JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/27/16 11:31 a.m.

Whether you’re selling cargo shorts, or putting on a rock concert, or staging an autocross, it’s all about customer service. Treat your customers well and they will come back and your business or club will thrive.

When it comes to customer service, though, lots of sports car clubs have a lot to learn. And If there’s one point you take …

Read the rest of the story

MattW
MattW New Reader
12/27/16 1:51 p.m.

Interesting stuff. FWIW, I like #1. I've been to plenty of motorcycle trackdays where the riders meeting turns into a shopping network commercials where everybody between the photo org. to the tire vendor does their sales pitch.

It's cute at first but when it turns into a 45 minute informational it gets pretty annoying and makes people 1) Not wanna attend riders meeting. 2) Not actually pay attention at the riders meeting.

Not sure why my post is bold.

iceracer
iceracer PowerDork
12/27/16 2:02 p.m.

Our ice race drivers meeting last less than five minutes. Welcome

Track info

Todays schedule.

Quick talk from chief flagger

An additional short meeting for first timers.

Start practice

NEALSMO
NEALSMO UltraDork
12/27/16 3:05 p.m.

"asswagon"..that's all the input I have

sprcpr
sprcpr New Reader
12/28/16 6:50 p.m.

Having run registration as well as scoring and timing I agree with everything here. I would like to add a couple of points. The club should designate members to act greeters for new people that show up. Look at course design. Is your course clear? I drove several hours one time to another event and spent the day getting lost on the course. They had their own way of laying out a course with very few cones. It was impossible to follow for me and was a horrible experience. On top of that the group was very unfriendly. They were clearly a closed group and didn't want new or outside people. Not a recipe for growth. Think about the best video games. Easy to play, hard to master. I've always thought an event should follow that model.

RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD Reader
11/15/23 1:49 p.m.

I know this is old but it's front page on the website so I would like to reopen a dialog on this if possible. There is so much truth in this article and I agree with most of it.  The points I don't agree with are just my opinions and I could be completely wrong...hence why I would like to see what the tribes thoughts are.  (This is coming from a solo safety steward's point of view) Drivers meeting,  they suck....no way to sugar coat that one but I feel they are needed.  The novice classes are growing with many first timers at every event, as stated above these can be handled on the course walk but unfortunately there are many very seasoned drivers that display the problems you would expect from the novice group so it's like beating your head against the wall but everyone apparently needs to hear the day one stuff.  Clicks....we need to stop doing this, myself included.   We have a great group here in CFR scca and I'm sure all the other groups are equally as awesome (Gulfcoast, Martin, Equipe Rapide <--I know I got that wrong) but we have a tendency to "stick with our own".  I was at the state championship autocross this past weekend and witnessed it first hand.  Some of the group was kinda pissy because I didn't know how they did things,  it's off-putting and makes for a shifty day.  That being said I'm guilty of the same thing, we all need to knock that off.  We all share the same passion,  let's help each other when we don't know what to do and just be friendly.   It was mentioned in the above comment that there should be greeters for the new people...brilliant idea and I'm gonna bring it up with the man in charge  that I would like to do that.  Let's welcome each other instead of doing what I did this past weekend and just stand there looking for cars I recognize so I didn't have to interact with anyone new.  The flexibility idea is great when you can use it.  The events at the Firm are typically a autox in the morning and a track sprint in the afternoon with no obligation to do both so if you don't feel like getting up at 5am to go run you can just run the afternoon session or if you don't wanna give up your whole day you can just come for the am...it's pretty sweet.   I would like to hear what all of you guys think would make for a better day experienced and novice.  

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/15/23 2:08 p.m.

Great article. Everyone works in sales, some people just don't know it yet. 

drock25too
drock25too HalfDork
11/15/23 2:30 p.m.

The weekly shows at the local oval track has "Mandatory" drivers meetings every week to "Discuss" what went wrong last week. Guess who's not there, yeah, the guy who caused the problem last week. 

Best drivers meeting I was in went something like, Thank you for coming. Drive safe and don't be a dumb ass. Have a good night. Lets race.

RobMason
RobMason New Reader
11/15/23 4:19 p.m.

In reply to RonnieFnD :

Hey Ronnie - (I am the guy with the MG) - noticed a bit of what you mentioned this past weekend. GCA can be a bit insular and touchy since they are usually a small group trying to hold on to their one location. Also the person that ran most everything from registration to timing and pretty much everything other than course design passed away very unexpectedly a few months ago. They had to start everything from scratch since they had to change the way they do everything (for a variety of reasons). Think they are still getting their heads wrapped around it all.

As for how States ran, it was comparable or better than a couple of groups that have hosted. CFL, Martin, are all pretty much the same people - we cross pollinate - Jax is pretty close, with ER and GCA being a bit of the outliers. Hopefully with their new systems GCA will integrate a bit more people wise, but they are pretty isolated down there compared to most of our locations. Luckily, I'm in Tampa and 1 1/2 - 2 hours from everything.

