Friday, 21 November 2014

Rally - Car clubs

This is a serious bit, so stick with it. The Scottish Association of Car Clubs held its AGM earlier this week. There was a goodly turnout of motor sports clubs and interested individuals, but by no means were all of the 52 member clubs represented. Yes, I know Bridge of Allan will not be convenient for everyone, but it is pretty central and it would be nice to see a full turn-out. Scottish motor sport is far too important to be left to those who can, while those who can’t be bothered miss out.

Anyway, the meeting did highlight one major concern. Over recent years we’ve lost a few good clubs while the anoraks of a few more are hanging on shakey nails. Club memberships are down and the number of competition licence holders is down too. There is also a growing need for organisers and marshals, club officials and volunteers for MSA official posts.

Spectators and their needs aside, the sport itself needs to attract more folk to the car and motor sport clubs which provide the lifeblood. So where do we start, with the chicken or the egg? If we can’t excite and keep car club members then we have no chance of attracting newcomers.

The whole issue boils down to one thing – time. We need folk to give up some free time to support this sport.  Going by Tuesday’s night’s attendance, less folk are doing more work.

Over recent years, car club ‘socials’ are becoming less well attended and fewer in frequency, monthly newsletters have all but disappeared and websites are not kept up to date with news.

Once regarded as the great saviour of communication, ‘social media’ has failed to deliver. Not because of any software shortcomings, but because of the need for volunteers to commit time and effort to keep fellow members up to date with what’s going on at club level and in the wider world.

We all have our favourite sources of internet information be they on Facebook or Twitter, YouTube or Blogs, but these must present a bewildering array of information to the ‘outsiders’.

On that basis - is there a need for one central source of information? One general Scottish motorsports website, or one Blog that could do the business? For instance, competitors could find out who won at the weekend, car club members could find out what’s next on the calendar and spectators could find out where to go. It could also have a section for newcomers to find out the basics.

The newly established Scottish Motor Sports ( organisation could be just the ticket. At the moment the folk involved are concentrating on forward planning in association with the Sports Council, but they haven’t ruled out a ‘proper’ website presence.

For the moment, car clubs could do a lot better. For sure, some are pretty good at updating websites and Facebooks, but many more are missing out on a golden opportunity. All they have to do is find a willing volunteer (enthusiastic victim?) to undertake the task - and then support him or her. Don’t just leave them to get on with it on their own. They won’t last a season!

The internet has lots of people who have nothing to say, but keep on saying it anyway, while those who have something to say, don’t have the time. We need an answer to this one.

Discuss at your next club night – if you have one.

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