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what needs to be done to increase the fan base and popularity of unlimited hydroplane racing

I have tried to start a discussion about the "state of the sport" and what needs to be done to increase its fan base, which will result in greater sponsor interest, more media exposure, more races, TV covereage, etc., etc., etc.

I have already given my thoughts on the discussion tab of the H1 Unlimited website, but I would like to hear more input from more fans, and more input from H1 on their plans. Comments?

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Randall,

I think you are right-on with the idea of a one day event!  And with many of the race sites scrambling for funds, it seems like a no brainer to me. The races in Detroit were one day events for many years in the 1950s and 1960s, when the fields were larger and the rate of attrition much greater. 

Regarding the time between heats, I understand you comment about "breaking something and thrashing about to make the final", but shouldn't that be part of the endurance component of a race? Undoubtedly a tighter schedule would result in losing some potential contenders for the final heat, but that used to be part of the suspense of a boat race.  I can't even count the number of times that my favorite boat, Miss U.S. 1, lost a race because a mechanical problem caused a DNF.

It was all part of the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat"!  When we allow enough time for a top contender to leave the pits for a machine shop to make repairs and return in time for the next heat, as happened here  a year or two back, we have totally removed the endurance aspect of the race. George Simon would have loved it if his crew had been given enough time to pull the engine from U.S. V and put it in U.S. 1 in 1963 without missing the second heat!

We have many people that really have an interest in what the future of hydroplane racing holds.

I would like to see if Dave Williams would hold a forum of all people of this interest could hold a meeting at

the museum to hold an open discussion to share views and ideas to improve the success of hydroplane racing.

Maybe our forum will help with ideas that may not have been considered thus far.

I am all all in on this.Is everyone else.

Mark Baldwin

In the last couple of day we have seen more ideas coming in. Keep them coming, it is great to read what other people think about the sport. One day event for sure, but let people come down on Saturday for free to watch an exhibition of some kind, this could improve exposure to the the sport. Limited racing needs a bump too, as that is how many of us were first exposed to this great sport. I still have my program from the 1971 World Championship on Green lake. Buccaneer, Record 7, Tool Crib Special, Crazy Kanaka, what an event, Even had 200mph drag boats. Events like this will help the sport grow and get the young people back. 

  I think a forum with other fans is a great idea, but not sure if the Museum is the right sponsor, H1 needs to hear some of this and they need to listen. I am not interested not one bit in Turbines being the future of this sport. You can trace the down fall of this sport to the first all turbine heat of racing. Some may not think that is correct statement, but it is undeniable. I have been a fan for 50 years, and have attended races since 1967, this will be my last year to attend the TC, I am bored with it. Still enjoy the UL's and GP boats. 

Diversify! Open the doors. Embrace the masses. Reach out to minorities, youngsters, the military. Promote year 'round. Crossover w/ other motorsports markets. Recruit talented, imaginative, enthusiastic people who will recruit more of the same into the family. Pray.

Gerry, thanks for "reviving" my discussion about what needs to be done to increase our sport's fan base and popularity.  Maybe if we get enough people to participate H1 will start listening, and actually make some changes in the format.

I just renewed my tickets for the 2014 Gold Cup but was disappointed to learn that the schedule of events looks to be identical to last year.  For some unexplainable reason they just don't want to change anything, even though crowds get smaller and races disappear from the schedule.

Let's hope new faces will take over the sport and be more open to the wants and needs of the fans!  That is the ONLY way the sport will ever grow.

 God bless you Tim, for your passion and keen interest towards the greatest watersport ever! People don't know - what they don't know. Its up to us to introduce them to H1 and the sport in general. Only "blanket coverage and exposure" will work at this late stage in educating the masses and developing a larger/broader fan base. I agree with you 100%, regarding the lack of imagination and leadership over the years that allow the entire industry to diminish to a fraction of what it was when the Thunderboats ruled. Pretty sad. How about recording all the ideas that have already been suggested and add to the list all new ones that'll be coming in after people start reading your blog? Then share the list to all existing players, especially the ones w/ the authority to make progressive decisions on the premise things will get better. We need a commissioner that will unite the various entities that make up the body of hydroplane racing, making it stronger and smarter and easier to promote. 

