Membership Poll...How long is too long?

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Moderator: Mike Simanyi

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

Postby Ira Cruz » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:37 pm

$80 and don't have to work!! Our only plus is a different course every time.

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

Postby Anthony Porta » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:00 pm

Jonathan Lugod wrote:
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:


+1
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Steve O'Blenes » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:51 pm

It is a shame that many people weren't around for or have forgotten the number of cars we used to run effectively in one day, courses were set up in the morning, and all this was completed without even using computers. Actually our nice computers that do such wonderful things for us also cost us quite a bit of time when timing issues arise or communication problems happen. The computers have slowed the actual running of the event but have dramatically improved the speed at which results are confirmed and published. I do not know if this has been thought about as one of our inefficiencies that other locations may not be experiencing( that dreaded hold the start).

Worker change on the fly is something that needs to be implemented whenever possible, period! It just makes sense, Having dual staging areas for cars also helps with this and if there are any cars still running toward the end of one group(delayed due to multiple drivers or mechanical etc.) the event can still run with the next group of cars without any delay and feed in the previous group's stragglers so that there is no case with people on course but no cars.

I do believe in having a lunch course walk and morning and afternoon sessions. I am inclined to say that x-runs require a second work assignment to help with number of workers available on course. Having X runs in a different heat will also speed things up as there is less trying to get a car through six or eight times instead of three or four times per heat.

I never want to turn down extra runs but the four run format is not realistic for our sport as National events are done in only three. We train ourselves to be able to do our best run within three and not have a fourth as a crutch. That extra run would come at the end of the day in the form of fun runs if time permits and the hosting body wants to stay to do fun runs. In the past most of the time fun runs were a dollar per run and the extra bonus was put toward the club or to a dinner or something which was a nice treat. Condensing down to three runs will also help with the delays in trying to cool our cars and tires especially with the irritating over competitive types such as myself lol. The attraction of fun runs also gets the competitor wanting to stay to the end of the event or wanting to run in the afternoon instead of the morning since he or she will have that opportunity for extra track time. As of now, we cater to doing double runs in the morning and no extra work assignment and we run classes that let people jump back and forth just so they can go home early which then leaves under subscribed classes in the afternoon and we struggle to function. I know it is difficult to prevent class hopping but if we can create incentive to staying later then it will be better in the end.

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

Postby Sean Fenstermacher » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:21 am

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.



I really like this idea!
With much higher efficiency (current is dismal), we 6runs up to 180-200 people should be possible.

Quicker starter pace (think 20sec starts) and course design to allow for a smoother pace would be key.

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

Postby Pete Loney » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:14 am

Sean Fenstermacher wrote:
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.



I really like this idea!
With much higher efficiency (current is dismal), we 6runs up to 180-200 people should be possible.

Quicker starter pace (think 20sec starts) and course design to allow for a smoother pace would be key.


Wow, this might be the first time that we(SCCA) is discussing copying something that PCA does :)
This is their format if I recall. Minus the food and trophies :think:
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:42 pm

not exactly. This mimics the Milwaukee region and Dixie region, difference being some regions combine times for results or pick one fastest run (out of 5-8 depending on turn out). I like Marshall's idea as it separates the occasional autoxer and the uber competitve pax a-holes LOL by defining practice and champ runs. The only issue would be if our software can handle that request.

PCA has total 12 runs (4 timed at the end) and caps the event at 100 people.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby George Schilling » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:19 pm

Marshall Grice wrote:and to follow up on the original point of this thread. the entire poll is flawed.

My intent was to stimulate debate and to hear various points of view. I think it's working.

Marshall Grice wrote:We already know that people have no problem showing up for 12 hours for an autox, they do it every saturday (of race weekend).

But, people much prefer weekends like the December practice where they got their at 7, started running at 9, were done by 3:45, got a nice relaxing lunch and 14 runs, almost 2 per hour per time spent on site.