I learned a lot about hosting novices a couple weeks ago at the Moultrie National Tour event. Was a fantastic way to handle newcomers. Thinking about how to add something like it for CFL and maybe Martin. Would take a couple dedicated people to handle it for each group. Best thing to do to is be active and willing to volunteer with each of our local groups, or an outside group when you travel. I was shoveling dirt at 8am Friday morning at Moultrie, almost made me regret asking if they needed help wink

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
11/15/23 5:07 p.m.

Not covered:  equally enforce the rules for everyone. Just because someone has been with the club for decades doesn't give him a pass for running a blatantly cheater vehicle in a class and setting class records with it.

That's the thing I remember most from my brief participation in Solo 1. Not the memory I hoped to make.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/15/23 5:13 p.m.

Driver's meetings:  it's been a long time since I went autocrossing, but I remember those meetings always seemed way longer than they needed to be.  30-45 minutes of talking and I had gone to enough of them that I could just about recite them from memory.  On average maybe 2 minutes' worth of new stuff.

Track day driver's meetings are often the same.  I've been to dozens of these, I don't need the flags presented to me again.  Tell me the important stuff that changes between events -- what track entrance are we using, what track configuration, anything unusual about the surface (repairs, etc).  There are some orgs that get this and run different drivers' meetings for different groups with much more abbreviated ones for the folks who've been there many times before.

Since getting my race license though, the amount of time in drivers' meetings has gone way down.  NASA race group meetings are usually 10 minutes and SCCA doesn't have drivers' meetings at all.

 

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/15/23 5:24 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

Driver's meetings:  it's been a long time since I went autocrossing, but I remember those meetings always seemed way longer than they needed to be.  30-45 minutes of talking and I had gone to enough of them that I could just about recite them from memory.  On average maybe 2 minutes' worth of new stuff.

Track day driver's meetings are often the same.  I've been to dozens of these, I don't need the flags presented to me again.  Tell me the important stuff that changes between events -- what track entrance are we using, what track configuration, anything unusual about the surface (repairs, etc).  There are some orgs that get this and run different drivers' meetings for different groups with much more abbreviated ones for the folks who've been there many times before.

Since getting my race license though, the amount of time in drivers' meetings has gone way down.  NASA race group meetings are usually 10 minutes and SCCA doesn't have drivers' meetings at all.

 

Yup, love the SCCA club racing approach to drivers meetings (aka none). Chances are if you've got a comp license you don't need to be told about what flags mean or whatever stuff gets repeated over and over.

RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD Reader
11/15/23 5:40 p.m.
RobMason said:

In reply to RonnieFnD :

Hey Ronnie - (I am the guy with the MG) - noticed a bit of what you mentioned this past weekend. GCA can be a bit insular and touchy since they are usually a small group trying to hold on to their one location. Also the person that ran most everything from registration to timing and pretty much everything other than course design passed away very unexpectedly a few months ago. They had to start everything from scratch since they had to change the way they do everything (for a variety of reasons). Think they are still getting their heads wrapped around it all.

As for how States ran, it was comparable or better than a couple of groups that have hosted. CFL, Martin, are all pretty much the same people - we cross pollinate - Jax is pretty close, with ER and GCA being a bit of the outliers. Hopefully with their new systems GCA will integrate a bit more people wise, but they are pretty isolated down there compared to most of our locations. Luckily, I'm in Tampa and 1 1/2 - 2 hours from everything.

I learned a lot about hosting novices a couple weeks ago at the Moultrie National Tour event. Was a fantastic way to handle newcomers. Thinking about how to add something like it for CFL and maybe Martin. Would take a couple dedicated people to handle it for each group. Best thing to do to is be active and willing to volunteer with each of our local groups, or an outside group when you travel. I was shoveling dirt at 8am Friday morning at Moultrie, almost made me regret asking if they needed help wink

It was great meeting you and talking to you down there.  I am also in Tampa  (Valrico) so I'm like two hours from everything.   I would go back down there, the spot is great, the guy calling the race was funny and that always makes for a good time, the tech guys were super nice.  I don't think the grid people were that happy with me.  Saturday they didn't give me the tokens....I didn't know I needed tokens so girl comes up to me and hands me them and I ask what they are for and apparently I was supposed to know because she was talking to me like I was an idiot (I am but nobody has to point it out lol).  Then in grid I get scolded again for pulling around to the spot I left from and parking behind a car that had pulled into that spot.  I had no idea what they were doing or how they were doing it and was made to feel it was my fault.  That goes back to the greeter idea for new people that haven't run with the club.  I do wanna go back down and give it another shot.  Everyone has bad days and I can't let one rough day ruin it for me.

And on a side note, I'm gonna un bury this guy and come race old cars with you at some point.

