OK, so we had the special MCF meeting last Monday night to vote on continuing the contract with Endurance Promotions. For those who are not aware, Endurance has been providing the chip timing service at the local races for the past four years or so and the purpose of the meeting was to determine if the MCF should continue to provide race promoters with a subsidy for the service.
In 2012 the arrangement was that Endurance charged $1000 per event for the services with the promoter paying half and the MCF paying the other half. For this fee Endurance would provide chip based results and lap times for all competitors, all registration and start sheet logistics with the promoters only having to provide volunteers to work the registration table, and provide various other additional supplies to the promoter.
The questions that needed to be answered at the meeting included:
– is this a necessary service for race promoters to have access to?
– does it raise the level of quality of the event?
– should the MCF continue to subsidize this service?
– should it be mandatory for Rider of the Year events?
Turn out at the meeting was not stellar, but it seemed like most of the interested promoters were on hand for the discussion. I don’t have super strong feelings about this issue since we were only concerned with the road events at this meeting but I did feel the need to take the devil’s advocate position on a few points such as:
– is it the proper role of the MCF to be subsidizing the use of one particular service provider?
– if this service does elevate the quality of the race should the race promoters not be charging a higher entry fee to offset this extra expense? Don’t participants value higher quality events enough to pay a higher entry fee?
– should the MCF not be doing something to help non-Rider of the Year event promoters with their events?
It was apparent pretty early on in the meeting that nearly all in attendance wanted to continue with the Endurance deal. So, after agreeing to open up the bidding for these services for next year, we all voted and the Endurance deal was kept in place for the 2013 road season. Rider of the Year events would continue to get the subsidy from the MCF and state championship events would have access to this program as well.
Again, I don’t have strong feelings on the road races and if this is what the promoters want then so be it. The MCF needs to invest in the racing community and if this is what the road scene wants, and it’s thoroughly discussed by the promoters affected, I have no issues. And I agree with the point that when 35 criterium racers cross the finish line in the span of 5 seconds and they all want to know their result then the only way to have accurate results for everyone is with a timing service like Endurance.
However, this finish scenario does not happen in cyclocross and I think the value of a timing service for cross races, while nice for some athletes, is not necessary and should not be something that the MCF needs to invest in. If promoters want it then they should pay for it by charging higher entry fees. If racers want it then they should be prepared to pay these higher entry fees.
We will sort this out for the 2013 cyclocross season at the next CX promoters meeting taking place at some date in the near future…probably April something.