Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Bench racing, smack talking, and general chit chat
Post Reply
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:47 pm

Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by Manshow » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:09 pm

Wanted to air a concern and decided to do it here as it's less public than the FB page.

Vintage weekend, my family and I set up shop as spectators on the hill in 3. Not long after setting up, we were informed that while we could keep our canopy up for the day since it was already set up, it would not be allowed going forward. A couple other groups were also informed but were not so lucky to have already set theirs up and were stopped from doing so.

Then we noticed the new "No Coolers" signage and were also approached a second time and asked not to bring them again.

Lastly, after grilling a few burgers, we were also asked not to bring the grill again and to please "take it down" once it cooled off.

My family, all of us, are lifelong promoters and ambassadors for WHRRI. We've also worked in varying capacities (and I mean all of us) as volunteers on the tower, in the tower, corners, race weekends, OTDs, etc. Since 1963 in fact. In other words, what Waterford Hills is, it's unique family oriented traditions, it's blatantly non-commercial atmosphere and it's refreshingly relaxed, yet somehow professional attitude is well understood by us. I know for a fact that we are just one example of 100s of families that probably feel the same way and come back year after year after year for the same reasons.

So my question is, why the crackdown? The only logical explanation I can conjure up is that the concessions are concerned with revenues and sight-lines to the track.

As far as sight-lines, well let's be honest, there are rarely enough people up there to worry about it, and if forced to sit in the sun all day with older family members, it's just gonna be a short visit, or no visit at all. If we are not coming at all, the sight-lines are going to be stellar for sure.

Now the coolers and the grill. Let me first say that between us, we've been buying beer and brats from both the infield and turn 3 concessions for 55 years now. That's what we normally do in fact and the grill on Vintage Saturday was a very rare exception. We've purchased well over 1000 food items and cups of beer over the years, and did so in fact on Vintage weekend even though we brought some burgers to grill. We rarely bring our own stuff since the concessions are very reasonably priced and we wish to support the track in even that little way. In other words, the concessions as a support of the main attraction has always managed to stand on it's own merits in our eyes.

I guess my point is, if this is an effort to increase revenues for the concessions and improve attendance on the hill by keeping the sight-lines open, well, all I can say is that it backfired, immediately. We came back on Sunday and never once ventured up on the hill for these reasons.

Whomever decided to crack down should perhaps think this through again, in my opinion anyway.

I think I speak for the whole Holth family on this. And for grins, here's a pic of my dad and I on the tower in probably 1974 or 75. He Chief of Flagging and Communications and I Chief of running mimeographed grid sheets between the tower and the grid. Incidentally, I'm asking him for more money to spend on donuts at the concession at the base of the tower, from Barb and Don Krick, both for my own edification and to get Don to get out of his barber's chair. :lol:

Last edited by Manshow on Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 915
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:30 pm
WHRRI Member Number: 2595
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by surratta » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:27 am

I (and I'm confident I speak for many) really appreciate your sober (and sobering) feedback. your experience, as you know -- and, importantly, as we know -- was shared by many during the vintage event. I don't have all the facts, but it is something we are aware of and working on. there was, at a minimum, some miscommunication between WHRRI and OCSC regarding the canopy and cooler policies. I think all of the WHRRI people working at Vintage were surprised to see what was going on, and certainly many of us were embarrassed by the treatment of our guests. all of this will be addressed within the club as well as with the parent club. it was, at the very least, a PR nightmare.

from one current racer, thank you. thank you for your past commitment, and thank you for caring enough and for taking the time to send this feedback.
Andrew Surratt, Resident Troll

Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by Manshow » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:02 pm

Thank you for your response, and I'm sad to hear our experience was not unique. In any case, what a fantastic entry list and a great weekend overall! Kudos to everyone that put it all together. I / we will be back for as long as we are physically able to. One single negative experience won't change how we feel about this very special place and I'm 100% positive that issue will be fixed after some more thinking and collaboration. I'll get out and work a turn again yet this year if I can, and next year and so on. Rock on WHRRI!

User avatar
Posts: 794
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:21 am
WHRRI Member Number: 1843

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by Brian » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:14 pm

The Spirit of Waterford Hills lives on!

I understand that the Parent Club (OCSC) has certain statutory requirements regarding the sale of alcohol, so can see why coolers might be problematic.
The whole canopy/sight-line issue in the Turn 3/Hilltop area is new to me....but to be honest we haven't had a hoard of spectators to be concerned with in (ahem- I dunno ;-) decades!

