Category Archives: Musings

Wanted: Australian Racing Results

We are always looking for Australian racing results from all categories to publish.  We find a lot through facebook and twitter, but you the reader can make it easier for us.  How?  Just send us the results from your major race meet, and maybe a couple of photos for us to publish / publicise.

A look at facebook today reveals a lot of US results, not not much in the way of Australian ones, and we want to help change that!

So send in your results, reports and photos to aussierc@outlook.com so that we can put them up.

A Basher or a Racer?

There has always been two distinct categories of RC Car driver, the Basher and the Racer.  The two groups rarely cross paths, and don’t talk about the other half at all, somewhat like a couple part way through a divorce hearing. It is almost taboo to claim to have a foot in both camps or mingle with the “enemy”!

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The thing that got me hooked on RC cars as a child was the Tamiya Stadium Blitzer.  I saw a pair of them being run in a hall in Devonport as part of a school fair many many years ago and loved anything RC from then on.  I started of my RC career in the late 80’s with a Tandy Porsche 944 Turbo which still haunts my children’s toybox in a somewhat sad condition to this very day.  Certainly not a hobby grade RC car  by any means, but as a young child of about 5 or 6 it was the best thing since batteries were invented.  The worst thing in the world however, was waiting for the Arlec C size batteries to recharge and the short time that they seemed to last.

Fast forward to adult life and my interest in RC cars was re awakened probably by my brother who had a few RC cars with a mate, Greenie and Brickwood, this is probably all your fault to be honest!  So as a university student I had a few dollars in my pocket and I invested in what I still believe to be a cracking RC Car, the HPI MT2.  This Nitro powered, 4wd stadium truck was similar to the Tamiya Stadium Blitzers I had seen, but it was more powerful, it was loud and when it worked, boy it was some serious fun!  I went to nitro because it was fast, did not need to recharge like those dreaded C batteries and it looked fast standing still! However nitro to this day is not my friend, and all too often I just couldn’t get it to run well, and it was eventually sold (to finance a E-Savage monster truck).  As with the 944, the MT2 is still alive albeit in a slightly modified form as it was my brother who bought it from me!  I always enjoyed running my RC cars in various parks and places round this beautiful state, but it was fairly rare to bump in to anybody else running a hobby grade car.

After that I had a few RC cars, E-savage, E-firestorm, Sprint 2, Blitz ESE, but all were electric cars as this was the time that Lipo Batteries and brushless motors were becoming the norm.  Certainly I classed myself as a basher and never contemplated stepping foot in what I perceived as the expensive world of RC racing.  Then something happened, a local group of people started getting together to investigate starting a RC Racing Club. At that time the nearest two clubs to my hometown of Launceston were 1 hour or 2 hours travel in opposite directions.  I’m not sure how the group of people found one another as I was dragged into it by my younger brother and his friends, but I do know that a key instigator was Scott Guyatt, to whom our local club owes it’s existence.  Weekends mostly were out for me, but an indoor venue was found with lights, and Thursday night racing began without the worry of interference from the weather (ok, a little as the roof had some leaks).  I wasn’t so sure, but I went along and gave it a go.  We had a few ropes and a lot of chalk marking out the track, we stood on the ground or broken chairs that were about the place in the disused indoor cricket arena, but it was great fun and boy oh boy was it addictive! The club ended up forming and incorporating and has been on the rise and rise since.  Many faces have come, helped and gone again, and we unfortunately lost Scott once again to warmer climates, but he can be sure that his smile, commentary, help and assistance will always be missed. Now I am the Secretary of that same club and I am fairly active in the operation of it.  Launceston RC is now one of the longer running indoor off road establishments (having lost our hybrid on/off road layout due to the popularity of off road 1:10 scale racing) in the country, and certainly the only indoor venue in Tasmania. Looking into the older posts on our website, the first post was dated October 14, 2009, and the first test session at the venue the 26th of October 2009.  And we have come a long way since then!

I still classify myself as a basher as well as a racer, despite my vehicles being mostly race cars with the exception of a Tamiya rally car.  However whilst not the world’s best racer, I love the challenge, the camaraderie and the friendships that I have forged as a part of my local racing club.  I guess my point is that the two camps are not so dissimilar than they think, at least at our club where fun and friendship is just as important as lap times and positions.   Both groups love their hobby, they love hanging out with their mates partaking in their hobby, and racing is a natural extension of hanging out with your mates and having fun.

