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Whistlin' Jack Smith >> Blog >> The end is approaching

My mission several years ago was to create a one-stop shop for Hot Rod fans to gather information as I felt magazines and programmes at the time werenít giving enough quality coverage and simply I could do better Ė the ones I had contributed to had folded so I went ahead alone. In the following years I created race report and features that didnít seem that hard to achieve, fellow fans helped out with photos and content yet promoters were always an issue as they didnít seem to want to help (that really wound me up Iíve realised how they are just race organisers and not promoters). At some points this became ammunition to me to make the site even better. Over the years Iíve seen some bitchy comments pointed in my direction from people I used to respect, been banned from forums for voicing valued opinions, ignored and also others congratulated and thanked.

Iíve successfully created a brand, I write the majority of content (close to 100,000 words in 2013), Iím a self-taught HTML programmer for web-design, dabbed with social marketing, generated advertising revenue to cover costs, captured /cropped and photo-shopped photos all with a self-belief that if I donít do no-one else will and Hot Rod racing deserves better coverage. All in my spare time!

My life as a webmaster has been a roller-coaster, back in 2012 become the first time I fell out of love with the site and Hot Rod racing, until then I was quite happy to occasionally write content in the evenings instead of watching TV and drinking beer but I was raging after one meeting. The big turning point for me was the 2012 Spedeweekend, the race where Bell won the World title but more notably Blackman and Simpson clashed. What angered it for me was how the disqualification/ban were handled, now itís an on-going saga on how penalties vary and face-fitting racing but I as a paying fan expect to be told what is going on I that wasnít the case. The following dayís official websites were a little shady with their responses and online comments just smudged matters. Two weeks later I calmed down and wrote the report still not completely satisfied. Now you could think here Iím mental, Iím too passionate about the sport or get wound up if matters are not clearly stated in black and white. Until then the website was a hobby, itís at the bottom of my CV, and supposed to be something for me to be creative to forget about the stresses of life Ė yet when a hobby creates further stress or angers me something has gone wrong.

I picked myself up, yet had a few more moments wanting to delete the site but realised I was being silly. At the Spedeweekend this year I was trying to be careful with battery life to maintain constant updates where I could, charging the phone at any opportunity, now looking back I realised this isnít normal behaviour. Although I think itís nice I can help out the fans that were not there, it shouldnít though impede my normal behaviour or my enjoyment. It made me think perhaps my passion for Hot Rod racing has manifested into an online obsession, add that the fact it felt like a chore writing a full-on race report I needed to take swift action. So I announced this on my Facebook page that the Spedeweekend report would be my last, it wasnít a pity status update as Iím not a 16 year old girl but I felt it was the most appropriate way to address the masses and gather opinion. However I donít think it was done correctly as a few days later I noticed a massive typo. I had wrote

ďThis is the end of the site I'm still aiming to add content but just thinking of stopping a race by race breakdownĒ when it should have said ďThis isnít the end of the site I'm still aiming to add content.Ē

Itís now a case of getting back to my roots. Oval racing is simple for me, the majority of the time I will be watching it alongside my dad and have done so since 1988. Now I could make the site/ reports f*****g awesome if I ran about going from driver to driver getting more insight; it would also require me watching just one formula at a meeting (eg National Hot Rods) and not seeing any other formulas on the day for which I am not prepared to do so. I have no desire to leave my dad alone on the terraces nor do I want to miss a Stock Car race because I like them as well. Now as I realise my actions have started to impede my enjoyment of the sport I need to reign back on some tasks and the race reports are the easiest to do so.

The future is safe the site WILL NOT END, there is too much good work to throw away, I feel very happy with the champions page as this is something nobody in this World of 7 billion people has published to such depth. I have decided that if I attend a meeting I will concentrate on a talking point of the day rather than Ďdriver x passed driver yí or Ďdriver z was black-flaggedí. In the short term I am turning my back on Hot Rod racing, I will not be attending the National Championship, that weekend I have decided Brisca F1 and Saloon Stock Cars at Coventry will be better.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you all understand, thank you to those who let me know they appreciate what I do, thank you to all that have helped take this site to where it is now. I will now take a little summer sabbatical, a re-energised Paul will be back!


Production team Text: Paul Ballard (13.07.14)


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