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  1. #1
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    The True Cost of Racing

    I competed in my first enduro last year and really had fun(pre reg was $40 and I was fortunate to only live 2hrs from where it was held). As I've been plotting my next endeavors I've been surprised by the entry fee cost of some if these races. I thought enduro was going to be the grassroots/Everyman race. But $60,$70, and up really adds up with travel expenses and time off work (if you really want t be able to preride the course). This especially true in the more popular races where you're most likely to only have your name on the ranking with no prizes.

    Am I just too ignorant of the operating costs of these races? Do they need better sponsorship? Or is this just the status quo for getting into racing?


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  2. #2
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    Your ignorant, i really don't think anyone is getting rich by hosting races. Lots of costs associated with events, and lots of leg work to get them setup. And the sponsorship for the grassroots type events is likely very minimal.

  3. #3
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    Not sure where you are located, but $40, $60, $70 for a race is a good deal. Big Mountain Enduro series in Colorado is running about $180 for two day race events, which in my opinion is not out of line - most single day events around here, whether road or mountain are low hundreds.

  4. #4
    Your bike sucks
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    I agree with ymiller. If the race is 5+ hours of time, I expect to pay around $100 per day min.

    So a 1 big day event like a 12 hour or endurance event, at least $100.

    A 2 day event with a lot of logistics, etc (ex. BME) around $200.

    Not cheap (I feel your pain) but hosting is a PITA w/ razor thin margins.

    Quote Originally Posted by ymiller996 View Post
    Not sure where you are located, but $40, $60, $70 for a race is a good deal. Big Mountain Enduro series in Colorado is running about $180 for two day race events, which in my opinion is not out of line - most single day events around here, whether road or mountain are low hundreds.

  5. #5
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    I don't know. I agree that $100+ has become what's expected for one day races, but I think it's a bit much, especially when you figure in travel time, hotels, gas, food etc. Maybe I'm just cheap and promoters really do have to charge that much to make anything but it seems like a lot for one race.

    (Yes, I've put on races both for motorcyles and mountain bikes for 20+ years.... but not to make a living)

  6. #6
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    With Enduro's, at least for some of our local races it is three different start and finish points. Add in permit fees, support staff, etc and it adds up fast. As someone else said nobody is getting rich or even typically making a living off of race promotion.

  7. #7
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    The True Cost of Racing

    I wonder at what point the higher entry fees cuts down on the number of people that will enter and at what point the cheaper fees increases the participants but doesn't increase total revenue-point of diminishing returns.

    Seems to me it's the all the folks lower down in the rankings are the ones paying the winnings for the podium. Less people would mean smaller winnings and prizes.

    Apart from some of the more prestigious races, isn't it about increasing the size of the field? Cheaper fees would do it, but it's a gamble to try to ensure covering expenses.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    With Enduro's, at least for some of our local races it is three different start and finish points. Add in permit fees, support staff, etc and it adds up fast. As someone else said nobody is getting rich or even typically making a living off of race promotion.
    That's a good point, especially with electronic timing. Those timing stations are $5000-$10,000 each. We have 7 stages at our enduro but we do manual timing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    With Enduro's, at least for some of our local races it is three different start and finish points. Add in permit fees, support staff, etc and it adds up fast. As someone else said nobody is getting rich or even typically making a living off of race promotion.
    First I have not organized a race.
    Second, it is common sense nobody should make a living on a one day race. Sure a few hundred for organizer.
    However, charging 75-$100.00 per person for 1 day event, 100 people. $10,000?
    I can't see running a race overhead being close to that. Support staff, 2k? permit 500? ambulance? announcers/timers?, tape? most food/bev is donated. Sometimes the event T-shirts are donated or we pay for them outright, $10. They bring bikes, hmmm
    Last edited by 1362; 02-23-2014 at 06:11 PM.

  10. #10
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    accurate timing for an enduro event is usually around 6000.

  11. #11
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    wowza, thanks for knowledge, that is absurd.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1362 View Post
    First I have not ran a race.
    Second, it is common sense nobody should make a living on a one day race. Sure a few hundred for organizer.
    However, charging 75-$100.00 per person for 1 day event, 100 people. $10,000?
    I can't see running a race overhead being close to that. Support staff, 2k? permit 500? ambulance? announcers/timers?, tape? most food/bev is donated. Sometimes the event T-shirts are donated or we pay for them outright, $10. They bring bikes, hmmm
    Seriously ?? What planet are you living on, not this one !

