Off-Road Future

bajaruner11

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Lots of good input to be read here. I feel this topic is long overdue. From my learning's, and experience in off road racing I must say not much has changed over the years in desert racing, and most likely it won't ever change. As far as mainstream goes in desert racing this won't happen without major change. Many people talk of needing big dollars, and sponsors to get the TV time to go mainstream, but that's not the problem here. The big dollars, and air time all will come to the sport should it be promoted by the right people in the correct way. The problem, (and this only my opinion) is that desert racing as a sport has a platform that does everything except allow the spectators, and sponsors to view the race, and I'm not talking about sitting in the bleachers, or bushes at your favorite race in the 100 degree heat in hopes that the car your cheering for will come by in an hour. This is desert racing like it or not, and I love it. Look at NASCAR, CART, INDY, GOLF, BASKETBALL, FOOTBALL, and the list goes on, these all sell a seat to a fan, or sponsor, and give a viewing area, comfortably I might add. This is the key to success, it makes money. Mickey Thompson (rest his soul) saw this problem many years ago, and brought on stadium racing. The idea worked two fold, the spectators got to see what off road racing was all about, and the manufacturers had the opportunity to market the new mini trucks on the market in the form of race trucks. So having learned something from all of this the only way to get more involvement in desert racing is to create more short loop style races, maybe in and back out again to the desert for a short loop, at some of the big super speedways(Vegas, and Fontana for instance. This will create the key elements of a profitable sport which are sponsors, spectators, action, and camera's. I know allot of good people have stepped up lately to trophy truck, but without more promoting and sponsorship sooner than later this all will be gone again. What about the idea of one of the big name promoters in the west starting something like this or even adding a short course series to there list of events? I mean does score really need to run just desert races? CORR run's there races back east unfortunately most if the big off road racers live in the west, and don't want to make the trip to race in the mud of Wisconsin, therefore limiting there growth ability greatly. martininsocal your right on man, things like riverside = fun and viewable. There is an old saying "Build it and they will come" always true.
Just my 10 cents.
STEVE
 

Jerry Zaiden

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Is there a future?
I do not know. Ask your selves a few questions. If you were the head of marketing for Coke, Pepsi, Microsoft, etc.... How and where would you spend your dollars? The desert is Dirty, hot, far, rough to spectate, etc... The races that get some and I mean just small numbers are Primm and Laughlin. These are races people can stay in a hotel hang with the big boys wake up on race day stroll out and walk to the race. But the people who show up are very dedicated fans (you and me). Can we really spectate these races?
How can we attract the general public to drive to state line, laughlin, or Baja? What about Barstow with the stigma that town has on the general public down here (no offense if you live there).
Now how can we get more people to attend, spread the word, and get the TV guys there?
Think large. Think how your Mom or Dad would want to go and watch. Think of the person who does not really like the desert how can we make them interested? Now how can we bring it (the desert) to them?
How can we really make this sport grow with over 10 different promoters? None of them really make the big bucks to buy TV or market themselves to get it. Let’s face it they care about one thing $$$$$$$ they are a business. How many different race teams are there? What if they all showed up at the same race? There would be over 400+ racers how cool would that be? Now how many racers would spend $500 per race for TV? How about $400 of the money would go to TV, $160,000 per race (would this be enough? The left over $100 would go to local advertisement $40,000 per race. All of this would be just from the racers. Now how about the dollars from the “1” promoter who would want to work with us (the racer) and make this sport grow. How much does an IRL race cost to enter? How about NASCAR? Just think if there was $1,000,000 in just pure advertisement for our sport. 5 races x $500 per racer. We might be able to hype our own sport to get the TV for FREE! And when we have TV we have the BIG SPONSORS.
 

Kritter

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I agree with Jerry on Primm and Laughlin, but they are at the wrong times in the year. LIke Gabe said earlier, he has gotten friends into it and they now love it....well how much easier is it to get somebody to go to Laughlin in the summer to party on the river, gamble and catch their first off road race? I know of a lot more people who are willing to go to Laughlin in the summer then in the winter to see a desert race. Look at Primm, I think that has to be one of the funnest races I have ever been to and I had 3 people with me who had never been to a desert race before that are ready to go back this year to watch. You could say that those people don't care about desert racing but it only takes one time to get hooked and you would have a lot more spectators with Laughlin being in the summer. It is a short course so the heat for the teams and racers is not so bad. I would much rather have Laughlin in the summer then Henderson!

