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Like it was said, RC racing goes in cylces. We've seen it over the years go up and down like a roller coaster. Just gotta stay on the ride and not get discouraged.
 

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Rupert, if I was guessing I'd say that what's going on at Lexington now is that it's an indoors carpet track. The group I hang out with really enjoys racing outside while the weather is nice and we save carpet/indoor season for when the weather turns nasty and it's cold and gloomy outside. Of course, outdoors racing is also impacted by all the other summertime outdoor sports, so while some tracks seem to flourish during certain months, other tracks are struggling. Also, I've noticed that "theme" racing really seems to draw some folks out. BMS has had good results with it's hot dog races. C&W started talking about "revenge" racing between Hyperdrive and KSG and they drew a whale of a crowd. I noticed last year that track challenges also drew good reviews.....I remember the Sandhills group challenged another track to come up and get a "dose" and we read about that going on month after month. Always keep in mind that even though this is a hobby/sport, there is a huge competative streak in all of us so we really relish a challenge and the fact to prove that our track/chassis/battery/trailer/paint scheme(you get the picture!) is better than anyone else's.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Well, my track is struggling this year but I ask this question because I have seen several tracks come and go. So I don't think my track is any different. We have Carpet Oval, Out door Off-road, and Carpet Touring in the winter. I have a good group of Core racers but I am struggling at getting any new faces. I will try several of the things that were mentioned here. Time limits me in crossing all the "T"s and dotting all the "I"s every week.
We are working on several things and hopefully things will pick up for everyone as the season moves along.
 

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I also have seen many tracks come and go.

I think that the positive vibe at a track needs to be constant. I have been to DJ1978 track in MI and I liked it very much, but the near 3 hour drive to get there from Ohio was a little much.

I am in the next year or so going to try to start a track facility in the area I live since there are many open buildings that can be utilized for racing and a hobby shop.

One feature I will have is payouts at the races. I know I have dropped alot of money into my gear and racing over the years and I like to get a little back or reqarded for my rc racing career.

This would pull more people into it, it qould be broken up so the "pro" drivers would not get all the glory, and newbies could come out, have some fun and win a little bit of money or rc gear.

Another things is like CJ1978 was doing - not sure if you are still doing it but renting out cars and trucks for people that do not have them or came to watch but want to try. I like that idea and they may be a key to getting people out to the track.

Another big thing that might help tracks are seminars for newbies on racing, tuning, charging, upkeep on vehicles and track. Not all tracks have the friendly staff or racers that will help you - that discourages people away, been to a few tracks like that - sad but true.

Just helping the cause and bouncing a few items out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Well those things may work for you. I have tried most of them with little positive effect. Giving out money was good for about a month and then the attitudes started to raise to the top and most guys got tired of the same guys taking the money. It is strange but racers will give up bragging rights every week but they don't like to give up a few bucks.

Seminars also went good for a few some guys really wanted to learn but some of the problem was that the racers are limited on the amount of time they can spend at the track and time behind the wheel is a lot more fun then learning how to rebuild shocks.

I am not intending to sound negative, I hope those things work good for some tracks.
 

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You are so right. That stuff sounds good on paper, but in reality they don't work. The key is having a large enough of a racer base, that some guys taking the night off don't have such an effect. If you have 60 guys actively racing, and only 75% of them are ever gonna be there on a given night, then you still have a steady turnout of 45 or so. I think that is a pretty good turnout for the average track anymore. You also have to keep bringing in new blood, to offset the guys that give it up. Advertise and promote. Go to school carnivals, fairs etc to expose the sport. It's all about how you market your track.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
True so True.

If I could only put 48 hours into 1 day I think I could get it done. LOL. That is our current plan of attack is to get the track out in front of the public. Time is just tough to come by when you are running a business to support you hobby. (agian LOL)
 

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Go to school carnivals, fairs etc to expose the sport.
Been there...........done that as they say. I don't know about any other places but for us it just plain didn't work. We went to several local festivals each year for about 3-4 years. Out of that time we MAY have picked up 3-4 people that got started. You have all kinds of people that come up, say cool, you give them information, and that's the last you ever see or hear from them again. :confused: We just finally decided it was more trouble than it was worth.
 

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The one thing that I haven't seen here is rentals! Do you really expect to stay in buisness with just people that have all their own equipment? If someone wanted to go bowling, but had to purchase the ball, and shoes before they went bowling, how many people do you think you'ld see bowling? Why not have rental racing? People could just show up and have a race. You don't have a choice on this issue, because I've seen first class facilities fold that could have stayed in buisness if they could have widened their customer base.
 

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tstickney1:
I have seen rentals work in Japan but only with Kyosho Mini-Zs. Talking with the hobby shop owners in Japan the issue with larger cars is cost of keeping them repaired because people who rent are usually the people who crash.

How much do you charge for the rental? $10, $20. Do you charge by the hour? What about broken parts? Keeping charged batteries? [FYI -- as side note, they never worry about people stealing things in Japan so they don't even secure them with credit cards, here you would need someone to run the rental counter and secure the items]

With Mini-Zs its cheap and repairs are cheap because there is only so fast you can go and a charge on some of the better NiMH batteries will give you a 30min or more run vs. 5min. The Mini-Zs and maybe Micros might be able to be rented out like Slot Cars. You can even convert old wooden slot car tracks to run Mini-Zs. Not sure you can do the same with 1/10 scale cars.

No matter how we see this "hobby" most people see these cars as "toys" While they are serious "toys" they are toys to most.

