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Can dying classes be revived?

dan200

#BSF200
I feel like they can't and I want to be wrong.

This topic was brought to mind because of the 5-1600 threads. I loved our 5 car racing days. Mostly because we won a lot of races but we were not racing a large field. The nostalgia of the old school buggy was something I enjoyed as well.

But then we moved on to trophy lite. I liked the spec class concept of motor but not of the rest of the truck. Tires etc. Not enough freedom there.

Then onto class ten. LOVED IT. It was all the stuff I liked about spec without the restrictions I didn't like.

TT Spec i like also for the same reasons.

Spec classes seem "on paper and in concept" to be more "practical" and I wonder if this is going to wreck the 1600 type car counts eventually.

I LOVE 1600 and dont want it messed with but I wonder how much longer these types of classes will last. Tons of truck classes have died. will these go the same way?
 

Wendell #527

Well-Known Member
I share the same concerns. I got out of Class 5 when the type 4s went away. I liked the old racing. Things have changed. People have changed. Most of us used to all do our own prep work and even build our own motors with help from our buddies. Now there is a higher percentage of drivers that get their cars prepped. Some of them can’t even mount a friggen tracker. Equipment has changed. Golf carts are fast, well engineered, comparatively cheaper and look tempting to a lot of new drivers. I hope classes like 1600s and class 9s hang on. Go to a MORE race and see those classes hauling the mail gives us hope!
 

btshannon

Well-Known Member
It does seem like the “DIY” attitude is missing in the top tiers of the sport lately.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Well, how many classes in high schools teach kids how to work on cars? How many 12-14 year old kids are being taught by their dads how to work on cars? How many new cars can really be worked on in the home garage today? I believe that a lack of insight by promoters has helped create this lack of entry level racers. While groups like MORE, SNORE, CODE, etc... have tried to keep the entry level classes viable, SCORE and BITD have not. And I don;t know if they understand this. Racing is expensive at every level, but I was able to build a race 3-4 times a year in class 9 on a serious shoe string back in the day. I believe that could still be possible except that most kids today cannot do the build/prep/maintenance of a car like a 9 or a 5-1600. In fact, most people today think the VW stuff should get thrown away as being too hard to work on or even understand. But that means an entry level class would now be N/A UTV, Class 10 or Trophylite. I do not consider a car that starts at $45k used on up as an entry level class.
 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
I love the VW classes, as to me they are the real history of Score & Baja racing. Pretty much all the buggy classes, class 1 included started with a VW engine & trans. The entry level classes were all VW power. People would build their own chassis & engines. Actual fab shops would build buggy chassis. Jimco was founded on building class 9, 1600 & 5/1600 frames & suspension parts. Guys like the Write Place were inventing the Combo spindle, & Rack & Pinions.

Those days are gone. All the shops that built parts or chassis are either long gone, or building $250K class 1 cars, or $500K +TT & TT specs. Who’s even building class 9, 1600 or 5/1600 frames anymore? Anyone?

Plus I have heard the new top of the line Low Comp VW engines are over $8K now and not many are builders are still around or building engines.

Why invest the amount of money it takes to race a limited VW class buggy, with Zero return on your investment? When you can build a UTV, even a mid pack UTV and get product & money sponsors. No one cares who’s trailing arm your running on your 1600 car. No shops are giving you free suspension parts for running their name. But in a UTV you’d be surprised how many brands are out there and how many are getting some form of support form that brand. Look at all the tire brand options you have in a UTV vs a 5/1600 car.

It seems there is no middle classes anymore. You either race a “Entry level” UTV. Or your in class 10, spec TT or TT. Even class 1 is struggling.

I know some will say come to a Snore or More race as lots of VW class cars are there racing. But they are all old cars, racing on a Score or More Entry fee budget. Nothing new is coming from those classes. Times have changed and with that comes new classes and old classes fade away.
 

Ben77

Well-Known Member
Ive seen smaller classes state they dont find the entry fees fair. So they hold off, atleast from big races such as SCORE. Maybe fees/time limits should be rethinked to keep Participants.

My buddy just spent about 2 years building a Class 11,But hes sticking to CODE for now. #1119
 

ndvalium

Rescue Director
Odd topic to happen to come up today here.

Had dinner with a couple people and this exact topic came up. one of which races one of the classes that has all but vanished. Some great idea and concepts were floated around the table that may make it easier or more attractive for some of these cars that are just sitting to make some returns in the future.

I guess we will see -
 

y2kbaja

Well-Known Member
Grassroots organizations are needed to keep the entry level portion of this sport alive. SCORE and BITD are the top of the league in our sport, the majors, the "nascar". Neither would be around if it weren't for the local field or short track. Grassroots needs support.

