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Old 02-06-2018, 10:18 AM   #1
VPREATR
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Excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about Sonoma Raceway’s rental increase?

Excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about Sonoma Raceway’s rental increase?

I wanted to take this time and the eerily odd title to discuss Sonoma Raceway, specifically in that they've aggressively raised their track rental prices for 2018, either as a byproduct of contractual negations with exclusive on-property vendors or in hopes of having a cash surplus available when the politically charged bay area housing industry pursues the option of condos as opposed to a race track with untold legacies of history, I digress in that last statement as these were once mere whispers, alas, even such whispers are disheartening.

Why bring this up? First and foremost, many track day consumers will likely have noticed increased prices for motorcycle track day's at Somoma Raceway this year; the increased rental costs had a direct impact on provider pricing and based on my provider experience, these increases were not by choice nor to seek additional monies. As a result, I felt it was important to inform others, specifically those that enjoy Sonoma Raceway’s unique riding experiences.

Here's the situation, we only have a finite amount of available race tracks in California and before you exclude a provider event at Sonoma Raceway solely based on pricing, understand that as riders if we choose not to support providers that support Sonoma, we're certain to see a reduction in availability in the coming years and losing the option of Sonoma Raceway as a motorcycle track day venue is a loss we likely can't endure.

In closing, please support your track day vendors that support Sonoma Raceway.

Take care, be safe and have fun!
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:47 AM   #2
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$250 at sonoma is the same price as $160 for thunderhill + $90 hotel. Its sucks but whatevs.
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Old 02-06-2018, 12:23 PM   #3
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I just like how your entire first paragraph is one sentence.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:02 PM   #4
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I REALLY want to support Sonoma, it's one of my favorite tracks in the bay area, but it's getting harder and harder to justify the cost.

The last Sonoma day I attended was $275 per day. I've paid less for 2 days at ThunderHill. Sure Sonoma is a bit higher caliber track, but this is an expensive hobby, and I'm on a limited budget. It's really hard for me to justify twice the price so that I can ride past empty grandstands for half the time.

More importantly, the condition of the pavement is easily the worst of any track I've been to. Given that Sears point is a world class track that hosts many televised events each year, you'd figure that they'd do a better job with upkeep.

Finally (although its a slow point) - Sonoma doesn't really offer the same amenities that other tracks do - no power hookups unless you rent a garage. And they don't turn the lights off at night, so good luck getting any sleep if you are in a tent.


I really do love Sonoma, but I'm not going to blindly throw money at them simply because the motorcycling community doesn't want to lose them.
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Old 02-06-2018, 09:26 PM   #5
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I REALLY want to support Sonoma, it's one of my favorite tracks in the bay area, but it's getting harder and harder to justify the cost.

The last Sonoma day I attended was $275 per day. I've paid less for 2 days at ThunderHill. Sure Sonoma is a bit higher caliber track, but this is an expensive hobby, and I'm on a limited budget. It's really hard for me to justify twice the price so that I can ride past empty grandstands for half the time.

More importantly, the condition of the pavement is easily the worst of any track I've been to. Given that Sears point is a world class track that hosts many televised events each year, you'd figure that they'd do a better job with upkeep.

Finally (although its a slow point) - Sonoma doesn't really offer the same amenities that other tracks do - no power hookups unless you rent a garage. And they don't turn the lights off at night, so good luck getting any sleep if you are in a tent.


I really do love Sonoma, but I'm not going to blindly throw money at them simply because the motorcycling community doesn't want to lose them.
I do agree, it's not horrible but it has gotten worse over time. The track really needs a repave.

Last edited by Kalvin00; 02-06-2018 at 09:30 PM..
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:28 AM   #6
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It's is tough to justify the money needed for track days...it ain't cheap.

I try to think in terms of bang for my buck........the grin factor.

I do not ride on the street like I do on track days. I really like fast riding and the only place I can do that safely is the track.

So, to me, the cost of doing a track day is worth it cause I can ride as fast as I want to in a safe place, with people around in case something happens.

Track condition......not a real factor with me......still a lot better surface than a lot of street roads I ride on....like Page Mill.

I always buy my gas at the tracks and always a shirt or two......even ice.

Most on here have not seen the changes done to Sears or Thunderhill over time, especially Thunderhill. I've been to Thunderhill when it first was built by the SCCA. There was just the pits and the track. Porta Pottys were the bathroom and a converted travel trailer as the food. The pits was just the blacktop, nothing like nowdays.

The front stands at Sears was not always there, nor the nice food cafe, no garages, nor the hillside seating.

I've seen Thunderhill grow over time.......just a little FYI.....the bridge at Thunderhill going over the back straight is the same bridge the went over turn 6 at Sears.

I feel I've had a part in the growth of these tracks because I bought at the track in order to support the track and the improvements made.
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ViperThreat View Post
I REALLY want to support Sonoma, it's one of my favorite tracks in the bay area, but it's getting harder and harder to justify the cost.

The last Sonoma day I attended was $275 per day. I've paid less for 2 days at ThunderHill. Sure Sonoma is a bit higher caliber track, but this is an expensive hobby, and I'm on a limited budget. It's really hard for me to justify twice the price so that I can ride past empty grandstands for half the time.

