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Old 12-28-2020, 05:44 PM   #1
r6rammy
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2021 AFM season

Glad to know we may have a full calendar for 2021, however, there's couple questions/concerns.

1. Why the race and registration fees increase?

No reason mentioned on what is reason to increase. Just not increasing fees in last few years is not a reason. Just to bring it to same standard as other west coast clubs as mentioned in BOD meeting minutes doesn't make any sense. Times are tough for quite a few folks, is this the right time to increase fees?

2. "Additionally, Directors discussed deposits and potential contract language
to help lessen any monetary losses to the club as a result of cancellations
due to COVID": How about lookout for your members as well instead of just the club? For 2020 shortened season, why not give members a credit for 2021 membership/racing license fee?

Above questions aside, I'm still looking forward to a more "normal" race season in 2021.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:50 AM   #2
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Thanks for the questions, Ram.

1. The reason for this year's cost increases is due to increasing track and operational fees surrounding our events.

These fees have continued to increase over the past 5+ years, however we have kept the pricing structure the same up until this point. Unfortunately, we're operating with smaller margins and an attendance that is allowing us to just get by at this point. At some point, we have to stop the bleeding and get back to putting money in the bank. We believe even with our cost increases, we still provide an incredible value in comparison to our competition.

2. Preparing ourselves for any potential cancellations is 100% looking out for the members. If we lose our deposit because we're forced to cancel an event or an event is canceled mid-weekend, that's not money the club gets back and the blow could be significant to our club as whole. The money we use to host events is the membership's. No money, no events. No events, no club.

In regards to crediting members/license fees for their participation in the 2020 season, the fact that we have a potential 7-round season relies on having money in the bank to be able to put down deposits and secure these dates. If credits are to be distributed, that already puts us behind heading in 2021; something that we absolutely cannot afford to do if we want to have the normal season everyone is hoping for. I hope this isn't taken as we're not thankful for everyone's participating this past year; quite the opposite!

If there's any piece of advice I can offer to anyone reading, it's that we need more faces at our events. It's no secret that our novice classes were very light in comparison to years prior. New members keeps the club moving forward. Now is the time to get more folks a taste of what our club has to offer, whether it's competing, spectating, or as support crew.


Thanks,

Gordon Pull - AFM #436
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Old 12-30-2020, 11:24 AM   #3
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Thanks Gordon, that's informative. It's a crappy reality of the situation at hand, but it's still the situation at hand.

It's no secret that the AFM needs higher membership numbers to keep costs down; the same cost to run a weekend spread among more racers is less per person. I don't really know what can be done to entice new members beyond more outreach at track days and a discount for new racers (which the AFM already does). I've heard stories of the AFM in its heyday packed with 50+ rider grids and multi-wave starts, but those are from the long-long ago times. Must've been something special!

I think raising prices will end up being an impediment to increasing membership numbers and/or the average # of races per member. It's hard to attract new racers with the cost of racing being as high as it is already. In the past I've raced as many classes as I'm eligible for (6). For 2020 my weekend cost will increase $145 if the new fee structure for Formula races is approved, or a bit less without. That would have paid for 2 full races in years past! I'll absolutely be running less classes this year so that I can afford to race the full season. The additional fees in F1/FP might push me out of those (especially if those fees go towards a cash purse instead of into the club) but I do understand the premium price given their # of laps and qualifying sessions.

At some point I think higher fees will result in less participation, smaller grids, and lower membership resulting in overall less income for the club, but current membership levels/participation and operating costs necessitate raising fees. It's a vicious cycle and I don't have the economic background to suggest a better solution. Hopefully the increases this year are enough to make the club healthier without being too much to harm the membership, and things continue to improve from here.
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Old 12-30-2020, 12:50 PM   #4
r6rammy
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Thanks Gordon, for the details.
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Old 12-31-2020, 04:20 PM   #5
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I was just reading the AFM minutes and I will admit that it's pretty frustrating to see all price increases across the board. Maybe it's time to restructure the entire AFM weekend. I've been traveling south to attend CVMA & WERA events & it's a better bang for your buck. Especially WERA. They probably have half the attendance of a AFM weekend and yet they still mange to have classes that pay cash. AFM practices are not worth $160. All they are doing is driving customers to attend Fridays TD, skip practice and head straight into their race. The 2 practices then qualifying session is the way to go. Hell the AFM can host their practice of Friday if it's worth their time. All I'm saying is we are getting way less for a whole lot more.
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Old 01-01-2021, 10:13 AM   #6
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Just my 2 cents, but in the rule book it states that a "half season" is determined if there is under 4 rounds. Considering that there were only 3 rounds last year, those of us that paid for a full season didnt get our monies worth and took the hit as an individual. However not knowing if the club had already placed deposits for 7 rounds at the beginning of the season, the club takes a loss potentially as well when the cancellations started rolling out. Its a shitty situation either way, It would of been nice for there to be a vote on license fees, maybe receive at least a 15% discount as kind of like a thank you for your support as a member kind of deal. At least for those that paid for the full season, but only raced 3 rounds which is technically a half season.
I ma just ready to get back to the "normal" and hopefully we get a full 2021 season this year as I cant wait to hit the grid!
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Old 01-01-2021, 08:19 PM   #7
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Old 01-03-2021, 06:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FourThreeSix View Post
Thanks for the questions, Ram.

