Membership Poll...How long is too long?

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At what point do you not come to Autocross Sunday because the total time commitment is too long?

Poll ended at Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:30 pm

4 hours on site
1
3%
5 hours on site
2
6%
6 hours on site
5
14%
7 hours on site
1
3%
8 hours on site
2
6%
9 hours on site
0
No votes
10 hours on site
0
No votes
Nothing will keep me away
19
53%
Let's go back to how it was
6
17%
Cut back to three runs to reduce the overall time commitment and keep the December format
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 36

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George Schilling
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Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby George Schilling » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:30 pm

For the December's Autocross Sunday, Cal Club Autocross tried a new format utilizing two grids and worker changes on the fly in an effort to reduce overall time of the event. Registration and tech closed at 9am. The course closed for walking at 8:20am. There was no lunch break for those running later to walk course. For that event, we had 117 entrants, a relatively light attendance for a Sunday event, but not unusual for the last event of the year. The cars completed their runs in approximately 4 hours and junior karts followed about 30 minutes later. By all accounts, the event ran smoothly. The time savings was used to offer Free Fun Runs at the conclusion of the event to those who chose to participate in exchange for staying and loading the CTV. Those that responded to our polling were generally positive about the new format.

Looking at the past three January events, we had 175, 180, and 175 actually run, an average of 177 entrants. As you can see, this is 60 more entries or 50% more. We have no reason to believe this will not be the case again this year. Under the December scenario, entrants would basically be divided into five groups, the average time of each work group would one hour twelve minutes. Assuming a very conservative arrival time of 1.5 hours before the start of the event, the last run/work group will have been at the event 6.3 hours before the last group begins, and 7.5 hours after the initial arrival to complete fours runs and/or the last work assignment. Then of course we need to pack the CTV, approximately 30 minutes if everyone pitches in.

As a side note, our largest turnout of 2017 was north of 200 entrants.

Under our normal system, the group would be divided into 5-6 groups, with 55-60% of those choosing to run/work before the lunch break, and the remainder running/working after the lunch break, making for a much shorter time commitment for all but a few competitors. For the past three Januarys, everyone was able to complete their four runs using the old scenario despite the shorter days this time of year. Yet some see the December format as the future of our region. What do you think?

So my question to our membership is this....What is your breaking point? At what point do you say the time commitment is not worth showing up to compete at a local event? I am a committed autocrosser who, when I'm able to walk upright, doesn't miss and event. However, even I have a breaking point. My question is do you?

As arguments are made, you can change your vote.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Stephen Yeoh » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:47 pm

Thank you for asking George. As you make your vote, feel free to add your thoughts and comments as well.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Brian Howlett » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:06 am

My youngest son (now 43) quit autocrossing about 10 years ago because of this very thing.
His quote: "It's too much time involved for the 3-4 minutes of run time" I just don't see this new proposed "format" improving that situation.
In December we had 117 entries and finished at 1-1:30 PM with everyone arriving early (~7:30) for a course walk. We also had no MAJOR stopages at this event.
That's a good 5-6 hours AT the event for those that ran in the last group.

For the last 3 years we've averaged OVER 170 entries in January which would add another 1-1/2 to 2 hours to an event under this style format. This is not conducive in attracting new members. I believe we need to figure a way to reduce the time involved at the track not increase it.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:25 pm

George Schilling wrote: Those that responded to our polling were generally positive about the new format.

Decsurvey.jpg
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George Schilling wrote: Looking at the past three January events, we had 175, 180, and 175 actually run, an average of 177 entrants. As you can see, this is 60 more entries or 50% more. We have no reason to believe this will not be the case again this year. Under the December scenario, entrants would basically be divided into five groups, the average time of each work group would one hour twelve minutes. Assuming a very conservative arrival time of 1.5 hours before the start of the event, the last run/work group will have been at the event 6.3 hours before the last group begins, and 7.5 hours after the initial arrival to complete fours runs and/or the last work assignment. Then of course we need to pack the CTV, approximately 30 minutes if everyone pitches in.


I can't tell if your talking about entrants or event officials here so ill split up my comment into both.

