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(This has been posted here to permit discussion to take place but appears in another thread as an answer to some points made.)

I am never going to win the argument at Slotforum but my real point is that for clubs to appeal to the masses and pop up all over the country it will require a different type of club that offers more flexibility and the trimmings that the 21st centuary public want.

Jonny does have one of the top clubs in the country and it is a superb resource for the local area. But sadly for me it is outside my travelling zone for me to become a regular. And even though Jonny's club is open most evenings and weekends, it does not offer the total flexibility and trimmings that I have mentioned elsewhere to enable a club to appeal to the great mass of non Scalextric racers.

Forget Scalextric converts. Clubs have to start thinking about how they can attract people who currently do not even own a Scalextric set. Once they get into that frame of mind then it will be a whole new ball game. I am confident that Jonny does attract "never raced Scalextric before" members. But I do have a view that most clubs don't actually want to attract "never raced Scalextric before" members and only want new racers around who have some home racing experiance.

A Scalextric room in a family pub would be a start!

And I would call it a "Scalextric Family Room" and a "Scalextric Club" rather than a "Slot Car Room" because in the UK this has much more meaning among the general public than "slot car".


Moped
 

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I suppose you could get away with calling it a Scalextric club, but only because that is the particular brand name uninitiated people in the UK use to describe slot cars, much in the same way as Hoover is used to mean vacuum cleaner ("hoover that mess up!").

However as we (on SF) all know in the 21st century there are more than just Scalextric-produced slot cars available in this country.

Now, I'm all for a bit of drink-drive (!:32 scale!!) but, I wonder how many pub landlords would give up a room (well, rent I mean) for a toy car track set up permanently?

Mine's a Guinness please Moped


Mark.
 

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I feel one of the problems is when someone does venture to the club is that
there are all these people who know the track inside out and have lots of cars
tuned to run like stink around it.

They turn up with there pretty much box standard cars and get thrashed.

If you are/were to make clubs to appeal to the "never raced before" - or "bedroom only racer" then they need to be mainly stock cars out of the box
club supplied with special races where you can race modified ones - rather
than the other way round it is at the moment.
 

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Usually, when someone stands at the sides telling everyone they are running their (succesful) businesses wrong, that despite them listening to their customers/club members, they don't know what they are doing, it is that person at the side who is blindly not learning how the clubs or businesses work.

One time in a million that person actually does have an inspired vision of a different way things could be. But Moped, in these instances the ONLY way that person gets listened to is by believing in themselves, taking risks, and doing it THEMSELVES! When they have built a great empire and are sitting in their 1:1 lambourghini, THEN and ONLY THEN will other people listen.

So please stop going on about it and either do it or don't. If you do, then I wish you luck
 

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There are a lot of bright people at Slotforum and there is nothing wrong with sounding those folk out. There will not be any Moped move on this front until Scalextric Digital and SPORT World is launched and I have considered how best to utilise these products.

I see analogue as being history and would not want to move forward with old technology. Thats being brutally honest.

In the mean time I have other things to think about.


Moped

PS It would be nice if it was a 1:1 Lambourghini Astro but for the moment we will have to settle for a 1:32 version!
 

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Brian Ferguson
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Then, if you think the new technology must be incorporated in the club of your dreams, why are you attempting to base this discussion on something that is not yet released? Sounds more than a bit premature and rather pointless to me.
 

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talking of lambo's my local has had some from his supplier, which means the distribution is all sorted!

QUOTE brutally honest

A lot of you wouldnt get this but rr3.9 will know the guy in wrexham market


Analogue is the way forward!!
 

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Mope, I don't really think it matters what anyone has up their sleeves. If you cant get a slot car club running with the latest amount of world wide interest at this point in time, I don't think you ever will. If digital bombs, your buggered. But those already established groups running with the old system can simply upgrade if its members choose this to be best for their future.

Might we also consider exactly what legal aspects are involved in a non-commercial entity before you get to the people side of things.

One more thing, how many non-commercial Scalextric clubs are there in the world, that actually can call themselves a bone-fide Scalextric club.

I think, 1!
 