I dont know what it costs for TV coverage or any kind of coverage, but I do know people with money will not put up capital for something that is not sponsor/spectator friendly or going to net them some profit. I dont understand why SCORE or BITD cannot sell tickets to the event netting them more money and have a waiver on the ticket against any lawsuits for people who may get hurt spectating. I dont knwo the legal issues but if spectators could be on the course like a mexico race it would be more appealing to "us" the spectators and racers and definitly to the first timers. BLM is another problem. They are out haggling everybody and giving huge fines to people for sitting in a lawn chair in 120 degree heat, drinking a beer waiting to get roosted by a truck going 80+ mph....where is the harm in that? I think MDR has more entries then the "big 2" and although they dont cater to the big dog racers, the spectators are happier. I bet money more people have got hooked on desert racing in the last few years from going to an MDR race then a Score or BITD race. Spectating BITD is almost non-existent, pit books are top secret and nothing is marked so you have to have a pitbook or coursemap which is also top secret. Score tries to have spectating, but it doesnt work. I know it is a lot easier for me to get a newcomer to go to Lucerrne or Barstow for an MDR race where we can set up a cool spot and hangout then it is to say that we have to stay in the pits and watch from there, or else!

I think once SCORE and BITD can prove that people with no knowledge of desert racing want to go watch them, then they will have some success with race coverage. For now the only way people with no knowledge will find out is word of mouth and great boards like this one.

Klaus make a pole and find out how many on this board have actually gone to a desert race and you will see what I am talking about. I see it on here often and it goes like this

newcomer
"Im goin to "so and so" for my first dez race. Where should I set up a spot?"
response
"Oh dont go to that race it sucks for watching, you cant check it out from there, its closed now and you cant there becasue BLM will ticket you and you need a pit pass to get in there and and and and"

All I am saying is we should not have to say that the race sucks for spectating because that is the only way this sport will get the recognition it deserves.

on a lighter side

If the WNBA can get TV coverage desert racing can too. A desert race has about the same attendance as a Sparks game and I am sure there are more desert racers who can dunk a basketball then their whole league.

Kris
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.dmsrace.com>www.dmsrace.com</A>
"It's not an oil leak, it's sweat from all the horsepower"
 

michael

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The Whiplash races in Parker the last several years were a great place to spectate with the "Gauntlet" spectator area. It was a great place to see some action and you could walk through the pits and see your faves up close and personal. The race started right on mainstreet, we liked it a lot! Sadly, it looks like it's not gonna happen with Whiplash any more, but that's a whole 'nother issue(or maybe not?). Jay(Whiplash) had the right idea....maybe someone else will take the ball and run.

Michael <A target="_blank" HREF=http://mkparker.com/goose>mkparker.com/goose</A>
 

BlueCoyote

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As a beginning racer and a fan here are my observations.
If Off road racing wants to be veiwed as a proffesional sport, first they need to act proffesional.
By that I mean be open, accesable and promote to the general public. Since the public is the customer base the adversiesers are after - you need to take the sport to there level. While I view NASCAR as the WWF of the automotive racing world, they have done an excellent job of attracting the fans. Then fans know virtually every race date, location, drivers, etc. While the racing comunity may know what races are going on, where, and when - Joe Q Public hasent a clue. The local rock krawling events adveritise all over the hi desert - every auto parts store, qwiky mart, gas station has a flyer in the window. Those events are huge and are getting TV coverage. You never see any fliers for a MDR, MORE, BITD race. In my case it was only my finding out about the Dusty Times that I finally got some of the inside scoop on desert racing.
Fans, kids, motor heads love to look at any kind of race vehicle. Yet I have never seen an off-road race truck at any place other than a race or Expo. And still in most cases only at a distance. The rock krawling events have a 'open house' the day before at a local motel parking lot. That place is a packed. Hats of to Scott for haveing the TT available at Primm.
As for the rought conditions - many people are more willing to trek into the desert than you think. Provide plenty of pre-race promotion, good diredtions, a water /food vendor and some porta pottys.
And after the race, make it a BIG deal about how we go out and clean up the desert. Get the local TV news involved (who wouldn't want to see Lisa Jointer out picking trash). We do it anyway, but why not get some good PR out of it.
Just my .02

Who are you calling Coyote ugly?
84 Toyota p/u Rokrawlr
86 4rnr
80 Toyota MDR Project
 

deleted

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Minus the Huge amount of talent they both have, TV and Large Corporate Sponsors have put Robby Gordon and Jimmie Johnson where they are at today........