Marshall Grice wrote: 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.

Yep, I completely agree. And that's the point I'm trying to make. For January, if the we get normal numbers of entrants and use the December format, that number for many participants could easily reach 2 hours or more per run. To put it another way, .5 runs per hour or less per time spent on site. Not much value there. EVERY competitor will have to commit more time to get four competition runs, with the best case scenario, if one gets lucky enough to run first and work three, they will be required to spend an additional 30 to 45 minutes on site compared to the best case scenario using the old format. And it goes waaaay downhill from there.

If the value is not there, people will quickly find other things to do with their Sunday and their leisure dollars. Considering the vast majority of people couldn't care less about fun runs, the value provided is greatly diminished for most. While many of our hard core people choose to stay all day, this is a choice they make. Forcing the casual autocrosser to stay all day is a loser IMO.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Marshall Grice » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:42 pm

George Schilling wrote:If the value is not there, people will quickly find other things to do with their Sunday and their leisure dollars. Considering the vast majority of people couldn't care less about fun runs, the value provided is greatly diminished for most. While many of our hard core people choose to stay all day, this is a choice they make. Forcing the casual autocrosser to stay all day is a loser IMO.

if we want to minimize time spent by the casual competitor on site we should immediately drop to only offering a single run. Anything else is wasting time.

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

Postby George Schilling » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:43 am

Steve Ekstrand wrote: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.


Average number of entries in 2017 was 155 with a median of 164. We had a high of 221 and a low of 101.

TO and X runs accounted for approximately 15% of gross revenue. 86% of Time Only Entries were in the morning, presumably so they could leave as soon as their runs were complete so they have not blown the whole day. These folks represent only a portion of casual autocross entries. As we all know from following our classes, there are many who choose the enter there as well who don't compete on a regular basis. But it's clear, many who come out do not want to be there past noon. The question is will they come to an event not knowing whether they can leave early of be stuck there until 3pm or later? BTW, without casual autocrossers, we go into the red financially. And as been pointed out, the competition is stiff so raising pricing really is not an option.

I am all for improved efficiency. But burning off 15% or more of revenue in the process?
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Sean Fenstermacher » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:31 am

George Schilling wrote:
Steve Ekstrand wrote: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.


Average number of entries in 2017 was 155 with a median of 164. We had a high of 221 and a low of 101.

TO and X runs accounted for approximately 15% of gross revenue. 86% of Time Only Entries were in the morning, presumably so they could leave as soon as their runs were complete so they have not blown the whole day. These folks represent only a portion of casual autocross entries. As we all know from following our classes, there are many who choose the enter there as well who don't compete on a regular basis. But it's clear, many who come out do not want to be there past noon. The question is will they come to an event not knowing whether they can leave early of be stuck there until 3pm or later? BTW, without casual autocrossers, we go into the red financially. And as been pointed out, the competition is stiff so raising pricing really is not an option.

I am all for improved efficiency. But burning off 15% or more of revenue in the process?


Money gain though increasing attendance would provide more money and value to the region than the sales of X-runs, as the fees per person are higher and the participant adds to the overall worker pool thus easing work load for the event.

I do not see the real logic behind staying with "the George way" (the term "old way" would be incorrect as we had much higher efficiency in early 2000s when we regularly had 200-300 entry turnout) other than for the personal convenience of those very few members that prefer a "relaxing" pace. Ideas such as Marshall's combined with higher RPH efficiency should increase our sports appeal to potential local drivers, which would increase attendance. Exactly what we need for long term growth and stability of our region.

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

Postby George Schilling » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:48 am

Sean Fenstermacher wrote:
Money gain though increasing attendance would provide more money and value to the region than the sales of X-runs, as the fees per person are higher and the participant adds to the overall worker pool thus easing work load for the event.

Sean, I completely agree. I hope this doesn't make you change your mind.