I'm building a class 9 for my 26yo daughter and 13yo son to race. My son won't step away from video games except to eat. And now to help work on the race car. It's exciting actually.

We're going to race VORRA whose mission statement is "where racing isn't a lifestyle, it's family". There were more first time drivers and co-drivers at the last race than ever.
 

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RYAN COHEE

Well-Known Member
All of the "SPEC" classes have gone from making the sport more affordable to who has the most invested the winners. M.O.R.E and S.N.O.R.E are the two local organizations keeping the grassroots classes alive. Viva air cooled classes and guys that prep in the garage !
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
I feel like they can't and I want to be wrong.

This topic was brought to mind because of the 5-1600 threads. I loved our 5 car racing days. Mostly because we won a lot of races but we were not racing a large field. The nostalgia of the old school buggy was something I enjoyed as well.

But then we moved on to trophy lite. I liked the spec class concept of motor but not of the rest of the truck. Tires etc. Not enough freedom there.

Then onto class ten. LOVED IT. It was all the stuff I liked about spec without the restrictions I didn't like.

TT Spec i like also for the same reasons.

Spec classes seem "on paper and in concept" to be more "practical" and I wonder if this is going to wreck the 1600 type car counts eventually.

I LOVE 1600 and dont want it messed with but I wonder how much longer these types of classes will last. Tons of truck classes have died. will these go the same way?
Maybe I'm just an eternal optimist but I think it IS possible. It's certainly not easy, but I think it's possible to find formulas that can help make participating more attractive to some folks. But the thing is there is no cookie cutter answer, and it depends on what you think "revived" looks like. I agree in theory to something that @Bro_Gill mentioned about promoters...there is a lot of room for growth on the promoting side in my opinion to take hard looks at why car counts in some classes are dwindling and a big opportunity for them to figure out what kind of things they can do to create better incentives to get those folks in to the game.

But at the same time I think there has to be some collective "class community" effort to "save" classes as well. The smaller classes that have had some success in revitalizing seem to function well as a community, with multiple people involved in whipping up group support, etc. Having dabbled in this first hand over the last few years, the best success we seemed to have was when folks were willing to work together...reaching out to sponsors and potential sponsors to support the group, collaborating on which races to race to maximize effort, etc. It's a very hard game to play because everyone has competing interests obviously, but the folks who are able to do it effectively seem to have had success in keeping their classes going.

Bottom line for me is I think there is still room in this sport for everyone and that's one of the things that has always made it special to me personally. There aren't too many other examples of motorsports where a guy who built a race car in his garage on nothing but Coors light and couch change can be sitting at the drivers meeting next to a guy with a multi million dollar operation driving a mid six figures costing race car. Its never going to be perfect and participation will always ebb and flow but I think there are tangible things that can be done to try to keep some of the smaller classes viable and sustainable.
 

Zac Reish

Well-Known Member
Yes they can with a well thought out plan, effort, promotion, the ability to accept the road taken isn't perfect, and the will to evolve along the way. Ryan The guys who win spec classes are not the ones who invest the most money. They are the best drivers and teams. Heger, dickerson, conrad, Travis chase. Yes they invest what is necessary to be competitive but these are not classes that win because 4 out of the 5 other entries have issues. Come on. And there are more people than you think prepping their own cars in spec classes. For the rest of you old timers (sorry but true) The world as we know it is not ending, Desert racing is booming, innovation is happening before our eyes. Innovation is going to be expensive. Look at the old/new phlueger truck. That thing is an expensive piece of $ hit that never worked. It could have but they needed to keep developing. Look at Mason and the 4WD trucks. That seems to be the future now. All you guys who are not in the position to afford racing a 9 car 3-4 times a year anymore need to stop talking about how it used to be because how it used to be is not going to ever be the way it becomes or is ever again. Make it happen with the way things are or get involved and enjoy desert racing with a team that is.
 
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ACME

Well-Known Member
Class 9, 11, 5-5/16, 16, 12 & 10 can easily be raced from a 2 car garage with a modest tool set up. 9, 11, 16, 5/16 can be fully prepped sans/trans & maybe motor by virtually anyone with a solid skill set, basic tools, patience and common sense. More elaborate motors, electronics packages and FI and the bigger the car, make space, knowledge and prep more challenging thus more is outsourced. Toss in the more you spend the more you have and if that's how you want to play, that's your call...

I know guys that strip a complete 9 or 16 cars 2 days after they race and some have 2 sets of everything ready to swap in, and I know a few bigger class guys with the same program but the fact is: A limited class car doesn't eat parts as often and is pretty easy to manage and if you have a big car/big program it takes space and more than 2 hands to do most of the stuff.

