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  • The Silly Season

    Once again, the “Silly Season” of racing is upon us. Let’s all try to remember that many of us are good friends, we love the sport, and we would like to see it grow…even if we propose different ideas to improve it. I think Chairman Brewster summed it up nicely at the Stock Nationals Finals banquet, when he said based on what he is seeing/hearing at the races, we are doing pretty well (those weren't the exact words, but I think it captured his thoughts). I tend to agree. No one thinks it’s perfect and that we can’t improve, but we seem to be better off than a few years ago. We have more stability in classes, people seem to be having more fun again, and we are seeing some very positive things happening in STOCK (driver’s schools, 300ssH class, new faces/folks helping out at races, etc). With that said, we should all commit to spend more time on growing the positives to help the sport instead of trying to bust each other’s chops.

    Let’s figure out our Goals and Guiding Principles and work towards that. Is it to “get more people in boats”, “put on a better show”, “make it more affordable”? Let those Goals and Principles help guide us and keep us from feeling the need to change course year after year.

    Let’s also be realistic about major changes. We have been discussing class reductions for years, without any real progress. Proposals have ticked people off, the uncertainty over future classes has driven some folks away and has caused people to hold off on buying equipment. I am not saying we wouldn’t benefit from consolidating classes, but stability can be good for the sport. Perhaps, as many have suggested, we need to let things stay as they are at the National level and address class reductions at the local level. If we do consider class consolidation, we should take a very logical approach and review the classes with lowest participation. Either develop a plan to help them grow independently, combine them with other classes with low participation, or drop them over time. Consistent with the logical approach, I would suggest that we don’t make any changes to our largest classes. This is not “protecting a trailer box” its good common sense to not cut the classes that are working the best with the false hope of growing ones that have been stagnant or declining over the years.

    I would also propose that we spend more time working together to grow a class that seems to have the right ingredients for growing but for some reason it isn’t. Before anyone gets upset, this is in no way a jab at anyone’s class, or equipment, or an attempt to call anyone out in some roundabout way. I am simply picking a class to use as an example and think of ideas for growth. I am also trying to accommodate the idea that many people don’t want to work on their equipment constantly or spend a lot of time testing. For this example, I will use BSH. Anyone who has raced BSH says it is the best ride in racing. You can also buy a new motor, so it makes a good class to focus on growing. Without ticking off the current drivers too much, how do we help grow the BSH class?
    • Does it migrate to a sealed class like the 300ssH? We’ve seen good growth in 300ssH, can we leverage this same idea to grow the BSH class?
    • Do we go one step further and make it a 1 boat make, sealed motor, same prop class? This would be similar to the old IROC series for race cars? Fabbro, RJ, or Trolian could be contracted to make all the boats out of the same mold. Sidewinder would provide the motors and perform the rebuilds. Dewald or Brinkman could make identical props.
    • Swap props at every race like 300ssH?
    • Could you go even further and require the swap of motors after each race?
    • Similar to the start of the 300ssH class, could we ask for funding from other sources and have a few rigs ready to race?
    • Should we raffle off a rig? The winner would start racing it, and use the proceeds to help purchase the next rig. I am sure a lot of people would help out by buying tickets…even though we all know Gary Pond will win it.
    • Other ways to help the class grow??
    Put a time limit on this plan and have everyone focus on its success. If the formula works, fantastic! If it doesn’t work, realize that we all worked together (even if unsuccessfully) to grow it, and then consider dropping the class. Put our collective energy into growing a class and see how successful we can be.


    Let’s try to keep this Silly Season focused on the positive parts of the sport and developing ideas to help classes grow.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Mike
    ryanbrew57s, crfabbro2F and 10 others like this.

  • #2

    Re: The Silly Season

    Good write up, Mike. I couldn't agree more. We all want to see the sport grow. There will be many opinions and different perspectives coming from all over the map. We must keep an open mind and respect each other regardless of our differences.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all,
    John
    Last edited by csh-2z; 11-23-2017, 12:39 AM.
    Csh29f and bill hoctor like this.