Sean Fenstermacher wrote:I do not see the real logic behind staying with "the George way" (the term "old way" would be incorrect as we had much higher efficiency in early 2000s when we regularly had 200-300 entry turnout) other than for the personal convenience of those very few members that prefer a "relaxing" pace. Ideas such as Marshall's combined with higher RPH efficiency should increase our sports appeal to potential local drivers, which would increase attendance. Exactly what we need for long term growth and stability of our region.

I see. If George is for it, you're against it. Actually Sean, other than suggesting the idea and establishing a dedicated registration team and encouraging dedicated chiefs, both of which have made our events run more efficiently, I've had nothing to do with the evolution of the "old way" or "George's way" as you apparently prefer to call it. The schedule evolved as attendance declined. These were necessary adjustments that I have never had a hand in. The things I have always been against are TO and no-work X runs. I lost on those. They are detrimental and are one of the reasons for the imbalance between am and pm group sizes IMO.

So my question to you and others is, how does increasing the time a participant must devote on a Sunday to fulfill their run/work assignment lead to increased participation? I still have not heard the answer to that.

This 'national style" run format would never be tolerated at a National event. Only one walk in the AM then wait to run as much as 4, 5, or 6 hours later in a worse case scenario. How does this lead to increased participation?

And, as I pointed out when the idea of the national style format was first proposed, the estimated for how long it would take to complete certain sized groups were over overly optimistic, and not just by a small amount. The projections said 175 entrants would take 4 hours to complete. It took 4 hours for 117 people in December. That alone should cause one to take pause to reassess the situation.

Change can be good, but there has to be an end game that makes sense. It has to be carefully thought out with an eye toward both the hard core and the casual autocrosser.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:40 pm

George Schilling wrote:
TO and X runs accounted for approximately 15% of gross revenue.
I am all for improved efficiency. But burning off 15% or more of revenue in the process?


Would it be possible for you to include your numbers on this one? How much for TO, X-runs, and Total Gross Revenue?

and people could still do TO and x-runs if they dont have a co-driver and want to run faster to keep their tires warmer. So its just the people buying X-runs in another group for extra practice or testing that we would lose, IF people didnt want to stay until the end. So how many weren't taken in the same group as they run?
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:54 pm

George Schilling wrote:
So my question to you and others is, how does increasing the time a participant must devote on a Sunday to fulfill their run/work assignment lead to increased participation? I still have not heard the answer to that.


By increasing the amount of runs they can take. Either as Marshall suggested, or in the form of fun runs after the event. In December about 6 hours for 12 runs or about 1/2 hour a run.

George Schilling wrote:This 'national style" run format would never be tolerated at a National event. Only one walk in the AM then wait to run as much as 4, 5, or 6 hours later in a worse case scenario. How does this lead to increased participation?


People keep comparing it to nationals but dropping the fact nationals uses 3 runs, requires you to stay all day, and doesnt have a "Lunch" registration.

George Schilling wrote:And, as I pointed out when the idea of the national style format was first proposed, the estimated for how long it would take to complete certain sized groups were over overly optimistic, and not just by a small amount. The projections said 175 entrants would take 4 hours to complete. It took 4 hours for 117 people in December. That alone should cause one to take pause to reassess the situation.


It took 5 hours and 26 minutes in October with 115 people... Dismal.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Anthony Porta » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:01 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.



This would also address the time differential after a course walk to running while offering more runs. Personally, I prefer the race first practice second as im a hyper competitive Pax-hole. lol. It would be easy as we wouldn't need to keep the timing computer going for the practice runs, we just wouldn't enter their numbers, like what we do on a practice day or fun runs. It would also move along more quickly since we dont give reruns for downed cones on practices.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Tom Tanquary » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:36 am

