Ok - having just spent the weekend at beautiful, freezing, Winton I'd like to make a couple of comparative observations - especially as this was held only a fortnight after the Canberra V8 round so it is all still fresh in my (failing) mind.
I guess it will be no news to everyone that the Ford Utes are fairly well dominant in the Brutes Series - and for those who don't know they hold the top 5 positions in that championship at the moment.
Further to that there was a pretty good turnout at this round with estimates around 7-10,000 in attendance which is more than the last Konica round at Winton garnered.
If that isn't enough - I would estimate that nearly half of the people there were Ford supporters which is a pleasant change.
So, in this positive Ford environment how many Ford Merchandising stands do you think were present??
Give yourself a lollipop if you said none.
That's right - zero, zilch, NONE.
I could probably live with that if it weren't for the fact that there were THREE Holden stands (one Team Brock, one Suttons Holden and one HRT) which included autograph sessions with Peter Brock and cars on display.
Does something seem wrong here ??
managed to roll out a merchandising stand and they aren't running or sponsoring a car in the Series!
Have the Ford / Tickford marketing departments gone on holiday?? (I know I've suggested before it might be a good thing if they did anyway).
Does no one see any value in catering to the few remaining die-hard Ford fans in a Series that Fords are actually winning? Or have I lost the plot again and this is actually a clever marketing campaign to generate interest in Ford product by denial of its presence?
One of the annoying things about going to V8 SupeSkaife racing these days must be the huge gaps in the program. Looking back over the Canberra event the total "gap" time over the main day was nearly 4 hours - which isn't funny on a chilly Canberra day. Contrast this with the ProCar events today where there was barely enough time between any event to grab a cup of tea and the total "gap" time was a whole 27 minutes all day!
For those who wondered where all those support categories (Nations Cup, HQs, Mirage Cup GTP, F3 and GT Sports had gone - well they are all alive and well in the Procar series. What we get here is a packed day of excellent racing for a whole $25. If this isn't the best value racing series in Australia then you can paint me pink and call me a dancing elephant!
I know this may come as a huge surprise to a lot of you but racing cars can actually run close to each other at the pointy end of the field without the world as we know it coming to an end!
Now I know some of you will be ringing the looney bin to have me committed (too late they won't take me) or wondering if I've been sampling my sponsors product - but I can guarantee that I saw this with my own eyes (and they ain't that bad yet!).
Almost all of the categories provided good, close racing and plenty of action for the entire days events. Reminds me of how racing used to be ...
which brings me to .......
You can actually get close to the racing at Winton and in the Procar series the whole thing isn't geared around entertaining the priveleged "few" in the Corporate boxes / tents / stands.
This is basic racing for NORMAL people who like to be close to the action and it's a great thing to see. What's more you can see nearly all of the track from any vantage point without watching a screen - which you could do at home anyway.
It's just another one of my frequently delusional opinions but I suspect that Tony Cochrane and his mob could learn a thing or two from the way this series is being run. Experience should teach us that any winning formula needs to be appealing to its audience to maintain that market position or it will fail. Motorport has some very good recent examples (BTCC, 2 Litre Super Tourers) that tell us what can happen to a series that doesn't listen to the people who pay to attend or who think they have a dominant market position.
Anyway enough ranting from me.