Let’s face it, having fun is always better when you are having fun with your mates, regardless of which camp you put yourself in.

Team Associated join the Rally Party

Yes, another welcome addition to the available rally cars comes from Team Associated’s Qualifier range of vehicles, this time in the form of the ProRally Brushless RTR.

Disappointingly for RC Rally fans, despite being labeled as 1:10 scale, it is somewhat larger than other 1:10 vehicles.  The Tamiya XV-01 being a good example of a scale rally car in size, dimensions, appearance and performance.  The XV-01 has a wheelbase of  257mm vs the ProRally measuring in at 324mm, so the ProRally is more short course than true tenth scale.  However it does put it on par with the Traxxas Rally at 324mm and Losi TEN-Rally X at 334 mm.  Maybe these three vehicles will spawn a rally class all of their own!

From the Team Associated press release:

The ProRally RTR, Team Associated’s newest addition to the Qualifier Series, lets you experience the thrills of 4WD rally racing on a variety of surfaces. From dirt to asphalt, brick and grass, the ProRally’s suspension comes tuned to make the most of any surface you drive it on.

The ProRally is a factory assembled AWD (all-wheel-drive) rallycross-inspired RC car based on the popular ProLite 4×4 platform. The ProRally comes Ready-To-Run out of the box and features a Reedy brushless motor, Reedy 7-cell WolfPack battery, XP water resistant speed control, and high-current T-Plug Connectors. The XP 2.4GHz radio system is fully adjustable and provides reliable long distance control.

The front and rear sealed gear differentials are connected together with a tough aluminum drive shaft, and an adjustable center slipper clutch handles all of the Reedy brushless power.

The bumps are managed by four fluid-filled, adjustable, coil-over shocks and aggressive, all-terrain racing tires mounted on rally-inspired hex drive wheels. All of this comes topped off with your choice of two custom-finished Rockstar ProRally detailed bodies.

 

We Want You!

We have posted before looking for more contributors across all areas of RC Cars, but this time it is a little different.  Each friday we want to feature one Readers Ride on our website. However to do that, we need readers to send in pictures and information about your RC vehicle or vehicles!  Even the whole collection if you have a few.

Just send them to us on facebook, or to aussierc@outlook.com and see if your vehicle is the one chosen to feature on Aussie RC News that week!

We are also looking for reviews from our readers.  Are you getting a new model soon, and want to take some photos of the build, finished and being driven at your local bash spot, drift track, crawling spot or race track?  Do you have some time to write up your thoughts on your new vehicle?  Then write it up, and submit it to us at aussierc@outlook.com or through the contact us page.  Because let’s face it, the best thing to help you choose on what rc car you are going to buy next, is to see what other people think of theirs!

Do we need to modernise how we race?

I read a post on the Action RC website this morning which got me thinking, The article in question was titled Opinion: Drop the Drop, and it made me think about it.  Now i’m a fairly new hand at RC racing, and I am the kind of person that accepts that the rules are the rules and that is just how racing is.  However after reading an thread on RC tech with relation to unifying EP ONR racing across Australia combined with the issue of drops got me thinking about what we could do better in Electric racing if we could change just one thing.

As I mentioned before, whilst I have been into all things RC since a child, it has only been as an adult I have even owned any hobby grade RC cars, and only raced when a club was re established in my area in 2010,  and i’ve been hooked since!  However the status Quo for me was just the way that it was.  As I learned more about RC racing I found out about how IC OFR races were much longer, how sanction races have rain day’s allowed for (something that being an indoor racing club we have never had to contend with) and other such differences to how full size motorsport is run.  However where regular motorsport is well attended with reams, racers and crowds, RC racing is still very much considered a niche.