If I may.... stick my neck out...of the box.... It might be useful to take a step back and look at this from a bigger perspective, and think about a real paradigm shift. There are two points of view at work here - one from a club perspective and one from a business perspective. And two groups of people that you're trying to satisfy - Hard core competitors and causal drivers. Anthony and others have done a great job at supplying statistics from our events but I think there are too many other factors to draw many conclusions from them. I think we're missing a bigger picture, certainly from a business point of view. As soon as you start talking marketing - attracting new members, you really need to look at the market. This economy, and this society in general, is way different than it was 15 years ago or even 10 years ago. Unlike my boomer generation, millennials have a far lower interest in cars than any generation before them. Only 76% of 20-25 year olds have a license. Most don't even like to drive at all. Car companies are scared to death. Add in low and flat wages, crappy jobs, student debit, and a social system based on electronic devices and not face to face interaction.... and we have a rapidly shrinking pool of new costumers despite the size of that group. We have to start a whole new way of attracting and keeping them without disrupting the hard core.
And now fold in the general conditions we are all dealing with here in particular. Everyone with a good job is working harder and longer than ever before. Traffic is a nightmare almost around the clock. While we can talk about time spent at the event, you are forgetting the time spent just getting to and from the event. SoCal is a big place. I now routinely can spend 6 hours of my own time getting to and from a job. That time has doubled in just the last 3 years and getting worse, even on weekends. So many people are angry and frustrated. Weekends are sacred but yet still filled with all the "other" stuff people still need to get done. This is all really narrowing down the number of folks that might be interested in doing this. When I try to get my friends that seem interested into coming out and I tell them where and how long they might have to be there... it quickly turns into "hell no."
It's also unfair to compare us to marque clubs. Those folks bought a specific car with the express purpose of having fun with it. They don't mind spending one day a month doing that and they're small clubs compared to ours. If you raised that to an entire weekend a month, you'd see a dramatic drop in participation. They like being in a "club" with like-minded other car owners. And I think "club" is the important part of it.
So I think an approach that looks separately at the two groups with vastly different agendas - hard core and casual, might be an easier way of satisfying both. The hard core group, the base, has got to be the priority. But that is going to be in conflict with the casual driver pressed for time and money to do this sport. You might think of separating these two groups. Just like on a track day, nubes and hotshoes don't run in the same group. As a starter, I can develop a good pace of putting cars out... until I get a first-timer who is 20 seconds slower than the average car. I constantly have to make judgment calls about spacing for not only different driving speeds but for cone replacement and over-taxed workers, spins, etc. I can tell you, removing the novices would speed things up dramatically.
The other side of that is so many new people have told many of us that they don't want to come on Sunday because it's too intimidating racing against the "big kids." Maybe creating a two tier system, separated, might be a good thing for both efficiency and attracting/keeping new folks. As the kids would say - creating a safe place for them. Create a more formal structure to the novice group and add a "coaching staff" and all novices run together after hard core runs. That staff is rewarded by more runs for them in form of fun runs at the end of the day. And treat Novice Class like junior karts with their own pre-set run time so they know ahead of time just how long they'll have to be there. So Sunday would look something like - course walk/competition groups run/short course walk/jr karts run/novice group runs/fun runs/pack up. Only hard core would be there all day and only if they wanted to. Do a Novice A and B group so they work within their run groups and consider it part of training. The group will be small but need only basic workers and a lower expectation. Consider novice class as a "qualifying" class. Hard core driver groups would run faster with better workers and new folks get a competition they can enjoy with the goal of moving up to the big kid groups. And a lessened time commitment. In essence you'd have a club within a club. And the job of being on the coaching staff can take on a prestige of it's own. Just like on The Voice, instructors can compete to get their students on top. That model or similar works in the marque clubs and track days, I don't see why it couldn't here... although I think I'm about to find out why it couldn't........ :wave: ;) :problem:
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Leonard Cachola » Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:46 pm

Here's a thought expanding on Tom's post:

How about those in Novice class on Autocross Sundays have the option of purchasing practice runs BEFORE their competition runs? Only those in Novice class would be eligible and current instructor rules would apply. Everyone else would compete as normal.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Craig Naylor » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:14 am

Most of the discussion of newbies has centered on millennial's and how to attract them. I think this is primary issue.