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: The Silly Season

      I am always telling people that if I don't do something to grow my class no one will, as we all know there are not always enough 25 runabouts at every single race and sometimes I have asked a C driver to put a restrictor in to make a class. But if I don't talk positive of my class and offer somebody a ride in a rig then how would I grow my class? this year I was the only person in the state of Ohio that ran 25SSR and I am happy to say that next year there will be three of us. One is a new racer that started this year and fell in love with my 25 rig and the other is a marathon driver that hasn't raced very much short course and wants to learn to race with a clock start. Both will be running Mercurys by the way.... If you don't promote your class who will? If you tell me BSH is the best ride in stock outboard (which I hear several times every year) then why don't you prove it to me? Great post Mike!
      Ryan Brewster 57-S

      Comment


      • Big Don
        Big Don commented
        Editing a comment
        Correct me if I'm wrong, or got bad information, but in talking to some 25R drivers the reasons they race 25R are, they are not big enough to run CSR, they don't have the money for a Sidewinder and when it was just hotrods in BSR they were none to be found so they went to 25.

      • ryanbrew57s
        ryanbrew57s commented
        Editing a comment
        Don, maybe they are running a yamato? I know the weight is higher for that engine than the merc, weight in 25SSR with a merc is 395. Have no clue what it is for the yamato motor off the top of my head so maybe that's what they're talking about?

      • ryanbrew57s
        ryanbrew57s commented
        Editing a comment
        Just looked up the weights for the yamato engine in 25SSR with a 1/2 restrictor it is 405lbs and with a 9/16 restrictor it is 430lbs my bet is that is what they were talking about

    • #4

      Re: The Silly Season

      Seriously then, and with all due respect, Mike. (Which you are certainly due, as one nice dude!) What is the opposition to eliminating 20ssH? Considering...

      -20ssH was created to house the now 40+ year old Yamato 80
      -It is now a CSH lookalike class dominated by 300 series motors. This makes both classes less interesting to watch,
      -Drivers could race just as much but with a simplified race program. (No restrictor changes.)
      -Higher entry fees per class are justified by more seat time.

      It seems to me we are gaining more than we are losing.

      Everyone keeps saying that it is our biggest class, but we have to see through the illusion. 2/3 or so of CSH drivers restrict and the rest are 80s. It's like 70 C lites and 40 Yamato Bs. We can give the 80s an outlet in BSH and give everybody more heats. This only about trying to create better class identity and eliminate overlap. We don't need two identical classes that run so close to the same speed. It is a drag on the race day for drivers and spectators.
      Last edited by ryan_4z; 11-22-2017, 07:36 AM.
      Ryan Runne
      9-H
      Wacusee Speedboats
      ryan.runne.4@gmail.com

      "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--Albert Einstein

      These days, I find it easier to look up to my youngers than my elders.

      Comment


      • #5

        Re: The Silly Season

        I'm not following guys. Cutting 25SSH and DSR makes sense because these are classes on paper only, but cutting a class that has a lot of participation? Seriously, I don't understand. Bill

        PS - Spectators? What spectators? I do not think "spectator confusion" should come into play at all here.

        Comment


        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          I think that there are so many people talking about this is also a sign that there is validity in the idea. Frankly, many of us are tired of watching the same races twice and the same people always winning all the time in both classes.

        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          Spectators are where we get new racers.

        • 94H
          94H commented
          Editing a comment
          I see the best growth potential in our Drivers School Program and past drivers becoming members in the Owners Club.

      • #6

        Re: The Silly Season

        We need to look at this honestly, with facts, and apply some logic.

        The idea of eliminating any of the 5 largest classes in a sport is illogical. It's like Ford deciding to ditch the popular F150 because they want to sell more vans. Does not make any sense.

        Sure, we can vote to force drivers to change motors, but this isn't like a utility company where you are stuck with their one choice, or you freeze in the winter. This is a hobby where people spend discretionary income. You jam them enough, and try to force motors on them, they will leave the class or racing altogether. We all need to realize that, and review some recent history with an honest view of what's been happening.

        We need to do more to help grow the B class than just try and force 20ssH drivers to race it. The idea of adding Y80s to BSH to help the class grow is a good idea, but we need to do more. It's not a strong enough growth strategy to link your success to a 40 year old motor that just a few years ago people where trying to banish to the basements.