One thing that my club trialled for some time, was 10 minute finals when the norm is still for 5 minute races. Certainly everybody had the battery capacity, so we went for it, and honestly, I enjoyed, and still enjoyed, the 10 minute format far more than the 5 minute race as I have longer to get into the rhythm and stay there, and enjoy the racing with less carnage that often comes with race starts. When people wanted to go back to 5 minute races I was disappointed, but my voice was only 1 amongst those wanting the AARCMCC standard format.  It wasn’t until I read Drop the Drop that my mind went back to that, what would I change, how could I make the sport more enjoyable?  For me, it would be 2 x 10 minute finals rather than 3 x 5 minute ones.  And there is a time saving with the 10 minute races instead of 2×5 ones because you have less changeover time between the extra round.

As to making the sport more attractive to others, it is undeniable that Short Course Trucks have brought in not only new races of all ages, but a new generation into RC racing.  It isn’t the fastest or most glamorous class, but the racing is cheap, close and most of all, FUN!  The second factor is Scale and Realism, the short course trucks look and behave like something you can see on your TV screen in the US Short Course races, or even in the Australian Off Road Championship closer to home.  Yes, many step up to more competitive and “sexy” racing classes, and that is fine, but without a doubt, without Short Course, 1:10 Electric off road would not have the popularity it has regained today.  Short Course Buggies have a similar potential, although not realised as yet.

At a higher level of AARCMCC sanctioned races and State champions etc, there probably needs to be more acceptance of new classes, it took a long time for there to be a set of Short Course rules to get set in place and accepted, and whilst I know that is not easy there certainly seemed to be reluctance to accept a class that has possibly saved this corner of the hobby.  But my focus here has been on club racing which is the arena that the majority of us exist in, racing, crashing, competing and having FUN FUN FUN!   So if you have an idea of how racing could be done better, bring it up at your club, try it out and see if it works, and if it works, pass on the idea to others or up to AARCMCC.  After all, we all have fantastic ideas, sometimes it is just hard for some of us to hear something that might change what has been accepted for too long as the “norm”.

What 2wd Buggy for 2014?

I’ve seen it said by the boys at Action RC, and I tend to agree, that in Australia, 2014 will be the year of the buggy!

In 1:10 there seems to be a renaissance in the number of people racing not only in 1:10, but in Buggy as well!  Certainly I know I am looking at stepping into the 2wd buggy ring, so I thought I would have a bit of a wander through some of the offerings form the big players in the game!  Today i’ll focus on the kits available, however there are some great priced packages available in RTR that I will have a look at another day.

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Team Associated

The RC10B has been a dominant buggy in the 2wd arena for decades, and the latest iteration brings us a pair of twins in the form of the B5 and B5M.  Whereas the B5 retains it’s composite chassis and rear mounted configuration, the B5M is a completely different kit rather than a single configurable kit and moves to an alloy chassis for the mid mounted configuration that is becoming popular for high traction surfaces such as sugared clay and carpet.  A ball differential and 12mm big bore chocks means that this kit is right up to date with the technology used by it’s competitors. Battery choices are a little different here as the B5 and B5m are designed for Shorty, saddle or square packs rather than the long running standard stick packs. So keep that in mind if looking at these twins.

Another unconventional option from Associated is the RC10 Worlds edition that was recently re released by Team Associated.  In some areas vintage racing is becoming popular and what better to use than a world championship winning design.

Team Losi / TLR

Team Losi, and in recent years, their racing arm TLR, is another of the old boys in the Buggy arena, with the latest offering, the 22 2.0 Buggy being a popular, and robust buggy.  With parts to configure the 22 in the conventional Rear or Mid Mounted position the 22 was one of the first 2wd buggies able to be configured both ways.   Until the 22 most 2wd buggies were only available as a mid mounted configuration through specialist conversions, but with some clever engineering the 22 was able to do it all. With a narrow aluminium chassis, ball differential and a very compact configuration this is a favorite with many drivers.  The original 22 is by no means outdated or uncompetitive either so keep an eye out for good 2nd hand examples.  One thing to consider however, if you have stick packs, it is a very close fit, if it is able to at all, to run a stick pack in the mid mount configuration.  you would be better off with a shorty or saddle pack batteries with the 22.

Kyosho

The latest iteration of their buggy, the RB6 is the latest in a long line of evolution for this buggy.   The RB6 features an aluminium chassis, mid or rear mount engine configurations and the velvety smooth shocks that Kyosho’s race vehicles are famous for. Taking any battery configuration, this platform can be configured to work in any environment.

