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OCRC Raceway owner Robert Black's response to Motorhead RC Raceway closure

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Main Photo: OCRC Raceway owner Robert Black's response to Motorhead RC Raceway closure

By Aaron Waldron

Yesterday, I wrote an article on the closing of Motorhead R/C Raceway in San Jacinto, CA - including the comments of former owner Ron House, who explained how he felt about the state of the industry and the RC racing scene in California (you can read the whole thing here). The article exploded among LiveRC's audience, as those who agreed and disagreed shared their opinions on our Facebook page as well as the article itself. One of those who chimed in was OCRC Raceway proprietor Robert Black, who made some great points from a competitor's perspective. Here is what he posted.

As much as I think Ron is one of the "Good Guys" in this hobby I must respectfully disagree with his assessment. An R/C track is a business, and like any business when things get slow or your margin gets low you need to assess what the problem is and move in another direction. We have had slow months throughout the years where we have not made a profit but knowing that going into business you have enough saved to get you thru. You asses the factors as to why and don't panic. 

Too many tracks on their last legs "Giving" things away like racing, pizza, prizes.... in a last-ditch effort to bring people to their track. What they don't understand is that while you're hurting, the last thing you want to do is throw out more money. Giving out free stuff is cool but all it does is bring the groups of people to your place that will "Eat, take and go". 

What any business needs is loyalty, which is not gained by giving away free stuff. Loyalty is earned. I am also not of the opinion that manufactures sponsorship is a large factor in tracks closing, many kids that are “Sponsored” wouldn’t even race if they didn’t have help and support, it may hurt the hobby store sales a bit but if what those 10 local drivers get from their sponsors destroys your sales then it’s most likely a management issue not a manufacturer issue. 

Weekly “Big races” can stun the club race entries somewhat but again building a solid and loyal customer base keeps them coming back home. 

I encourage my locals to attend other “Races” which may seem counterintuitive but I have learned that they get a better understanding of what’s out there and when they come back a better appreciation of what they have at home. 

The most likely reason tracks keep popping up and closing is that the folks opening these business’ only have a dream, a passion for the hobby and some extra cash but what they are lacking is the skill to maintain a business that is as we all know is extremely fickle at times.

  • Keep your facility clean
  • Keep your store well stocked with competitive pricing
  • Hire qualified employees
  • Keep your track surface in great shape
  • Keep your race program on time
  • Stay consistent in everything you do 

If OCRC ever fails It will be because Nick and I did not do our jobs, not because racers stopped showing up or sponsors and internet sales killed us.

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