THE Cub Report, Version 08.22.2010- Pay Up Suckers
How are tracks keeping their doors open now days? Have you looked at weekly attendance at your local tracks? More likely than not, your local track is getting 15-40 entries on a weekly basis, hardly enough to keep the lights on and rent paid. Well, I’ll tell ya how many tracks are keeping their doors open, big “trophy” races. Many tracks depend on trophy races to bring in enough dinero to keep from going under, without them, they simply could not make it.
Depending on trophy races to keep your doors open is not how a “fun” hobby should operate. A “fun” hobby should depend on building up a base of local/not so serious racers that come out religiously every weekend. Having a strong “fun” local base makes noobs feel more comfortable, creating a snowball effect, one that encourages first time racers to come back every weekend, giving a local track a steady growth of new blood.
Walk into an “average” track now days and you’ll find the same 20 hardcore racers you would have found there in 1996. Hundreds of noobs have come, felt uncomfortable and/or totally uncompetitive, and never came back a second time. Those 20 racers are the ones that will go out of their way to win at any cost- from cursing, to not sharing common set-up information, to hacking, to flip’n out on marshals, to generally doing anything to run away potential challengers to their spot as local fast guy. But, these few local hardcore guys (the ones that are willing to travel to race) are the ones keeping most tracks open. Out of their pockets come the $30-$150 entry fees for all those trophy races that keep tracks open. The real question is, how much longer can our hobby keep milking these guys dry every year before they start asking themselves is it really worth it? At what point will the local hardcore guy see that he spent 15k last year for a few plaques and a couple of partial sponsorships? Was spending 15k and missing his kids grow up worth those plaques and partials? Those guys are hardcore, but they aren’t stupid (perhaps a bit obtuse), and many of those aging hardcore guys have just about had enough.
Not helping are some track owners. I’ve talked to several new track owners lately who just can’t wait to hold big races. They see “big” races as the only way to make any money. They see big races as the only way to establish their track as being a “good” one. They really could care less about what their local noobs want, they only people they seem to listen to are the hardcore racers on RC Tech who live 50 miles away but swear they’ll support their track (well, if the makes the rules and the track the way they want them).
Also not helping is ROAR. ROAR gave up on local racing years (decades?) ago, seemingly now only caring about nationals (upon nationals, upon nationals). After seeing dwindling membership year after year, they seemingly came up with the brilliant idea of holding as many different national races (and classes) as possible. They seemingly think the only way they can make more money is via entries to their national events, so they hold a ridiculous amount of them (anything for a buck eh? no matter how much it devalues their winners). If you race full scale motorcycles in the USA (dirt or street, it does not matter), you are most likely an AMA member, as nearly all local Joe Blow tracks in the country require an AMA card for even the most basic of events. It seems like ROAR is all about the money these days, funny that they don’t understand the real money is to be had at the local level.
Ok, to finally digress- the most important people in racing are the noobs, the guys that show up with the Stampedes, Red Cats, and T-Maxxs. Yet, while we all know that, nobody caters to them. We see it every single day. We see the future of the racing side of our hobby die a little each time a noob walks out the door never to return.
Enough of this racing talk, I could go on, and on, and on, so……
On to a different subject, we’ll be starting our 4S 8th scale Lipo shootout in mid September, and will hopefully be publishing the results the first week of October. On board so far is Thunder Power, Ace, and Checkpoint. Rumors still abound around the office that MaxAmps is IN.
Speaking of shootouts, our high zoot editor Brian says he has a boner to do a 2.4 Ghz transmitter shootout, lets say Futaba 4PK vs Tactic vs Spektrum DX3R vs one of the affordable alternatives. If you are a manufacture up for the challenge, fire off an email to Brian at BigSquidRC dot com, and if you are a consumer who thinks such a shootout would be cool to see (and what some of the criteria should be) send an email to that same email addy.
Ok, I’ve gone wayyyyyyyyy too long this week. As always, thanks for reading my drivel (sarcastic English butchering rants), and get out from behind that tube (ok LCD screen) and hit up your LHS, local tracks and bash spots!
YOUR Cub Reporter