More importantly, the condition of the pavement is easily the worst of any track I've been to. Given that Sears point is a world class track that hosts many televised events each year, you'd figure that they'd do a better job with upkeep.

Finally (although its a slow point) - Sonoma doesn't really offer the same amenities that other tracks do - no power hookups unless you rent a garage. And they don't turn the lights off at night, so good luck getting any sleep if you are in a tent.


I really do love Sonoma, but I'm not going to blindly throw money at them simply because the motorcycling community doesn't want to lose them.
Bikes are expensive...track days are cheap when you look at what a season of racing cost. Sonoma isn't near as bumpy as Button Willow. Just figure out how to stash $2.00 per day by either giving up things like maybe a Starbucks drink or something else we waste money on. The thrill and joy you get from riding your motorcycle at your pace is priceless. $2.00 per day will get you a Laguna day, Sonoma day, T-hill and maybe a Button Willow. Track days are cheap...Pirellis are expensive on a HP4$$$
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:35 AM   #8
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Sonoma isn't near as bumpy as Button Willow.
Sonoma is just as bumpy and in all the wrong areas. Regardless, still a great track and would be a huge loss if it got to the point where it was taken off the TDP/AFM calendars.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:12 PM   #9
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Things are more expensive in the Bay Area. This isn't new.

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Old 02-06-2018, 05:13 PM   #10
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Between additional gas cost (200 miles further roundtrip to Thunderhill vs Sonoma), hotel cost, and just the extra few hours of drive time, I have no problem justifying Sonoma over Thunderhill. My problem is justifying trackdays at all to my financial mistress...
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:34 AM   #11
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Being NorCal centric I get it. Sonoma Raceway needs to turn a profit. The trackday venders need to turn a profit.

Riders will choose to go or not and if numbers are low then things will change one way or another.

Really happy that this stuff still gets to happen given the litigious society we live in. So..
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:08 AM   #12
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Let's be honest here. NASCAR pays all of Sonoma's expenses and upkeep. Every penny and more. The trackdays are nice added juice. I love the track. I've been riding it since the days of $50 trackdays with cars and bikes on the track together.

The surface has turned to shit. The cracks coming into T9 and exiting T6 are now serious obstacles to be dealt with.

The turnworkers are new crew and they suck. I have never seen so many poorly trained workers, it's worse than the meth heads at Buttonwillow. The few older ones hold it together.

The cafeteria food is ghastly.

I like management personally, but the pricing almost certainly comes from corporate headquarters.

Yes, there is a level at which I will not pay, and that is EXACTLY what they are determining with their pricing strategy. How high can we raise track prices until people stop coming?
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by afm199 View Post
Let's be honest here. NASCAR pays all of Sonoma's expenses and upkeep. Every penny and more. The trackdays are nice added juice. I love the track. I've been riding it since the days of $50 trackdays with cars and bikes on the track together.

The surface has turned to shit. The cracks coming into T9 and exiting T6 are now serious obstacles to be dealt with.

The turnworkers are new crew and they suck. I have never seen so many poorly trained workers, it's worse than the meth heads at Buttonwillow. The few older ones hold it together.

The cafeteria food is ghastly.

I like management personally, but the pricing almost certainly comes from corporate headquarters.

Yes, there is a level at which I will not pay, and that is EXACTLY what they are determining with their pricing strategy. How high can we raise track prices until people stop coming?
Exactly!
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Old 02-08-2018, 11:30 AM   #14
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Let's be honest here. NASCAR pays all of Sonoma's expenses and upkeep. Every penny and more. The trackdays are nice added juice. I love the track. I've been riding it since the days of $50 trackdays with cars and bikes on the track together.

The surface has turned to shit. The cracks coming into T9 and exiting T6 are now serious obstacles to be dealt with.

The turnworkers are new crew and they suck. I have never seen so many poorly trained workers, it's worse than the meth heads at Buttonwillow. The few older ones hold it together.

The cafeteria food is ghastly.

I like management personally, but the pricing almost certainly comes from corporate headquarters.

Yes, there is a level at which I will not pay, and that is EXACTLY what they are determining with their pricing strategy. How high can we raise track prices until people stop coming?
No other track in California has as many televised high-caliber events as Sonoma. It's not just NASCAR, they also have NHRA Drag Racing, and IndyCar.

What's more, they also have Wednesday night Drags, drift park, go-cart track, virtual simulator, etc.


If Sonoma is struggling financially, they are doing something VERY wrong.
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Old 02-08-2018, 11:42 AM   #15
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The turnworkers are new crew and they suck. I have never seen so many poorly trained workers, it's worse than the meth heads at Buttonwillow. The few older ones hold it together.
This and the pavement. The last two times I have been to Sonoma they are a shit show. They did not have enough turnworkers and the one leading the show was an idiot. They shut down the track for mundane reasons that would not typically happen. It was weird and frustrating.

The pavement is mediocre at best. The line through the carousel is hideous. I have one friend that crashed because of it.

Just my two cents.

Otherwise, nice track.
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