1. The reason for this year's cost increases is due to increasing track and operational fees surrounding our events.

These fees have continued to increase over the past 5+ years, however we have kept the pricing structure the same up until this point. Unfortunately, we're operating with smaller margins and an attendance that is allowing us to just get by at this point. At some point, we have to stop the bleeding and get back to putting money in the bank. We believe even with our cost increases, we still provide an incredible value in comparison to our competition.

2. Preparing ourselves for any potential cancellations is 100% looking out for the members. If we lose our deposit because we're forced to cancel an event or an event is canceled mid-weekend, that's not money the club gets back and the blow could be significant to our club as whole. The money we use to host events is the membership's. No money, no events. No events, no club.

In regards to crediting members/license fees for their participation in the 2020 season, the fact that we have a potential 7-round season relies on having money in the bank to be able to put down deposits and secure these dates. If credits are to be distributed, that already puts us behind heading in 2021; something that we absolutely cannot afford to do if we want to have the normal season everyone is hoping for. I hope this isn't taken as we're not thankful for everyone's participating this past year; quite the opposite!

If there's any piece of advice I can offer to anyone reading, it's that we need more faces at our events. It's no secret that our novice classes were very light in comparison to years prior. New members keeps the club moving forward. Now is the time to get more folks a taste of what our club has to offer, whether it's competing, spectating, or as support crew.


Thanks,

Gordon Pull - AFM #436
AFM Treasurer
Are vendors fees increasing? What are some other current means of generating income for the club?
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Old 01-03-2021, 06:49 AM   #9
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From the meeting notes

"Subsequently, formula classes with premium entry fees were
mentioned. There is a possibility of adding more laps to these
races and/or potentially including cash payouts. These options
along with qualifying would result in a raised entry fee (i.e. $90
certain formula classes, $100 formula pacific class). Additional
details are required for more discussion and an update will be
provided when available."

So the fees were raised and then there's gonna be discussion on Formula classes being raised more? Adding more laps?
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Old 01-03-2021, 11:24 AM   #10
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I too have the advantage of racing in a few different organizations and I've always liked the AHRMA format. They always do a Friday practice day which is usually well attended. On the bigger track venues (Laguna, Barber, Road America etc.) they even do a Thursday as well. Then Saturday is two quick practice sessions for practice groups 1-5 and then right into racing. Sunday is a repeat of Saturday's format.

For me I go racing to well...race. If I want a trackday I'll go do one. Since I do 3 classes with AHRMA I end up getting 6 races in over two days. For a 7 race season with AFM that would equate to 14 races deciding a class Champion. I think that would be much more representative than only 7 races especially if someone couldn't make a round or you have a DNF.

Not sure how the income works out for the club doing this way instead of our current method of Saturday practice day and Sunday race day.

Obviously no Saturday practice may not be more desirable to Novices but in my experience racing does more for your learning curve than practice but that's just me. I get that many can not take off on a Friday for practice and Saturday is why AFM has always done it this way for those who can't get off work.

Lastly, I appreciate the AFM and all those that work behind the scenes to give us all an opportunity to race in such a safe, professional organization no matter what the format we use.
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Old 01-03-2021, 11:40 PM   #11
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First off, I am not an AFM racer.

I DID race many years ago in other clubs.

I was a member of a club that failed back then. It sucked. My membership and some entry fees were gone.

I still feel I got my money's worth.

I also told myself that if I couldn't afford to pay the entry fees,
no matter the cost, I couldn't afford to be racing. I missed several race weekends because I didn't have the $
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Old 01-04-2021, 08:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by motomania2007 View Post
First off, I am not an AFM racer.

I DID race many years ago in other clubs.