        We also need a plan that's based on more than just hope. Look at the numbers and the facts. The old sales pitch was that once we have new motors, our numbers will grow quickly. That didn't happen. We really can't afford to ignore history when developing our plans.

        A few years ago, the Y80 was cleverly marketed as an "antique". Now 20ssH is being marketed as CSH light, clearly to diminish the importance of Stock's 2nd largest class.

        Ryan, I am completely confused by your willingness to fight a change like putting a side fin on a BSR, but have no problem suggesting we cut our 2nd largest class.

        Let's focus more on growing smaller classes instead of trying to eliminate our largest ones.

        - Mike

        Comment


        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          The problem is, if we grow all our current classes our race day is still endless, and we still have more classes not less. Less classes is simpler for the organization, the club and the racer.

      • #7

        Re: The Silly Season

        Numbers and facts: Over the last 20 years side-fins and restrictor plates have not helped racing grow. The slow decline continues. I don't like it. I love racing 20ssH. I have run that class more than any other over the years.


        We need a new vision for our sport because it has become boring and no one likes it but us.
        Last edited by ryan_4z; 11-22-2017, 08:11 AM.
        Ryan Runne
        9-H
        Wacusee Speedboats
        ryan.runne.4@gmail.com

        "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--Albert Einstein

        These days, I find it easier to look up to my youngers than my elders.

        Comment


        • Big Don
          Big Don commented
          Editing a comment
          Ryan I agree 100% that our vision needs to change. Out of the box thinking is what it's going to take.

          But our decline or lack of growth certainly had nothing in my opinion to do with Yamato, restrictor plates or side-fins. In my opinion, side-fins probably gave some classes a lifeline.

          I'm not saying that BSR needs a side fin. That's not my point. Too many classes has certainly hurt. there are 100's of things that have hurt us. We need to figure out what it's going to take to get interest from guys that are buying cars and racing at the local track, or why are they going Kart racing, or why are they buying that dirt bike. Those are our customers and we need to understand why we can't get them.

          If we don't lean on the new people that have joined us in the last few years and understand what the attraction was and why they came to us...we are missing a great opportunity to learn.

        • hshawwpba
          hshawwpba commented
          Editing a comment
          Here is and idea quit electing the same people to run APBA, BOD, and the commissions.
          New Ideas do not come from old thinking!
          The newest Idea being floated is to make the Sidewinder engine restricted for J class, and eliminate or reduce the Merc. 25ss motor so the Sidewinder can dominate----- We already have the Yamato running in 7 different classes every weekend and both spectators on the beach don't know the difference and if asked they think it is the same class running over and over! Do we need to have the Sidewinder be the next engine to run in 5 or 6 different classes based on a restrictor size or weight ??
          Here is some forward thinking --- why do we need 3 outboard commissions, the inboards don't have different commissions for their Stock, Modified, and Flat bottom classes. Make one commission called Outboards it make perfect sense in todays world when most of the racers cross over and run in all 3 current catagories of outboards. The regions can elect same # of commissioners based on participation but only 1 meeting would be required and everyone could attend 1 meeting to hear the ideas brought forward.
          Discontinue the ability of category chairman to appoint people to the commissions, if a person is not elected by his/her region they need not be appointed to a commission.

          What class did Albert Einstein run???

        • Big Don
          Big Don commented
          Editing a comment
          Howard I think that has been happening over the last 2 elections. Don't you? I know we will have some new, fresh, changing ideas out of this group. Yes, there are some of the veteran people still on there but I think this is a good group of people that can make things happen.

          I'm glad to see Rick Sandstrom back on. I personally don't know Steve Compton but have heard good things about him. We have young and old. Some new faces...

          I'm excited to see what this group can do. If 2 years from now nothing has changed, I may think different. But I know right now I'm very excited to see where we start heading.