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by danaco View Post
    Seriously ?? What planet are you living on, not this one !
    and other than truly trying to be condescending, what was your point? Do you have some facts to add to the conversation about actual costs?

    I mean the local races I go to have no outrageous costs as the previous poster said timer was 6k. So, no I live on Earth in the real world of regular casual MTB'r riding a race now and then.
    Last edited by 1362; 01-30-2014 at 06:41 PM. Reason: added info

  14. #14
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    For an upcoming race the organizer was asked to pay UP FRONT for a life flight copter before they would give him a permit. Unfortunately he had to cancel the race based on this cost.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    For an upcoming race the organizer was asked to pay UP FRONT for a life flight copter before they would give him a permit. Unfortunately he had to cancel the race based on this cost.
    Something sounds strange about that... what race was this (going to be?). Was this "life flight" run by a regional hospital, an SAR run by the forest service...?

    I was under the impression you don't pay for one unless it's actually flown in to use to extract someone.
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  16. #16
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    its not so much the running cost per say I mean the timing machines pay them selves back and from them you just need to consider the running cost of electricity they use. I think where most money goes is insurance, park fees (id assume there would be some), safety regulations they need to abide to, track maintenance,lift and shuttles. Id be stoked with $70, our dh rounds have fetched over $150 for some rounds.

  17. #17
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    Right. There's plenty of expenses including marking supplies, insurance, permit fees, trophies, portable toilets, trash, etc but our annual expenses are usually around $5000.

    Like I said though, we're a non-profit so get grants and donations too.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Right. There's plenty of expenses including marking supplies, insurance, permit fees, trophies, portable toilets, trash, etc but our annual expenses are usually around $5000.

    Like I said though, we're a non-profit so get grants and donations too.
    I think the non-profit is key...I've been doing moto trials competitions for years now and moto enduros as well. All those clubs are non profit clubs. The trials club entry fee is $35 per event. Granted the trophies are small and we don't give away anything, but that still covers NF permits, porta johns, insurance (AMA), marking supplies, checker snacks, etc. The moto enduros have typically been between $60-75 and they have more hoops to jump through with land permits, medical staff, marking huge areas, etc. I still think $75 there is completely reasonable. Plus sponsors of the series always donate prizes and they have a separate t-shirt vendor if you want to buy a shirt.

    As far as I know, promoters like BME are not non-profits. I understand there are expenses involved, but what are entry fees now, close to $200? That's putting weekend warriors like myself off at this point. I would be totally fine with manual timing if it cut the cost in half. I really don't need instant results and timing at the stages, plus that caused a huge delay at the Moab BME round this past year...I was planning on doing the series this year but probably not likely at this point.

  19. #19
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    In fairness to BME, I think they are comparable to MotoEnduro in terms of cost/value, consider:

    BME - also for profit
    BME - also has shuttling / liftserve
    BME - most are 2 days for around $180ish (so 2 days of Moto would be $75 X 2)
    BME - ImAthlete registration instead of 'day of' stuff at most the Enduros, but they take a piece of the pie
    BME - Electronic timing instead of manual
    BME - t-shirt included

    I think it's a wash. That said, I can certainly see why people might pass or consider either expensive.

    From earlier - Some of those cheaper entry races, say $30 for a CrossRace - is not really fair comparison for these multi/long day events. You need to consider that cross has like 8-9 races going off w/ each race participants paying $30 per race - along with typically less promotion logistics/costs. Do the math ($30 X #participantsPerRace multiplied roughly by number of races held).




    Quote Originally Posted by -Chainslap- View Post
    I still think $75 there is completely reasonable. Plus sponsors of the series always donate prizes and they have a separate t-shirt vendor if you want to buy a shirt.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    Something sounds strange about that... what race was this (going to be?). Was this "life flight" run by a regional hospital, an SAR run by the forest service...?

