“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.