We should instead be looking to increase our CAM entries.
- This sub group has given new life to SD region in participation numbers, and consists primary of Gen-Xers.
- This sub group has disposable income
- and unlike our OC millennial influx @ El Toro only events, who won't drive out to Fontucky... the Inland Empire is filled with CAM type vehicle owners with annual events at the Orange Show/ Downtown San Bernadino & Bi-monthly Pomona fair grounds.

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

Postby David Barrish » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:11 am

One more group to reach out to would be the BMWCCA, the LA chapter autocross program has gone dark.

That and Tom has a perspective from the starters flag that unless you have a chance to work with a blend of competitors you will not experience the challenge. The modified and highly prepped cars have their issues starting in grid, time to embrace that we have committed "A" list drivers and including complete nubies among them does not help with the flow of an event.

So, the "A's" are local fast guy's and National Competitors, the "B's" are point card holders and the "C's" are everyone else. Then the Sunday events are "A's and B's" in the morning, rotating the first group starters each event as we do now. Course walk then the kids. Then the "C's". Want to run in the morning, buy a points card. This would expand the available group of potential instructors. Then it gives the afternoon drivers a reason to become a part of what is going on and expands our potential for repeatable and steady participation numbers.

The fun run's and X-runs in the afternoon will keep the the people on site that want to keep running laps.

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

Postby Ed T » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:06 am

Tom Tanquary wrote:

....two groups of people that you're trying to satisfy - Hard core competitors and causal drivers...

So I think an approach that looks separately at the two groups with vastly different agendas - hard core and casual, might be an easier way of satisfying both. The hard core group, the base, has got to be the priority. But that is going to be in conflict with the casual driver pressed for time and money to do this sport. You might think of separating these two groups. Just like on a track day, nubes and hotshoes don't run in the same group.

The other side of that is so many new people have told many of us that they don't want to come on Sunday because it's too intimidating racing against the "big kids." Maybe creating a two tier system, separated, might be a good thing for both efficiency and attracting/keeping new folks. As the kids would say - creating a safe place for them. Create a more formal structure to the novice group and add a "coaching staff" and all novices run together after hard core runs. That staff is rewarded by more runs for them in form of fun runs at the end of the day.

And treat Novice Class like junior karts with their own pre-set run time so they know ahead of time just how long they'll have to be there. So Sunday would look something like - course walk/competition groups run/short course walk/jr karts run/novice group runs/fun runs/pack up. Only hard core would be there all day and only if they wanted to. Do a Novice A and B group so they work within their run groups and consider it part of training.

The group will be small but need only basic workers and a lower expectation. Consider novice class as a "qualifying" class. Hard core driver groups would run faster with better workers and new folks get a competition they can enjoy with the goal of moving up to the big kid groups. And a lessened time commitment. In essence you'd have a club within a club. And the job of being on the coaching staff can take on a prestige of it's own. Just like on The Voice, instructors can compete to get their students on top. That model or similar works in the marque clubs and track days, I don't see why it couldn't here... although I think I'm about to find out why it couldn't........ :wave: ;) :problem:


Tom has a lot of really good ideas re: novices

Craig Naylor wrote:

Most of the discussion of newbies has centered on millennial's and how to attract them. I think this is primary issue.