We have a better chance if some MTV yahoo uses these cars in a music video and all of sudden it becomes "cool" vs. rentals.

Also, competition = money. I can absolutely understand why Monster Trucks are taking off. I can run them in my back yard and entertain myself. Speed and etc. does not matter in my back yard. I take out my Nitro Truck at every BBQ even the company BBQ. Everyone likes to get a chance to play with it but no one is interested enough to go out and get one themselves. I see that Taxxas is now advertising in the back of Car and Driver magazine. That may bring more bashers into the hobby and maybe 1% will want to be more serious.

Even people who are hard core race enthusiasts would rather flip on an XBox or Playstation and run Project Gothem Racing or Grand Torismo vs going through all the work, time and money required for this hobby. As a very good friend told me, he would rather just hit the reset button then go to the hobby shop to purchase another part because the reset button is free.

Money, time and race tracks are all limited resources and there will always be a very small proud minority in this hobby. If you are in this sport/hobby count yourself to be one of a unique special community but don't think that our numbers will radically change

This is not meant to discourage anyone just more of a reality check. The first R/C I purchased was in 1980 and I have been back and forth into this hobby as I have had money and time and I have seen the numbers grow as the economy had more disposable cash and I have seen it gone down when the "next new thing" has come around but the mostly core group of enthusiasts I have never really seen grow all that much.

Just my opinion. Not meant to discourage or stamp out the good people who continue to try and move this hobby/sport forward. :thumbsup:

Hey, nobody played poker until we had celeberty poker on ESPN, maybe we need a celeberity R/C race. Just before an IROC event the drivers have to run an IROC R/C race :D
 

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Its simply a matter of economics. If you break down how many square feet your track and pit space takes up, versus the amount of revenue generated, you will see that no accountant would justify that expenditure. I think if you were to put yourself in the shoes of that dad with the two kids that stumbled into your shop, do you think that $10.00 a half hour ( probably only one 3300 mah battery with a stock motor and geared properly ) per. person is too much? I can't see how any shop owner doesn't see this program as an essential part of their buisness! Let me ask you, how much would you be willing to pay to demo the latest greatest kit? would you pay $10, $15, or $20 to try out a kit if the demo fee would be credited towards the purchase of the kit? That's how they sell ski packages costing about the same amount. What if someone that used to race stumbled into your shop, are you telling me that you wouldn't have anything to get that person juiced into the hobby again? Your just going to wait until he buys all new gear to get back in. What do you suppose you could do with the rentals when they need replacement? Hmmm, maybe you could sell them for cheap to the people on a budget that want to participate? How hard would it be to sell off demo's? Are today's vehicles so fragile that you couldn't possible make a rental program viable? I don't think the major manufacturers would agree with you!
 

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Bud Bartos has tried rentals and eventually gave it up. Of course, he's not really a track owner, but did it at various local races to promote his products. He has the advantage of very sturdy cars; my observation is that his problem was erratic operation (read: glitches on AM) on medium priced radio sets when in a competition environment.

He has also mentioned track owners interested in using his cars for rentals; I don't know how that turned out.

Has anyone seen the portable R/C tracks that show up at various auto shows, etc.? Watching them for a few minutes gives you an idea of the mayhem involved in R/C rentals.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
We have tried to rent cars with little succuess. Curently we let racers that we know have the ability to drive race oval cars on a regular basis for just the entry fee. When we tried the rental deal the cars were broken every heat. Some folks just don't care about things when it doesn't belong to them. I have absolutly no problem with letting anyone use a shop care to see what RC is all about but blatant abuse is just makes it too tough to maintain.
 

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The groups of available racers is sparse, has anyone ever tried co-promotional events with other hobby shops. For instance, a points series that is run at various different locations leading to overall winner?

I have seen while surfing the web there is hobby shop in Florida that has co-promotional events with Hooters and some Hobby Shop in Texas that has co-promotional events with an AutoZone.

Way back in the early 90s there was a local shop owner who gave out weekly prizes from local business in his area. Each week one or two local businesses would sponser the prizes for the top three winners or as part of some point series. During the event the local business would have ads plastered all over the racing area which was visible to local traffic. At the same time the local businesses had signs and flyers for the local races.

As always, it never attracts 100 new people but I do remember seeing 1 or 2 new faces every few weeks and at the peak we had about 50 people on a Sunday (we started with I believe about 35). The shop eventually closed because the owner retired and everyone scattered.

Anyway, just a thought
 

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I think one of the biggest problems is, people truely see these cars as toys. I know that when I talk about rcs at work, every one thinks it sounds cool. I have even had some modified clod buster to work for the guys to paly with. But then the question becomes how mucg is something like that? You teel them that with a charger, battery, and every thing else the price would be upwards of $600.00, you always get the same responce, "Are you crazy man?" But these are the same people that have $300.00+ invested into a bowling ball and shoes, or $1500.00+ into a hunting rifle.

The fact remains, everyone has different hobbies. To increase the number of weekly racers, we need to hit the rc people, not people at a car show, or town fair. It comes back to the fact that people goto a car show to see cars. Not a bunch of over grown kids playing with their toys.

But then I love being an over grown kid. I'm now 34 years old, I got my first rc at the age of 31. The same time my son got one for Christmas. We finally looked at options other than Wal-Mart for a RC Christmas present. We, my son, my wife, (yes she races too), and I have been hooked ever since. We have made many new freinds, met some great people along the way, and even resparked some old freindships. We are currently looking at the options to open a track..........
 
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