Event Officials; Our average at El toro last year was 178 entries which matches your estimate for the Jan participation. The average time on site for event officials was 11 hours and 1 minute. With the new format at 125 runs per hour including worker changeovers the total run-time would be 5 hours 41 minutes, plus setup and take down, plus 25 minute for JR course walks and kart starting means we could expect a total time commitment for event officials 9 hours and 6 minutes, roughly 2 hours less

Event Participants; 175 people / 5 groups = 35 people per group * 4 runs = 140 runs per group / 125 runs per hour = 1 hour and 7 minutes including the time of worker changover, but on run time alone at 150 runs per hour = 56 minutes. Total time for participants would vary as some people would end a group early, from 5 hours and 58 minutes to 7 hours and 6 minutes. Still leaving time for fun runs and that is the most people we run keeping the 4 run format. Also runs per hour changes with the course, Im adding to the 2017 event statistics post to include cones hit as they effect our run times. http://forums.solo2.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9863&p=111402#p111402


George Schilling wrote:As a side note, our largest turnout of 2017 was north of 200 entrants.

233 and we went down to 3 runs for that event.

George Schilling wrote:Under our normal system, the group would be divided into 5-6 groups, with 55-60% of those choosing to run/work before the lunch break, and the remainder running/working after the lunch break, making for a much shorter time commitment for all but a few competitors.

But requiring our volunteer event officials to stay an average of 2 hours longer.


George Schilling wrote:As arguments are made, you can change your vote.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Sean Fenstermacher » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:51 pm

What is the deal with the last poll option?:

"Cut back to three runs to reduce the overall time commitment and keep the December format"

Was there a motion to move runs to 3 vs 4 for the half day format? I know I got 4 runs in December.

From my understanding, we generally cut runs to 3 when we have very high turnout.
My understanding is rules for the half day format would be no different.

Can you please share the math that shows how we would need to reduce to 3 runs with the December format to accommodate for January turnout?
Based on the Runs Per Hour, the data indicates that the December format has higher efficiency and would allow us to either raise our attendance threshold to provide 4 runs, or to reduce to 3 and shorten the overall event. Either way, more efficiency adds these planning options that the "old format" did not.
Last edited by Sean Fenstermacher on Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:58 pm

I would also like to see a keep "the December format option with fun runs". I find that not including it shows your personal bias and doesn't leave a possible choice
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby George Schilling » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:02 pm

Sean Fenstermacher wrote:What is the deal with the last poll option?:

"Cut back to three runs to reduce the overall time commitment and keep the December format"

Was there a motion to move runs to 3 vs 4 for the half day format? I know I got 4 runs in December.

From my understanding, we generally cut runs to 3 when we have very high turnout.
My understanding is rules for the half day format would be no different.
Can you please share the math that shows how we would need to reduce to 3 runs with the December format to accommodate for January turnout?
Based on the Runs Per Hour, the data indicates that the December format has higher efficiency and would allow us to either raise our attendance threshold to provide 4 runs, or to reduce to 3 and shorten the overall event. Either way, more efficiency adds these planning options that the "old format" did not.


There was no math Sean. There was no motion. This was a suggestion made my Anthony during our last meeting as a way to deal with larger turnouts. The poll question was posed to see if there was any support for this option.

I'm curious Sean, since you are clearly a proponent for the December format, how many hours are you willing to devote on a Sunday to get four runs? Do you feel your answer is reflective of the average Autocross Sunday participant?
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Adam Tarnoff » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:59 pm

I was happy to be out by 1:30 at the last event.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby George Schilling » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:12 pm

Anthony Porta wrote:I would also like to see a keep "the December format option with fun runs". I find that not including it shows your personal bias and doesn't leave a possible choice


And the poll question you proudly wave wasn't biased. If it had said,

    "Would you like to see the December format used for future events knowing that normal event will take two or more additional hours to complete, that this will likely reduce overall attendance due to the additional time commitment required by attendees, lowering overall income, leading to increased fees?
that would have been fair.

As for a two hour time saving for event officials, I call B.S. Adding the break, junior karts, and free fun runs, the time commitment is the same. But I don't think it matters.

Here's a thought. Event officials don't care. They do what do because they like it. They're a special breed who have a great concern for community and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. This is why as soon the call goes out, the same committed people step up. I'm sure you can relate Anthony. You are one of those people. Our disagreement seems to center around what motivates people. Whether it be denying people the ability to pay cash or check, or asking for a greater time commitment from the average competitor, you feel there is no price to pay and that folks will continue to come to events. I strongly disagree.

