I try not to get into rants very often, but this one just needed to be said.
As we are working to put together the Race Calendar and Track Map, we are noticing some interesting things. While many of the tracks and promoters do a fantastic job of keeping their sites updated, posting relevent information, and even supplying detailed directions and local lodging options, there are a few who really need to consider stepping up their game.
I don't know how many times I have been asked to get the word out, about a race, only to be left hanging on the details. Yes, they tell me a date... and a city and state...but, often,
THAT'S IT. I put the rough information on the calendar, and am forced to go into "Dirt Track Detective" mode. Hmm... no series or promoter info? That leads me on a Google Search. Ok... found a
listing for the event on a local club's site. They mention a series name. By going to that series' site, I get the promoting club's name. I got to THEIR site... and it was last updated in
Another search reveals that they have a Facebook page. Fortunately, I see the race listed under "events." However, there is no information about classes, times, or fees. Scrolling through the site's posts, I secure the time. I look for contact information. No luck... but there IS a link to that site that has been neglected for two years.
I find an e-mail address on the site, and send an e-mail for the details. It is returned as undeliverable. I return to the Facebook page and send a private message. It is unanswered. A few days later, I post the message on their site. It is ignored. I decide that, at least, I can get the track info for the map.
Unfortunately, it describes the race as being at "the fairgrounds in Spinster County, (enter state of your choice, to go with the made up county name)." A search shows three
fairgrounds, in the county. I search each fairground's website. One was last updated during the 2013 fair. One mentions NOTHING about a race. The third one hasn't got a schedule of events,
but (while searching for their site) I saw that this particular club held a race there, last year. I can now safely assume that the "Spinster County Fairgrounds" is ACTUALLY "The Hildagarde
Scindelmunden County Fairgrounds," in Alloway Township.
Their website features directions, but no address. I use Google and try to deduce an address. Eventually, I succeed... I HOPE.
Promoters... Clubs...Tracks... I appreciate what each of you do, wholeheartedly. However, if a journalist (trained in research) has trouble getting the basic details about a race, you KNOW
that the fans and racers are, too.
We want to know WHO is putting the race on (and what body sanctions it if applicable)... WHAT classes are planned...WHERE it is (by address, not by state)... WHEN the race is (not just the day, but times)... WHY a person might choose your event, over another track's (if it's a Memorial Race, who is it in honor of? If it's a new or returning venue, tell us! What kind of track is it? Any pictures? Are there other races that weekend, locally? Is there camping? RV Hook-ups? Motel recommendations? What was the last race like... any reviews?)... HOW much it costs...
I know, it sounds pretty basic. As I said, most of the promoters already do a great job of sharing these details. However, the rest of them make my job a true challenge.
By my job, I mean the unpaid, unsolicited service of listing races and tracks in a centralized place, where fans and riders can find them.
I sometimes wonder how many times a racer has skipped out on a race, just because he couldn't find out one of these important tidbits of information. I wonder how many fans have decided not to go, since they couldn't locate an address, ticket price, or starting time.
We NEED this information posted, friends. For the record, a social site page is great (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and I encourage you folks to keep using them. However, there is a LOT
to be said for the standard website. You don't have to worry about important information and announcements being buried beneath posts, and (believe it or not) there are a LOT of people who don't
USE social sites. If your information isn't shared to a site like Flattrack.com or Leftclankers, they don't know about it. You don't have to spend money... there are plenty of free sites, out
there, that are easy to use. Just remember to keep it updated.
Race results are really important to us, by the way. Each rider has fans and family who are eager to see how their rider/s did. At most events we attend, they are great about giving us a copy of the results (either by printout, flashdrive, or e-mail). We are happy to get those posted, immediately. In some cases, however, we are told that they will post the results, themselves. Most of the time, they never do. We are STILL waiting on results from two races from last June, for instance. Not only do the results help those who couldn't be there, by letting them know how so-and-so did, they are a HUGE aid for your photographers and media personnel.
Now, some racer out there just said, "Amen, Mia... you tell 'em!" Relax your enthusiasm, please, because... you are next.
I love the fact that many of you post updates to your social networking sites, during the races. That is AWESOME, and I wish everyone did that. However, as I said before... a lot of your fans (and potential fans) don't HAVE Facebook or Twitter.
The day after the race, take a few minutes and type up your story. What was the track like? Did your bike have any problems? Who was your toughest competitor, out there? Where did you
finish in the Heat, Semi, and Main? What did you learn? Where is your next race?
This isn't just for the GNC gang, either. You amateurs and Vintage riders are in this, too. By getting your story out there, you are helping to get your sponsors' names out there... you are keeping your fans updated... you are, potentially, gaining new fans... you have nothing to lose, except 10-15 minutes of your time.
And, speaking of sponsors... I have heard of more riders getting cut off by sponsors for "ingratitude" than for anything else. If somebody helped you get to the podium, in any way, give them a shoutout. When you write your PR, give them another. They deserve it, don't they?
And, sponsors... don't forget to hang up that poster of your rider, in the shop... share their latest pics or press releases to your website... put ads for their next race out, for the customers. By getting that rider's name out there, you are increasing the number of people who will hear about how you helped them. Double win!
Ok, stepping off my soapbox and getting ready for Lake Odessa. Thanks for letting me rant, a bit. Safe travels to all, this weekend!