HPI / HB

The HB 2wd buggy is, umm, sorry, there isn’t one!  While HPI/HB have a killer 4wd buggy in their stable, nothing more than prototypes have appeared in the last decade, so if you are a HPI/HB fan, i’m afraid you will have to look elsewhere!

Yokomo

Not a name many are familiar with, but this Japanese manufacturer has a long history in RC.  Their B-Max2 is a configurable mid/rear mount configuration on it’s alloy chassis and takes a shorty, saddle or square battery pack.  All in all it is a world class vehicle.

Serpent

Another manufacturer that doesn’t have the profile that it should in Australia, but some drivers are starting to use them.  The Spyder SRX-2 MM and RM are separate models, not a configurable one.  Serpent have stuck with composite chassis for both their Mid Mounted, and rear mounted models. Big Bore 12mm Shocks, and a 3 pad slipper clutch along with a host of innovative design details make the Spyder a buggy worth considering.

Schumacher

Schumacher has been around for a long time, but doesn’t have the international racing program, or scale of some of the other ig players, but make no mistake, it plays with the big boys on the track.  A small operation in the UK, Schumacher is a household name in RC Racing in England.  With Rear mounted and Mid mounted Buggies scattered throughout their racing history, they offer three fantastic buggies in their Cougar 2wd lineup. The Cougar SV2 is a conventional alloy chassised buggy with a ball differential.  Great for indoor tracks of any kind the motor is just in front of the rear axle, much the same way that the DEX210, and TLR 22 are.  However the Cougar KF takes this a step further as it is a belt driven buggy with the engine mounted a lot neared to the middle of the vehicle.  Some are calling this a front mount, but really it is more of a true mid mount.  With a gear differential and Carbon Fibre chassis, this car is a high traction specialist.  Because of the belt you do need to run saddle packs, however with an optional tensioner you can run shorty packs sideways.  Rear mount fans do not despair, as the Cougar KR is also available with alloy chassis, gear differential, and a black anodised look that makes other buggies quake in fear.  Can you tell that I love the Schumacher buggies!

Team Durango

Whilst Team Durango is a relatively new name in the pits, they have certainly made a name for themselves quickly with quality products at fantastic prices since their 2008 arrival.  Originally building low volume specials, Team Durango now boasts a full range of vehicles, and their latest 2wd, the DEX210V2 is no slouch boasting a huge range of configuration possibilities at a good price.  Rear and mid mount configurations are available out of the box mounted on an alloy chassis and fitted with a ball differential.

Team Xray

Xray have long been known for their Luxury RC kits, however in off road, their presence had until recently been confined to the 8th scale arena.  However the release of the XB4 and the XB4 2wd, that all changed.  Using the platform to the 4wd XB4 to create a 95% commonality of parts, the XB4 2wd essentially has had the front drive shaft removed.  So basically a true Mid mount like the Cougar KF, but with a shaft rather than belt drive. Saddle Packs are the name of the day because of the drive shaft configuration. A multi flex alloy chassis with composite chassis frame is fitted to allow chassis flex to be tuned to the track conditions.  Gear differentials rather than ball differentials are also fitted, although an optional ball differential is available.

Tamiya

As with anything else, there are a range of buggies available from Tamiya, from originals such as the Frog and Hornet through to more modern alternatives.  The TRF201 is their 2wd offering, but honestly, I don’t know anybody that uses one, not that it is a bad kit, just other choices for the most part are more popular.

What is best for me?

That is a tricky question, and the answer depends on a lot of questions.  For example, rear mount buggies tend to perform better on loose surfaces such as dirt or clay, whereas Mid Mounted buggies tend to be quicker on high traction surfaces such as carpet, astro turf or sugared clay.   Parts availability is another factor, so check out what your local hobby store has. Of course there are always online stores, but we encourage racers to support their local stores.  Major manufacturers such as Team Associated, Losi and Durango tend to have parts more readily available in stores and online.  However Action R/C for example, not only have great parts for their Schumacher vehicles, but are super helpful and always willing to help and answer questions.  Other configurations depend on personal preference such as Gear vs Ball differentials, and whilst many kits come with one or the other, mostly the opposite is available as an optional part.  Batteries may be an issue of you have a stock of stick packs for example, then you might look at a kit that can use them as well vs those that can not fit them.