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A local pub in Farnham Surrey already has a slot track (in fact two). This is in a small town that has another slot club (ours) and at least four within 30 miles!

Maybe we are very lucky in Farnham, but i think if people want to go racing then there are clubs out there for them.

With the web people can see if there is a local club and go, but in my experience clubs don't actually want to actively hunt for more members! For the last two years our club has been pretty much full to capacity every week and when we have too many people the racing suffers.

Perhaps Sport World will change things in terms of home user racing world wide, but (IMHO) i doubt it will make much of an impact to club racing (different tracks, controllers etc, etc) and how many clubs have broadband conections on site?

Part of the joy of going club racing is meeting other people and chating to them about slot cars face to face plus using and watching other use the cars.

Just my two pennies worth.

PS Moped was that you at Orpington on Saturday?

Gareth
 

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QUOTE (JEXY1 @ 5 Jul 2004, 12:38)With the web people can see if there is a local club and go, but in my experience clubs don't actually want to actively hunt for more members!
You may want to add to your experience on a positive note. Both Pendle and Slot Tech would like to have more members, but it's trying to effectively "market" the clubs which is the problem.


Mark.
 

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Russell Sheldon
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Moped, isn't this the model you're looking for?

From my experience, most slot car clubs have fairly modest facilities that probably don't appeal much as a family venue. Clean, well-lit premises with clean toilets are helpful but understandably costly. Of course, the bigger the membership the more the income, conversely the larger (and more expensive) the premises need to be.

This could only work if it is run as a fulltime business, i.e. as a commercial centre, such as this facility in Shanghai, not as a two or three times a week club night:-





Sadly, most commercial raceways seem to close faster than they open. The cost of real estate usually doesn't justify having large tracks occupy the floor space.

Difflock made a good point. I'm sure that leveraging the Scalextric brand name, particularly in the UK, would help. I don't know but I would think that those clubs that already do this are probably the more successful clubs -- Eastcote Scalextric Club, Molesey Scalextric Club, Phoenix Scalextric Club, etc.

Of course, having Hawaiian Tropic girls as marshals will help to get most males to sign-up for membership!

Kind regards

Russell
 

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I agree with Astro, if you're not happy with the current tracks, do it yourself.

Fergy makes a good point about digital, it might bomb. Look at TCR cars, they were supposed to be great since you weren't locked in on one lane but today many people have never heard of them. I know nothing about digital cars so I won't run them initially. If they take different cars and controllers than analog then you may as well close up shop now and save your money for another project because you need to support of analog racers first.

I think something you're forgetting is that slot cars are a niche market. It's not like fishing, golf or tennis. Slot cars really aren't that popular in the real world. Being online and "in the know" you see slot stuff all the time but your average Joe on the street doesn't see them at all and if they do, all they think is "I played with those toys when I was a kid". The market just isn't there. You see Fly making millions of dollars (or pounds, euros, whatever) but what you don't see is that they sell to a very limited market. All the slot car companies combined probably don't come close to producing as many cars as a product like Hot Wheels produces in one year and you have probably never seen a Hot Wheels track set up for public use. I know I haven't.

This is a niche market with only so many possible clients. If you can't convince existing slot car racers your project is worthwhile then you'll never convince the general public.

Russell, are you sure that isn't a museum display? It's way too clean and well lit
I'd be very uncomfortable there, I'd be afraid I'd dirty it up. Wouldn't mind trying it though. Well, if they let me in the door I'd try it. Not sure how they'd react to a ******* American walking in carrying an old tool box while wearing grubby jeans, tennis shoes and an old T-shirt. I'd need to remember to use a coaster under my glass of water too.
 

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QUOTE ...my real point is that for clubs to appeal to the masses and pop up all over the country...

I hate to break it to ya' Mope but club slot racing ain't never going to be a big 'mass' activity, not until the oil in the deserts runs out, anyhoo.

It don't matter if you got six lanes or digital, our hobby is based upon a well proven toy and it is looked upon as kinda geeky in adult circles when you confess your interest in it. Saying you do it competitvely, at a club level, makes it all sound even more sad. I totally understand that you want Hornby's business to grow and grow and take the dividend higher and higher but clubs ain't going to do it, IMHO.