This discussion has been going on for nearly 4 years and there have been a number of great ideas presented. I would venture to say however, that the ideas are mostly from people who love the races and are most likely to be attending them already. Kinda' one of those "preaching to the choir" messages.

This website is hardly the forum to solicit ideas from those people who don't attend or follow the races. If they don't follow or really care much about Hydroplanes, then they are probably not on this website and so don't participate in this discussion. So, how do we get them involved? They are the (potential) fans we need to plant their butts on the shore orin the stands.

Seafair did a survey a few years ago to ask what the people attending the August race liked the most. Not surprisingly, the Air Boeing Show was the top attraction, but the races were in second place. Not sure how much longer that's going to be the case before the Torchlight parade pushes the boats out of its runner-up spot...

So, maybe, the event should be an enhanced Air Show to bring the spectators out, but with a race carefully orchestrated to make it more appealing to the fans. That might be a start anyway.

Then we need to get the media back on board. Somehow get the entire weekend event back on the front page from page 4 of the Sports section. More promotion and pieces about the drivers and the teams and slightly less focus on the boats themselves.

It's an uphill battle I fear, but it's the people who don't care about the races we need to include, not just keep telling each other on this forum we need more noise or less air shows....

Just Sayin' 

Phil, I have to disagree with you on your last post.  I don't think the problem is "trying to include people who don't care about the races."  Instead, I would argue it should be about trying to bring back those people who used to attend but no longer do.  I build model boats and I can't even count up how many people have told me they "used to attend" the races.

And I also think that turning the event into more than it is, by adding air shows, turning a one day event into two, and taking six hours to stage a race that should take three hours is also the wrong solution.  If the event can't be self sustaining it will eventually die out. You can't make a sport more interesting by disguising it as something else!

But I agree that the people who need to see and read these comments probably aren't seeing this.  If they really wanted our opinions they would solicit them, right?  There are certainly ways to do that in this day and age of the internet.  And it seems to me that the members of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum might be a good place to start.

This discussion has been going on for nearly 4 years and there have been a number of great ideas presented. I would venture to say however, that the ideas are mostly from people who love the races and are most likely to be attending them already. Kinda' one of those "preaching to the choir" messages.

This website is hardly the forum to solicit ideas from those people who don't attend or follow the races. If they don't follow or really care much about Hydroplanes, then they are probably not on this website and so don't participate in this discussion. So, how do we get them involved? They are the (potential) fans we need to plant their butts on the shore orin the stands.

Seafair did a survey a few years ago to ask what the people attending the August race liked the most. Not surprisingly, the Air Boeing Show was the top attraction, but the races were in second place. Not sure how much longer that's going to be the case before the Torchlight parade pushes the boats out of its runner-up spot...

So, maybe, the event should be an enhanced Air Show to bring the spectators out, but with a race carefully orchestrated to make it more appealing to the fans. That might be a start anyway.

Then we need to get the media back on board. Somehow get the entire weekend event back on the front page from page 4 of the Sports section. More promotion and pieces about the drivers and the teams and slightly less focus on the boats themselves.

It's an uphill battle I fear, but it's the people who don't care about the races we need to include, not just keep telling each other on this forum we need more noise or less air shows....

Just Sayin' 



Tim Matyn said:

Phil, I have to disagree with you on your last post.  I don't think the problem is "trying to include people who don't care about the races."  Instead, I would argue it should be about trying to bring back those people who used to attend but no longer do.  I build model boats and I can't even count up how many people have told me they "used to attend" the races.

And I also think that turning the event into more than it is, by adding air shows, turning a one day event into two, and taking six hours to stage a race that should take three hours is also the wrong solution.  If the event can't be self sustaining it will eventually die out. You can't make a sport more interesting by disguising it as something else!

