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2018-2019 APBA Steering Committee Report

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  • #16

    Re: 2018-2019 APBA Steering Committee Report

    I've put the idea out before, I've talked it around some and I still like my idea, but someone of far greater experience and knowledge brought up a point that I hadn't considered, but's my thought on the "ultimate" driving school set up. Yes, it does make some assumptions and would require some buy in from builders and suppliers, but here goes:

    There are several components to what I would consider a "legitimate" driver school: 1) proper equipment, 2) competent instructors, 3) a comprehensive program, and 4) image.

    I know image might not seem like it should be included, but consider this from the new driver's perspective: what sort of message does it send when school students see us scrambling to find a boat and motor, or borrowing someone's kevlars to use for the school? What do they think of the organization when we're stuffing them into obviously well used equipment that's scrabbled together at the last second?

    A "proper" driver school, in my opinion, needs the following:

    1. A trailer, and where possible, graphics on it advertising what it is.
    2. New hulls
    3. Good engines
    4. Kevlars of various sizes
    5. Helmets.
    6. Where possible, a big screen tv with animated presentation.

    I think if properly fleshed out, and with cooperation from a builder or two, the driver school can accomplish a couple of things: It can provide a professional image to new drivers, it provides good equipment, on site, ready to go, and lastly, if a new driver is so inclined, the equipment can be purchased on the spot. A benefit of this is that the club can actually make a little money as well.

    Here's how:

    For the sake of the argument, let's say builder X charges $3500 for a new 300SSH hull. This plan requires a builder that would be willing to build hulls for the school at a slight discount, let's say a school boat can be purchased for around $3300. Engines, of course are a matter that would require further discussion, but let's assume the club is able to acquire sealed engines as needed, even if it at normal, full price. Several sets of kevlars and helmets. I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt to ask SRP or Lifeline if they would be willing to discount such purchases for school purposes.

    With this set up, the club has a professional image and equipment available on the spot (sold to the new driver at regular price, which means the club can make a few dollars in the process). If a club holds one school event per year, and they do sell a rig, they now have a whole year to replace the equipment from the funds made on the sale. Clubs running more than one school per year can opt to purchase several hulls, engines, etc up front, or not...that can all be worked out by the club.

    Issues for this set up:

    1. Of course, such a set up isn't cheap or free, so that brings me back, again, to a question I posed a while back: what are clubs doing to raise funds (other than the normal fee collection at races, etc)?

    2. Where is the school equipment stored?

    3. Who is responsible for getting it to the race site?

    Given the positives, I see the issues as more of an exercise at the local club level for them to work out, but once it is up and running, it would be a self-supporting endeavor.

    Lastly, the point that was made to me: "Is it a good idea to set brand new drivers up with brand new boats that are potentially fast and competitive?" I understand the point, but at the same time, it as no different than that same new driver going to the builder having a new hull built, etc, is it?

    I've been helping our instructor with the last few schools we've run, and I have to say, it's one of the best volunteer positions I've taken on since I started racing and I think this can really become something, it's just going to take some time and work, and of course, some $$$.

    ryanbrew57s and jsilvestri like this.
    Dane Lance


    • Ram4x4
      Ram4x4 commented
      Editing a comment
      dwhitford, this is where I need more information. I'm not a builder (yet), so I don't know how long it takes a builder to produce a boat. I've heard, under ideal conditions, that one can be completed in around a month? Is this true, or was someone tossing out unrealistic time frames?

      I'm not proposing that a single builder be tasked as the supplier for all school boats, or even the same one for just a club. These are logistics clubs can work out at their locations with local builders. I also don't expect every club in the country to have a driver school. Nothing wrong with a club holding schools for other clubs (we just did it at Lock Haven).

      I also don't expect that a school would be selling boats left and right at each class. Great if they do, but realistically, I think 1 per year is closer to reality, and even that is a WAG.
      Last edited by Ram4x4; 09-14-2018, 07:19 PM.

    • Ram4x4
      Ram4x4 commented
      Editing a comment
      John, it's doable, I believe that, but the set up is going to be a fair bit more than a little capital. I would guestimate the initial setup (assuming one adult boat and one J boat), plus associated equipment would be around $20,000-$25,000, as a conservative estimate.

    • modsquad
      modsquad commented
      Editing a comment
      Back in the day we would also plaster the town with posters and banners letting people know there was a boat race going on, it gave a more professional look to the event and to us as drivers, most citys and towns we race at now, the residents do not have a clue there was a boat race going on. I can remember kids walking the pits and asking us drivers for autographs! Also not to beat a dead horse removing go pros from helmets kind of put a little damper on promotional videos and also giving new drivers some visual teaching.