          2018/19 APBA Board of Directors

          President Howie Nichols
          Vice President Chris Fairchild
          National Commissioner Charles D. Strang
          Treasurer Steve Compton
          Secretary Mary Williams
          Legal Council R. Steven Hearn
          Adam Allen
          Kyle Bahl
          Jerry Davids Sr.
          Fred Hauenstein
          Jean Mackay-Schwartz
          John Runne
          Mark Tate

          Mark Wheeler
          Category Rep. Jeff Brewster - Stock
          Region Rep. Rick Sandstrom - Region 10

      • #8

        Re: The Silly Season

        Listen, I agree we have classes that are boring. I hate watch 4 boat races and think we need to have competitive racing with full fields.

        But this logic of people don't like watching racing because the classes look the same is just not making sense to me.

        If I go to the Motorcross race there are anything from 125 to 250's in a class, the bikes all look the same other than color. Jump up a class they all look the same as the 250's but have a bigger engine that I can't tell from the stands.

        Or if I go to the local dirt track the cars all look the same and I lean over to the guy next to me and say what class is this? it looks the same as the last class. It does not matter, I'm there for entertainment and to watch racing.

        I have never in 48 years had an prospective racer tell me, no I'm not interested because those boats look the same, Nor have I ever had someone tell me they are not interested in the sport because that same engine is used in 2 classes? It's quite the opposite.

        "Ask anyone, I have no friends. I do have some people that put up with me and mostly because they like the rest of my family"

        Don Allen

        Comment


        • GrandpaRacer
          GrandpaRacer commented
          Editing a comment
          Turning this into a spectator sport has been talked about since the 70s when I started racing and it isn't happening. Likely never will unless we add betting like they do in Japan. Actually it could really hurt us if we drew a big crowd. Think of the problems we would have with crowd control, parking, police protection, traffic control, porta potties, and the associated irritation a big crowd would have on Lake Shore neighbors at most of our race sites.

        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          I am not talking about filling stadiums. But when we race in a town people should know about it. We should at least draw a crowd. Nobody will want to race if it doesn't look like fun. Our races have become boring and self-serving.

        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          Word, Don. You make total sense. Dropping 20ssH issue until we handle other matters.

      • #9

        Re: The Silly Season

        I'll tell you what is working... 300Hydro...there is a reason it's grown to 63 racers in 5 years. If we don't follow that model we are all in the weeds.
        "Ask anyone, I have no friends. I do have some people that put up with me and mostly because they like the rest of my family"

        Don Allen

        Comment


        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          If we drew more spectators then I believe that drivers schools could be busy enough to be hosted separate from races.

        • Ericwienczak
          Ericwienczak commented
          Editing a comment
          Ryan,

          MHRA racer school fills up incredibly fast and has a lot of demand. time and money is the issue. It costs a lot to insure for an extra day and the cost of the school doesn't make the club money.

          Then comes the issue of getting people to volunteer, unfortunately most people that want the sport to grow aren't willing to help out

        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          Well then, I repeat. Specators=$$$$$. We need to relieve the financial burden from the drivers and clubs.

          And, how many spots are available in and MHRA Driver's School? Has anyone tried hosting a weekend long drivers school with intermittent exhibitions instead of a half day followed by a weekend of racing?

      • #10

        Re: The Silly Season

        I beg to differ, Ryan, on side fins and restrictor plates.
        Look at the CSR numbers. In the early 2000s it exploded as side fin boats took over. Seems like everyone was jumping in a CSR because it was much easier to drive than a roll up. But the numbers did decline after several years. I believe it's because many guys realized they really DIDN'T belong in the class because they were too light and it's still a tough class to drive...side fin or not.

        25ssR was dramatically increased when the restricted Yamato was legalized in early 2000s. Not saying it was the right decision...but you see how the class rebounded from nothing to at least viable.

        As for 20ssH, I'm sure the numbers would be much lower if the restricted 102/302 hadn't been legalized nearly 20 years ago. 80 parts would be pretty scarce by now.

        And while there still may be a debate about whether side fins and/or plates have helped racing...what has increased participation? Certainly can't say NEW engines have made a big impact. In the past 5-7 years....

        DSH has gone from 40-50 boats to low 20s.

        ASH went from 90-100 to 70.

        ASR went from 75-80 to 50.

        BSH/BSR have dropped 5-10.

        The only class that has grown is 300ssH. WHY?

        20ssh/CSH have been only classes to maintain virtually same levels. WHY?

