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Old 23 Feb 2016, 08:07 (Ref:3616956)   #1
socram
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socram should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridsocram should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
What is the future of NZ circuit racing?

Several things happening at once or in the very near future or recent past are probably going to have a massive impact on the local scene.

Break even for a grid at a national meeting locally, up until very recently, was about 12 cars at Hampton Downs and possibly a little lower at Pukekohe. but not by much.

Break even now is nearer 20 cars.

A 'safety levy' of $25 a car at HD after April 1st.

MSNZ race levy doubled from $25 to $50 and driver race licence fees increased considerably within the last year.

New ownership of Hampton Downs.

Pukekohe now charging the promoter for all 'garages' (sic) leaving the promoter to pass on the charges to drivers to try and recoup the costs ($100 a car per day last weekend = probably no profit for the promoter and a load of disgruntled drivers). Minimal paddock parking at Pukekohe for larger entries.

Trying to look ahead, and certainly given the average age of our own drivers being north of 50, there is going to be the dual problem of shrinking entries and rising fees.

With HRC Events now co-ordinating many of the NI meetings, there will possibly be a shift from classic meetings vs more modern/club meetings to mixed meetings with classes having no option but to combine, or face a massive spike in entry fees.

Just to put things into some form of perspective, an NSCC/ACC entry fee at my first race meeting in 1985 at Pukekohe was $25. The anticipated entry fee is likely to be about $450 for smaller grids and maybe $350 for those able to come up with decent grids.

Based on my salary in 1985 and at the same level of increase, I would have to be earning $371,000 or $477,000 today...

Motor racing has never been cheap, but there is a very real risk that the number of meetings will be reduced (some may see that as a good thing) but that being the case, track hire fees will have to be raised even further to cover the annual costs.

Where clubs own their own tracks such as in the south island, maybe no great change, but in the North Island I foresee problems looming.

There will probably be an increase in track days and a reduction in permitted race meetings, which may make some existing race series no longer viable and more cars being parked - permanently.

Anyone care to disagree?
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Old 23 Feb 2016, 21:43 (Ref:3617163)   #2
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Interesting post socram. I am too inexperienced in the sport to comment on this, but I found your analogy of what your salary would have to be very interesting (and somewhat amusing)
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Old 23 Feb 2016, 23:48 (Ref:3617184)   #3
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Given that the pension is about $1,100 a month, unless older drivers have a substantial independent income, they will be out. Several are already contemplating retiring from racing and I must admit, the rising costs hastened my decision to retire from racing after the January Festival meeting. Even the MSNZ National Licence fee is difficult to justify when only doing a few events a year - and there is no Gold Card reduction either. Hint, hint...

At the other end of the scale, it will be even tougher for youngsters to get a foot on even the lowest rung of the racing ladder. That will be a real shame, just as NZ is in the spotlight for producing several world class drivers.

The proportionate cost of the purchase of the car shrinks when the other expenses rise unchecked.

That means those who bought into U2K Cup or even Classic Trials, traditional stepping stones for those driving for fun rather than glory and ambition, are going to find it much tougher.

North Island lower key series such as MGCC, Historic FF & Formula Junior, Historic Muscle Cars, maybe Historic Sports Sedans and Historic saloons, all risk having to either combine or walk away.

The downside of that will be a return to promoters gambling on getting enough non-series entrants to justify putting on a meeting of any open grids. Given the Kiwi reluctance to get entries in early or even on time, despite the ease of on-line race entries, it looks a bit grim - and I would prefer to be an optimist.

I thought the upper echelon touring car bridge building was a massive positive step forwards, but already, the wheels seem to be either falling off or wobbling precariously, rather than growing.
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 04:02 (Ref:3617214)   #4
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Ever thought that you may have been paying an unrealistic and unsustainable entry fee for Pukekohe in 1985?

Probably explains why there was s.f.a maintenance or improvements done in those days
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 06:07 (Ref:3617243)   #5
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Ever thought that you may have been paying an unrealistic and unsustainable entry fee for Pukekohe in 1985?