Same question I asked Sean Anthony. How many hours are you willing to devote on a Sunday to get four runs? Do you feel your answer is reflective of the average Autocross Sunday participant?
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby George Schilling » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:27 pm

Adam Tarnoff wrote:I was happy to be out by 1:30 at the last event.


I would be happy with that and as the poll reflected, most were. But there were only 117 people there, an unusually light crowd. The problem as I see it Adam, is that some people will not want to devote all day to get four runs in. I won't. If I see I'm scheduled to either run or work group 4 or 5, I'm staying home.

What I'm trying to find out is how many others think like me. How many will want to get up at 5 to get there at 7 to walk course, and not run until 1pm, 2pm, or later. By the time they get home it's 6pm. Not happening for me unless I happen to be EM. And once I miss one event, it makes it easier to miss others. You can't fight human nature.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Adam Tarnoff » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:32 pm

George Schilling wrote:
Adam Tarnoff wrote:I was happy to be out by 1:30 at the last event.


I would be happy with that and as the poll reflected, most were. But there were only 117 people there, an unusually light crowd. The problem as I see it Adam, is that some people will not want to devote all day to get four runs in. I won't. If I see I'm scheduled to either run or work group 4 or 5, I'm staying home.

What I'm trying to find out is how many others think like me. How many will want to get up at 5 to get there at 7 to walk course, and not run until 1pm, 2pm, or later. By the time they get home it's 6pm. Not happening for me unless I happen to be EM. And once I miss one event, it makes it easier to miss others. You can't fight human nature.


Most of us have already been at events where you are there practically all day. I can think of many occasions where i've reg'd and checked in by noon, and still don't drive until 4.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Sean Fenstermacher » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:20 pm

George Schilling wrote:
Anthony Porta wrote:I would also like to see a keep "the December format option with fun runs". I find that not including it shows your personal bias and doesn't leave a possible choice


And the poll question you proudly wave wasn't biased. If it had said,

    "Would you like to see the December format used for future events knowing that normal event will take two or more additional hours to complete, that this will likely reduce overall attendance due to the additional time commitment required by attendees, lowering overall income, leading to increased fees?
that would have been fair.



Your statement that the "December Format" would reduce overall attendance (and increase event costs as a result) is a bias assumption that is based on absolutely no data or fact.

Even if Sundays were all day events there no evidence other than your assumptions that overall attendance would erode. Many autocross events in other parts of the country are all day events and the fact that nationwide SCCA autocross participation is increasing says otherwise.

That being said, making our Sunday events "All Day Events" is not what the Nationals Format is intended to do.

The "Nationals" style run format (December Format) is intended to increase efficiency of cycling our competition runs so we can shorten the day overall and bring back FUN RUNS. If turnout is huge, then the higher efficiency would again serve us well as we would be able to further raise the cap on number of drivers before we need to cut runs from 4 to 3.

While I have not talked to Anthony directly to gain insight on the motivation for the change, personally I see the change as a great way to offer event participants "more bang for the buck" with increased seat time (via Fun Runs) and potentially shorten the overall length of the event. Increasing the fun factor for events is something that many members would likely welcome and could also help increase participation.

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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby David Barrish » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:04 pm

Let's ask if and how many people want to even take advantage of "fun runs", or was this taken on as an additional reward for a 13 event season?

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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:11 am

David Barrish wrote:Let's ask if and how many people want to even take advantage of "fun runs", or was this taken on as an additional reward for a 13 event season?


Randy has been trying to do fun runs any time he can which I think was Oct, Nov, and of course Dec. For December that question was also included in the survey and the results were as follows.

funruns.png
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:21 am

George Schilling wrote:
Sean Fenstermacher wrote:What is the deal with the last poll option?:

From my understanding, we generally cut runs to 3 when we have very high turnout.
My understanding is rules for the half day format would be no different.
Can you please share the math that shows how we would need to reduce to 3 runs with the December format to accommodate for January turnout?
Based on the Runs Per Hour, the data indicates that the December format has higher efficiency and would allow us to either raise our attendance threshold to provide 4 runs, or to reduce to 3 and shorten the overall event. Either way, more efficiency adds these planning options that the "old format" did not.


This is exactly the case.


George Schilling wrote:There was no math Sean. There was no motion. This was a suggestion made my Anthony during our last meeting as a way to deal with larger turnouts. The poll question was posed to see if there was any support for this option.


