Motorsport Mags

November 12, 2013  •  1 Comment

It was whilst browsing some Motorsport magazines in my local Newsagent just recently that a thought struck me. In front of me was a large area of shelf space dedicated to Circuit Racing, Speedway, Drag Racing and other Motorsport pursuits, several dozen publications in fact and that’s not including the general motoring mags or the modified car section. But where was the section for the so-called more popular ball sports? Near the counter I found Rugby League Week but that was it! And this in Western Sydney where RL is supposedly king and Football (just don’t call it soccer) is growing fast.

I took that thought with me when I next visited my nearby Westfield. There are 2 larger newsagents there and the scene was similar in both with even more choice for the 4-wheel competition enthusiast and a smattering more for the ball sports.

 I wondered what was represented in all that? Don’t footie fans read? No, that can’t be it as the sports section of the papers is full of articles on the various leagues. Do they get most of their news from the daily’s and online perhaps? Maybe, as the online content for ball sports is very high but so it is for Motorsport as well. Maybe it’s a money thing?

 

But this is about printed mags and why so many Motorsport ones compared to other sports, somebody is obviously buying these mags for them to be still printed.

 

Perhaps it is a graphical thing? Motorsport is full of colour and movement and a car sliding sideways, lifting a wheel or locking one, spraying dirt or suffering an impact makes for a dramatic image and Motorsport is said to be the most photographed sport around the globe now, so all those shooters add to the available pool of material to fill all those magazines.

 

 

Car racing has, as long as I can recall, always been considered to be a “fringe” sport and to many not even a sport at all, so I find it strange that it supports so much printed coverage. Or is it that the sport is far more popular than is being acknowledged in the community?

- Graham Mison


Comments

Grant Woodhams(non-registered)
Back in 1996 I was invited on to a regional WA sports radio program. When the program's host asked me how popular speedway was I told him it was more popular than cricket. He was incredulous. "Impossible" he said. I told him that there would be more people at one night's racing at the local speedway than would attend all the local cricket matches all year. Shaking his head in disbelief he asked me what happened at a speedway meeting. I told him about the different divisions, heats, Feature races etc. Then he asked me how much it cost to get in. I told him it was $10 (remember this is 1996). "Ten Dollars." he said. You can get into cricket for free. "Proves my point" I said. "If you charged to go to the cricket, no one would be there!" I told him I would pay for him to come out to the speedway and see a meeting for himself... he never took up the offer!

Well I have continued to provide radio coverage for speedway every week since then. The radio program has changed its format several times, and likewise has changed its hosts. I find every time that a new announcer comes along, they are totally unaware of speedway or what it is, unless of course they get it confused with Monster Trucks or some other motor based novelty item that uses a speedway track as a venue. In reality speedway has become a fringe sport. It has not been in the public eye on the free to air tv networks for many years. Sadly if it was on tv on a regular basis these days I think it would be treated in the same way that wrestling is i.e. sensationalised and made to look like a circus.

I published my own speedway magazine, SPEEDWAY SEDAN DIGEST for ten years. I stopped publishing a hard copy in 2010 and began an online product (www.speedwaysedandigest.com) I didn't do it as purely money making exercise, I did it because I loved speedway, and I also perceived a genuine lack of coverage for sedans in most publications. I had a market and a very devoted following, but if I was doing it purely as a business I probably wouldn't have started. The vast majority of the speedway publications (not all motorsport) run at a break even point or worse. Very few people involved in the publications would make their living this way. Most have other jobs that support their work on the magazine.

You have posed a great question Graham. As a final comment these days I obtain virtually all of my speedway information from the internet. My magazine purchases are few and far between. However speedway magazines are great records of events, drivers, issues, tracks etc. I have speedway magazines going back to the 1960's. They are an incredible resource for the history of the sport!
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