Fans are keen to catch the thrills and spills of racing from the comfort of the bar
A Conservative club not far from the banks of the River Thames may not be an obvious spot to enjoy MotoGP but new fans are being attracted to the sport all of the time.
The season got underway with the Grand Prix of Qatar on March 10 and there was plenty of interest at the Walton Conservative Club in Surrey.
Posters promoting upcoming races adorn the walls and TV screens are used to remind members what sport is coming up.
The passion is driven by bar manager Adi Marian. He is such a huge fan of the sport that he once undertook a 2,000 mile-round trip to Brno for the Czech Republic MotoGP in a VW Polo.
He is now sharing his passion with the 450 or so members at the club.
“I am a big Valentino Rossi fan and a big MotoGP fan. To me it is fascinating with the overtakes and the risk factor and the noise and all the people around the track,” he says.
“I started showing the races and people asked questions about who was racing or what bikes they were on.
People get to know more about it and understand it. They start to realise what risks are involved in it, then they come back and ask ‘when’s the next race?’
There are three bars at the club: the main lounge, the members bar and the sports room. For now, MotoGP is primarily screened in the smallest of the three with rugby and football attracting more fans in the lounge and members bar.
Adi, who has worked at the club for 12 years, continues: “My dream would be to have a packed main bar with it on, which we do have sometimes when the football season is over in the summer.
“It is developing a cult following and we get 10 people on and off watching it.”
Social media plays a big role in keeping members up to date with races and other sports and events at the club. Adi uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to spread the word.
“It is so good at promoting events at the club and we get a lot of feedback on social media. People appreciate the fact that they know what is going on and what bar it is being shown on.”
He also makes the most of the free posters and assets that are available to BT Sport subscribers.
“The BT social assets are very helpful to have. I always download them and share them to our platforms. It is nice to see that MotoGP is getting covered better and better. It makes my job of advertising it a lot easier.
“We also get the posters regularly and we choose what works best for us.”
To create even more buzz around MotoGP he is looking at starting a fantasy MotoGP league or a draw with prizes such as drinks vouchers available to whoever pulls out the winning rider or the one who completes the fastest lap.
It’s part of Adi’s aim to ensure the club progresses and attracts new members. Other ways he has done this includes running ticketed events such as gin nights.
He ran the first of these last year as a direct riposte to Dry January. The Dry Ginuary event – and another in October – brought new people to the club.
“We ticket events because if you don’t people are much more likely to not show up. With a ticket they appreciate the value of the event.
“With the two gin nights we gained around 20 new members because they came as guests and left as members. We are trying to encourage people to come in and see the place,” he adds.
And every new member gives Adi a chance to add to the growing fanbase for MotoGP.
MotoGP dates for the diary
March 10 Qatar GP
March 31 Argentinian GP
April 14 Americas GP
May 5 Spanish GP
May 19 French GP
June 2 Italian GP
June 16 Catalan GP
June 30 Dutch TT
July 7 German GP
August 4 Czech GP
August 11 Austrian GP
August 25 British GP
September 15 San Marino GP
September 22 Aragon GP
October 6 Thailand GP
October 20 Japanese GP
October 27 Australian GP
November 3 Malaysian GP
November 17 Valencia GP
- Watch every MotoGP race, practice and qualifying session live and exclusive on BT Sport. To download social assets to help you promote MotoGP and all the live sport we screen visit https://btsportbusiness.com/support/