Probably explains why there was s.f.a maintenance or improvements done in those days
Based on a percentage of my income at the time, it still doesn't equate.

Even if it was doubled back then, it would still need a massive income today to be in kilter. We could probably debate for hours what is meant by improvements.

Regardless of the 1985 situation, the recent rising costs and in the near future are still the major concern. I only put the 1985 figures in to show that for whatever reason, entry fees have rocketed as a proportion of income.

Is a full week's wage after tax for a youngster, on minimum wage, going to attract them into the sport? I rather think not.
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 08:40 (Ref:3617276)   #6
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Based on a percentage of my income at the time, it still doesn't equate.

Even if it was doubled back then, it would still need a massive income today to be in kilter. We could probably debate for hours what is meant by improvements.

Regardless of the 1985 situation, the recent rising costs and in the near future are still the major concern. I only put the 1985 figures in to show that for whatever reason, entry fees have rocketed as a proportion of income.

Is a full week's wage after tax for a youngster, on minimum wage, going to attract them into the sport? I rather think not.
I appreciate where you are coming from, I suspect that the greater Auckland District is going to reap the crop off the seeds they did not plant by not getting together years ago to build and own their own circuit. In other words you have nothing of your own so you are going to have to pay to use someone else's and at todays market prices.

Looking at Sth Canterbury Car Club entry fees, back around 1985 they we around 3 hours retail labour charge out time of my workshop. Today, if I still had that workshop the fees would still be very very close to 3 hours retail labour charge out time.
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 08:57 (Ref:3617278)   #7
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Looking at Sth Canterbury Car Club entry fees, back around 1985 they we around 3 hours retail labour charge out time of my workshop. Today, if I still had that workshop the fees would still be very very close to 3 hours retail labour charge out time.
Yes entry fee's for the race weekend at Level next month are less than 3 hours of labour at retail at the workshop I am at.

Also everyone goes on about how great the improvements are at Hampton downs etc etc,
but all that money spent on stuff, someone will want a return on their investment.
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 10:23 (Ref:3617301)   #8
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I think the reality is that circuit racing north of Taupo will become prohibitive for many racers.
As Ray has pointed out the costs from MSNZ, Pukekohe and Hampton Downs are or have increased. Not only has HD increased charges but they have reduced the track hire time - you now have to vacate the track by 4.30 which means probably stopping racing around 4pm. So not only have costs gone up but the number of grids an event organiser can fit into a day will be fewer which equates to less income.
The $25 per car charge by HD for "health and safety" is just another unjustifiable cost. With a 100 car entry that is $2500 per day for one HD employee to wander around checking that there is health and safety compliance.
The day is quickly coming where those north of Taupo will envy the South Island club owned tracks as they ponder their unused race cars sitting in the garage.
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 20:55 (Ref:3617478)   #9
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I think the reality is that circuit racing north of Taupo will become prohibitive for many racers.
As Ray has pointed out the costs from MSNZ, Pukekohe and Hampton Downs are or have increased. Not only has HD increased charges but they have reduced the track hire time - you now have to vacate the track by 4.30 which means probably stopping racing around 4pm. So not only have costs gone up but the number of grids an event organiser can fit into a day will be fewer which equates to less income.
The $25 per car charge by HD for "health and safety" is just another unjustifiable cost. With a 100 car entry that is $2500 per day for one HD employee to wander around checking that there is health and safety compliance.
The day is quickly coming where those north of Taupo will envy the South Island club owned tracks as they ponder their unused race cars sitting in the garage.
Hi Roger,

Thanks to Chris Abbott and his wife Linda's tireless effort's to single handily fight off TQ's cheeky take-over of Taupo's [Bruce Mclaren] circuit, the circuit will now also reap the benefit's of the changes at Hampton Downs and to a lessor extent Pukekohe Park, as apart from the travel involved it will become the most affordable circuit in the North Island, and still provide a good return to it many stake holders.
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 21:57 (Ref:3617490)   #10
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The $25 per car charge by HD for "health and safety" is just another unjustifiable cost. With a 100 car entry that is $2500 per day for one HD employee to wander around checking that there is health and safety compliance.
While i don't really understand what they're charging $25 for, health and safety is soon going to hit tracks and become more like i hear it is in Aussie. The new legislation will effect everyone and can only increase costs.