Tom1200
Tom1200 PowerDork
11/15/23 6:38 p.m.

Mine is number 3, Flexibility.

Very often the people running events forget that not everyone is as passionate or dedicated as they are.

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 Reader
11/16/23 7:10 a.m.

I'm glad this article got bumped.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/16/23 8:08 a.m.

I'm also glad to see this rolled up again, hopefully it's also linked on the FB page. 

The Gulf Coast group is going through a difficult time for sure. The loss of the most valuable member will reverberate for a while. I'd also cut them some slack because they had their site shut down for an extended period not long ago. 

I've only been down there once before, and while I did initially get some of the "you're not from around here" vibe, it was because I didn't know how they ran things and they were helpful. I found it easy to connect with the locals. That wasn't a factor last weekend. My codriver's girlfriend is the club president's daughter, so I had my own personal guide to how the events run.

It's a really long drive for me to get there, but I'm planning to become a semi regular  after I get a trailer. 
 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
11/16/23 8:23 a.m.
ddavidv said:

Not covered:  equally enforce the rules for everyone. Just because someone has been with the club for decades doesn't give him a pass for running a blatantly cheater vehicle in a class and setting class records with it.

That's the thing I remember most from my brief participation in Solo 1. Not the memory I hoped to make.

Did you protest?

mfennell
mfennell HalfDork
11/16/23 1:27 p.m.

The motorcycle group I run with at NJMP has a good driver's meeting solution.  Advanced/Expert get the details of the day, then are dismissed.  Novice/Intermediate get a more thorough discussion that reviews flags, corner stations, rules for joining/leaving the track, etc.

dps214
dps214 SuperDork
11/16/23 2:14 p.m.

The thing about drivers meetings is most people only have enough attention span for the first 5ish minutes no matter total length. So you can either get through the important stuff quickly and be done with it, or drag it out and most people will miss a lot of the useful information buried 20 minutes in. Personally I usually use that meeting time as a bathroom break before the event starts.

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 Reader
11/16/23 2:40 p.m.

In reply to dps214 :

I'll be honest, I haven't paid attention to a drivers meeting in two years.  at any autox, track, whatever.  For good or bad.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/16/23 5:41 p.m.

The worst thing about long drivers meetings is that they often go until 3 minutes before the first group needs to be on grid, so most people aren't paying attention at the end anyway. They're looking at their watches. 

PT_SHO
PT_SHO New Reader
11/18/23 6:56 a.m.

Interesting presentation.  A little fast-n-loose with certain parts of reality to make the points, IMO. 

1)Meetings - Solo Nationals are filled with 1300 people, of whom 1250+ are the people who run the events at their clubs.  They give the meetings.  Who's the meeting for at a local event?  Not them!  OTOH if a newbie has an accident involving car or, worse, personal damage, what does the insurance company ask?  "Did you hold a drivers meeting on safety procedures?"  FWIW we've gone to scripting the insurance bullet points (like no alcohol or other drugs), add a short segment on who to thank and who to complain to, daily schedule notes, then hold a separate "less than 3 events" mandatory rookie orientation.  Main meeting is never more than ten minutes, usually under five.  I think it's a bad idea to do rookie orientation during course walk, it's tough enough to get them to absorb navigation lessons without confusing them further with cone retrieval, etc.

2)Course design (obviously primarily an autocross issue) - Depends.  With inexperienced workers, or borderline worker numbers, or a tough course to follow causing DNF's and cones, 20 seconds is not enough if they aren't standing near the popular cones to hit.  Not all of us can do the high school sprint any more.  Tire wear is evened out if you can include an opposite sense loop, but if so put it near the start so that you don't impact your crossover time much.  Variety of courses over the season may trump making every event snap-snap.

The other points I'm willing to bend on.  Customer happiness, especially in newbies, does have to be a target.  Even with our recent changes to add rookie coaching, guarantee a photo of rookie cars at the event posted online, course walks, ride-alongs, etc. we still have fully half of the attendees each year that do one and done and aren't seen again.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/20/23 8:16 a.m.

Before you know it, you can have an asswagon train heading straight for Jerkville, 

This made me laugh. Also an excellent point !!!

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
11/20/23 9:50 a.m.

The Champcar drivers meetings sometimes get really long in the tooth. I understand it's a weird because there is a nexus in that series of seasoned vets and dudes who just built a car with no experience racing out there trying to have fun but I've sat in hour long ones where it's just like dude we get it and my coffee has done it's job and I need to go. 

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
11/20/23 10:00 a.m.

Our motorcycle club has an excellent riders meeting that is geared to the beginner/rookie rider, but is brief and to the point.  The first part of it is a random call out of 5 race numbers. Not in attendance? You pack up and go home for the day, no exceptions.

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
jZpsvD30Pkgk16W1MAqcXQB9Z0ahRk8ZeBCH14959F6lRusTJKyoa3v7MzLE1jal