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I tried posting this in Tracks & Scenery, and it's still cross-posted there, but that didn't seem to garner any response. So, perhaps it's a culture topic.

This past weekend I helped the two local groups and worked a slotcar show - setting up a wonderful demo auto cross track and then manning the track and supervising people as they tried out the track or the track and a new car they had just purchased.

This is the first such slotcar show that I've attended. One thing struck me - there were as many or more young girls at the show as boys. The girls were at least as enthusiastic about racing than the boys, if not more so.

One young woman, about 13 or 14 I'd guess, had just bought a Capri GT (SCX I think) and wanted to try it out on the auto cross track. We had a simple timer set up and after a few minutes of practice she ran three laps for time. She ran three laps in 26.2 seconds. She was one second faster than anyone else in the time I was there. And she was so happy and pleased with the car and the racing.

One father was there with his two daughters and they were all keenly interested and competitive with each other in a great sort of family way. Could dad beat the time his daughters had set in the auto cross? Yes! Now, could the daughters come back to best him. Yes!

All of this is a roundabout way of getting to the subject of clubs and recruting new members. Does your local club have any female members? Does it have a significant number of women members? Do you have any particular outreach to kids... like a youth division?

The two clubs here are made up of men, almost all in their late 40s to early 60s. Not much new blood seems to be entering. I get the sense, so far, that club events are "old boy" events. Yet, these men often first got the bug in their pre-teen or teen years. And if they don't foster interest in young people, in the not too distant future all of their race buddies will start dying. Is there an untapped and new membership coming along among women?

Interested to hear your thoughts on this.


Mike
 
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This is the introduction to Ve Whitbread's personality article in the book.

Subject: Memories of Ve Whitbread

In 1959 the world of rail became aware of a new rail club Oaklands Park, little knowing what a competitive group they would prove to be. That the club started as a slot club and rose to be the last bastion of rail, running the last rail Open meeting and gathering in 1964. This club made the transition back to slot and are still prominent today in the world of slot racing. It all started with a family gift within the Whitbread family whose enthusiasm later led to their involvement in the organization of the Electric Car Racing Association. Stan Whitbread proving to be a popular Chairman..
Initially their entries to the Classic meetings were by proxy, in the 1959 Southport G.P. Stan Whitbread's Lancia-Ferrari driven by Ted Crusham of Southport won an exciting race that contained all the features that epitomised classic rail races - to quote - "Sportsmanship throughout was of the highest order, the driving of the three proxy cars left nothing to be desired and the marshals and organisers performed their duties without hitch". From this point onwards Stan and his wife Ve became regular names mentioned in race reports. In the Aintree 100 in 1960 Ve's Ferrari Testa Rossa was second fastest qualifier but finished fourth, proxy driven by fellow club member S. McKee. In the AIntree 200 for Grand Prix cars Ve's Ferrari came fifth in the final, again proxy driven. Their building skills already proven to be among the best. It wasn't long before their driving skills were found to be of a similar high standard. Ve soon learned that outright speed didn't usually result in success. The resultant time lost from a crash far outweighed the gains from a few stunning fast laps (Geoff Taylor whilst often flying into the scenery early in races usually contradicted this view by ultimately being successful). Ve's success was down to being able to maintain a consistent fast pace. Period race reports often suggested Ve played a waiting game early in races before hauling in the opposition with a strong finish. The strong finish Ve put in at the 1962 Newport Sports Final noticeably upsetting Dick Young's nerve and rhythm at a cost of his lead of three laps. Ve did comment that she often drank a bottle of Mackeson Stout before races which she felt may have helped calm any nerves.
When Oaklands ran it's first Birmingham G.P. in January 1962, Stan and Ve were first and second in both sports and G.P. Yes, on their home track I here you say, but it was customary in those days for home drivers to compete at their own big meetings. Also not all members could get to other clubs so this would be their only chance to race against different competitors. This advantage was usually offset by allowing visitors more than adequate practice during the week before a meeting. Some keen enthusiasts would even visit other clubs at other times.
Ve has kindly recalled those distant days to share with us how her family (her daughter Ann and son Tony also raced) became involved and enamoured with the hobby. Whilst citing her Newport Sports win in 1962 as her greatest rail success she is being modest, for she is failing to say how big a win that was. The Newport Meeting in 1962 was the Finals of the British Rail Championship,

Ve was the British Sports Car Champion of 1962!!

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Jeff.
 

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Scott Brownlee
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4,275 Posts
Cars and motor racing are very male dominated subjects. I draw short of adding modelling since the Doll's House scene is probably bigger than slots, railways and plastic modelling added together. And of course there is the thing.

A woman will need to be interested in cars, slots and willing to be a pioneer in a male dominated environment. In other words, exceptional cubed!
 

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Brian Ferguson
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3,652 Posts
My wife was an avid slot racer back in the mid-70's. Before we were even married. She was good at it. In fact, she was very good at it. She was also an excellent marshall. She gave it up when it got too serious, and while questioning the whole thing, some clown had the nerve to yell at her while she was marshalling his car. After telling him, in rather colourful language and great detail, just exactly where his car could be put and in what orientation it should be inserted, she hung up her controller forever and has never driven a car seriously since. Well, okay, she drove my 1:1 race car rather seriously, but never a slot car since then!

Females? As good at it as any guy, given comparable exposure . It is just that they don't usually get the exposure and opportunity. When they do.... watch out... you may get yer arse kicked!
 

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Premium Member
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1,342 Posts
QUOTE A woman will need to be interested in cars, slots
and willing to be a pioneer in a male dominated environment.
In other words, exceptional cubed!

hi, all
This is no staged pic...she is busy xacto-ing something
off her Camaro having just finished the paint job. She
kit-bashed the 1/24 scale CJ in the background too. (I
did the brass chassis...men's work). After 2 years I can
still beat her, but not by much...

 

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Phil Kalbfell
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3,373 Posts
My two daughters have raced 1/24 and 1/32 scale and both can be compeditive when they try.
The eldest even managed a commercial centre for a while. They are not interested in the modeling side.

At one time we had 5 females of various ages raving in a group of 18 racers.

Phil
 
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