Matt Scaroni
SMD Motorsports/ Protruck 27 / Excursion 4111
 

full_pull

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I'm with Kritter on this one. The off-road racing fan base will not grow substantially as long as promotors continue to alienate the fans they already have, let alone new ones. To spectate a BITD race you must have a pit pass. Imagine a fledgling spectator driving up to Nevada for the Las Vegas 200 and being turned away from the access road to the dry lake for lack of a pit pass. Said race was deemed "spectator friendly" on the BITD website, how was he/she to know he/she needed a pit pass, after all, they weren't there to pit for anyone, merely to spectate. Said spectator now returns home dejected after a long drive and no spectating. SCORE falls victim to the same offenses. One "designated BLM approved" spectator area? If you're only going to have one, make it a good one! I don't want to watch the cars go over a bunch of man made jumps from the bleachers behind a fence, I want to see the cars dancing through the whoops at speed. If it's an insurance issue or funding issue (cost to pay more BLM to patrol the area), then start charging admission to cover the costs. I for one would pay money to sit in bleachers (or my own lawn chair for that matter) at Primm's Pit B or at Laughlin's road crossing. This is not meant to be a derogatory stab at BITD or SCORE in particular, it is just a mere fact that they are two of the largest sacntioning bodies in desert racing and are the two biggest offenders when it comes to alienating the fan base.
 

AllwaysRcn

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Hopefully, if the rumors turn out to be reality, when RG (and others?) make an attempt at the Baja 1000 this year, it will bring some exposure and coverage that we need. I know it has been mentioned numerous times on the Nascar boards (like Jayski) when it was first made public that he and harvick/childress (and Jr) etc. were gonna be involved in the Baja 1000 this year.
 

pciscott

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I think that most spectators consider off-road racing as a free sport and would not pay to watch a race when they can drive out in the desert and watch it for free. The other problem is there is no fence between the cars and the spectators, this raises a huge liability issue for corporate America. 20 years ago all the tire and truck manufacturers had huge budgets for desert racing, more specific the Baja 1000. This money has been moved away mainly due to liability issues. Does Ford want to see a Trophy Truck lose control and go into a crowd? Banding spectators with a liability waiver and making them pay to go to a spectator area would help the promoter generate more income to be able to advertise our sport better, but how many of you would just go to a different promoter for free? With over 10 promoters there are to many choices of races, over 60 desert races this year. Promoters need a certain number of entries to make profit, if your entries are down add another race and this boosts your bottom line. The problem is how many races can contingency, volunteers, and spectators support? I think Snore started something good with Co-promoting races, this makes less races with more entries. The PRO type classes bouncing around to promoters for the best deal may help there class, but at what cost? I don't know what the answers are, but we need to draw a line as a sport: professional or hobby? I think there is room for both. Having an influx of outside money would help everyone in offroad, how can we better attract it? Baja tough means something we need to promote it better. Get a few manufacturers back and then they will all jump on the band wagon. I have more thoughts, but have to get back to work. One last thing over 20 Trophy Trucks and 30 class ones blasting down the peninsula towards La paz should be spectacular to watch. I think the Baja 1000 is an adventure that everyone who loves offroad should not miss. Later.

God Bless America

Scott Steinberger Trophy Truck #7
 

Mike_McCluskey

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I think one of the first steps that needs to be taken is for the racers to get organized. Pull together for a common goal, whatever that will be, create a drivers organization that might provide insurance for the racers protection, not just the promoters, possibly create a point series consisting of races chosen in the manner the Pro groups are doing, deal with rules issues, have a larger organized group to assist with what CORDR, CORVA, and the ASA are doing (big priority), and so on. I'm pretty sure you will never end up with one promoter so at some point you will have to choose which races will be best for spectators and racers and promote them for the point series and keep the other races for those of us who probably couldn't afford to run an entire "PRO" series.
There has been a ton of good ideas written in this thread and if there was some way to organize all these thoughts our sport would probably get better. The first attempt didn't go anywhere so maybe a new attempt would.

