02-19-2014, 05:50 PM #1
Kevin Shaw: Something’s Gotta Give
[I'll preface this by apologizing, as I know what I'm about to say will likely infuriate the most passionate of racing enthusiasts. It's been a lifetime's worth of experience to teach me that I have an uncanny talent for enraging people, so again, you've been warned. -Ed.]
People say “racing is dead.” I disagree. Racing is not dead, it’s just irrelevant. I say this without intent to discredit the talent, training and dedication of the many passionate racers who faithfully pay their dues both figuratively and literally. I say it as a reflection of its current health. The sad reality is that personal watercraft racing is teetering on its last leg.
But it can be big again and with very little effort. And I believe I know how.
The topography of PWC racing has changed since 1991. The machines are far bigger and faster than the 550s of years past. Last year’s AquaX in the US steadily grew with each tour stop. Racers like Scott Dawley raced on a bone stock runabout against pros and novices alike.
Racing mattered most when it translated into unit sales, and it is no coincidence that racing’s apex paralleled the industry’s all-time height in unit sales. The two are intrinsically tied. As an illustration, consider this cyclical chain of cause and effect:
Step 1) Imagine there is a new found consumer interest in personal watercraft – for whatever reason. The new broad consumer appeal immediately translates into a spike in PWC sales. OE’s and dealerships see immediate profitability.
Step 2) A rise in watercraft sales invites more people to modify their skis (because it’s human nature to want to go faster), therefore encouraging the growth of an aftermarket. A vibrant aftermarket rightly influences the next generation of OE product, thereby providing superior vehicles. (We have all seen this happen firsthand, most recently with the SVHO Yamaha and 310-horsepower Kawasaki.)
Step 3) An increase in performance-bred watercraft, dramatically increased gains by the OE’s and aftermarket paired and a new swollen population of PWC enthusiasts consequently results in increased
attendance in existing local and regional racing events. This encourages new promoters to provide more and larger events wherein newcomers can compete.
Step 4) With vibrant dealer sales, OE’s begin pouring extra marketing dollars into encouraging new additional sales, as well as creating stronger brand loyalty and awareness. The more successful aftermarket companies do likewise. This results in greater event support, larger venues, bigger racer payouts, and increased public interest and racer participation…which in turn, leads to greater interest in PWC and consequently, sales.
Click to Read More...
02-20-2014, 06:56 AM #2
Heck - I'd just like to be channel surfing one day and come across an actual PWC event on the boob tube... Of all the idiocy I can find on mere expanded cable, I'm still somewhat surprised that PWC racing/enthusiast backed programs are not a part of the line-up. My first vote though is for the "Green Hulk Garage Show", with your host Jerry G. (sponsored, of course, by one or a combo of the Big 3).
02-20-2014, 11:08 AM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- Crest Hill, IL
PWC are such a SMALL, niche market.....its tough to justify a lot of things.
To be honest, I have watched some events that get broadcasted...and I get BORED watching. WHY? because racing is not something that the average person does. They try to cram as much as they can into a 30 minute show (actually, 20 minutes, minus commercials). The actual racing is just viewed from one or two cameras on shore, with the blip of an ONBOARD cam showing a wreck...
How many individuals do you see, when going out on the water on a typical weekend, are RACING? If they are racing, they get flagged down by the DNR and get a ticket...
Plus most people that I talk to that do not OWN a PWC, when I mention that its an interest of mine, I get either a response of A) "Those things are dangerous, people do stupid stuff on them...", or B) "I rented one before, I liked to do spins on them..."
IMO, PWC's are on the bottom of the Totem pole for recreational sports, because they mostly require disposable income to own and operate them. They are considered a TOY...After Cars and Trucks, which are the main mode of transportation for people, the next down on the TOY list is usually Motorcycles. They are a mode of transportation for many, but they are a toy for some. Followed up by Boats, then ATV's...
Quick search online...
Total US Auto Sales in 2013 = 16,000,000 vehicles
Total US Motorcycle sales in 2013 = 450,000 units
Total US Boat sales in 2013 = 200,000 units
Total ATV sales in 2013 = 35,000 units
In the end, PWC's not only get the short end...but our industry survives on people that have extra cash lying around to spend. And in today's economy, people are more reluctant to spend any money on anything that is NON-essential. People always want a new TV, new video game, new tablet, etc...There are only a small few that put money away for a new SC, or a new ride plate...
What I would like to see, even though its a start, is articles about people ON THIS FORUM, not just Jerry......Do an article on Rich (WFO)...Get a few pics of his shop, what he does, who he's helped, some of his builds.....Or what it takes for Jim (Jim's Performance) to research the right ride plate for a new ski.....An article on a group of forum members that meet up, where they ride, how to get in touch with them, how they help each other...DUKE, he's the go to guy for many in FLorida...FIND OUT WHY!