Don’t Discount 2nd Hand

There is nothing wrong with a 2nd hand kit of a previous generation of the buggies that I have mentioned above.  Often they are fantastic value, and if bought locally come set up for your track!  RCtech for examplle has a large Australian buy and sell section, as do most local clubs, so keep an eye out for a bargain, after all it is more about the driver than the car that they are wheeling.

The main thing is to get something, get out there, and most importantly, have fun!

The Monster Trucks are BACK!

I can’t but help thinking while reading the avalanche of news from the Toy Fair that the monster truck is making a comeback in a big way!

It was only the other week that we saw news of a refreshed Savage XL Nitro truck, and earlier this year the impressive Halifax monster truck from Vaterra appeared featuring the intriguing ACV from Spektrum.

This week in news from the toy fair we have seen the new Losi LST XXL-2 Gas Monster Truck, the Savage XL Octane Gas Monster Truck, ECX have updated their Torment with 4wd, ARRMA have released details of their 6s capable Kraton Monster Truck and from Kyosho another 6s EP monster has been announced in the form of the Psycho Kruiser.

Am I the only one that wants to see a Massive Monster Truck comparison?

MIP Pro8 Buggy, new class, new direction or bomb?

The MIP Pro8 E-buggy upgrade kit for the TLR-SCTE 2.0 creates what MIP describe as a Superlite 8th scale EP buggy.  Shaving a whopping 2lb (or just under 1kg) off the weight of a traditional 8th scale ep buggy, you can imagine that there are a number of benefits to the rapid weight loss diet.

According to MIP:

The time of heavy, dangerous, track wrecking, eight pound 1/8th scales is a thing of the past, time to look towards to the future – Super Light and Agile 1/8th Scales! MIP’s upgrade package for the Losi/TLR 2.0 can make that future a reality! Be sure to check out part #13300 on miponline.com!

TARGET CUSTOMERS:

  • Racers looking to create a competitive Super Light 1/8th scale buggy

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES:

  • Increased Overall Agility
  • Increased Acceleration
  • Increased Deceleration
  • Increased Corner Speed
  • More Overall Air Control
  • Much Lighter than other 1/8th Scales

FEATURES:

  • Taper lock 17mm hex adapters
  • 17mm serrated wheel nuts
  • Narrow front hex adapters create more off-power steering
  • Anodized and laser marked 7075-T6 aluminum parts
  • 4 mm glass / carbon hybrid front / rear towers
  • MIP Bypass1™ piston upgrade
  • Two pairs of tuned racing springs
  • Black oxide & wax coated body clips
  • Aluminum adjustable height rear body mounts
  • Machined aluminum front body mount
  • Custom MIP molded front bumper
  • Custom MIP molded wing mounts
  • Trim to fit Lexan mud guards
  • Online set up sheets
  • Technical support from MIP’s Factory Race Team
  • 100% Made in the USA!

While MIP states that this vehicle meets the requirements for Width and Length, weight would appear to be a problem. Now the 8th EP rules currently proposed by AARCMCC specify a minimum weight of 3.2kg.  The TLR-SCTE 2.0 weighs in at 2.9 kg,  the 8IGHT-E 2.0 without electrics or battery weighs in at 3kg.  I expect that the Pro8 would be underweight for the current 8th scale class in Australia.  That said, it certainly makes for an interesting vehicle, however at this stage it has no class to race in!  So will this be a new class, a new direction for 8th scale, or a complete bomb?

Source: MIP http://miponline.com/store/mip13300.html

Can you help, want to be a part of the Aussie RC Team?

As I mentioned in my introduction in the first post of Aussie RC News, we want to cover as many aspects of RC cars and events that surround them as possible, and we need your help in covering those events!

Yes, this is a calling all writers and photographers post!  We are recruiting for more writers in a range of disciplines around the country.  You do not have to be Shakespeare, Bill Gates or Atsushi Hara to write for us, but have a solid knowledge of one area of RC, as well as the RC scene in your area.

If you think you fit the bill then put together an application/resume together with at least one example of your writing and send it to us at aussierc@outlook.com and help us spread the RC news around Australia!