OCRC Raceway just finished up its Surf City Classic last weekend, one of several marquee events hosted by the popular Southern California track throughout the year. That's not the only time OCRC draws a crowd, however - dozens of pro drivers and club racers claim it as their home track, and owner Robert Black sent in this opinion piece talking about what that balance is like as a business owner.
*Pros verses Joe's...*
I can safely say that I have no idea what came first, The Chicken or the Egg.
But let's ask this question shall we, what came first, The Tracks or the Pro's
One thing I am quite sure of is that if there were no tracks there would be no pros.
So maybe you believe that if there are no pro's then there would be no R/C cars?
Doubtful as I am quite confident that where there is dirt you will find the Joe's flinging their Slashes and other toys around having a great time. With that said I would like to dive into this question which hit home this weekend at my facility after one of our large events.
"Do tracks need pros? Or do Pro's need tracks?"
Let's make this easy to understand....
(Unless you voted for Bernie Sanders then you may be excused)
*Joe*=Person who likes driving/racing his or her r/c car at the track or dirt lot for fun.
100% of my onsite hobby store sales come from Joe's
100% of all club race fees are Joe's
100% of all practice fees come from Joe's
100% of my tracks net income is from Joe's
90% of the Joe's don't even know people get paid to race
*Pro*=Extremely talented r/c car driver that makes a living racing
0% of my onsite hobby store sales come from Pro's
0% of all club race fees are Pro's
0% of all practice fees come from Pro's
0% of my tracks net income is from Pro's
Therefor it should be easy to conclude (without a calculator) that the Pros have a zero net effect on the income which is needed to keep the lights on and run a successful track.
Please don't get me wrong, I have met most of the top pro drivers in the world and most of them are very humble, well-spoken and really fun to hang out with.
I feel fortunate to be friends with many. I also sponsor several as well because they represent my track throughout the world and I believe that has a net benefit to my bottom line. Unfortunately as I referred to at the beginning I had an experience with a pro this weekend when I shook his hand and thanked him for coming a long way to race at my facility. This guy looked at me with a smirk on his face and said "Are you sure?" I'm like... What? "Well I heard that you don't like pro drivers" and he proceeded to tell me "Without us you would have no big events"
Big events? Yes I would and we have had many large racing events in the past without "pro" drivers
Big Events? I would sleep very well if we never had a "Big Event", the time it takes in planning, facility upgrades, financial output and all around stress it requires to put on a "Big event" is huge.
*What it takes to host a "Big Event"*… 2 solid months of planning everything from what to have in the store, ordering, maintenance, track build preparations, Track build, food and drink shopping, sponsor organization, phone calls, internet/facebook updates, rental equipment and the list goes on culminating in myself and staff spending 4 straight 14-16 hour days of working (and let's not forget about the cleanup) in order to host a "Big Event".
*What it takes a pro to Race a "Big Event"… *Show up, set up their pit area, work on their car, practice on the layout, then do what they are amazing at… Race (Which is incredible to watch I must admit) when the race weekend is over, they move on to the next event which they get paid to do leaving behind a facility that still has hours of clean up and recovery
Once again I would like to say that most pro drivers are awesome people and appreciative of the opportunity's this hobby has afforded them but if you are a paid pro driver and actually believe that it's because of you and your awesomeness that tracks are in business and large events only happen when you are in town, you are sorely mistaken.
Owning a track isn't for everyone, but treating it like a business is what I need to do in order to continue to exist, this may piss some folks off but I will continue to run and maintain my facility at the highest level in order to give those Joes a place to always have a place to play.
What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the Facebook comments section!