AX Attendance Falling Off

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AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby scottleslie on Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:42 pm

Our autocross attendance has been slowing dwindling. Before I assume that it is solely because of the deteriorating surface at the SDCCU stadium lot and the impact on your tire budgets, I'd like to solicit some feedback on the Forum so that we can try and turn things around.
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby kleggo on Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:19 pm

Thanks for asking.
The primary reason I don't attend is the deteriorating surface. The bad surface makes other activities more appealing.

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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby LUCKY DAVE on Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:47 pm

I have missed the last six months because I have been on vacation. I'm going to miss this Saturday's event because.....I'm leaving on another vacation.
While I can't complain about spending months as a weapons grade goof off I do miss competition driving. My car has been sitting on a set of stickers so long they're probably no good anymore.
I be there for the next one - promise!
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby tb911 on Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:22 pm

I think there is more than one reason, that's really a complex issue.
Also, I think drivers are down across the board, in all types of driving events, throughout Zone 8.

Some other possibilities include:

New cars are more expensive than ever to buy and maintain. So people may be afraid to use new cars in this manner.
Arguably they are not as durable as well.

There is lots of competition for participants from other organizations and clubs. There are a lot of driving options here in California.
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby cag4 on Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:56 pm

Yes, I suspect there are several factors at play:

We lost several regulars when we went to the more open "Hybrid" track layouts a while ago
We lost a bunch more when we changed the SS class rules to essentially not allow 200TW tires
We've lost folks to the deterioration of the parking lot surface
As we've lost folks, the workload on the remainers has increased, so we've lost folks to the workload
Feels like we've lost a generation of AXers who have kind of "graduated" to big tracks and don't do both anymore

I'm sure there are a number of other reasons, including the usual folks moving, moving on from motorsports, etc.

The big question is, what to do about it? I'd hate to see our AX program die as it really is a stellar program. Some ideas:

If we continue to run with fewer folks, re-jigger the number of groups, etc to even out the workload
Merge our AX program with the BMW club program (I know they routinely struggle to fill events)
Be aggressive about getting the El Toro crowd down here as they are S.O.L. as I understand it
Create an award category for combined drivers -- those who compete in both AX and big tracks
Midnight ninja track repair/patching parties!

Not sure what the answers are, but I'm not really excited to drive 50 minutes, each way, to run 40 second laps and we are blessed with the largest piece of blacktop west of the mississippi... at least for a while longer... Let's use it while we can!
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby rshon on Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:16 am

A while back, a lot of exclusionary guidelines were added to the region standing rules and the language in our AX registration, out of fear that there wouldn't be enough spots for Porsche drivers. That never came to pass.

Now I think it's time to be more welcoming and inclusive, or our program won't survive...
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby Ryan McClune on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:23 pm

All good points.

In very simple terms, I think we can look to improve the pre-registration process.

In previous years, it seems like there was a more scheduled delivery of pre-registration emails. The first was about one month out and the next was mid-week prior to the pre-registration deadline as a kick in the pants to those that procrastinated.

I haven't been seeing this happen, and in some cases, I think this can cause a drop in registration.

There is no way to mask the deteriorating surface or the inability to get a track designed/aligned to cross the swale without bottoming out some of the lower cars.

Charles, I am curious to hear you mention some of the "open" track layouts contributing to the loss of registrants. Was this specifically brought up, as I have not heard this prior?

I certainly think reassessing the SS rules should be on the table. I consistently heard grumblings about this when it was implemented and some still to this day, which may be keeping some people away.
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby sf.in.sd on Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:29 pm

rshon wrote:A while back, a lot of exclusionary guidelines were added to the region standing rules and the language in our AX registration, out of fear that there wouldn't be enough spots for Porsche drivers. That never came to pass.

Now I think it's time to be more welcoming and inclusive, or our program won't survive...


Lot's of great points brought up already on this thread, but I wanted to further comment on Russell's suggestion as I think that is the biggest reason.

X-class drivers have traditionally helped with attendance, and many of the regulars who come out month after month in spite of the poor surface- do so in their X cars. I think our elitist policies are keeping the numbers low. BMW club is getting 30-40 X class drivers a month. We have less than 10 and most of those are Legacy club members who never drove a Porsche in their first events as students, as our current rule insists upon. This is a stupid rule and has nothing to do with safety as I know of at least one "student' that was told they could only learn in their 400 hp Porsche and could not use another suitable non-Porsche with less than 200 hp. Ironic- when this forum is filled with the praises of learning to drive in slow cars.

