** THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON DRIVETRIBE.COM **
I’ve decided since the announcement of the demise of DriveTribe that I would do one last hurrah. A look back at the year I spent contributing to DriveTribe. The Fake News items I created to keep our overlord in Australia, John Coleman, happy which allowed me to keep writing the actual decent articles I wanted to write. The ones about Australian Motorsport.
First off, I want to share with you some of my favourite “FAKE NEWS” articles …
The last of those articles, the Ford Falcon AU front end contained some VERY poorly done photoshops of cars with AU front ends, however .. safe to say a lot of people missed the poor photoshop skills in return for beliving they were actual concepts coming out.
I also did some spoof videos such as the Valentines special which was an ode to my Ford Focus, which I now have sold against what I said in the video…
And the Australia day special where I poked fun at the lack of humour that exists in the owners of VL commodore owners and Leyland P76 fanatics ..
There were the serious articles such as the support for grassroots motorsport that was needed as Covid-19 kicked in, and one of only a very few video interviews with Michael Smith from Motorsport Australia. At the time of interviewing him, I didn’t realise just how special that interview was (despite how bad it is!) and have sinced bumped into him a few times in the paddocks at race events and he always takes time out for a chat, much to the chargrin of other motorsport media who seem to think he’s unapproachable.
Motorsport Australia’s Director of Motorsport and Commercial operations had a quick chat about the organisation and the nationals series
And then there were the triggering articles, such as the one about the Holden closure in Australia and my opinion, which would turn out to be slightly off however, that the price of the average Holden wouldn’t go up. However COVID-19 prices on cars saw the artificial inflation on even the stock standard VT Commodore so, a slight win for the naysayers and triggered who said I was wrong .. Even though it wasn’t caused by the closure of Holden.
The point of this article was completely missed that yes, special editions would sell for a stupid price as they always do and would go up, but the standard Mum and Dad versions would not. Had COVID-19 not happened, I would have been 100% on the money with my prediction.
I’m sorry to say, but unless it was already a collectible, your Holden isn’t going to be worth a lot more money now
And finally, the best article I did, the one I was most passionate about the entire time I was contributing to DriveTribe was the Women in Motorsport video where I rounded up 15 women of various ages and involvement in Motorsport and let them have their say about their experiences in Motorsport.
There is one part of the video where you can actually see one of the women second guess what she has just said and that she was playing the game of not speaking out but also speaking out a little bit. I won’t give you the time index or the woman involved but most of the people who commented to myself directly all saw it.
This International Women’s Day, come hear the stories of 15 women in motorsport from various roles, who share their experiences of the sport they love
WHAT WE ACHEIVED….
One thing I wanted to acheive with DriveTribe, especially in Australia was to bring about an alternative voice for Motorsport in the country. The major website that covered it generally does some clickbaity stuff as well as generic coverage, but not much at the grassroots level.
However to come across as a legitimate outlet for motorsport in Australia, I felt that in addition to the grassroots motorsport coverage, I had to also include the V8 supercars and some Formula 1 (from a different angle to the copy-paste press releases that were going on in the F1 section of DriveTribe).
I covered livery reveals, team shifts, and much more for the V8s and did a little bit of F1 work too. I asked DriveTribe HQ if we could get press credentials for the V8s and the F1 and was told that DriveTribe had never got it before and not to bother. Well I’m an annoying shithead so I kept asking and eventually they agreed to try for it, I would do the application process and copy DriveTribe HQ in on what I was applying for.
In mid February 2020 we got the answer back and the answer was YES for the Formula 1 in Melbourne, Australia. As you would all know this event never went ahead. I had held off jumping on a plane to go over there as I had heard rumours in the week leading up to the cancellation that it would be cancelled. The day I was to make my decision, I heard that some high level drivers had apparently flew out of Melbourne already so that sealed my fate. No Melbourne trip. The first ever access to F1 for DriveTribe was scuttled.
Moving forward that year, the V8 Supercars also agreed to let DriveTribe (by extension me) in for full press access to the Supercars round in Western Australia.
We had finally put DriveTribe on the map for motorsport in Australia, but that was soon to come crashing down as DriveTribe would join the “just like the rest of them” pile.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST UNFORTUNATELY END
So fast forward to about June 2020. COVID-19 shutdowns of Motorsport in Australia in full effect except for here in Western Australia, the perfect time to continue pushing DriveTribe as a viable alternative to other sites for Motorsport news.
An article is released in the gossip rag (aka news.com.au) about a former very untalented driver, who was not very well liked around the pits of the V8 Supercars paddock, who would treat her young fans with utter contempt, starting up an OnlyFans account.
I asked that if this was to be covered if I could be involved so that we could present it in a light that it hadn’t been presented. We had not long ago pushed the whole Women in Motorsport article and were looking as not being like the rest of them for coverage of motorsport.
The way it was being presented by all the other outlets was that if you didn’t make it as a race car driver and were a woman, that this was your only option. The person involved didn’t help matters by her replies to interviews essentially stating the same.
I was hoping that we could present an article, if DriveTribe really wanted to cover it, that showed the many options available to women in motorsport without judgement of what this particular person was doing. 100% her own decision, but I really felt like it was not being presented well.
I woke one morning to see an article that had been promoted to the Australian social media sites which was a very quick and clearly clickbait article on the whole situation. There was no depth to the article and it was basically written like a sniggering bunch of school boys. I tried to find the article but I suspect it was removed after I blew up in the DriveTribe slack about it.
I will admit that I threw my toys out of the cot and rage quit. I was livid. I also was bombarded all day by people within the motorsport community who I had been pushing DriveTribe onto asking the “WHAT THE F!#%K?!” question. Was this really what DriveTribe thought about motorsport? I tried to explain the concept of freelance contributors and that sometimes the best decisions aren’t made when “everyone else” is covering it. However I didn’t believe what was coming out of my mouth and I quickly reverted to just saying “It is what it is, I’m sorry about what was published, I however have stopped contributing as I do not believe in that platform if thats what they are going to do.”
BEHIND THE SPORT IS BORN …
In my anger/annoyance about the whole situation, I decided to expand the Podcast website that I had started called Behind the Sport to include space for articles I had written and was writing. Over the next 12 months it would take off to a peak of 20,000 individual users per week, not bad for the little engine that could! However work got busy and I let it slip but the potential shown of what people want to read and see in Australia around motorsport showed me that the site has the potential.
Initially it was a WordPress site for many different variations / iterations of it however it was just too clunky to maintain and I would have to setup load balancers and all sorts to keep up with the traffic. I have now moved it to a lightweight CMS back end and the speeds are so much quicker. The back end is easier to navigate (and in some ways similar to DriveTribe).
The site is what I would call semi-mature. The site for the end user is working, the contributor side works and I’ve got 3 on board so far. Monetisation is the next area I will be working on to allow the payment of these contributors who volunteered their time to help grow the site this year.
Feel free to come on over and check it out, if you need an outlet for your writing, we’re not just taking Australian content, we love motorsport and motoring content from the world over, but no clickbait or copy paste writers thanks.
THE ACTUAL FINAL HURRAH
So time for the actual final hurrah. Thank you to the DriveTribe team who created this platform and gave me the kick up the butt to get writing. John Coleman despite your lack of coffee purchasing skills for me, we had some fun and thank your for pushing me to write more.
For all the DriveTribe community members that have come and gone and to those who are looking for a new home, look forward to seeing where you land.
Signing off for one last time ..
– Shane Lawrie – The grumpy bearded one.
p.s. Does my emoji still exist on the DriveTribe Slack channels?!