Please tell all your friends (and their friends as well) to join us on a regular Race weekend, and I bet you'll once again find all the room you need to setup camp and cheer us on 8)
"A nation which makes great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."

Thucydides, 460 B.C.

User avatar
Posts: 992
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:20 pm
WHRRI Member Number: 2248
Location: Royal Oak, MI

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by 924RACR » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:07 am

This just in... it's not just Vintage weekend. Expect the same approach this weekend.

Somebody needs to remind the parent club that this is NOT a pro-sporting event!

Are we seriously so flush with spectators that we can afford to chase any away? We are lucky to have anyone beyond our crew and family members cheering us on.

Quite disappointed by this sudden shift in attitudes...
Vaughan Scott
#77 ITB White/Blue Porsche 924
#25 P2 Hidari Firefly

Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:31 am

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by mrs924racr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:48 pm

I wouldn't want the club's liquor license jeopardized by 'outside alcohol,' so I understand -- and fully support -- that part of it, but the MI Vintage VW Club has been told there would be a guard checking for coolers this Sunday. Not checking inside coolers, checking for coolers.

Telling car clubs and fans that they can't bring adequate water or shade on a hot summer day, or prepared food for personal consumption is driving people away. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Michiga ... &ref=notif

Additionally, I received a cancellation privately from a club member whose food allergies are severe enough to require packing food from home every day. I'm disappointed and disheartened that the parent club is unwilling to be more accommodating.

Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:31 am

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by mrs924racr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:06 pm

I've been in touch with OCSC and they are willing to accommodate people who have special dietary needs by allowing coolers kept discreetly in cars. The main problems are "outside liquor, food, grills, and pop-up tents".

He says, "all pop-ups need to be by the back fence. Not out front. No grills at all. Beach umbrellas that screw in the ground are okay."

They plan to patrol lightly this time, but will hand out the rules in writing all weekend, and will patrol more strictly next year.

Liz H
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:36 am

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by Liz H » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:17 pm

I also want to point out that people with little kids almost always carry coolers for at least water bottles with the right kinds of lids. Parents nowadays are picky about what they feed their kids and food allergies are rampant in the elementary schools, so they're probably going to have some kid-friendly snacks too like some organic, sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free veggie straws (I'm not even kidding, you should see the approved snack list from my son's kindergarten class last year :shock: ). While this doesn't effect me since we're always on the inside of the track, the "no cooler" policy is going to be seen as very non-family friendly. Even if the club is willing to make exceptions to the rule for particular circumstances, it will probably still drive people away because they want to avoid the confrontation.


Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:16 pm

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by Franz » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:39 am

Waterford Hills Road Racing Inc (WHRRI) operates as a Sub-Club of the Oakland County Sportsmans Club (OCSC). The Hilltop area, and all of the concessions and catering for the track are the property and jurisdiction of OCSC.
While WHRRI may disagree with OCSC on some approaches for actions and policies, we are inherently governed by those restrictions.
If WHRRI was operating the concessions on the Hilltop or setting the Policies, I am confident that we would take a different approach in some areas.
That said, there are some rules which are necessary or courteous. Bringing alcohol to the hilltop is not only illegal, it is a potential safety liability.
To make the Hilltop area as inviting as possible, WHRRI will be clarifying our goals with OCSC, and working to establish as possible a welcoming approach and functional policy.
How flexible we can be remains to be seen, and only time will tell how Hilltop operations can work for as many people as possible.
While the policies are not different in the Campground ( Turn 6 ) or inside the Paddock, I can assure you that we will keep the atmosphere as welcoming as we can. On the other side, without any rules, we would risk chaos with everyone having their own unique directions. Please be as courteous as possible to others in the area.

Franz Lieder
Waterford Hills Road Racing President
Last edited by Franz on Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Enforcement of "new" rules on the hill for spectators

Post by Manshow » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:41 pm

Thank you for the clarification and the update. I guess it's no turn 3 for us/me until these rules are relaxed. And I can vouch for the fact that turn six is much more welcoming BTW. 8)

I see that thread at the VW club FB and it's really disheartening to see WHRRI talked about in that way. Sounds like hundreds of $ of revenue will be driven away in order to make one hundred more. Sigh.

For the record, no outside alcohol makes sense to me, the rest is just as short-sighted as it gets. Concessions are a support service, not the main event. And not once in over 50 years have I heard one person say that the hill is too crowded with canopies to enjoy the afternoon. Not once.

OK, done venting. I just hope the message is received and some deeper thinking is done.

Post Reply