I was a member of a club that failed back then. It sucked. My membership and some entry fees were gone.

I still feel I got my money's worth.

I also told myself that if I couldn't afford to pay the entry fees,
no matter the cost, I couldn't afford to be racing. I missed several race weekends because I didn't have the $
How did you feel you got your money's worth when you paid for entries you didn't get to use?? That would be my #1 way of feeling like I didn't get my money's worth! -Was it a good enough value that even with the unused fees it was still economical compared to other clubs? Did you go into it with the mentality of "these fees are a donation to the club, and if I get to race with them as well that would be even better"? Did you not know the events would be cancelled and not refunded until it was too late, there was no way to recoup your losses, and you've since made peace with that?

Agreed that if you can't afford the entry fees, you can't afford the racing. I don't race IOM or other expensive series because I can't afford the costs associated with that (among other reasons). I race AFM instead. My point is that the fee increases this year mean that racing AFM is going to be less affordable, and I won't be able to do as much of it. Additionally this doesn't seem to be the case with the other race organizations nearby, although I haven't raced with them so I can't say firsthand. And if other organizations have figured out how to make racing stay affordable while the AFM gets more expensive, it makes sense that some members will go race with those orgs instead. That's bad for AFM's goal of increasing income.
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Old 01-04-2021, 04:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOD
Directors reviewed the fees of other West Coast clubs and it was determined even with a pricing increase, the AFM is still a better value in comparison with some other clubs in the region.
How do you figure that?
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Old 01-04-2021, 04:28 PM   #14
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I obviously don't speak for the club --- except as a member. I can definitely understand a lot of the sentiment in this thread and I admit I am fortunate to me able to afford racing at AFM level, increased fees or not.

That said, I would feel like I didn't get my money's worth if I paid a company to provide me a service and they didn't, even under the 2020 circumstances.

But as a member of a club that relies on my license and race fees to stay viable and continue to organize races, I feel differently. I feel like I am part of AFM, and we all pitch on to keep the show going (while disagreeing with a wide variety of issues). Looking at the club balance sheet, it is obvious that the club needs money from somewhere; and we haven't had a huge influx of new racers joining the club. We might disagree with the fee increases, or want annual license fee refunds, but unless there's an income stream somewhere else that just drives the club to the ground.

These are just my thoughts as a member. I don't have any insight beyond what I can see on the reports. I expect 2021 to be another tough year too: maybe some rounds get cancelled again, people already have their job/income impacted, and uncertainty may mean there are less potential new racers around.

As a sidenote, I only have experience with one other organization that raced at Buttonwillow the weekend after round #2, and I can see immediately where the difference in costs come from. That organization had the Friday track day organization do tech and hotpit, track people staff (very) few corners stations, and even had a call in the morning asking to borrow a trailer for a crash truck. As it was, medical was slow even when needed, and red flags took ages to clear (e.g. about an hour to pick up three bikes). That felt like cheaper-than-average track day with somebody running timing and scoring. And the fees weren't that much lower per race than AFM!
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Old 01-04-2021, 08:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csik magnet View Post
How did you feel you got your money's worth when you paid for entries you didn't get to use?? That would be my #1 way of feeling like I didn't get my money's worth! -Was it a good enough value that even with the unused fees it was still economical compared to other clubs? Did you go into it with the mentality of "these fees are a donation to the club, and if I get to race with them as well that would be even better"? Did you not know the events would be cancelled and not refunded until it was too late, there was no way to recoup your losses, and you've since made peace with that?

Agreed that if you can't afford the entry fees, you can't afford the racing. I don't race IOM or other expensive series because I can't afford the costs associated with that (among other reasons). I race AFM instead. My point is that the fee increases this year mean that racing AFM is going to be less affordable, and I won't be able to do as much of it. Additionally this doesn't seem to be the case with the other race organizations nearby, although I haven't raced with them so I can't say firsthand. And if other organizations have figured out how to make racing stay affordable while the AFM gets more expensive, it makes sense that some members will go race with those orgs instead. That's bad for AFM's goal of increasing income.
I did not like that I did not get the races I paid for, but the club went under and there was no pool of money to refund my entries from.

It was a cost/risk of racing.

When I was racing, the entry fees were a relatively small portion of my racing budget. Each weekend, getting to the track and hotel and food cost was about 2x the cost of entries. Tires cost about 2x the cost of entries. Then there was the cost of the bike itself.

No one like rising costs.

Racing is expensive and risky.

You know what they say: "how do you make a little money racing? Simple: start with a LOT OF MONEY and then go racing!"
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