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Old 3 Aug 2015, 10:37 (Ref:3563461)   #1
bella
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gamma racing day - why doesn't the uk do this!

so, i spent the weekend at the gamma racing day at assen. pretty much the only things not on the timetable are horse racing, wife carrying and trucks, it's that wide-ranging. there's a historic race, boss gp, "supercars" (think british gt), formula renault 2.0, bikes, sidecars...

there were upwards of 50,000 people there - their quoted attendance is around the 80,000 mark. and people loved it, the stands were full all day, the paddock was packed, the army brought a chinook, there was karting, bikes racing on the kart track, loads of stuff going on. if you fancy a random away day next season, make this your choice. it's genuinely great.

the event was sponsored by a large retailer, they handed out free event caps that everyone was wearing, 5 vouchers for the store at the end of the day, they had promo girls everywhere, the brand was literally everywhere.

which raises the question - why don't we do more of these things in the uk? do we even do any at all? i'm sure the wide variation of track action on offer helped get people through the door, in addition to the free tickets (but paid-for paddock access) and f1 demo. all we have is the world series by renault (which has returned in a cheap but not free format) and the usual money-grabbing events like the btcc and bsb. event costs can't be *that* much higher here surely..
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 11:35 (Ref:3563476)   #2
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Because of the lack of interest and leadership in 'club' level motorsport by the MSA, and hence the way it is run in UK.

The circuit owners rent out the venue by the day and get paid no matter what happens or however many/few people come through the gate, so have no need or interest in promotion or developing events.

The event organisers (the permit-holding motor racing clubs) carry the commercial risk and plan to cover the costs with the expected entry fees; they do not have the depth of experience or numbers of people to do more than just run the races.

'that's the way we've always done it' syndrome.

PS - a forum search should reveal plenty of previous on this subject.
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 12:30 (Ref:3563485)   #3
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i'm aware of all that, and i'm pretty sure i've personally pedalled most of it within the last few years. but it doesn't get anybody anywhere does it?

ultimately, 80,000 people watched what was effectively not a great deal more than a club event. but the paddock was full of competitors and spectators and everyone had a great day. the circuit sold plenty of paddock tickets and the butty and beer wagons were well visited. entries for most races were high.

where's the downside?
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 17:40 (Ref:3563547)   #4
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i'm aware of all that, and i'm pretty sure i've personally pedalled most of it within the last few years......?
I do wonder why you asked 'why don't we do more of these things in the uk?' then !
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 18:47 (Ref:3563557)   #5
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pirenzo should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridpirenzo should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridpirenzo should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
It sounds like the whole event was the circuit's initiative. With the UK model which David cites, the initiative presumably comes from the clubs themselves. They consult their members as to what sort of events would interest them, and then they talk to prospective circuits about hiring their facilities. The circuits themselves don't have to organize anything. If there's enough of that sort of business, then there will be no desire to do anything else.

The alternative is for circuits to act as promoter, cut a deal with a sponsor for a contribution towards costs in exchange for all the promotion they want, and to put together the most attractive programme they can to pull in the punters.

I think the problem the UK has is in this respect is it can regularly attract top racing series like Formula One, the WEC, MotoGP, along with the WTCC and DTM in the recent past. These series, along with the major domestic packages like TOCA and BSB want total control over circuit advertising and promotion, and bring their own programme.

UK circuits have probably just lapsed into cutting the best deals possible with these big championships and no longer have the desire or expertise to put on their own events. Likewise sponsors probably look more towards dealing with race series rather than circuits.
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 19:17 (Ref:3563559)   #6
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If it going to be successful surely it doesn't matter what the structure is?

A club (not circuit), could pitch the idea to a 'large retailer' and circuit. All are businesses so would commit if the case was strong enough. Unless apathy is in the way? Which might be the problem. Would the reaction be "wow, there is a kind of race for everyone", or would it be "I don't like boss/historic/supercars, if only there was wife carrying"

bella, I don't know why not!
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 20:10 (Ref:3563583)   #7
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My understanding is that most UK clubs are not businesses in the normal sense; they have few assets, a tiny number of paid staff if any, and financially mostly run on a bit of a knife-edge. By which I mean that one washed-out or severely under-entered meeting could wipe out all their reserves. Thus they have to be prudent and cautious at all times, which IMO precludes grandiose schemes to book all sorts of extra entertainment and then hope the punters turn up.
Not wishing to be negative but we have been round this loop several times before and no new ideas or money-trees have been found!
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 21:40 (Ref:3563603)   #8
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Al W will be along in a minute to tell you more about the Speedfest held at Brands in early June which does exactly what you said. As does the Silverstone Classic (this year's washout notwithstanding ), the Goodwood Revival and the Renault free race days if they are still held.
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 21:49 (Ref:3563605)   #9
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pirenzo should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridpirenzo should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridpirenzo should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
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If it going to be successful surely it doesn't matter what the structure is?
It matters who is taking the risk of it not being successful, and whose pockets the proceeds are flowing into. As David explains it, it's the clubs taking all the risk. The circuit's costs are covered. The clubs just want to ensure the entries are big enough to break-even.