        I fully believe we NEED new engines...and believe replacing the OMC and the Hot Rod were good ideas. But here's my question. WHY aren't people buying 'A' and 'B' Sidewinders and 'D' Tohatsu in droves?

        Lastly...take a look at the MOD participation numbers in that document I posted in Dylan's thread. The downturn over the past 10 years has been similar to Stock. What common denominators are in Stock/Mod? As Kyle posted in the other thread, the race day format could have a lot to do with it. Guys are sick of sitting around all weekend for 2 heats at the end of the day...watching 3-4 boat races in 20 classes. Shake things up. We have to evolve our thinking.

        Comment


        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          New racing outboards will cost $5000 anywhere you go. We are spoiled by the refurbished/used Yamato situation. A situation that seems to be as unreliable as any other these days.

          Admittedly, 20ssH and 25ssR are the only two stock classes to maintain numbers over the last ten years. I think this is a sign that we are prolonging inevitable death. We are clearly not instigating growth. I think demand for D is down due to too many classes in the same speed range and B stock is down because motors have many ??????????????.
          Last edited by ryan_4z; 11-23-2017, 04:04 AM.

        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          Dana, I think you are the best analyst of this information we have. But I do not think that the side fin is the reason. Other classes has spikes in popularity in that period also. I seem to remember more people racing more often, and more classes. Roll-up CSR boats become unavailabe except Broccoli runabouts in those years. Evolution of the roll-up had trailed off in favor of the faster hydrobouts.

          But, as you mention, 3-4 boat races are the real drag. I think our current spectrum of engines could be organized so that we have fewer classes, everyone still races and there are decent fields in every class. Once we accomplish the goal of making our sport exciting and appealing, people will naturally want to join.

          And, of course, we need new equipment that is actually ready and available for purchase.

      • #11

        Re: The Silly Season

        The question keeps coming up as to why people leave the sport. We should discuss this and try to agree before we implement solutions. There are a lot of obvious issues like cost, time available, 3 boat heats, having kids, but I don't think these are the big reasons. What do people tell you when they leave? One is getting tired of chasing the same 2-3 people in the back of the pack and never getting a chance to get on the podium. I think this is the reason the 300ss class is doing so well. Some of us really like to blue print our engines, and make trick boat mods and spend hours on props and test a lot, but we are the minority. However, I think there is a bigger problem. What really gets a racer pissed off? We have all seen it, the helmet throwing and cursing after a heat? Is this why they get mad and quit? I think the most irritating thing in our sport is making a good start, being in the mix, racing side by side, having a great race and then getting sawed off. Getting sawed off by the same guy that does it all the time! Eventually the words come out "That's it! I'm outa here!". Am I right or wrong?
        John Adams



        Comment


        • Ericwienczak
          Ericwienczak commented
          Editing a comment
          I've been "sawed off" a few times, ironically it's the same kid every time.

      • #12

        Re: The Silly Season

        I can tell you why Sidewinders and Tohatsu D's aren't flying off the shelf...price. Why spend $5000 or $7000 for an engine when for half that you can get an entire rig and race in a couple classes with it.

        20 and C maintain because they're the biggest bang for the buck. They're big enough for most adults, and with one hull and one engine, they can run multiple classes. With a restrictor they can run 20, without they can run CSH and 500. When it's all said and done on Sunday, they have one boat and one engine to pack up.

        300 is doing well because for the price of a sealed Yamato ($3000ish) you have yet another class to run...with the same boat. Of all the 300 drivers, how many are new and how many are veterans that jumped on the "yet another class I can run" band wagon? I think the rules for 300 also provide some interest from veterans.

        I know we try to steer new drivers to 300, but nothing stops them from buying and running any class they want. I believe one or two of this year's new drivers jumped right into 500. I know I went straight to CSH and run my boat in 500 because I can.

        It seems the C classes are the sweet spot for entry into the club from a price and versatility perspective.

        Why has B declined? Maybe the difference going from A to C isn't a big enough performance jump for someone to want step slowly? Maybe most of the new drivers coming in over the last few years are too big to race B boats competitively? I dunno.