I know a lot of guys that race a truck out of their garage but most we know have larger shop space as once you tear a truck down it requires room and the bigger the vehicle the more storage etc… you need. Thus you see more guys outsourcing as the space, equipment and knowledge needed on these systems is daunting as compared to a 16 or 9 car...

Zac is right: The Genie is out of the bottle. Hopefully people still want to try racing and find those limited classes as I'd hate to see them disappear. Are they viable: Yes! But just like everything else the new era doesn't seem to want to work at stuff as hard like the olden days. They want it fast, the attention span has decreased and in reality they all want to all be Social Media stars...
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
Class 9, 11, 5-5/16, 16, 12 & 10 can easily be raced from a 2 car garage with a modest tool set up. 9, 11, 16, 5/16 can be fully prepped sans/trans & maybe motor by virtually anyone with a solid skill set, basic tools, patience and common sense. More elaborate motors, electronics packages and FI and the bigger the car, make space, knowledge and prep more challenging thus more is outsourced. Toss in the more you spend the more you have and if that's how you want to play, that's your call...

I know guys that strip a complete 9 or 16 cars 2 days after they race and some have 2 sets of everything ready to swap in, and I know a few bigger class guys with the same program but the fact is: A limited class car doesn't eat parts as often and is pretty easy to manage and if you have a big car/big program it takes space and more than 2 hands to do most of the stuff.

I know a lot of guys that race a truck out of their garage but most we know have larger shop space as once you tear a truck down it requires room and the bigger the vehicle the more storage etc… you need. Thus you see more guys outsourcing as the space, equipment and knowledge needed on these systems is daunting as compared to a 16 or 9 car...

Zac is right: The Genie is out of the bottle. Hopefully people still want to try racing and find those limited classes as I'd hate to see them disappear. Are they viable: Yes! But just like everything else the new era doesn't seem to want to work at stuff as hard like the olden days. They want it fast, the attention span has decreased and in reality they all want to all be Social Media stars...
A lot of generalizations and stereotypes in your conclusion in my opinion. The symptoms are easy to spot, the causes are less obvious. Lots of "old" generation guys out there with perfectly viable race cars who aren't bringing them out to race either. I doubt it's because they don't want to work hard or only want social media attention. And plenty of "new era" guys like 1450 dudes busting their butts in their garages to race their trucks, many of whom use social media as the means to race, not the other way around.

Not saying there isn't any truth to the generalizations, but I'm personally reluctant to paint in such broad strokes here. There's a lot of reasons people are and aren't racing, moving from one class to another, etc. It's kind of an easy out in my opinion to just chalk it all up to "kids these days".
 

cynicwanderer

Well-Known Member
so what about advice to the guy who wants to get into cages at this point. compared to many on here, I'm fairly new to desert racing, I prep my own bike and like the economics of racing a bike at the big long distance races (i.e. BITD/SCORE), but I getting to old for riding bikes. I don't unlimited money to spend on racing, but I really love it.

I have the opportunity to buy a Class 9 buggy with relatively fresh motor/transmission at a reasonable price, but I'm dragging my feet, because there are few (if any) Class 9 in the long races anymore and while it's still economical to race these classes, but, as someone pointed out motors/transmissions/parts are getting more expensive and there is little incentive for anyone to sponsor a Class 9 these days to get some discount on parts. I'm sure they would let me race, but might stuff me into another class, like 1600, then I might as well convert it into a 1600 buggy, but in the end, those classes are not well represented at the long races.

UTV are the rage these days, and it might be fun/easy to get into Stock N/A UTVs; parts break more often, which adds a fun challenge to the stock class. there is more availability and there are more incentives to get discounts for sponsorship.

I'm not afraid to be a trend setter or odd man out, and be the lonely Class 9 guy at V2R, in a swarm of UTVs, but it would be nice for this for there to be a broader interest in it, or maybe a resurgence. I know I can get buddies for the team, just because it has a vintage aura to it, and many people in my age grew up with VW buggies and are nostalgic about. I think with UTVs, it would be harder to find people for the team who have that passion.

I also like the idea of "race what you brung" classes, like the sportsman truck class, but again there are rarely any entries and it's pretty much dead.
 

BlueCoyote

Well-Known Member
Sad to see many of these classes fade away. Just a thought - with the millions of Subaru engines & transaxles out there - seem like an untapped source for revised drivetrains
 

misterktm

Well-Known Member
so what about advice to the guy who wants to get into cages at this point. compared to many on here, I'm fairly new to desert racing, I prep my own bike and like the economics of racing a bike at the big long distance races (i.e. BITD/SCORE), but I getting to old for riding bikes. I don't unlimited money to spend on racing, but I really love it.

