Guest post by TV motor racing commentator Richard John Neil on his latest venture – a niche publication on old-time oval track motor sport.
I used to read Andy Weltch’s reports each week in Motoring News – Thursday’s first task was to nip into the newsagents and pick up the paper to see who’d been winning what on the short and long circuits up and down the country.
These days I don’t buy too many news publications as you can get most of the content on the internet. I do think that there is still a market for papers and magazines when they are feature based – that’s something I’m involved in setting up at the moment – one that looks at short oval racing in days gone by. In actual fact the very era that you would see the initials AW at the end of a race report in the aforementioned MN.
Well now I feel like a guest on Richard and Judy ‘cos it’s almost like I am here to plug my latest product… The magazine is out now and is a mixture of articles relating to short oval racing.
I try to include a mix of different classes and eras. I suppose the main story is about Martin Morris who was the original hot rod racer (and it turns out one of the first drivers in Formula Two stock cars or Juniors as they were known then). That particular piece was written by a guy called Mark Giles who is a fan turned writer.
A lot of the content in the magazine comes from contacts that I make with people who find it online and then buy it from me. Such a scenario leads to me asking “Aren’t you the guy who had 15th place at Aldershot 25 years ago?” and then an exchange of emails eventually leads to a page in the magazine.
Anyway, getting back to variety, the Morris feature ticks the 1960s box for starters. I don’t get to feature the 50s much (that was when the sport started) but I did find a DVD of some colour cine film from ’57 which has one of the top men from those early days, Johnny Brise, in action. Rare stuff.
Elsewhere in the pages lurk odd things like a six-wheel Grand Prix Midget racer, some very accurate Scalextric adaptations of cars from the 1970s. There’s a feature on a long lost track, Rayleigh, a look at some current classic racers and then some photo features as well. There are 15 features / featurettes in total and I’m delighted to say I’ve managed to do the whole thing without any advertising.
I am under no illusion about the market for this type of publication. It’s niche. Very niche. There is however a small army of people who remember the so-called good old days and who are interested in reading about years gone by and also what became of the folk who kept us entertained on track week in, week out.
Printed media is probably more complex to publish in than electronic media and, although you don’t need 3D glasses to read any of my publications, rose-tinted ones will probably help.
Picture of Richard John Neil at Brands Hatch by George McNeill