Classic Motocross Survey 2013 : results and comments

Introduction

The online survey ran for around 10 days and was a personal project not linked to any association, club or governing body. It’s primary is to get opinions from riders on the 2013 season and in particular get some insight why there were a spate of non-weather cancellations, in particular in August.

Submissions

There were in total of 94 submissions. Advertising for the survey was primarily on the MXTrax website and therefore non visible to the internet literate. The URL for the survey was also distributed to the email addresses of Llanthony Classic Club members.

Responses

The full set of question-by-question analysis provided below, and specific responses are provided in the attached spreadsheet. Any personal information has been removed, though the actual ‘free text’ answers have not been edited (they are highlighted in yellow in the sheet). The questions requiring text responses, rather the multiple choice answers have had a summary provided, though the whole set of answers is in the spreadsheet.

For Organisers/Clubs

There are some very interesting messages for organisers, both looking back at this last season and when considering 2014 events.

Tracks :That it’s the track that’s the major determining factor for many riders, followed by good organisation and if a riders friends are going, then they are also likely to go. That Farleigh and Hawkstone get mentions as the best events of 2013, is partly to do with history, but also because they are great tracks. Whilst Foxhills is a classic track, it was seen as not appropriate for Twinshock racing, so fit for purpose if also key.

Type of Event : The classic rider (ie pre60 and pre68 classes) prefer classic only events, in particular with tracks and classes that fit their bikes. If it’s a predominately classic event, then you are likely to get a classic rider. On the other hand, twinshock riders like ‘classic’ tracks and don’t tend to mind running as a support class at classic meetings. However, better and more committed twinshock riders really like specific, good-quality events. That the Three Counties Club Tirley meeting got voted the best meeting of the year, and the worst, shows whats good for Evo’s isn’t good to classic bikes.

Number of Events : Whilst the survey showed that people are generally okay with the number of events, there is a feeling that reducing the number of conflicting events,ie similar classes running on the same day at two different meetings will be a good thing. Clubs and the events they run are of course vital to the sport, and at the clubs discretion, but they do need to consider whether they should really run an event if it’s been poorly supported in the past, including in 2013.

Dates : As well as fixture congestion, a couple of other comments of interest. Meetings in August, and in particular the Bank Holiday didn’t conflict with other meetings, but did conflict with other plans the rider (and possibly their family) had. Running events in the ‘holiday’ season, such as the North Devon Atlantic meeting at Combe Martin can be very successful, both in terms of riders and successful. However, it does need advertising, long notice periods and being near a beach and other attractions helps. The Kevin Costner ‘build-and-they-will-come’ approach isn’t enough, it needs advertising and over time, to build up a good pedigree. It does always seem that whilst May and September are busy, June can be a bit quiet for some events.

Japanese Bikes : Overall the pre74 rider wasn’t that concerned with riding at twinshock events or classic ones, however being excluded by some clubs was a cause for concern, who only allow pre74 British and European bikes.[[Note, the author of the report does have a vested interest in this issue, but comments were not in my submission :-)]]

Entries : If you are not one of the big events, entry closing dates that are two weeks ahead of the event are nearly always doomed to be cancelled, i. As the survey shows, the vast majority of riders plan in the must do events (Nostalgia, Farleigh etc) at the beginning of the year, and the others are very much dependent on finances, geography and the usual factors. If an entry can be made up to 5 days before an event, then they’ll do it, especially if racing the previous weekend and to check the bike and themselves are still intact. Also, moving on from postal entries is needed in order to speed the turnaround time [[I’m currently looking at a secure webform, with a Paypal backend. Paypal now supports a ‘pay after delivery’ method. Maybe the AMCA should have a web shop, with different ‘event’ products that can be purchased online, including the day license.]]

Types of Events: In the main people are happy with current motocross formats, usually 3 blocks of racing, with each race lasting under 10 minutes usually. However, there is a hint, that alternative events, like hare-and-hounds and endurance events that give people more track time and generally something different, may be on the rise. The Narberth Hare-and-Hounds in September, where the venue could accommodate a long lap, was successful and further advertising and spread by word-of-mouth will increase it’s popularity in 2014.

Classes : Maybe try to cater for the range of rider abilties and potentially run a Sportsman class for all bike types, especially if there’s a full twinshock line. Whilst some clubs run Age Related classes (in particular in Scotland), they are one way of giving people more racing, if they want it.

Promotion : Obviously running good events in the past is the best way of getting people to come to future events. Advertising online (not just posting regs) and locally in the press (for spectators) should be something clubs do as course. In France any motocross, trial or motorsport event, however small, gets posters, radio and a lot of general promotion.

For Governing Bodies / Associations

Fixtures : The general feeling is that there should be more direct involvement to ensure that events are coordinated and that fixture clashes are avoided where possible. This both within a specific association, as well as between different bodies. For example, one thing that happened during 2013, was that June was a pretty fallow month for the pre74 riders, as events like the Bonanza excluded a lot bikes. Taking a holistic view of the schedule from the view of the different class of riders and making advice of the schedule would be a good idea.

Support : One of the things mentioned was about financial support for some clubs and the national championship(s) if needed. However, providing more assistance with advertising and promotion, as well as helping improving organisation might be well received.

For Championship Organisers

Bikes : See comment on Japanese bikes.
Qualification : The vast majority of riders think that a championship should be ‘open’, and not only available for selected riders. Even if a rider has no chance of winning, then there actually participating in a championship of some form can be a motivator to attend an event they wouldn’t normally attend.

