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Old Jul 03, 2014, 08:28 PM
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The Importance of Pre-Registration and/or Pre-Payment of Race Fees

(this bit is my opinion only, from my personal observations.)

On the forums and on social media and of course in the pits, we always hear people saying, "You know, we really need to support our local tracks (series' and events)."  There are a number of ways beyond racing that racers can support their tracks, such as: accommodating new racers or picking up racers having a rough day, bringing people to races, purchasing food off of track concessions, patronizing on-site vendors and sponsors, writing about your positive experiences, posting pics and video, keeping your pit are tidy (especially upon departure), giving constructive criticism in appropriate ways (to the owner/director), recognizing and supporting race and series sponsors, being on time for your races, be prompt when you are supposed to marshall, and so forth.

But one of the most overlooked ways to support your local track/event is Pre-Registration and/or Pre-Payment of Race Fees. 

It seems simple.  At some point, you'll put your name in... or maybe shoot a note to someone... or if it's a "laid back" place, you'll show up and they'll "throw you in" like they always do.  But if you see some of the benefits to the track/event, you could support your track in a big way by doing a menial task that you should be doing anyway (when required).

Benefits of Pre-Registration
  • *** The goal of every race is to give as much track time as possible and get done as soon as reasonable.  Several race directors/track owners begin the plan of scheduling out their races well in advance.  Having a handle on the entries assists in that scheduling immensely.  A plan can be created before the first racer arrives, and though it may be altered, that plan sets the goal in action.  Pre-registering early allows management to start assembling the puzzle pieces.
  • *** Having to enter people manually while there's a line forming is extremely stressful for a race director on raceday.  By pre-registering, you become a "click" on the computer and a "check" on the clip board, and you're in.  Especially if practice is happening simultaneously to registration, having to yell back and forth adds tension that isn't necessary... pre-registering takes the guess and the struggle out of this part of the process.
  • *** Race fees are the major revenue for most tracks/events.  Most tracks/events are run as a non-profit, whereas the many expenses (diesel, zipties, hydro... on top of the 100 things that pop up or are permanent expenses) are hoped to be covered.  Unless the management is just trying to "get it in", they are looking to invest to make each race the best that it can be, through trophies and awards, extra entertainment, etc. And as the event approaches... budget decisions are made, often with the question, "how much out-of-pocket am I going?"  With an unknown of entry numbers, it is not good business savvy to spend one's self into a loss, based on unknowns.  "If you build it, they will come" ... only worked in the movie; show that you are coming, and in the end it will offer piece of mind to management, and potentially pay off to you the racer.
  • *** Race Sponsorships are hard to come by, often time, sponsors want to see a proven-track record or some sort of history before they invest in an event/series before the first race.  On top of everything else required to host a race/series, approaching sponsors is another task management is continuously undertaking.  Meanwhile, the sponsors often are savvy enough to inquire about entry numbers or search on their own.  Obviously, the higher the number of pre-registrants, the more inclined the sponsor will be to engage in the property, based on exposure alone.  This is a key component of the dance for sponsorship where racers play part.

Pre-registering as soon as you know does more than you know.

Benefits of Pre-Payment
Just as much piece of mind that is afforded by pre-registrations is afforded by pre-payment.  Sometimes it's required, sometimes it's not. 
  1. *** First and foremost, it adds a guarantee on the pre-registration numbers; very few will pay and bail. It also helps with a lot of the in-advance expenses.  Track preparations, equipment rentals, food/condiments, awards, shipping/duties/taxes of sponsored prizes... many of the aforementioned expenses require payment before the first racer sets up their pit.  Again with business regimen, spending before it's in hand is dangerous.
  2. *** Those that use RC Sign-up take a hit because pre-payment comes with a fee through PayPal, a fee often paid by the Track/Event, but by investing your time and hard-earned dollar in the event, helps management with their expenditures and peace of mind.
  3. *** It's not a donation, it's your race fee, but through pre-payment, you are helping to invest in the event's success.

Management will work with you to help them.  If you have difficulties with either the pre-registration or pre-payment process, they will help in whatever manner possible, as a couple of minutes weeks in advance pays off in dividends on RaceDay.

Help your local track to help you, and be an integral part of its success.

Joe Scully, Race Director
Ontario 5ifth Scale Off-Road Championship Series (RC Acres Club & Walton Raceway)
2014 Canadian 5ifth Scale Nationals
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