NZ Motorsport fans agree with a statement made by Mike Hosking back in June 2015 when Earl Bamber won the Le Mans 24 Hour in a Porsche 919 Hybrid (see the statement here) - but instead of lamenting about it (which we kiwis tend to do) maybe we need to analyse the why's ...
For this particular piece I will focus initially on that Le Mans, but much of it also lends itself to Paddon and his WRC results, Brendon Hartley and his 2015 FIA World Championship Title, Mitch Evans in the GP2 Series, and all the other NZ racers competing so well away from home.
So, why are the weekend motorsport results not giant front page news in all media outlets?
First quick answer - Apathy and poor choices by the fans. More on that near the end of this piece.
Second quick answer - Because winning races like Le Mans doesn't have the same glam, complete underdog status or unique prestigious feel too it like it would have back in the 60's.
Now that may sound derogatory towards the current drivers but it's not, it is simply a truth. Whilst McLaren, Amon and Hulme were somewhat established as world class drivers by the time they crossed the line in the 66 Le Mans they were still considered special and fresh back home.
Now whilst fans appreciate that a race like Le Mans still has a very high level of glam, prestige and status - they must also acknowledge that drivers today are not underdogs or unknowns because they are groomed, chosen carefully, and their ability is never in question, plus the fact that they are in world class leading equipment.
That is possibly part of the reason that the general media looks at them differently (and therefore assumes we do too).
However, the fight level to get where they are now compared to the 60's is possibly harder tenfold - simply due to costs and the larger talent pool scrapping for seats and waving money around.
Also the odds of designers like McLaren or Britton turning up to an event with their own workshop creations ever again is unlikely, that along with the chances of a relatively unknown and untested driver getting a seat means the underdog status is gone.
In saying all that, there is an argument that the coverage is unfair. They are competing equally among their peers, they are working just as hard as the others in all areas of the profession (possibly harder) and yet they only get a small and passing mention with slightly more engaging headlines when successful.
And yes, there are many other sports in NZ where athletes compete internationally and get even less coverage - but in the majority of those times the athletes are competing in minority sports, Motorsport is certainly not that.
Another reason is how Motorsport by comparison to bat and ball sports does not lend itself easily to being analysed and debated about. There is no way driver selection topics would match rugby and cricket team selections for days on end in print and on airwaves.
You cant analyse a race result and pick it apart for the same amount of time and to the same degree as you can with the bat and ball sports.
You certainly can have weekly panel shows, half to hour long specific highlight shows, but multiple daily segments - in fairness to the sport - would be extremely difficult to maintain.
The fix? Well it is achievable to a certain level, but it is up to the supporters to instigate, to garner more coverage and discussions outside of their own circles.
Mainstream media are focused on the bat and ball sports because the journalists have plenty to keep them occupied and because the fans demand it by proxy.
They do that by constantly ringing up the talk-back lines and discussing their sport - and they do it without waiting for the host to set the stage for it.
They regularly hit the general media feedback forums and voice their opinions - not simply their congratulations.
A major point there being 'general media' forums, not closed off places like that horrid ten-tenths site and its equivalents.
In general Motorsport fans place themselves into two very distinct camps - the congratulatory camp and the denouncing camp.
They line up in droves to congratulate drivers and denounce categories - but they do very little else, which in turn does not give the media a lot to work with.
If the Motorsport fan wants the mainstream media to know that their sport is important, then the fan needs to be smarter in their approach.
Each category and the majority of drivers have their own PR writers and journalists that type results and reports and send it out to all and sundry, yet it only has occasional pick up. They work damn hard to try get ingress with sporadic success, the thing is, its not their fault that they don't - it's the fans.
General (not code specific) media outlets try to appease the supporters of car racing and its event organisers by placing articles either written generically by the likes of AP, or their own internal staffers, and sometimes by external freelancers, but let's face the facts, they do it seemingly out of obligation.
Because of this, whenever an article is published, both the writer and we the Motorsport supporter sing from the rooftops, cheer within our own group and pat ourselves on the back as it seems we may have broken into the main stream of sporting society reporting...
But no, we haven't really. Not really.
So here's a thing, how about no more apathy, no more sitting back and waiting for it, no more preaching to our own choirs, and instead voice the opinions, give critical feedback and make statements just like is done with bat and ball sports, and do it where mainstream sports media journalists, editors and program directors can see it and hear it on a regular basis.
Then watch them slowly tune their own engines to suit the track.