But I agree that the people who need to see and read these comments probably aren't seeing this.  If they really wanted our opinions they would solicit them, right?  There are certainly ways to do that in this day and age of the internet.  And it seems to me that the members of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum might be a good place to start.

This discussion has been going on for nearly 4 years and there have been a number of great ideas presented. I would venture to say however, that the ideas are mostly from people who love the races and are most likely to be attending them already. Kinda' one of those "preaching to the choir" messages.

This website is hardly the forum to solicit ideas from those people who don't attend or follow the races. If they don't follow or really care much about Hydroplanes, then they are probably not on this website and so don't participate in this discussion. So, how do we get them involved? They are the (potential) fans we need to plant their butts on the shore orin the stands.

Seafair did a survey a few years ago to ask what the people attending the August race liked the most. Not surprisingly, the Air Boeing Show was the top attraction, but the races were in second place. Not sure how much longer that's going to be the case before the Torchlight parade pushes the boats out of its runner-up spot...

So, maybe, the event should be an enhanced Air Show to bring the spectators out, but with a race carefully orchestrated to make it more appealing to the fans. That might be a start anyway.

Then we need to get the media back on board. Somehow get the entire weekend event back on the front page from page 4 of the Sports section. More promotion and pieces about the drivers and the teams and slightly less focus on the boats themselves.

It's an uphill battle I fear, but it's the people who don't care about the races we need to include, not just keep telling each other on this forum we need more noise or less air shows....

Just Sayin' 

Poor choice of words on my part, Tim. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that the air show began as an added feature to the races. Perhaps it's time to "add" the races as an adjunct to an air show. Based on last year's (poor) attendance - the medias' claims that most people were at the south turn nowithstanding - I'm probably safe in saying that without the air ahow (okay, the Blue Angels) attendance at the races will be greatly diminished.

The air show, presumably, will draw the crowds and sell tickets. Then we need to find a way to present the hydros in such a way as to excite the "captive audience". Admittedly I don't know just what that might be at this point. The vintage hydroplanes may be the key, in part, and would help bring back the people who no longer attend. I would suggest however that a more comprehensive "exhibition" featuring the old boats needs to be developed. I don't know precisely what that would involve. Perhaps "pitting" the vintage boats somewhere they can be seen without a pit pass. Having a few more of the old boats there might be helpful too, but at this point there aren't many of them around, though I anticipate the number of restored boats will grow over the next few years.

What about somehow engaging the local sports teams to participate, maybe by each "sponsoring" a boat? Not sure how we'd do that since the boats all seem to have sponsors. Maybe just a team logo on the designated boats and a member of the team be a part of the race team. How about, say, Felix Hernandez be associated in the pits with one of the boat crews? That ought to sell a few pit passes to those seeking an autograph. Likewise, Russell Wilson as part of another team... Maybe include the Sounders and a couple of football players from UW and WSU? Just thinking out loud here.

By the way, I doubt anyone is doing more than the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum to keep Unlimited Racing viable and growing. Consider the annual "Season Preview" where the current teams and personnel participate in an annual "kick off" event at the museum. Maybe the event needs to be moved to a more "public" location and promoted more aggressively?

Don't know. I appreciate the discussion that's been going on here for the last few years, but despite all the good ideas, nothing really seems to change.

I think the series needs to have the fans more actively involved, and not by treating the sport as a weekend event. Fans should given the opportunity to be involved in the racing activities themselves (within reason), this can be done by means of raffles and contests.

For example: A fan can win a chance to wave the green flag at the start of a heat, win VIP tickets to watch a heat from the tower, ceremonial crew member for the day, stuff like that. Get the fans involved in the sport itself, a chance to experience the sport up close and personal.

Just came across this article re declining crowds at NASCAR events. Might be some food for thought re this discussion.

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/dddpN?utm_source=newsletter&utm_me...

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