Rounding out our “So You Want to be a Sponsored Driver?” series of articles are the words of Alan Placer, Manager of the RC division at Hobbymasters in Red Bank, New Jersey. He’ll be giving us a better understanding of how our local hobby shop plays into the world of sponsorship and gives solid advice to those looking for a leg up in the RC race world. Read on to hear Alan’s take on sponsorship…
An often overlooked place for sponsorship amongst racers is from your local hobby shop. I am the manager of the radio controlled department at Hobbymasters in Red Bank, NJ. Our store is located in a downtown area so we don’t have a track of our own. The nearest off-road track is nearly an hour away, yet we still sponsor 5 drivers. Why? Because it gives US the edge over OUR competition and it gives our DRIVERS an edge over THEIR competition.
When you’re looking to your local hobby shop for sponsorship you need to show them how your efforts can benefit their store if they give you free or discounted product. Every time I go to a track I am looking for that person. A good team member must “represent” our store’s values and be able to get other drivers to want to shop at our store. He is the person that will go out of his way to help another driver with parts or wrenching, offers the track managers help, and is always friendly. Secondly, we want them to be an A-main driver. Another plus on a resume is a driver that goes to a variety of tracks. Our store gets the same exposure from one good sponsored driver at a track as it does 5 sponsored drivers at the same track. A sponsored driver can also be a way to shuttle parts from our store to the race track to cover special orders (so long as the local track allows). I also call on our sponsored drivers for their expertise in our repair department should our regular mechanics get stuck. Our store gets far more new product knowledge from our race team then we do from our distributor’s sales reps because they are more passionate about the hobby and keep up on it. The wall of trophies shows the 95% basher customers that we know our RC!
Hobby Store sponsorships are more advantageous for drivers then many people realize. Having a tire sponsor doesn’t help when you need ball bearings. A hobby store can provide you every part you need to keep running and can reach out to more resources to find them when in short supply. Different stores will give different levels of sponsorships. Our drivers receive approximately 50% off anything they need. They also are provided with painted bodies, t-shirts, and a store banner which must be hung at each race. In addition, we partnered with Venom in racing many years ago so our drivers get the Venom sponsored benefits along with the responsibilities required by Venom.
I can’t stress enough the need there is for local racers to support their local hobby shops more. At the same time there is also need for the local hobby shops to reach out to the race drivers and win them back over. Sponsoring drivers is a great way to do both!
62 White St
Red Bank, NJ 07701