        Dane Lance
        700-P
        CSH/500Mod

        Comment


        • #13

          Re: The Silly Season

          Lots of great discussions going on right now. I'm a 30+ year veteran racer. My oldest son will be racing JR this summer and I can tell you if it wasn't for his enthusiasm to want to race boats we'd be racing dirt bikes, bicycles or something else. Right now, my father is putting together a J motor from 3 fishing motors and it blows me away the number of mods and tricks there are to get one to run right. Not to mention the number of guys who say "well, I do this to my motors, even though its not legal so the motor will last longer and still run well" or "you have to have a 16cc block or else you'll never win a nationals" Yet, no one I've talked to knows how to get a hold of a 16cc block or if they are even available through APBA/Mercury. Someone knows but no one is sharing.

          I firmly believe in order to get new people involved and to want to stick around for a while there has to be current, available, affordable, reliable equipment. That is why every Yamato class is successful!

          Yes, the class structure is screwed up and so is the "show". Why do we not have lemans starts? At least at races that have the beach area that supports that type of racing or certain classes when it makes sense, ie "The Dash for Cash". I've raced this way a few times for special events at club races and its a blast!!! Everyone is lining the bank to watch the race because it more exciting. We are way to worried about losing current racers who are unwilling to change. If you look closely, the average span of a good racer is about 10 years. Those of us involved after that are an anomaly. We should spend less time on worrying about keeping racers and we should be focusing on getting new racers to replace us as we fade off into the sunset to do other things. You must have current, available, affordable, reliable equipment in order to attract new racers and keep racers for any length of time. For example, I can drive 20 minutes from my house, buy a new dirt bike for my son, with my credit card, and go racing within an hour of my house to 4 tracks. Driver schools and other efforts to get people in boats and racing works and works well but for how long without the equipment?

          Someone, Stock Commissioners, Stock VP, APBA President, has to start making tough decisions! I'd much rather trim the schedule back and race my CSH 3 times a day with 4-5 lap heats and pay much more in entry fee than what we are paying now. I know we can do this in our club but I just don't see that happening. As much as most do not like to take orders from big brother, everyone is waiting on big brother to make the tough decisions so we don't have to, which is combine or eliminate classes. Or, I'll take it a step further and say that Stock and Mod need to be combined! I believe it was Dana Holt and Dean Sutherland several years ago had a couple of proposals on this. Makes sense to me. NBRA is able to do it quite well.

          Finally, I'd love to see the younger generation; Ryan Runne, Dylan Runne, Johnny W, etc... implement some new ideas and run with it. I'll help if I can.
          Joe Silvestri
          CSH/500MH

          Comment


          • #14

            Re: The Silly Season

            I've brought up why we don't have 300ssr to a few commission members and it didn't get much traction. The response was we don't need another class.
            True, we don't need another until we get rid of a couple.

            Has anyone tried a runabout set up in 300ss configuration? If it works in hydro why not a runabout?

            As far as John's comment about getting sawed off, pay back is hell! and... I have returned the favor. You want to get me mad, drive me dirty. You want my admiration race me hard. I hate to say it but some guys just don't get it until they get the same. And when you do get yours, don't come crying.

            Tim
            Tim Weber

            Comment


            • ryanbrew57s
              ryanbrew57s commented
              Editing a comment
              There have been efforts to start a sealed runabout class, the idea was to set it up as similar as the hydro class to make it simplified for new racers that might race both classes and switch their motor over. the result was a very slow, bad and bumpy ride from what I was told. and I also have heard the comment of "why make a bad ride worse?"

            • ryan_4z
              ryan_4z commented
              Editing a comment
              Just don't put a stupid two-bladed prop on there and we will all get a decent ride!

          • #15

            Re: The Silly Season

            Make a sealed runabout class with the 20 Sidewinder. Best ride you could ever ask for.
            Helps get more SW out there...creating bigger used market down the road thus reducing cost of engines to rest of racing population.

            Comment


            • Big Don
              Big Don commented
              Editing a comment
              Great idea

            • ryan_4z
              ryan_4z commented
              Editing a comment
              BSR already has the perfect format for this. The motors that are out there could easily be factory inspected and sealed.
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