I just spent my daily allowance...
 

Catawampus

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Okay . . . As long as this thread keeps going, we will see the importance of this issue. I hope later in the week it has not dropped down and fade behind posts like “Has anyone seen my tire”.
Granted people living in the western states have easy access to desert racing, and most would not enjoy driving several hours to sit in 100+ degree weather in the dust. What we need is to go after the people that are in our communities, and take advantage of opportunities to get them interested. We need to reach families that can’t get out. We need to have them involved so they will request desert racing on TV and be able to sit at home and watch Scott’s TT fly buy and say to each other – hey! there is Scott! – remember we talked to him! -- and got to sit in his truck! They would tell their friends, and maybe even have a desert race party at home and grill some Carne Asada! How do we make it happen? If they can televise bus pulling, rock carrying, and chain saw contests, why in the hell is desert racing not on TV? We must organize and make changes. A post mentioned that it has always been this way – well that is a good indication of what is wrong.

General review of posts. Not in any particular order:

1. Serious commitment
2. Keep the sport pure and don’t sell-out it’s uniqueness
3. Advertise
4. Get the public involved
5. More exposure between races.
6. Sanctioning bodies must promote
7. Racers must promote
8. Identify successful structure and organizational techniques
9. Plan from the results of (8)
10. Define the unique attraction that desert racing provides
11. A National Championship
12. Manufacture commitment & what we can do to meet their advertising and selling goals.
13. Less Sanctioning Bodies
14. Be a part of the community – trash pick up, desert restoration projects, community service
15. ORGANIZE.

Let’s not let this die. Discussing this is a start. We must organize our thoughts and vote on what we feel is the most critical item to attack. Once decided – then we can take the next step to make it happen.

Kim
 

FlynRyan

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I agree with Krittrer and Full_pull, my last race I went to was the Primm race last year. I took a couple of friends with me who has seen all the video's you guys make of the races. They were interested in seeing it live. I knew Primm didn't have the best spectating location but I didn't know anybody to get a pit pass from because I haven't chased for a team since '99. Anyway they were disappointed a little because the action that they have seen in the videos was not what they saw live. I explained to them the problem of not having a pass to get out to the "good spots". They are more content in going to watch my District 37 races because you can go see great action at a national Hare & Hound desert race anywhere on the track. As long as I don't have a team to chase for I am not going to sit out in the heat and watch the race cars go over a small jump and some moguls in the "spectating area". I can stay at home get the updates and stories off the Internet and wait a few weeks when all the videos show up that show me the areas I couldn't get to anyways. When I was a kid I used to sit and watch all the ESPN covered races on TV. My parents weren't interested in the desert or in racing so I never went, but watching it on TV fueled my desires.

Ryan

PS: Keep the pictures and videos coming, makes for good conversation pieces at work.............
 

shrek

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One of the key's to all alot of this happening is for us to come up with a standard core set of classes and class rules for the stock classes, since that is what the manufacturers like to support and obviously and open class is open no matter what promoter it is generally. I know this is not going to make some people happy, but the only way to have more entrants is to have races that everyone can run. Basically, so I dont have a stock mini in MDR that does not fit into any class in SCORE, BITD, or anything else. Do that in all classes to help us all be more uniform with the classes. It sounds like 7s is getting their class together to do just this and we should all do this and tell the promoters what we want to do. We all love this sport too much and because of that we feel it is a privelage to get to race and we forget that we are in fact customers, and if I know anything it is that when it comes down to it my customers pretty much dictate how I do buisness, not I to them. We need to unite as customers and do what we can to grow the sport and not rely on the promoters to do so.

Please keep this post alive with ideas!!!!!!!

Matt, Schrek, Faceman-------whatever you would like to call me today.


Racing isn't everything.............it's the only thing!!!
 

pciscott

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Summit tried, and a lot of heavy hitters in the industry were involved. The problem was to many agendas, and no one could agree on what issues needed to be addressed. Our sport is fragmented and unless we pull it together it will not go main stream.

