It’s mid-January, which for me means working through my diary and marking the motorsport dates. It also usually means buying an MSV season pass. There are a number of options available but for me its the 4-wheel pass, which allows access to all car racing event at all 4 MSV owned circuits – Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell. Except this year for the first time since 2005 I probably won’t bother.
When MSV first stared to sell season passes the cost was around £130. Now I’m not exactly on the doorstep of any circuit (Brands is the closest and that’s an hour’s drive) but to me it was a no-brainer. A ticket to a BTCC round was £20-25 and I was certain to go to all four of those – two at Brands and one each at Oulton and Snetterton – which meant I only needed to a couple of smaller event and the pass would easily pay for itself.
Since then though the cost of the pass has gone up (now £195) whilst the number of events I go to has reduced. My attendance record in 2011 was probably the worst its been for the last 10-15 years, and that’s all circuits not just the MSV ones. I really don’t want to do the maths but I suspect I barely attended enough meetings to cover the cost of the pass.
Whilst I still attend both BTCC meetings at Brands Hatch, and occasionally Oulton Park, I haven’t been to the Snetterton round for some years. I don’t camp at the track any more which means driving up on Sunday morning. The M11-A11-A14 route is not the most exciting drive at the best of times and when there is a busy meeting on you know you’ll spend most of the day stuck in traffic.
DTM has failed to hold my attention – once you get past all the hype and razzmatazz the racing really isn’t that good. Of course putting high downforce, high grip cars on the Indy circuit is rarely a good move. Maybe if they were let loose in the GP loop then things might be different, but I realise that DTM organisers have shown no interest in doing that, so what we are left with is a tedious 100 or so laps of follow-my-leader. I’m tempted to give DTM another chance this year and see if the new regulations make any difference, but to be honest I’m not hopeful.
WTCC was another of my regular events but sadly that’s now gone. In 2011 it moved from Brands to Donington (and therefore not covered by the MSV pass) and for 2012 there’s no UK round at all.
In fairness, I missed some MSV-hosted events last year as I was busy elsewhere and some due to the weather, but equally there were some where I just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort. A few years ago I would have thought nothing of driving two hours for a BRSCC clubbie at Snetterton or Oulton. When the timetable included the likes of EuroSaloons, Mighty Minis and Alfa Owners’ Club you knew you were in for a day of full grids and good racing. It seemed like whenever I checked last year the day consisted of umpteen hours of Fun Cup or tiny grids for some pointless single make series (Saker Challenge anyone?). No surprise then I opted for an extra couple of hours in bed.
Now all of this doesn’t mean I’ve given up motorsports completely, just maybe taking a different approach to what meetings I go to. It certainly means I’ll need to be a bit more organised and start buying advance tickets rather than just turning up on the day.