I think the circuit (or circuit + promoter) is in the best position to organize such an event, because it can invite all those diverse entries and push the event to sponsors before anyone is committed to anything. Once the sponsor is on board, and willing to cover some of the cost, both sponsor and circuit now have a reason to make sure the greatest number of people come through the gate.

Last edited by pirenzo; 3 Aug 2015 at 21:51. Reason: typo
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 21:58 (Ref:3563606)   #10
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I see the risk element and it is clear that a club can't cover it. After all we don't want our entry fees wasted in an insurance fund for this venture

If a good credible business case could be made, with a 'retailer' partner found, and if it was presented to a circuit (as we have deemed that they should take the risk) then it could fly. Of course, the circuit would also gain the reward then.

That is what I meant by if it can be successful it doesn't matter. The structure defines where the risk (and reward) sits, not whether it is successful or not.
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Old 3 Aug 2015, 22:09 (Ref:3563613)   #11
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adam46 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridadam46 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I'd say the 'Britcar May Festival' from 2011 came close to the Gamma Racing Days - Supercar Challenge, BOSS GP, Britcar and (quite literally) hundreds of Mazda MX5's at Donington Park! If a regular 'supercard' such as this could be made a tradition in Britain, I'd like to believe it could work nicely.
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Old 6 Aug 2015, 12:23 (Ref:3564141)   #12
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chunder should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridchunder should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridchunder should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Clubs might not be businesss, but tracks are.

They are mostly quite happy to take hundreds of pounds from punters doing track days, and make a profit tidily. Palmer bankrolls his stuff with BSB, had a nice idea with Speedfest than ramped the price up to make money after speculating, that will no doubt dwindle in time as a result.

There is little or no entrepreneurship in UK tracks, it is all based around one or two big cash days and continuous track days. And there is a need and market for both so why not.

What is missing is seeking out the new fan, the family. What we have is exploiting that market to the n'th degree with overpriced rubbish like the Silverstone Classic, Goodwood, British GP. Do you get airshow crowds at racing events like you used to? for family prices? Not at all. Thats because an airshow isnt 50 or 60 quid EACH to get in, likie these events are, and more.

THAT is what is needed, an event like an airshow, someone cover the massive insurance costs to allow people to try out things, get somme decent simulators down, get some big stars there for free, (yes I said free not pay them a pathetic fee), attract all disciplines. Goodwood have the right idea, but not enough actual show, its all daft old bugger wobbling up someones drive most of the time.

It is being attempted at a low scale by some folk in Coventry, they are trying to do this with the Motorfest idea. And that is to be applauded and needs to be supported.

But our dear old, MSA do nothing, have done nothing, and will continue to do nothing. They are utterly hopeless, totally out of touch with the modern world, its people and its fans.

So, in my eyes let them rot, I have said it before and I will say it again, if you continue to pay extortionate entry fees as drivers and as racefans you cannot complain, you are not helping.

Simply go and watch club events or other type of racing, explore the world outside dullard race tracks, go and watch a bike enduro, a motocross, some speedway, an autograss, a short oval race, or go abroad which a lot of people are now doing for exactly these reason.

They might learn then, but I doubt it.
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Old 6 Aug 2015, 13:28 (Ref:3564161)   #13
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just got the paul ricard newsletter, and it features 2 free general admission events, one of which has free paddock admission too. that's a clubbie (lead by the v de v series), but the other free general admission event is the elms 4 hour race (2 day weekend - fp on saturday, quali and race sunday). it's the only major venue in the south east of france and has a monster catchment area.

meanwhile, here in the uk we've had to add a daily entrance charge (15 for 2 days on the gate) for the normally free world series by renault event. no other event has felt this necessary on the calendar.

makes you wonder doesn't it? there were more people at assen than there were at even the busiest days at silverstone, in a smaller space and with paid paddock access. someone saw the commercial opportunity and ran with it, and it's blindingly obvious from the different arguements everyone's coming up with here that we're just too backwards to do the same.
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Old 6 Aug 2015, 20:10 (Ref:3564222)   #14
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I didn't realise WSR was charging now. That's cheeky.
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Old 6 Aug 2015, 23:29 (Ref:3564264)   #15
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chunder should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridchunder should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridchunder should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
The question has to be, why?

Is it pure greed?

Is it that in this country noone has the wherewithal to try this?

Is it that people have tried and tracks or MSA have blocked it?

I think you may find it is all of these things.

France is hardly backward, neother is Holland, but what they have is a lack of racetrakcs, unlike us.

The only things that are free to watch in the UK are some rallies, off road evenst and things like club events. Everything else, even banger racing warrants a fee.

Is it any wonder participation is on the decrease when a whole generation of possible fans who might just need one spark, can;t go and watch without forking out.
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