    I was under the impression you don't pay for one unless it's actually flown in to use to extract someone.
    There is an issue with the local fire department being stretched too thin because of new housing construction. It was a political move and we got stuck in the middle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisRayner View Post
    I competed in my first enduro last year and really had fun(pre reg was $40 and I was fortunate to only live 2hrs from where it was held). As I've been plotting my next endeavors I've been surprised by the entry fee cost of some if these races. I thought enduro was going to be the grassroots/Everyman race. But $60,$70, and up really adds up with travel expenses and time off work (if you really want t be able to preride the course). This especially true in the more popular races where you're most likely to only have your name on the ranking with no prizes.

    Am I just too ignorant of the operating costs of these races? Do they need better sponsorship? Or is this just the status quo for getting into racing?


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    I come from a motorcycle roadracing background, by comparison, that's extremely cheap! A weekend of club racing costs about $150 for the license and individual race entries are about $75 each for a 20 minute race. A racer might enter anywhere from 2-8 races on a weekend. for a competitive racer, they'll also need at least 2 sets of tires, which average around $400 a set and anywhere from 5-10 gallons of race fuel at $14 a gallon. You'll also need gas for your generator and to get to the track, too. Factor in hotels or camping fees and a weekend of racing costs an easy 2 grand, if you don't crash. Double that if you have a crash, maybe more. Pro racing costs at least double that as a privateer- a well financed privateer team will spend $10,000 per rider per weekend.

    Mountain bike racing is cheap!!! for the cost of 2 motorcycle racing weekends, I can buy a new bike and fund a season of entries. I'm digging that!
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  22. #22
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    The True Cost of Racing

    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I come from a motorcycle roadracing background, by comparison, that's extremely cheap! A weekend of club racing costs about $150 for the license and individual race entries are about $75 each for a 20 minute race. A racer might enter anywhere from 2-8 races on a weekend. for a competitive racer, they'll also need at least 2 sets of tires, which average around $400 a set and anywhere from 5-10 gallons of race fuel at $14 a gallon. You'll also need gas for your generator and to get to the track, too. Factor in hotels or camping fees and a weekend of racing costs an easy 2 grand, if you don't crash. Double that if you have a crash, maybe more. Pro racing costs at least double that as a privateer- a well financed privateer team will spend $10,000 per rider per weekend.

    Mountain bike racing is cheap!!! for the cost of 2 motorcycle racing weekends, I can buy a new bike and fund a season of entries. I'm digging that!
    I'm familiar with auto racing from my family and I understand the greater expense involved. About the only relatively affordable form of auto racing is Auto-X. Of course you only get about 2 minutes of race time for a days worth of effort. How much race time are you getting in the Moto races? That's definitely something that has to be factored in. The one prior enduro I ran probably equalled about 15 minutes of actual race time. But why would one race cost an amateur $50 and another race be closer to $100 with the only tangible difference being the land it's held on? Just a comparison, but it's not like its a purpose built track with asphalt and corner workers.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to complain about every penny but am curious as to what the real costs are. So far this thread has been enlightening.


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  23. #23
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    The True Cost of Racing

    Kris, make a little business case yourself. Ad up all the cost, all the hours, permits, tools, people, first aid teams, advertising and the risk of having only a limited amount of people is the weather sucks, etc etc. It takes a huge amount of time to organize such events. I think if you ad that all up the organizers will not make a big hourly rate, let alone live from it. Sponsering will not be huge and will likely only be a few goodies and a tshirt. Maybe you should just get involved in organizing a race to experience it for yourself. If you don't make money you know the reason of the cost, if you do than please spread the word so we get more cool races with extra filled goodybags.

  24. #24
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    As somebody who podiums every race they enter, I consider the costs of photographers, websites, medals and jerseys into the equation. USAC license as well. Racing a whole season is another story. This year it cost me a set of cranks, a frame, rear shock, my wheelset is dead, a handful of tires. some chains, chain guide parts, a couple pairs of grips, 4 PAIRS OF PEDALS, a seat, $80 brake pads, at least a dozen pro tune ups, and maybe some other small things. These were just the broken and replacement parts from my first CAT1 super D season(and first year on full suspension). Then there are the other costs of course. Multiply those by 10 or however many races you do.
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  25. #25
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    I guess I can consider myself lucky to be living in Europe then.Pre-registration in our series is about 35$ with race day registration being about 45$.Bigger euro series like the Italian Superenduro cost about 60$ per race.
    100$ or more for a race?I don't think there would be much of a race scene besides the pros.

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