I'm sure he'll ride in to correct me if I'm wrong and this bit is big on assumptions but isn't Jonny's club (Pheonix) actually a business? I think that makes it a bit unique as most of the clubs I know about are just a group of like-minded souls gathering together in hired or borrowed premises to race their cars. Not commercial enterprises doing corporate entertainment. Jonny's undoubted success is down to the graft he has put in and that allows him to take something out; but how many ordinary clubs have members with the time and effort or motivation to put in the same effort?

In my mind the only folks you are going to attract to a club are those who do already own a set at home and are frustrated by the small scale of it. Size is important. When I started the Oxford club I felt I had to get a good website together, with some photos of the six laner and the back straight to seduce folks down. Size is important. A lot of the folks who found us just wanted to "have a go" on a multi-lane circuit with a long straight.

A club with a two lane digital set up doesn't look so impressive.

If you ever actually put your money where you mouth is and set something up, I would seriously recommend you have minimum of four lanes and the longest straight you can squeeze in to get the "Wow!" factor working for you.

[edit]
Posted this at the same time as "a Bill" and Russell whose points are similar to what I was thinking but might not have made so clearly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree with Wankel's summing up of the current slot car scene. Yes, we are all sad geeks!

It is the real estate issue that makes it expensive in the UK and that is why any serious entrenpreneur has to operate with multiple income streams. Slot car racing is just one aspect of the draw for the family.

Digital is not just about racing cars. It is the entire range of add on peripherals such as big multi screen viewing and the telemetry and the racing modes that make it much more appealling for the participating a viewing audience which are more likely to bring it into the mainstream as a leisure activity.

"Scalextric Racing Drome" rather that "Scalextric Club" sounds much more enticing to the general public.

There is a place in Redcar that I have been looking at. It is an indoor skateboarding park:-

http://www.knowhere.co.uk/302_skatestuff.html

As you can see it attracts a certain element that I suspect would find slot car racing appealing. It is a very big centre with a lot of room for a superb Scalextric type experiance in the corner.

There is nothing like it in the West Midlands and this may well be down to the cost of real estate in my home area relative to Redcar.

I had a chat with the owner and he seemed to think the idea was cool.

But I don't live in Redcar!



Moped
 

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Gary Skipp
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Do we want to permanently attract the general public?

If everyone is intrested in slot racing it won't be so special to the enthusiasts anymore.

People are intrested, but the attention span is limeted. The solution for the public therefore is track hire for parties or corporate events.

I did some jobs last summer for a guy running a track hire company called That Scaley Thing. Every party/event we went to the partygoers enjoyed immensly, for the tracks were 4 lanes, set up within an hour and had lapcounting etc. It was a chance for them to race 'proper scalextric' and they loved it. Chatting with them though, they wouldn't want to join a club.

Its boys (and a few girls) and their toys, and toys arent played with non stop.

Enthusiasts like us will want to race frequently, and thats why we race at clubs, but the public dont. It doesnt matter how we can appeal to them if they arent intrested.

And Moped, Skaters dont like scalextric, They like skateboarding and nothing else. Beleive me, it would be trashed within a week.
 

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If this is not a daft statement (and I realise it probably is) and just to show that I have not become totally lost in the various threads going on around this same topic, as far as I can see what Moped wants is a track/circuit where ordinary people with ordinary cars will come and race - this track/circuit also being more ordinary than normal track circuits to give newbies to the hobby a chance along with those people who don't want to tamper with their cars.

If this is correct, then what happens after a couple of meetings when the now enthusiastic public want a bigger better track and start tampering with their cars to get that little bit extra speed out of them? Do you then ban them and send them to one of the existing circuits?

Also, enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm so if you only want newbies then the more experienced racers who already tweak their cars will not be about to spread the word of the club.

I know, it is probably me, but if I am right in my summary above, it looks like this idea has not been thought out properly. I also wonder about the digital system, since none of them are compatible with each other or with the standard system where you can race any car on any track - therefore digital is immeidiately cutting your prospective market down somewhat isn't it?

