As the years went by I kept saying that Vintage Racing should be CHEAP EASY & FUN. An easy goal to talk about- but that first item on the list is easy to say, not so easy in practice.
Everything is a balance. The entry fee in 1995 was 20-15-10. In other words 20 for your first class, 15 for a second, 10 for a third. The 4th was free. In 2003 it went to 25-20-15, long before I had a clue that I would end up as the promoter. During the nine years that Hammer & Tongs was running I kept the price the same.
When do we get the trophies? We're not doing trophies. Why not? you gotta have trophies, you just gotta have trophies- Cmon~! OK I'll have to change the entry fee to 30-25-20... WHOAH WHOAH WAIT they would say - we don't need trophies that bad - ya know- lets not worry about it.
It just drives the price of racing up. This was controversial of course- parents who hadn't done the math were most likely to get upset about it. For some years we had trophies if the promoter had them- and later used plaques with a tag or a sticker. But I maintained that really we were in it for the the racing. Periodically I would canvas a number of people, and the notion that we were on the right track was almost universal. So that decision was essentially done by vote.
INDIVIDUAL CUSTOM AWARDS
The High Points Award, at Season's end was a T-Shirt - the old VDR Tradition. So with each Season that passed, I designed a new Champions' Shirt - available only to the winners of each Class. But the last two years I decided to switch things up a bit, and awarded a plaque to each Class winner.
In my estimation the trouble with trophies is that they all look like. You can't really tell what a trophy is for- and when you see one on someone's mantle, unless you wander over to see if you can read the inscription, it could be their high school bowling year, their kids baseball league - whatever.
So I designed plaques - I ordered custom cut Black PVCX , then designed a print with every single top three rider's photos- each rider in an action shot on the bike that won him the Season Championship. Easy to frame, difficult to destroy, impossible to miss.
RECOGNITION & BIKE SHOW
To me second often sounded like first loser- so for those who were not 1st, I purposely played down the placing, and played up the sport - which is what matters anyway.
So "2nd" became Season Runner Up and I put Top Three Class Finisher rather than "3rd" So visitors should be able to see the word CHAMPION or MOTOCROSS from across your livingroom. Or shop.
You want to get your award in front of everyone. But at the end of the Race Day everyone is throwing gear & tools into their rigs as fast as they can to get home - to shower, food & a cold drink. If you have the awards then, it's less than half of the crowd.
And the results of any race day have to be sorted out afterwards and championships are determined by those results - even if they were tidy and obvious, I needed 3 weeks to get the custom trophies together - sifting & sorting through hundreds of photos.
So what about an awards banquet? Ahrma has one - which I went to a few times - a perfectly excellent event- with a catered dinner, speeches and awards. But privately I realized that the only people who go to it are those who are winning an award, so the crowd applauding is a small and well to do cross section.
I began to have an idea that there ought to be a Bike Show- in January - when we no longer had a race - and the awards would be a part of something bigger. That way the people would already be there- And that's how the Hammer & Tongs Bike Show got invented.