Another passage of time passes us by and some of you have chosen to mark the past few weeks with a missive to Classic Racer. Good on you and thank you very much for the correspondence – we enjoy every single letter, email and pigeon that lands at Racer Towers.
Dear CR There were some great points and suggestions in the last issue of CR about the current interest by the wider audience of classic racing. There is a growing interest and demand to see real race bikes ridden by people who are having fun and enjoying themselves – and have a go themselves. Organisations like the CRMC, BHRC and Auto 66 Club (and many others) have been working tirelessly for years to raise the profile of classic racing to attract riders, visitors and sponsors. Luckily, they are thriving now but many have been close to the financial wire. The success of the Classic TT and European events (Bikers Classic, Chimay etc), Festival of Jurby and the Mallory Bonanza, have dramatically increased the level of interest and expanded the opportunities for riders and their bikes. Not forgetting the highly successful industry built on providing everything you need, from a new Manx Norton and Suzuki XR69 to a Ducati TT2 frame and seat unit for a TZ250. Luckily Rob and Darin of Endurance Legends (and Classic Bike Track Days) are passionate about creating events that everyone can take part in. And luckily for us had the commitment and deep pockets to keep going. Their partnership with the CRMC and the Festival at Donington at the beginning of August demonstrates the ‘build it and they will come’ approach which you are promoting. The circuit owners play a key part in enabling these events to take place and support the clubs and promoters. The cost of renting the tracks are eye-wateringly high and the gate receipts (generally) go to them not the organisers. If the costs and risks of staging events were shared how many more people, sponsors and companies would step up and invest in the classic racing scene? The real challenge is to bring together the key parties and agree a shared vision, approach and schedule to reduce the event clashes. So, who is prepared to initiate the first meeting and take up the challenge for the classic community and turn it into a viable and sustainable voice? You can’t have everyone there as nothing would be decided. The proposal would be to have the key bodies and representatives from each sector. My vote for the first meeting would be: Auto-sports body – ACU Classic racing club – CRMC Circuit owners – MSV Event development – TT and Classic TT Officials – BMMC Promoters – Endurance Legends Publications – Classic Racer Race team – Classic Suzuki Sales/promotion – Duke marketing One major item to add to the first agenda: attracting new riders. This is not only crucial for the longterm success of classic racing but we need people to take over the legacy of our race bikes. So, who is up for the task and will volunteer to make it happen? How about booking a room and getting things started? Michael Baggs email
Thanks for the letter Michael, lots of good points made there. What do the rest of the racing world think about this then? Let us know in the usual way. It’d be terrific to get a host of racing brains involved and together for serious talks about that next step. TC