We can probably focus on both. I think marketing to CAM drivers is a great idea as well (CalClub booth at a classic car show!).
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Tom Tanquary
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Tom Tanquary » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:22 pm

I'm just throwing out ideas..... Focusing too much on millennials was kinda my point... the CAM drivers are a good example of new customers. I bailed on BMWCCA a long time ago, when the Moons stopped running it. Their events became just a channel of cones and not much fun, with nothing to be learned. We've done the "booth" thing before to not much effect if I recall correctly. This sport is hard to explain to people, even to car people, and not much to watch from the sidelines. But once they run, it's a whole new ballgame. Maybe we market a sub-event on a Sunday like "BMW Challenge Group" for one month that runs in the afternoon to attract the now lonely BMWCCA folks ;) . We could actually do that for several marques over a season. If the morning hard core comp runs can be done efficiently, we could have Sunday afternoon for a potpourri of car fun and "other" competitions. Remember that thing from decades ago... the lemon challenge car thing or whatever it was called? Also... I should try to make a recruitment video that's more than just POV driving shots. Maybe that would help....
And, it might not be a bad idea to put together a comprehensive, in depth, survey of our membership. I get those all the time from vendors in my profession. There might be patterns there that could benefit our outreach.
Of course the down side to all this is we get back to 300 cars and it becomes overwhelming.... :o
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Randy Gonzalez » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:28 pm

Although the discussion has wandered quite a bit from the initial topic question, I've got an opinion to throw into the side discussions....I'm not a fan of segmenting the novices off from the pack. While I get the fact that there are times that novices create small issues for the veteran crowd, I don't think we're serving them well by shuffling them off to the corner like problem children. We're a club that caters to all skill levels. IMHO the best way to bring them into the fold is to bring them into the fold. We need to help them and give them some special attention for sure, but as a general rule, there's nothing that they are doing that are causing our events to be delayed by more than a few moments (what maybe an occasional "hold the start" for a minute?).

Just 2 cents from my end of the peanut gallery.
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Tom Tanquary » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:00 pm

Yes, this has wondered a bit but still related to improving the overall experience and time commitment. Ultimately every discussion comes back down to getting and keeping new members. So... One thing I'm trying to do is present ideas outside the box, disruptive ideas. Sometimes it's good to start from scratch and rethink the entire thing. Retaining new members seems to be a long running discussion here so it seems like a good place to start. As far as nubes are concerned, what I was suggesting actually added more attention to them and their unique problems/concerns. A lot of potential members just aren't comfortable being thrown into the deep end of the pool. Which is why so many of them only come out on Sat and not Sun. I'm suggesting looking at a better way to get them out on Sun along with other folks from different car clubs. By turning the Novice class into it's own separate run group it could become an on-going "school" (added value) and what might be more important - a bonding experience with other newbies and, still more importantly, with the instructor staff which will be their gateway to the deep end and greater club participation. Many of my most valued relationships with friends here came from our days together as the new kids on the block along with the old guard members that took an interest in us (Renee). I just thought it might be good to have a more structured approach to new member inclusion and capitalize on that process.
With any new idea or change, and like with any sales approach, it's always easier to sell positive. Like "early-bird discount" sounds more appealing than "late fee." So nubes wouldn't be shunned they'd be coddled and culled for special benefits like instructors for one-on-one guidance, their own run group, their own competition for most improved for the day (not just fastest of class), etc. They'd be special guests. The idea being to see how many ways/incentives we can come up with to be used to attract and keep new people. If the old way was working we wouldn't be having this discussion so many times.
Bottom line, I'm just throwing ideas out, not lobbying for any one particular thing. Just reminding that there are a lot of creative solutions out there. Some of which might work. ;)
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Danielle Gilbert
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Danielle Gilbert » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:45 pm

Hope it's okay for me to chime in here... it sounds like you guys are interested in hearing opinions from novices/millennials/casual members. I'm in my early thirties and I've attended exactly one previous event (the December practice). I'd love to compete and get more involved, but I'm wary of the time commitment. So I figured I'd be a good match for the opinion you are seeking.