I have the opportunity to buy a Class 9 buggy with relatively fresh motor/transmission at a reasonable price, but I'm dragging my feet, because there are few (if any) Class 9 in the long races anymore and while it's still economical to race these classes, but, as someone pointed out motors/transmissions/parts are getting more expensive and there is little incentive for anyone to sponsor a Class 9 these days to get some discount on parts. I'm sure they would let me race, but might stuff me into another class, like 1600, then I might as well convert it into a 1600 buggy, but in the end, those classes are not well represented at the long races.

UTV are the rage these days, and it might be fun/easy to get into Stock N/A UTVs; parts break more often, which adds a fun challenge to the stock class. there is more availability and there are more incentives to get discounts for sponsorship.

I'm not afraid to be a trend setter or odd man out, and be the lonely Class 9 guy at V2R, in a swarm of UTVs, but it would be nice for this for there to be a broader interest in it, or maybe a resurgence. I know I can get buddies for the team, just because it has a vintage aura to it, and many people in my age grew up with VW buggies and are nostalgic about. I think with UTVs, it would be harder to find people for the team who have that passion.

I also like the idea of "race what you brung" classes, like the sportsman truck class, but again there are rarely any entries and it's pretty much dead.
Jeepspeed. Check it out. I went from bikes to 1700 class. Awesome ! I'll be moving up to 4700 next year. Lots of good 17 cars for sale right now as well.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Well, regardless of the Grinch's passive aggressive personal attacks, I still support the VW classes, especially the entry level ones. And by entry level, I do not consider class 5 or 10 entry level in any way shape or form. 10 used to be when it was 1200cc, but those days are long gone and prices for that class flew the coop when watercooled RACE motors became the norm in the class. Here are some realities that help make this problem exponentially larger-
1. Too many promoters and too many races. I like that SNORE and MORE are combining some of the dates, but if you want to race both series for points, it is still 9 races for the year. Easy for big money teams, doable for smaller teams, almost impossible to do for a shoestring team, so they pick and choose. And they don't always all choose the same races, so car counts are even lower. I doubt it is any different in Mexico where Record and Code seem to stack dates close together.
2. No consistent rules across the board. Especially in some of the limited entry level classes. Take Class 11. It seems that there are solid older style rules for SNORE which MORE seems to use, then you have SCORE which doesn't seem to even understand what a 'stock bug' is suppose to be and BITD doesn't even have rules for 11, so do whatever you want,m we are putting you in as a sportsman anyway. And then you have the wild west mentality of the south of the Border guys who seem to think that if someone did something outside the rules and didn't get busted on it, then everyone should be able to get away with it to, Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules. Weights, number of passengers, fuel type, etc... Do we even need to mention tire size? Really, for the betterment of the sport as a whole, rules need to be written by participants in the class and set in stone and promoters can use the rules, not make them as they go. It hurts car counts.
3. Entry fees. Big Dogs should race for Big Money. Little Dogs for Littler Money. The guy that wins Indy or the guy who wins Daytona takes home more money than the guy who wins at Madera or Havasu. As it should be. But why should the little dog pay as much as the big dog to a promoter to race a shorter distance on the same course? With literally almost no payback? I would rather see TT guys paying $5k more in their entry with all $5k going towards their purse to make their pay day that much bigger and more impressive. If there were 20 tt teams entered, the purse would be $100k! Think those teams can't afford that $5k and won't race? Especially if payback went something like 1st=$40k, Second- $25k third -$20k fourth $10k and fifth $5k. Might even get some local and regional press with numbers like that. And that's only 20 truck. Yeah, it costs more to run a TT than those numbers, but what are they winning now? Promoters could use the press, sponsors would LOVE the press. Racers could use the press and the money and the sponsors. Included in that entry fee is a chunk for insurance. I know for a fact that insurance companies look at difference in the speeds and types of race cars they are insuring. A race of 9 cars would not have nearly the liability of a race of Trophy Trucks, but each racer pays the same amount towards insurance. Why? Lower insurance for the slower classes with less liability should mean less costs for the insurance and lower the entry fee accordingly. Little things add up So do bigger things. I kind of feel like promoters are mailing it in any more. Especially the Big Dog promoters.
 

dan200

#BSF200
I think that generation wise the VWs are too "old school" to gain a new generation" of racers to keep the classes alive much less to have the classes flourish. The UTV surely is not helping. I might even wager that the baja bugs were the entry level classes back in the day and that entry level is going to be the UTV.
 

Tundranation

Well-Known Member
the death of MDR was more disappointing than most want to admit.......it had a rippling affect on offroad racing in general....... just saying
 
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