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A MOMENT WITH MIKE: Restructuring Race Day with R/C Tee Times

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By Mike Garrison

A Moment with Mike is a weekly opinion column where LiveRC’s Mike Garrison gives his take on hot-button issues, general topics, and conversations within the RC industry. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many things in many ways, some good some bad. For those who do not know me, if I’m not breathing nitro buggy fumes or overcharging LiPo batteries, I am most likely hanging out in the pits, announcing, or bench racing at the motocross track. Since the pandemic and statewide social distancing regulations have been in place, I have seen a major change at our local motocross tracks in terms of how they schedule and structure practice days. 

Prior to the pandemic, local motocross tracks would prepare the track as if it were race day by disking the entire track, watering, hiring flaggers, etc. For one day they would open the flood gates and HOPE that enough riders showed up to pay the $20 practice fee to cover the cost of getting the track ready and hiring staff to run it, but yet as a rider you hope there is not TOO many others show up or it severely limits the time on the track and quality of fun most riders will have. 

(Photo by Sarah Ball Photography)

Since the pandemic, several local motocross tracks have resorted to a “tee-time” reservation system (like a golf course). They have upped the price to $40 per rider for a 4-hour session, limited to 10 riders at a time. They host 2 sessions per day, 4 days per week. 

Riders are eager to gather their buddies for “moto tee time” and pay a little extra for the opportunity to ride a fully prepared track with a structured schedule, less chaos due to limited number of riders, not spending an entire day to only get 5-10 laps around the track, and are selling out the reservations as fast as they open up.

My question is, would, could, and should this same theory be applied to R/C car racing for local club and trophy races to get us back racing (or even practicing) sooner while social distancing? Even after all Covid-19 regulations are lifted, could this be a successful alternative structure for local club and trophy races?

Would R/C racers be willing to reserve their entries by pre-paying a higher entry price for local club and trophy races knowing there is a significantly limited number of entry spots available (ex. each class is limited to X amount of drivers)? 

After the pandemic has passed, would this result in a more structured schedule which could include more time for practice, additional and/or lengthened races, and potentially shorter race days? 

Would a system like this provide a more predictable, steady, and reliable flow of income week to week (rather than major highs and major lows) for local tracks? 

I want to know YOUR OPINIONS. Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!


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