC magazines collecting dust, put them to work by donating them.
 

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There are folks with new ideas floating around. There is a company that just opened, or will be opening a store similiar to the "build a bears" works shops for girls, in Mayfair Mall. The store caters to young boys or race enthisiests. Raceline lets you build a starter race car and has a track in the store. Once you buy the car you can continue to upgrade it and race in a weekly series. They even have a points system. I would think a natural progression would be to a Mini T or a Micro, then maybe a 1/10 on road car, depending on the persons interests. Having the store in a mall has great possibilities for other interested but never experience potential racers to see and get a feel for racing. BTW ....I am not affiliated with these guys in any way. But my 9 year old son really got a kick out of it. Here is the link http://www.racelinemotorworks.com
 
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