February 2009 may well be a significant month in slotracing with the first trials of slotracing as a sport under public ownership taking place in Leicester. Working in an inner city area I was aware that there is significant funding available for projects to improve the community and making the case that slot racing would get the kids off the street as well as bring families together it being a sport where anyone could take part, it wasn't difficult to secure funding for the project. Hence the UK8 was purchased along with the running gear to make it work.
So what happened? The track was running throughout the half term week between midday and and 3pm. My two sons Sam and Rob helped, along with a lady called Jess who is employed as a community co-ordinator by the Police. The result was about 20-40 kids and parents each day coming along and having a brilliant time. Everybody thought how good it was and there is now a real urge to progress this project even further.. The kit was absolutely brilliant and though some of the cars did take some stick, at the end of the week the only real damage was a couple of plastic gears and some braids.
Where does it go from here then? Well there is a huge interest in this progressing this further and people are now actively looking to secure a permanent venue for the track. At the time of writing there is a good chance a room has been found in a local school so we are very optimistic. The plan is that occasional slotracing events for slotracers could be used to fund the projects further development and kit replacement.
The implications of all this: With the country going into recession the slotracing world is changing. The chances of a commercial raceway making a success of it at the moment is questionable as people haven't got much money to spend. BUT the government are spending pots on regeneration and tackling innercity issues such as crime and antisocial behaviour. New Parks Raceway marks slotracing's first attempt to tap into this and is the first time a track has been put into public ownership. This potentially is a huge event is slotracing and if it is taken up and is a success could radically change the sport for the future. There's a long way to go but I think enough has been done to say there are new shoots here which could bode well for the future.