As for Taupo gaining, i believe they have recently hiked up fees quite a lot for the same reason. They want to be able to cover upgrade costs and not run out of money again.
Race tracks are an expensive thing to run...
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Old 24 Feb 2016, 22:08 (Ref:3617493)   #11
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Perhaps it would be beneficial for the N.I. track operators, promotors and competitors to come south and have a look at the club owned circuit operations in the south. Not only are the venues run efficiently but the promotions are effective and affordable as well.
Don't think that because a circuit is club owned that it is run on an amateur basis by a bunch of volunteers, all the clubs employ dedicated professional staff to handle the day to day operations, these are backed by efficient management teams all who keep their eye on the ball and the budgets which results in affordable racing and promotions.
Not only are the S.I. tracks effective look at some of the successful classes that have started in the south OSCA, Pre 65, HQ, South Island Endurance, RX7 just to name a few.
Come south for affordable motor racing, great atmosphere and great competition.
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Old 27 Feb 2016, 11:20 (Ref:3618211)   #12
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Bill, like many north islanders, there is huge respect at what the south Island does and has achieved, but like it or not, with a quarter of the countries' population around here, it is way too late.

When Chris Watson first showed me the proposal for HD, years before it became public knowledge or a reality, I thought that it was the answer to all our prayers. When the plans went public and people bought into the concept within a month, with all 80 units sold. Everything looked rosy.

Alas, the rest is history of course and it is the onslaught of legislation that will kill any other potential new track, accessible to Aucklanders, affordable or otherwise.

As I said, I am worried for the future and as Roger H has already explained, I think that concern is justified.

I wasn't aware of the new 4:30pm finish. It was theoretically always possible to get a better day at HD than Pukekohe, (Horses have priority so no track time until at least 10am) but what Roger has put means that if your group is the last race on the programme and there are a couple of incidents, then the last race or two may not even happen, which has the potential to ruin points series races and really brass off competitors.

I'm now even more concerned, as the implications do not really bear thinking about. Having to cut back to 5 grids a day instead of 6 is really going to kill it, as that in itself is going to push up entry fees even further. Will drivers now be asking for a guaranteed programme schedule before they even enter?

Last edited by socram; 27 Feb 2016 at 11:32.
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Old 27 Feb 2016, 20:45 (Ref:3618291)   #13
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If I was to offer a suggestion to our Northern friends it would be to remember this. "There is no such thing as a problem when there is a solution just waiting to be discovered."
It is a message that I found written on a workshop wall when I was quite a young mechanic and it has certainly worked not only for me but for a number of events or associations that I have been involved with.

That's what you need to be doing, concentrate your energies on solutions and the problem will cease to exist.
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Old 27 Feb 2016, 22:32 (Ref:3618310)   #14
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If I was to offer a suggestion to our Northern friends it would be to remember this. "There is no such thing as a problem when there is a solution just waiting to be discovered."
It is a message that I found written on a workshop wall when I was quite a young mechanic and it has certainly worked not only for me but for a number of events or associations that I have been involved with.

That's what you need to be doing, concentrate your energies on solutions and the problem will cease to exist.
Coor blimey Carl, awesome mate we can all rest easy thanks to your timely advice. I will certainly sleep well tonight, no more nightmare's thinking I am going to end up in the rammed earth tyre banks down South, or mortgaged to TQ for the rest of my life.
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Old 27 Feb 2016, 23:20 (Ref:3618317)   #15
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Coor blimey Carl, awesome mate we can all rest easy thanks to your timely advice. I will certainly sleep well tonight, no more nightmare's thinking I am going to end up in the rammed earth tyre banks down South, or mortgaged to TQ for the rest of my life.
People are working on solutions to the earth banks Mark, plans are afoot. The solution to the funds required is the one currently being worked on. You know us guys down here, we don't borrow and hope, too much Scottish ancestry for that.
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