2017 Recap + a Look into the New Year
Let me paint a picture for you… after every event when we are all loaded up, dirty and exhausted, I look at Kito and say “What a fun event! That went really well.” He agrees then we turn the conversation to what we could have done better. The rest of the drive home is spent discussing ideas for fixing problems, doing more and just building a better program.
This conversation doesn’t ever stop in our house and as we reflect on 2017 and plan for the upcoming year, we want to share with you what went well and what we can do to grow, build and improve. You are, after all, the reason why we do this!
Whether we are looking forward or back, it’s critical to remember why we started and what we are striving for. Our mission is to build a race series on a strong, inclusive, community-oriented foundation with multiple levels of competition and the educational opportunities to help competitors grow and improve in the sport.
In 2017, we had some new opportunities to do all of those things. We forged stronger relationships, grew our reach and held fantastic schools and trainings. There were plenty of learning opportunities, chances to improve on how we operate and fortunately, only a couple of ‘oh sh*t’ moments.
So, brew some tea, cozy up with a blanket and join us for our 2017 Year in Review!
What Went Well
Growth: The Northwest Rally family grew by leaps and bounds. Let’s break down the numbers for the year:
- 193 total competitors
- 53 competitors per event on average
- 46 RallyCross Fest Novice School attendees, 20 of which were new to RX
- 103 drivers new to our region (many new to the sport)
TV Coverage: When MotorTrend reached out to us wanting to do an episode about one of our events, we knew the RallyCross Fest would be the perfect feature. It was a crazy weekend but we LOVE how the final product came out. If you haven’t already, check it out here! MotorTrend Modified Episode 4.
Global Rally Cross: If you made it out to Evergreen Speedway during the GRC weekend, you surely saw a corral of RallyCross cars, all shapes and sizes. We put out a call to our local competitors, asking if anyone would be interested in spending the weekend talking to race attendees about what we do. The answer was a resounding YES and we had 30 people and 20 cars representing NWRA. Not only was it a fun weekend, it was amazing to see the way everyone on both sides got excited talking about RallyCross. We really have a special group of people here.
Timing System: Do you remember having a few delays and reruns at events in 2016? I do. The stress took years off of my life. Coming away from the 2016 season, our biggest goal was to get those issues fixed so that events could run smoothly. We did (Kito is the man, FYI) and the rest is history. (Don’t worry. I’m knocking on wood as I type this).
Varied Race Types: Having night events and a mixed surface race (dirt, gravel and tarmac) may not seem like a big deal to some but it’s a giant deal to us! We strive to bring you courses that are not only fun and exciting but also varied and challenging. Being able to take chances and try new event types is a great way to mix things up.
What Maybe Didn’t Go So Well
Not Enough Growth: I know. I just told you we grew a ton and we did! But listen, we aren’t the biggest… yet. The rally community in the NW is so strong and even though our program is young, we want that strength to be represented in everything we do.
Our First ‘Incident’: Sh*t happens but we really don’t want it to happen on our watch. We love you guys and have to make sure to keep you as safe as possible. We are reviewing our safety plans and working to anticipate risk to do our part to avoid incidents in the future.
No New Venues: As many of you know, the quest to get folks to let us race on their land is a long and painful one. We put in a LOT of legwork to get some new venues for 2017, had some great potential options and they all fell through. To say we are disappointed is an understatement but we are back at again in this off season.
Looking Forward to 2018
While the core of our goals each year are relatively simple – host great races, get more people into racing and create community around the sport – we have many steps we take, large and small, to get to those goals.
New Venues: For both RallyCross and RallySprint, we are working with new land owners to host events that will broaden our region and bring more variety to our events. Cross your fingers for us (and you)!
Growth Focused Marketing: Racing is the best and we all know it but how do we make sure other people know they too can race? We’ll be putting more effort into marketing and focusing on getting the good word of rally out to the people.
Partnerships: We know that we are only as strong as our network and in 2018, we will be taking some strides to create more impactful partnerships in order to continually grow, strengthen the community and host better events for all of you.
Cross-Region Competition: Speaking of growing our network… there are some pretty great regions all around us doing their own fantastic work. We will be working with the Montana and Oregon regions to create a more cohesive RallyCross series around our little corner of the world.
Competitor Support: We are only as successful as you are and in 2018, we are excited to roll out some programs to help our competitors reach their goals. That is all we can say now but stay tuned.
Looking back at the year, there was one bit of incredible growth that we haven’t yet talked about – YOU! You all took initiative to improve your own skills, build new cars, become safety stewards and venture into your own unknown territory. Many of you did networking of your own to find new venues and introduce new people to the sport. We have loved seeing your involvement evolve and advance and are so excited to continue supporting that into the new year.
Thank you for taking this journey with us (and for reading all the way through the end). Cheers to a fantastic 2017 and onward to 2018!
– Katie & Kito