I definitely noticed the autocross numbers are struggling this year. Sure miss the days when there were 70+ drivers and event caps were getting hit! Here are a few random thoughts.
1) Re-institute the “season pass” program. At the beginning of the year, this allows racers the option to pre-purchase entry to the entire season at a small discount. Limit the number of season passes available. WSCC had this option many years ago and I remember it being fairly popular. Sell all the season passes and you have a core group established for every event and a better chance of guaranteeing minimum attendance requirements.
2) Car meets and car shows seem to achieve huge weekly attendance numbers even though you basically just stand around a parking lot and look at cars. Meanwhile our events, where you actually get to drive fast and compete, struggle for attendance. Maybe we need to be part of an event that is primarily a car show, where the autocross is secondary? This might attract an entirely different crowd and get them hooked. Perhaps more attempts at partnerships with local car clubs and forums.
3) Although it’s mostly just good fun for most of us, some people are actually drawn to autocross for the competition. Would it help to expand the rewards and recognition on the competitive side? Prizes at each event? More significant prizes for the championships? More widely published results?
4) This year we had 18 events, and you needed to attend 10 of them to compete for a trophy. Our summers in Winnipeg are fairly short and committing 10+ weekend days is probably a really tough call for some. What if we split the year into two 9-event mini-seasons? This would intensify the competition over a shorter time span and allow people to come out and be competitive with a smaller time commitment. Make it to five events within a mini-season and you’re in the hunt for a trophy. A mid-year "reset" would also improve the situation where people sometimes get left in the dust due to car changes, tire changes, breakdowns, or whatever other challenges occurred in the first half.
5) We all wish we had a better facility. Something closer to the city with more space and a better surface would obviously help improve attendance. Unfortunately we are stuck with what exists, the chances of a new venue popping up are slim to none. Most of us are aware of the sludge lot, and recognize that it is the ultimate potential autocross site in Winnipeg...the holy grail! Club leadership has worked very hard to gain access (thanks guys!), but so far it seems to be a dead end. Just to keep the idea on life support…should we publish a log of what was attempted, what was discussed, who was involved, what the results were, etc.? Perhaps there is someone else in the club who has different contacts or some other forum to further engage the discussion. We are a large diverse group and you never know who knows somebody in the right place to get a door opened. Are there any other ways to try and shake something loose (letter writing campaigns, petitions, media, etc)? Are there ever any personnel changes at the related offices that may help us revisit the discussions?
6) Springs Church has nice little lot that is often used by other clubs for small autocross events. Would it make sense for the WSCC to hold a few “promotional” non-competition autocross events there? The main goal would be to attract a crowd inside the city, suck a few new people in, and ultimately draw them out the real events at St. Andrews or Gimli.