I didnt come up with this, this is standard operating procedure when we have near 200 participants.
Events with 3 runs
March 2017 - 221 Entrants
March 2016 - 255 Entrants
June 2016 - 231 Entrants
Sept 2016 - 218 Entrants (Only afternoon groups were cut runs)
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:42 am

George Schilling wrote:
Anthony Porta wrote:I would also like to see a keep "the December format option with fun runs". I find that not including it shows your personal bias and doesn't leave a possible choice


And the poll question you proudly wave wasn't biased. If it had said,

    "Would you like to see the December format used for future events knowing that normal event will take two or more additional hours to complete, that this will likely reduce overall attendance due to the additional time commitment required by attendees, lowering overall income, leading to increased fees?
that would have been fair.


Any concrete details to support your opinion of "knowing that normal event will take two or more additional hours to complete, that this will likely reduce overall attendance due to the additional time commitment required by attendees, lowering overall income, leading to increased fees?"

George Schilling wrote:As for a two hour time saving for event officials, I call B.S. Adding the break, junior karts, and free fun runs, the time commitment is the same. But I don't think it matters.


I posted the average event times here http://forums.solo2.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9863. 175 entrants * 4 runs = 700 Runs / 125 Runs per hour = 5.6 Hours + 25 minutes for a Karters Walk + Arriving at 7:00 + 30 minutes for loading the trailer = 8 hours and 30 minutes. Current average time for an average of 176 participants is 11 hours 30 minutes. What actual data are you using to call b.s.?

George Schilling wrote:Here's a thought. Event officials don't care. They do what do because they like it. They're a special breed who have a great concern for community and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. This is why as soon the call goes out, the same committed people step up. I'm sure you can relate Anthony. You are one of those people. Our disagreement seems to center around what motivates people. Whether it be denying people the ability to pay cash or check, or asking for a greater time commitment from the average competitor, you feel there is no price to pay and that folks will continue to come to events. I strongly disagree.


1) Our event volunteers can speak for themselves and our current lack of depth to our volunteers shows otherwise.
2) Payments are on another thread you created here if you wish to continue the conversation there. http://forums.solo2.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=9815
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Steve Ekstrand » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:46 pm

Give it a rest George.... Gesh.....


And even mentioning 3 runs in a dying region with consistently less than 125 entrants should immediately lead to some dire punishment like being forced to run your CM car covered in I'mWithHer bumper stickers.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Steve Ekstrand » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:16 pm

If you weren't an event official, a junior, a junior parent, or interested in fun runs, then half of you were free to leave after the 3rd heat and half of you were free to leave after the 4th heat.

I don't care how you do it. Just figure out a way to do it better because we haven't been executing well. Sorry if that offends but the evidence is clear in how many cars we run through in a day. As attendance has dropped we've kept stretching out the event weekend. And it's almost like we can't operate unless we can set up on a Friday. CalClub has become synonymous with "Hold the Start!" I don't know why. We have some of the best people in the country here. But it sure seems like we could be executing better.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Jayson Woodruff » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:31 pm

I'm going to point out the people who should really be voting in this poll aren't going to.

Event format/efficiency is really about appealing to the casual competitor. The casual competitor is what really swings our numbers. If we make it hard, they don't show, make it easy and they do. The hard core competitor is going to be there no matter what because... they're hard core.

I think the format blows. I'd do everything I can to get individual people in and out as fast as possible (i.e. half days) AND take advantage of all the daylight you have. We're not getting any venue/insurance/equipment discounts for leaving at 2pm.

I don't know how we got into a position where the world comes crashing down on us if 225 people show up in the long light hours. We used to handle 300 in the winter. I'm also not so sure how we got to 1hr+ work groups being the norm. Definitely not 'casual competitor friendly. Need to work on that worker list... If we require less workers per group (i.e. smaller run groups) good things happen.

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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:16 pm

Jayson Woodruff wrote:
I think the format blows. I'd do everything I can to get individual people in and out as fast as possible (i.e. half days) AND take advantage of all the daylight you have. We're not getting any venue/insurance/equipment discounts for leaving at 2pm.


No we offered free fun runs which were announced in advanced, where people took between 6-8 more runs. So between 10-12 total. Offering 10-12 runs for $35 is even better than our 10-12 runs for $80 on a practice day. Which we sell out. PCA also sells out with their equivalent 12 run format. Can you tell us about the speed ventures autox events?