But thats just my opinion..........
02-20-2014, 06:28 PM #4
Danny, I'm working on several articles with various GH members, their builds and the like. Getting decent pics that aren't lifted from the forum is the tough part. That, and getting some of these machines on the water...
02-20-2014, 07:19 PM #5
Kevin, can not say enough about how I like reading your articles .... I talk up you mag every time I can. (I think Dan's Idea to do some feature pieces on the real "go to guys" on this forum can only help promote interest in our sport/hobby .... and in some cases lively hoods. Again thanks ... we need to keep racing a live !!!!
02-20-2014, 08:48 PM #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- Crest Hill, IL
02-21-2014, 08:50 AM #7
Ugh, I wish I could. My travel budget for April and May is totally booked solid. Unless we bring in some big advertisers in the next month or so, I won't be able to personally attend.
02-22-2014, 12:29 AM #8
Step 1) All local and regional promoters offer Manufacturer Stock classes with reduced entry fees. Lower costs entice new grassroots racers, youth and racers from other classes to participate. Increased entry fees permit larger payouts, encouraging more participants yet.
Step 2) As more and more participants enter Manufacturer Stock classes, the OE’s begin taking notice and supplementing the events with larger payouts. This in turn, lures in more racers (new and old) to the class. More racers wanting to participate purchase new units.
Step 3) An increase in sales directly tied to additional Manufacturer Stock entries encourages vigorous OE and dealer support, thereby provoking promoters to host more events and open up larger venues. This draws in broader public appeal, welcoming new watercraft owners and rekindling interest with previous PWC owners.
Step 4) More public appeal converts into an increase in unit sales. OE’s and dealerships see immediate profitability.
And away we go again…
Go Get Wet,
All images courtesy P1 AquaX USA
Addendum: It has come to my attention that for 2014, the US series of the AquaX has completely recanted from its “Box Stock” policy and has caved to pressures from individuals (and most likely manufacturers as well) to better “level the playing field.” Of course, as we all know, the only people who cry for the playing field to be leveled, want the rules changed in their favor. So, I guess I must retract my outright support for AquaX and remain solidly behind RPM Enterprise’s Ross Wallach’s Manufacturer Stock class rules. Manufacturer Stock should remain stock. What a shame.
STOCK CAR RACING..... It was before NASCAR. STOCK means STOCK. Add some safety glass, some roll bars, and a better seat, GO RACE. BEST CAR/ DRIVER COMBO= WINS. We need this in the industry. Those of "us" who are here (the forums) have a passion for PWC's. Appeal to the masses and let them be the legends before the Dale Jr's , the rainbow warrior Gordon, Jimmy J's and even Lake Speed's ( yes I know I said LAKE SPEED.... but damn it.... he was ALWAYS THERE ... EVERY RACE... EVERYTIME.... IN THE FIELD! ) Everyone can race..... It shouldn't just be about checkbooks and $... its the FEEL and THRILL that makes us LOVE IT.
SPREAD THE LOVE !
02-22-2014, 10:56 AM #9
02-22-2014, 12:27 PM #10
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
- near Toronto, Canada
Mark Hahn 300 race video streaming = very disappointing
2014 Mark Hahn 300 right now via web streaming.
Complete amateur hour viewing experience;
The cameraman did NOT show the start of the race! A LeMans start and the camera was nowhere near the beach...
The camera seems to be located at ground level, well behind the beach. Camera is not elevated. Lots of views of the backs of people's heads.
The announcer just mentioned that he does NOT have a list of the race entrants or their numbers!
Video quality, when the camera is actually looking at the water and perhaps showing a PWC or two, is fuzzy.
Camera is wobbling and shaking the entire time.
Announcer's microphone audio is distorted, just to make the experience more miserable.
I have no idea who is involved in organizing and delivering the Mark Hahn online streaming 'product' but it sure is a long way from anything 'professional'.
For whatever reason the Ustream app on my iPad only lists last year's Mark Hahn race.
Apparently the only way to see today's racing is via streaming within the web site. Not impressed.
Not impressed, at all, really.
Last edited by K447; 02-22-2014 at 01:33 PM.
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
By Rustymuscle in forum The Watercraft JournalReplies: 37Last Post: 01-18-2014, 01:05 AM
By Rustymuscle in forum The Watercraft JournalReplies: 8Last Post: 12-24-2013, 09:44 AM
By Green Hulk in forum Yamaha PWC Performance (4-stroke)Replies: 69Last Post: 12-16-2013, 10:28 AM
By Green Hulk in forum Open DiscussionReplies: 7Last Post: 10-02-2013, 07:50 PM
By Dave01 in forum Yamaha PWC Performance (2-stroke)Replies: 6Last Post: 05-23-2006, 05:58 PM