All in my humble opinion you understand, but as someone who is very keen to promote the hobby, (and it must be stressed as a hobby, not just for scalextric purchasers but for all slot car enthusiasts) this looks like a very strange way of going about it. I tend to agree with Wankel, UK squeeze and all the others in this thread and can only state that there are many clubs who have made it, but from my experience of trade accounts there are many, many others who have not, many of whom had the right marketing, the right product and the ready money to back it, but still failed.

People are funny things - they are all enthusiatic until they actually have to do something, then it all falls apart.....


Aaron
 

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Totally concur with both A.Bill and Wankel here !!

That idea that there will be a "Scalextric" club around your area soon whether it be analogue or digital or whatever the manufacturers have planned next is pure fantasy !! Whatever Getslotted have "up their sleeve" is going to have to be mighty special.

This is very much a minority hobby with a three or so distinct factions ie home racers club racers and collectors some being members of one or more the biggest membership being the home racers.

I would dearly love to see more clubs around the country well set up and well run with alsorts of racing classes including out the box anything so we can all join in and race without all that fiddling and tuning which to be fair most of the home racers havent the first idea about. Would a relatively new home racer buying a set for maybe the first time even venture to take the car to bits invalidating the guarantee ???

One aspect not really touched on here is if clubs are to succeed you have to draw the dads and lads away from what is already a pressurised social life with minimum lesiure time to do these things. We all hear that we have more leisure time in the press etc etc but who actually has that ? Certainly not me or any of my immediate circle of friends if anything we have less time to socialise and therfore fit in slot car racing.
Theres kids to be taken to football practice, swimming and more after school clubs than you can shake a stick at.

In my experience theres the age thing too i have discussed this at length with others and kids in the 13-18 yr group if not already initiated into slot cars at an early age wouldnt dream of going to a slot car club as previously stated this just isnt hip and cool theyre more into football and dare i say it girls !!!
Kids have to be caught early ie 5 onwards and brought up with slot cars and then taken to clubs when they are old enough. Again discussed at length is the dads who re find the hobby and involve their kids in "their hobby".

I assume that this forum is one of if not the leading forum on Slot cars yet look how many members we have and actually post here (always the same few folk posting) no disprespect to either the forum or its members but that just shows how popular we really are IMHO.


I do think though that in light of the above it just goes to show what a great success the likes of jonny have made at Pheonix that despite the odds they have a great slot car racing experience.

Personally i hope digital and all the other developments are a success too as anything new in this game is a bonus and Scalextric an the like should be encouraged whatever they decide to develop, as regards clubs i think the leisure market is flooded with things for kids/families to participate in therefore anyone thinking of a slot car club in your area soon has, quite frankly, more chance of platting fog. We really have to accept that slot car racing is a very very niche market for the club racer and as regards other hobbies are we really in the same league as fishing football golf ?? Asking my lad if he would got to a slot car club and participate he replied " oh yeh dad as long as it doesnt clash with me footie practice!" Just about summed it up for me and highlighted that just because theres a club in your area doesnt mean that youve a god given right for punters it does have to compete !!

Best of luck with your club idea Moped your gonna need it and if its in Redcar just remember theres other race nights over there where if you clash with them youll get just yourself in there !! racing on your own is a bit like asking for a table for one !!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You are all right yet again.

The big issue at Slotforum is that we only hear it from the point of view of "insiders" and the same few who are relatively active.

Wouldn't it be nice to get 100,000 replies from ordinary people?


As an investment you are all more or less saying "Scalextric Racing Drome" theatres are a poor investment relative to the effort involved and the likely return.

Hornby did try something as an experiment at a Megabowl in Milton Keynes and it did not work out. However the staff there were the issue as they were not over enthusiastic about slot cars. It was like employing "MacDonalds type" staff to run a slot car race track.


Funny thing is I still remain convinced that there is potential if things are done right!



Moped
 

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Funny thing is I still remain convinced that there is potential if things are done right!

I agree. The potential is there. I can't argue with that. The problem lies in doing it right and being in the right place at the right time. I wish you the best of luck with your project.
 
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