Jayson Woodruff wrote:I don't know how we got into a position where the world comes crashing down on us if 225 people show up in the long light hours. We used to handle 300 in the winter. I'm also not so sure how we got to 1hr+ work groups being the norm. Definitely not 'casual competitor friendly. Need to work on that worker list... If we require less workers per group (i.e. smaller run groups) good things happen.


Over 200 we have been down to 3 runs. I haven't ever seen old event results so I couldn't say for certain, but weren't they 3 runs too?
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Ed T » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:18 pm

Jayson Woodruff wrote:
I'm going to point out the people who should really be voting in this poll aren't going to. Event format/efficiency is really about appealing to the casual competitor. The casual competitor is what really swings our numbers. If we make it hard, they don't show, make it easy and they do. The hard core competitor is going to be there no matter what because... they're hard core.

Jay W


This is a very good point.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Jayson Woodruff » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:44 pm

Anthony Porta wrote:1) No we offered free fun runs which were announced in advanced, where people took between 6-8 more runs. So between 10-12 total. Offering 10-12 runs for $35 is even better than our 10-12 runs for $80 on a practice day. Which we sell out. PCA also sells out with their equivalent 12 run format. Can you tell us about the speed ventures autox events?


2)Over 200 we have been down to 3 runs. I haven't ever seen old event results so I couldn't say for certain, but weren't they 3 runs too?

1) How'd that work out finically?
2) only once do I remember dropping the late group to 2 runs. This was a January, wet, 320+ day where reg actually halted non-SCCA entries (pre-pre-reg).

speed venture targets different folks, I.e. The more casual. But that's a point on to its own too. We used to pick up a whole different crowd on practice days than our championship crowd, but at one point we made it not so subtle that if they weren't coming Sunday, they weren't welcome Saturday. I built a business off that attitude.

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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Marshall Grice » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:58 am

the goal really isn't to pack up at noon or 1 pm. the goal is to stop running hugely inefficient events so that we can get more runs. I'd like to see us move in the direction of having a morning session and an afternoon session where everyone has the option to drive in both. it would probably require that we drop back down to 3 timed competition runs but the reward could be that you get 3 extra runs in the other half of the day (if you decide to stick around).

It's crazy but maybe we call the morning session 'practice' (times don't count) for all classes except PAX (cause we're competition crazy A-holes), and in the afternoon everyone does their competition runs (except pax, they get 3 fun runs). We can get rid of time only and X-runs because everyone will be getting those by default. if we have a ton of people (or short days) we can adjust the number of practice runs to fit the amount of time we have available. if you can only make one half of the day, then cool, only take runs in one half of the day. you work two work assignments if you run both morning and afternoon.

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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Marshall Grice » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:27 am

and to follow up on the original point of this thread. the entire poll is flawed. We already know that people have no problem showing up for 12 hours for an autox, they do it every saturday (of race weekend). a better metric is how many runs do you get for the amount of time you commit. It is currently about 1 to 1.5 hours per run.

Jonathan Lugod
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:14 pm

Marshall Grice wrote:the goal really isn't to pack up at noon or 1 pm. the goal is to stop running hugely inefficient events so that we can get more runs. I'd like to see us move in the direction of having a morning session and an afternoon session where everyone has the option to drive in both. it would probably require that we drop back down to 3 timed competition runs but the reward could be that you get 3 extra runs in the other half of the day (if you decide to stick around).

It's crazy but maybe we call the morning session 'practice' (times don't count) for all classes except PAX (cause we're competition crazy A-holes), and in the afternoon everyone does their competition runs (except pax, they get 3 fun runs). We can get rid of time only and X-runs because everyone will be getting those by default. if we have a ton of people (or short days) we can adjust the number of practice runs to fit the amount of time we have available. if you can only make one half of the day, then cool, only take runs in one half of the day. you work two work assignments if you run both morning and afternoon.


agreed, our inefficiency for so many years also clouds our view to see the possibility of a higher RPH. There is no reason why we can't fill our events with how heavy the automotive culture is here in SoCal. It all comes back down to value of the dollar spent. Track days go for as low as $80 nowadays. Very hard to compete with that in regards to seat time vs dollars spent. More runs will attract more people to play with us. I like Marshall's idea of morning and afternoon runs (6 total, 3 optional). :clap:
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