Other Comments

For riders, one pertinent messages was that you can’t please everyone. The best meeting for some, is less good for others. Also, the weather is variable in the UK and riders should try to ride in all conditions and support an event. Also greater understanding of other classic riders in other classes would also be appreciated.

In an ideal world, each class would have a full entry on the line, with 4-6 blocks of racing, on a track that’s good for classic and twinshock bikes. The sun will be shining and every rider gets the holeshot in at least one race. We can but dream. The reality is that there are somethings to be sorted out in the sport going forward, but it’s still a lot better that modern motocross. Bike’s don’t depreciate (though starting in the sport is getting more expensive), the tracks and social scene are good and that it can be a satisfying sport, even if you come in the last third of the field. The latter comment is true; I experience it most weekends in the summer.

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Survey Responses
Spreadsheet with responses

classicmxsurvey2013.xls

What is your location in the UK ?

|North West England| 8|
|North East England| 1|
|Midlands, England| 30|
|South West England| 23|
|South East England| 21|
|Wales| 9|
|Scotland| 3|

Where do you go to for events ?

|North West England| 10|
|North East England| 7|
|Midlands, England| 36|
|South West England| 48|
|South East England| 24|
|Wales| 26|
|Scotland| 6|
|Northern Ireland| 1|
|France| 6|
|Belgium| 4|
|Rest of Europe| 6|

What type of classic bike do you ride ?

|Pre 1960 British| 5|
|Classic , (pre 1968)| 20|
|Pre 1974 (or similar, ie 75 in Scotland or Wales)| 21|
|Twinshock (usual qualification)| 43|
|Evo (up to 1989)| 15|
|Super Evo (1989-1999)| 1|
|Sidecar| 6 |

How many events did you ride in 2013 ?

|None, 1 or 2 events| 10|
|3 to 6 events| 25|
|over 7 events, but less than 12| 33|
|over 12 events in 2013| 27|

What type of rider are you ?

|Expert, I can win a race at a club or championship meeting| 6|
|Good, I can win and regularly come in the top 3 in my class| 18|
|Not bad, I’m in the top half on the field| 33|
|I’m Okay and can be competitive |17|
|Having fun, usually in the second half of the field| 18|
|I’m new and still working out how to beat the other guys|2|

What’s your primary consideration on selecting a meeting to go to ?

|My friends/mates usually go to this event| 6|
|I know that the event is likely to run| 4|
|It’s local and not too far to travel| 12|
|It’s a great track| 30|
|The organisation is excellent| 4|
|The classes they run suit the type of bike I ride| 16|
|It’s a British/Welsh/Scottish or other relevant championship event| 13|
|The best competition, other riders, at this event| 1|
|Socially its a great meeting| 9 |

What are the other reasons you choose an event ?

|My friends/mates usually go to this event| 25|
|The event is likely to run| 10|
|It’s local and not too far to travel| 11|
|It’s a great track| 28|
|The organisation is excellent| 22|
|The classes they run suit the type of bike I ride| 30|
|It’s a British/Welsh/Scottish or other relevant championship event| 12|
|The best competition, other riders, at this event| 9|
|Socially its a great meeting| 24 |

Do you like meetings with combined classic classes ?

|Yes I don’t mind combined meetings| 53|
|No, Each type of classic should have it’s own meeting| 13|
|Don’t mind, it’s no important to me| 29|

How do you plan which meetings you will go to ?

|I plan ahead at the beginning of the year, and stick to it| 6|
|A combination of both; I plan some “must do” events and work in others if I can| 89|

When thinking of entering an event, what makes you more interested ?

|Cost, entry fee is reasonable| 41|
|Late Entry, I can enter late by calling the organiser (and paying a reasonable late entry fee)| 11|
|I know that the event will run and not be cancelled| 48|
|The closing date is relatively near to then event, rather than more 1 week beforehand| 21 |

Number of meetings in a season ?

|Too many meetings in the year and there are too many clashes |44|
|There are not enough meetings| 5|
|The number of meetings currently is about right for me.|46 |

How many events to do plan to rider next year ( ie 2014) ?

|None, 1 or 2 events| 3|
|3 to 6 events| 21|
|over 7 events, but less than 12| 38|
|over 12 events in 2014| 33 |

Do you think central management of fixtures would help ?

|Yes, some central ownership and management of fixtures would be a good thing| 62|
|No, every club should be able to run a meeting when it feels like it |15|
|Don’t have an opinion on this| 17 |

Do you think the variety of events is good ?

|No, would like a greater variety of type of event (hare and hounds, enduro’s etc)| 7|
|No, same type of event but more mixed types of races, age related races, for example| 32|
|Yes, the variety of events is good as they are| 54 |

Do you think Championships are currently elistist ?

|No, Championships should be for best riders only and by selection| 22|
|Yes, Championships should be for everyone.|72|

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For future surveys
There are a number of questions that could have been asked, but weren’t
– age of rider
– transponders, thoughts on use in classic motocross
– what type of license do you hold ?
– are you a member of a Club ?

Also the advertising for the survey was limited, though it was to one of the most popular web forums in the UK.

Maybe for consideration for future surveys.

Further Interpretation

The information in the spreadsheet provides the opportunity for more further detailed analysis and appreciate any feedback on this, or on the report provided. Email malcolm@bwlch.net.

Many thanks to the people who took time to fill in the survey and hope you find the responses and analysis of interest.

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