God Bless America

Scott Steinberger Trophy Truck #7
 

Catawampus

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I am not sure if I understand how we (the racers) are customers - please explain.

I look at it this way.

Desert Racing is the product - we have to find ways to market it. (Without selling-out!)

How can our product help our sponsors or advertisers (our customers or potential customers) sell more of their product and how can we build successful partnerships with them?

We are customers to a small degree – being the demands of off-road racing has us continually replace parts, but this is not enough the support the manufactures. They are counting on us to prove, to the public, that their products or services are meeting the tough demands of desert racing.

Perhaps another issue is that we need to address is what exactly do the manufactures / sponsors expect from us, and how can we meet their needs.

Kim
 

BlueCoyote

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Correct.
Some very basic things need to get worked out.
1 - The BIG ? - do the promoters want to be come "proffesional" and move up to the next level, or are they just happy putting on races for hobbiest? Some may not want to or be ready to move up. Nothng wrong with that but they need to make a decision.
2 Race dates - they all need to get in the same room, put the ego's aside, grab a calander and pick dates. Multilple races on the same date is rediculous. I do realize the BLM has input on dates but that too can be worked out. If the 7s guys can do it for engines, so can the promoters.
3. Have one "Sanctioning body" - one big set of goals and rules. Call it NADRA (North American Desert Racing Assn) or some other catchy name. Within that have different divisoins - BITD for NV races, SCORE for MX races, MDR, FRT, MORE, VORRA for local regional racing. As Nascar has different division, so can we.
Now my brain hurts.

Who are you calling Coyote ugly?
84 Toyota p/u Rokrawlr
86 4rnr
80 Toyota MDR Project
 

AllwaysRcn

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What good are all of these ideas if we keep losing more and more of our land. Before long we will have no land to race on in the U.S. and then all desert racing will be in Mexico or Privately owned short courses. So that problem is solved. Oh and most of the promotors will have faded away due to the land closures, so I guess that problem also goes away. Nice. Maybe we should re-think this thru so that by the time we get this "age-old" problem figured out, we still have land to race on. My .002 cents
 

shrek

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The racing promoters are making money off of us, and with no racers then there are no races and the promoters dont make any money. Therefore, as I see it at least, we are the customers of the promoters and we should have a say in the product or event that we are buying.

Matt

Racing isn't everything.............it's the only thing!!!
 

Catawampus

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Hey - You have to be positive about this - with global warming half the continent will be desert soon - think of the opportunities - San Diego to Billings Montana desert race. (I wonder if they would televise that?)

Kim
 

PBR

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here is what i think we need as a racer (not lately) and as a spectator:

bottom line is if we want desert racing to be mainstream we need TV. no big name sponsors want their name on the side of a truck or buggy if it is just going to show up in a magazine or on the internet.

i don't understand where all the entry fee's are going!!! entry is more now than a few years ago and a few years ago we were on speedvision. i am a video editor for television and i can tell you that to do a simple show like the ones that used to air on speedvision is relativly cheap. but that was part of the problem, the races on speedvision sucked!!! we need something like the WRC, something with attitude. but the show would also have to focus on the fastest, sickest class, trophy truck. if you start with the one class and people start watching then you can throw in other classes down the line. to do a show for tv you need coverage, hours and hours of it and big beta cameras are expensive, but with todays technology mini dv cameras are everywhere and they are broadcast quality. so if the promoters really cared about getting back into tv land all they would have to do is ask the racers and/or spectators for footage of their truck and the guys who can afford helis, tape some stuff from up there. scott could even ductape a camera inside the TT and give it to sal and say "here is some incar footage". i think it is actually pretty simple, it would just be a little more effort on the promoters part. right now at work i am working on a show for speedchannel, it is the "alcan 5000 rally". we used 5 mini dv cameras for 5000 miles of racing and then asked all the racers if they wanted their cars/motos to be on tv then give us your tapes. everyone gave us tapes, because it is good for them and their sponsors. and after you have all the footage the post production is easy. i know i am babbling but we need tv coverage if we want more money in the sport. and we need the promoters to care about the future of the sport.

ollie penchansky

Penchansky Brothers Racing
 
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