Ideas for Growth - Finding More Racers

Parallel markets

Motocross retirees
Existing auto racers (Use Karting as a tool to improve your craft)
Sim racers
Parents with grade/shop backgrounds that value hands-on learning and want to pass it onto their kids.

Motocross is doing something right if they can attract and keep people. Motocross has always been considered cool, whereas karting is this little thing kids do. I wonder why their model works.

Big air and stadiums.

“Motocross is doing something right if they can attract and keep people… I wonder why their model works.”
Let’s address this two ways, since I don’t have any demographic numbers on motocross events and participants.

Let’s say that this statement is true. So then, why is that? I would wager two reasons. One: you buy the bike and you go and race it. Apart from safety gear and the number/type of tuning parts allowed in your class, your purchase is done, no assembly required. Yamaha, Kawasaki, etc., builds, assembled and sells the bike and motor as one complete unit. Karts don’t work that way for better or for worse. Two: motocross is an end to an end. Riders don’t join motocross so they can move up to another sport; they motocross because that is what they want to do. Karting is still billed as a ladder to something else, even by those who should know better. Billing karting as a ladder won’t grow the sport. Then it’s all about getting out what you can from karting, instead of actually enjoying karting for what it really is (which is pretty f’in awesome btw).

Now let’s look at that statement as if it’s not entirely accurate. I haven’t watched a huge amount of club level motocross, but I’ve seen some. There was no masters class. The oldest riders I’ve seen were in their teens. So, as far as I’ve observed, their demographics aren’t any better than karting my much if at all.

Sadly, I’ve been out of fresh ideas for newbies for awhile. Trade shows, car shows, targeted online advertising, etc., all have pros and cons, but the problem is that, being a niche market, it’s difficult for one shop to have the time, money and ability to exploit multi-channel advertising. Though its success is debatable, what I miss is an organization like the KIC which tried to grow the sport with a unified front. I’m sure it was like herding cats, which might be why it folded, but I still think it’s a good idea in theory.

Rant off.

A lot of it is the the accessability. They run in stadiums all around the country, right in the middle of the cities. People can go to that and have a good time, even just as spectators. If the only races were held at true outdoor tracks, the reach wouldn’t be the same. I think that’s big for the popularity of the sport and getting people in.

I’m not entirely sure how good their retention actually is, but I think there’s a really good attitude towards people getting into the sport and showing them the ropes. However, one thing people don’t realize is that few people retire from motocross. Like Peter said, almost all club level events are teenagers. Even most pro events consist of 20-some year olds. You’re almost guaranteed to quit motocross through injury. They draw a lot of people every year, but they also lose a ton.

I like what SKUSA has been doing with the TV broadcasting, and putting Vegas in, well, Vegas. The more you can put the event in front of the people, the better you’ll find reception to it. Red Bull sponsoring SKUSA/USPKS and getting a primetime TV slot on, say, NBC Sports/FOX Sports/anything would be killer. Or, if we could run races in, say, Miller Park, Soldier Field, the LA Coliseum, or anything with large seating capacity and have a good marketing plan to bring people in may go a long way if the logistics and funding were there.

It’d be great to get karting into more of the big-name events at major tracks, too. IndyCar series or SportsCar racing come to mind especially. I tried organizing a karting showcase at the IndyCar race at Road America, but they said logistically that wouldn’t work out well for them so that fell through. I had hoped to get my kart there at least but frame straightening had to be done instead unfortunately. If I had to guess though, most people at those events would love karting, but probably don’t have the information to actually do anything.