In 1980-82 you had 4 classes and 100+ boats at the Benihana Grand prix.... more at the World's. ...and, frankly, 4 classes was too many even back then.
Today you have 14 classes and 25 boats at many events. We have steadily moved in the wrong direction..... and stubbornly refused to reverse the course.
A great show or promotion is usually the creation of a single minded promoter with a VISION of what he or she sees as a successful, sports or entertainment vehicle. Rarely are the competitors or performers part of the management and planning. At the same time committees and consensus groups tend to create mediocre or bad plans and models (see Congress).... As much as Mike A. and I disagreed, you have to give him credit for grabbing hold of the sport by its ears and leading it somewhere. Now it is caught in a circular path without destination. Racers with only a year or two of experience are put into key planning positions, and common sense is buried in a confusing onslaught of conflicting, frequently sophomoric opinions.
Racing today has become one gigantic committee of well meaning, weekend warriors who speak in one deafening roar...... but accomplish very little. "Sponsors are too much trouble.". "Television is over rated...but by God if we ever get on it, they better show my 18 year old, 70 mph, river rocket!"
and "Leave it to to the rich guys"..... are all examples of the non answers and lack of coherent planning that is slowly killing the program.
Each year many racers spend valuable dollars to bounce around in an endless array of poorly publicized events.... designed to give every racer a class and every spectator a headache.
Offshore racing desperately needs:
- A leader with vision, integrity, brains and purpose
A realistic self assessment
A single sanctioning body
A budget to work with and within
A major sponsor or sponsors (preferrably not in the marine industry)
A SINGLE premier class....
A group of recognizable racer personalities in this class
A real television package on a real network
A farm league (smaller classes) that recognizes (and accepts) that's it's a farm league, with a limited number of competitive and affordable classes
A list of sites that will annually and consistently support race events
This list is not overly long. It is not complicated. It can be accomplished in 12 to 24 months. It is doomed if everybody involved takes a "what about me?" attitude.
I've put this out there for the past few years........ and been criticised for it repeatedly... frequently by people who have since left the sport.... or have gone right back to the "Let's add another class." mentality. While I appreciate that the racers want a say....and like to party...and don't need to be Nascar..... The truth is that even their increasingly modest racing needs will eventually dry up completely if this mindset continues.