I've never been to a Sunday championship so I'm not sure how they work but if it's true that I have to be there at 7am and might not get to run until 1pm, that's pretty disappointing. I want to come out to the Saturday practice too, where an ~8hr commitment seems like a reasonable time tradeoff for ~12 runs, so the idea of spending a second full day out there for only 4 (or even 3) total runs isn't at all appealing, especially since it consumes the entire weekend leaving me no time to rest, do laundry, or otherwise get ready to go back to work. :( My only experience with Sunday events was reading the description of the December event, so I expected it to be normal that the 4 competition runs are in the morning and then we get fun runs in the afternoon (at least another 4?).

Marshall Grice wrote: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.


I really like this idea too! As a novice, if my course walk is at 8am and my run is at 1pm, there is no way I'm going to remember the course. Plus at least two of my first runs will be warm-up/practices anyways, when I need to drive more slowly and focus just on getting around vs going fast. I'd much prefer to have my competition runs in the afternoon after I remember what I'm doing. Having practice in the morning also makes it easier for me to go to Sunday only, instead of both Saturday and Sunday, since I won't need Saturday to remember how to do this new sport, so that might lighten the Saturday attendance.

George Schilling wrote:But, people much prefer weekends like the December practice where they got their at 7, started running at 9, were done by 3:45, got a nice relaxing lunch and 14 runs, almost 2 per hour per time spent on site.


The December practice was great! I had thought (or at least hoped) it was normal. I would love for the events to always be like that.

George Schilling wrote:
Marshall Grice wrote:If the value is not there, people will quickly find other things to do with their Sunday and their leisure dollars. Considering the vast majority of people couldn't care less about fun runs, the value provided is greatly diminished for most. While many of our hard core people choose to stay all day, this is a choice they make. Forcing the casual autocrosser to stay all day is a loser IMO.


I agree with your first sentence, but I'm not sure about the second. I don't want to spend all day Sunday sitting at the track for only 4 (or, worse, three) runs, though not because of leisure dollars but instead because of limited leisure time. Many millennials, including myself, don't have traditional 9-5s. My weekdays are long and tiring, making weekends that much more precious. I need some downtime on the weekend to recover before going back to work. So time spent on autocross needs to be worth it.

You say that most people don't care about fun runs; for me, driving the car is the fun part! Any run is fun. That's why I'm excited about doing this. The competition is just kinda a bonus (plus as a novice I know I'm not doing to do well). I don't want to come out just for four competition runs if it's going to take all day. If there were no fun runs and just four competition runs, then I'd hope to be out of the event by 12pm (perhaps a fool's wish, but I want to be honest). If instead we're not done until 5pm and I get home at 6:30pm with less than four hours of waking time left before I have to go back to work, and I get only four runs total, that'll be the first and last Sunday event I attend.

Of course I have very little awareness about why a Saturday event can offer 14 runs in nine hours and a Sunday event may struggle to fit 4 runs in the same period, but I'd encourage you guys to do whatever you can to make Sundays work like Saturdays. Obviously Saturdays are popular, right? So what can you do to make Sundays flow better?

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

Postby George Schilling » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:53 pm

Excellent feedback Danielle. You're perspective is very important as you are exactly the type of competitor I know we'll lose the first time you have to wait until 1pm or even later to get your four runs or complete your work assignment.

I have a question for you. If we cut back to three runs on Sunday so we could get you out earlier, would you consider attending? Or would you be more likely to attend with four runs delivered in a timely manner?
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Re: Membership Poll...How long is too long?

Postby Eric Wong » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:01 am

As a relative newbie, I wouldn't mind having 3 competition runs along with free fun/X runs immediately afterwards. And if I'm available, I'd buy X-runs in the afternoon, too.

What I would really like to have is flexibility: sometimes I might only be available in the morning, and some days I might be available in the afternoon. I try to do this as much as possible; but it's nice to have the option of showing up in the afternoon to get some X-runs in if I'm busy in the morning.

To increase efficiency, first-timers and maybe all novices should be required to have an experienced driver ride along. As a course worker, I'd feel safer, too.

Also, posting a course map at the registration booth or trailer might reduce the chance of folks getting lost. Is there any rule against it?


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