As a minor and probably unrelated point (as I don't think anyone is motivated by the awards)- we should give X drivers awards too. We say its not fair that a race prepped corvette could be going up against a largely stock Miata. If you have seen the driving of any of the Miata drivers that were allowed into our club when we had less restrictive policies- I am not sure who it is more unfair to.

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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby John Straub on Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:01 pm

One other reason, I believe we only had one "PDS" last year. That was a major supplier for new people to try out an autocross over the years.

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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby sf.in.sd on Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:24 pm

Ryan McClune wrote:In previous years, it seems like there was a more scheduled delivery of pre-registration emails. The first was about one month out and the next was mid-week prior to the pre-registration deadline as a kick in the pants to those that procrastinated.


Ok, maybe Ryan has a point. I still don't think it is the main reason for poor attendance as I will be showing up in a couple days anyway. It happened to me though. I feel like I must have signed up for Saturdays AX, as I have done a lot of signing up this month. I did procrastinate and don't recall getting a reminder. [just checked and have I one email on the 3rd of Jan for this event. I have had more for the awards party in Feb.] I plan my life around the AX calendar and still missed it. We shouldn't have to send reminders, but people are busy. It might get a few more sign ups a month.

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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby Ryan McClune on Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:02 am

sf.in.sd wrote:Ok, maybe Ryan has a point. I still don't think it is the main reason for poor attendance as I will be showing up in a couple days anyway. It happened to me though. I feel like I must have signed up for Saturdays AX, as I have done a lot of signing up this month. I did procrastinate and don't recall getting a reminder. [just checked and have I one email on the 3rd of Jan for this event. I have had more for the awards party in Feb.] I plan my life around the AX calendar and still missed it. We shouldn't have to send reminders, but people are busy. It might get a few more sign ups a month.

Shawn


I certainly wasn't claiming it was the main reason, but I think it could be a factor with lower "pre-registration" numbers that are often the first marking in deciding whether or not an event is feasible from a financial perspective.

See you all tomorrow!
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby afilsinger on Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:37 pm

I know I have missed the last 6+ months because its a ton of work for so little seat time. Loading my car onto the trailer, towing it down just to run ~15 minutes of total seat time is a tough equation for me. Add on the rapidly deteriorating track service that is extremely hard on the cars and it's a tough sell. Merging with BMW CCA might help to increase attendance numbers, as would opening it up to more X class entries. I think the biggest thing is going to be finding a new venue with a clean, smooth track service. I would hate to see the program go away because it's a great "gateway" drug into performance driving, and a fantastic learning tool.

I think Ryan might be on to something with the pre-reg emails. 9 times out of 10 I don't even know there is an event coming up until it is too late for me to plan on going.
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby Ianc2 on Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:35 pm

Hey San Diego people !!!
Sorry , it’s been a while ...

Got busy with work , then got rammed off the freeway on the way home one day and spent 6 months+ healing my back .
Couldn’t even get in the Carrera , so had the boxster retured to stock so I could do short trips for groceries etc whilst I recuperated .

I’m hoping to have a few runs this year with you guys .

Is pca membership still required ?
Or will an invite from a member guarantee a place to a porsche driver ????

Mine lapsed ......
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby zoranb on Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:44 pm

Good Evening,

How would everyone feel about a survey, anonymous, such as survey monkey in order to get the full story as to why people are not attending and what would they like to see improved? From my conversations with some of the veterans as well new drivers everyone has an opinion, but most of this is anecdotal.

Equally important is replacement for natural attrition, and it would be interesting to know what platform is bringing new drivers to join.

Best,

Zoran
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Re: AX Attendance Falling Off

Postby terryb on Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:34 pm

I agree with trying to include more X car drivers and I like the idea of joint events with BMW. When I was on the Board during the Great Recession the Club was not in great financial shape. We opened up events to non-Porsche drivers because without them the events would not be sustainable. There was grumbling from some members, but it boiled down to have events with X cars or have no or far fewer events with just Porsche drivers.

Great AX on Saturday BTW!
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