Home Forums Road Racing Can RRing survive without the clubs? Reply To: Can RRing survive without the clubs?

Jim White

My 2 cents worth…….

I’ve been on the NCK board for about 6 years now. Regular board member, Vice President and Secretary over the years. Prior to that I spent quite a few years helping do pre tech before getting roped into the board. I’ve been involved with booking, promoting, working, scoring and paying for events for some time. I’ve been road racing for 24 years now.

We don’t run IKF sanctioned races but use their insurance through Michael Davis. We use the IKF rulebook so we can use their insurance. We have to have any local option classes approved by them in order for them to be insured. The insurance is a flat price per wristband. They have single and multi day event rates. It has worked well for us. By the way IKF does not require front brakes for TaG’s.

None of the NCK board is compensated in any way. We pay the same as anyone else running at our events. The club makes money on a couple events a year. That is used to offset the losses at some of the other events. All told if we could put away a couple grand at the end of the year for future use we’ve done well. We just try to break even and not lose year to year.

As for keeping RR going? We’ve tried many of the suggestions given. When things started going south a bit we immediately looked to cut expenses. The biggest and most obvious was trophies and awards. Aside from that there just isn’t really much non essential things to cut. If we have a small turnout we’ll cut the use of the PA, but that only saves

$100 or so. We have few if any volunteers anymore. Most of the board members have leaned on their families to help at the races. Most now are burnt out and used up and besides that we just want to race too. That being the case we have to provide some sort of benefit to those we can recruit to work at the event. That costs money too. Towing, scales, gate, tech, etc. As events grow smaller and the costs per racer go higher in order to break even something has to give. Entry fees go up, amenities and things that effect the overall day go down. Now a person is seeing less value for his money. It’s a vicious circle.

Now while track rates have somewhat stabilized during the recession here on the west coast there are still lots of groups competing to get them. As was stated earlier the tracks are not just looking at rent. It’s the whole income for the day, fuel, food, even the souvenir stand. Karters just can’t compete with the car and bike clubs. Therefore we get offered the leftover crappy dates. Take it or leave it, not much negotiation. Most racers just don’t understand this. We are constantly asked why can’t we race here or there on this day or that. It’s not that we don’t try it’s just that we aren’t given the choice. To really get a decent turnout and get people travel longer distances you need a 2 day format. At this point 2 days rental would kill us. Entry fees would be too high and we’d loose more than we would gain. Not that we aren’t looking into a way to do it. It’s just that our current model isn’t finacially strong enough to take the risk right now. Look at the loss that the PKA just took to host the IKF nationals. While it is appreciated it is just not a practical or prudent thing to do. NCK does have a class format that will allow practically every legal kart at lest 2 chances to race per day. If you are young and strong 3 or 4 classes are possible per day. That adds value to the one day format we use.

For the past couple years I have personally tried to work on sharing a day with another club. Most wouldn’t even consider it. The one extensive conversation I had with an interested party went nowhere in the end. He wanted us to pay the equivalent of 3/4ths of the total day and get 1/4 to 1/3 of the track time. He was just in it for the money. As the economy squeezes tighter maybe another group may be forced into the sharing idea.

When we look at who our new blood is that also raises some debate. I am of the opinion that the jr’s are not it. While they need to be courted they are not the savior. I feel we need to find the late 20 to 30 year olds who have been sprinting for a while. They are to the point of getting out because they can’t keep up with the kids and are tired of the bashing and crashing involved with sprint racing. They have families and jobs and can’t get hurt being punted by the local hot shoe for no reason. These are the guys with the disposable income to be road racers. It’s just getting them on the track. Most are hooked if you can just get them there. Sure our entries are much more but the amount of track time you get makes it worth it. You just have to get them there. Unfortunately most sprint clubs in our area are struggling too. They don’t want to promote road racing in fear of loosing their racers.

Sorry for the long ramblings, trying to do this at work makes it hard to keep all my thought together…or is it just an age thing