Let’s talk about Qualifying Racing!

I am always interested in discussing how we can run race meets differently.  I’ve take part in a few different ways of racing and qualifying over the years from Rocket Round qualifying to 10 minute EP Off Road finals (I really enjoyed this).   However for the most part there hasn’t been much change in 1:10 off road racing formats for some significant time.  This morning I saw an interesting perspective from Nick Daman from RC Racing TV about Qualifying Racing, and asked if I could reproduce that article here.  The article itself stemmed from the recent Inside EFRA L!VE where Nick Daman talked about his ideas for making qualifying more exciting, namely by turning it into racing! As it piqued my interest, I thought it may appeal to others, so I contacted Nick and asked his permission to reproduce the article here.  So over to Nick!

 

A Qualified success?

You’ve been away for 8 days – spent 6 long intensive days at the track, burnt through tyres and motors – you’re didn’t make the “A” final but you did well, you sit down on your sofa and then you realise you have actually only done 10 or so minutes of RACING in those 8 days…..🤷‍♂️

Sounds far fetched but if you compete in the EFRA 1/10th Electric Off Road Euros (both classes) and don’t make the “A” final this is a fact.

It’s not much better for I/C fans – If you don’t bump up you’re total of racing minutes for a week at the track is just 15-20.

And we are RC Racers who compete in RC Racing , Aren’t we?

Well no, at the moment we are RC Qualifiers, turning laps in splendid isolation dreaming of that clear run where we see no other car.

It’s dull, uninspiring  – awful to watch, impossible to explain to non RC’ers so why do we do it?

Any of you under the age of 50 will probably think it has always been thus, but those of us old enough to remember the time before AMB lap counters remember that every heat was a race, and every heat counted because of that.

This all changed in the mid 80’s and since then we’ve been trundling around trying to beat the clock whilst not involving ourselves in the other cars.

The only exception to this are the “Reedy Races” where everyone races everyone (sort of) and RCGP where the qualifiers are all races (though there is only one heat). Both of them produce much more interesting and exciting events than a qualifier, the drivers get more enjoyment from actually competing and they are exciting and make sense to those watching on.

Given that moving forward, we in the RC community need to work on recruiting as many new fans and racers as possible, shouldn’t we make events more fun and entertaining?

The easiest way is just to turn qualifying heats into qualifying races. It needs virtually no change to the current race event program won’t make the days longer or events not run to time and can be implemented with 2 strokes of the timing PC’s keyboard.

How will it work ?

At the moment we (at an EFRA Euro) have Controlled Practice and Timed practice where we then sort the heats – this will remain the same.

However once the heats start rather than being called off 1 by 1 or just randomly starting when you cross the start /finish line; there will be grid starts everytime -Heat 1 will be in qualifying order – subsequent heats in the finishing order of the previous round of that heat  (car numbers do not change and grid positions will be read out on the PA prior to each heat

Then you RACE either X minutes plus 1 lap (as now) or just a set number of laps (Which would be better – the lap number is chosen after practice to beat mimic the amount of time the heats have traditionally been.)

At the end of the race you have your result which will be in the usual format say 10 laps in 5 minutes 5 seconds – Your finishing time is compared against all the finishing times in all the heats (so you can still top the Q charts in any heat) and the same dropped scores apply.

Effectively this is the same except every time you hit the track you’re racing.

Every heat becomes a race making it way more interesting for spectators at the event or watching on remotely.

And at the end of the event you’ve done 5 times more actual racing.

So what is the argument for the status quo? It is theoretically the fairest possible way to set a qualifying time, it reduces the variables as much as possible and with a good referee helps the Faster clear the slower with minimal loss of time for either.

It will almost certainly result in less people feeling “hard done by” as on the whole 99% of the time if you mess up a qualifying run it is your fault – but in a race situation that isn’t always the case.

 

So what do you think – carry on as we are or do a bit more actual racing?

– Nick Daman, RC Racing TV

 

Original Article: https://www.efra.ws/lets-talk-about-qualifying-racing/?fbclid=IwAR3GGkr-dG8A-ZTESeKPJb9G6hMUATp8XZQzM-VkD8rqm1cmHO5e1rAFxzQ

Reproduced with permission from Nick Daman

Is Extreme E the big RC of the car racing world?

I’ll start with the caveat that Extreme E is probably unknown to many, and in honesty I picked up on it for 2 reasons.  1) I am a rally Fan, and 2) I saw Australian rally driver Molly Taylor taking part (and winning) in the series. First, the video from the latest round (and yes, not rc, but electric off road racing)

It’s hard to deny the similarity in noise to the electric rc cars many of us drive, and i am unabashedly a rally fan, so I need one of these, maybe in 1/8 scale please …. any manufacturers….anybody?  I love the driver change aspect of the race as well, but that’s generally not an rc thing, with the exception of the odd endurance race where a team of drivers share a car.  But not tin sanctioned racing.  Still it is a compelling look at electric off road racing, and where things could progress to for RC racing in many ways.

Vale to the HPI Blitz

For  a little while now most of the focus of my collection of RC cars has been on my sons, and my own cars for off road carpet racing.

However later this  year I will be moving to a property that has enough space to build my own r/c track.  Now this got me thinking what would be the most fun to run around that dirt track as well as bashing in general.  So I turned to the recovering  HPI’s website to see what vehicles  they sold these days as in the past they had been my favorite bashing vehicles.  There is pretty much something for everybody in their range.

The Original Blitz
The Original Blitz

Eventually my thoughts came back to the venerable HPI  blitz that I used to race at my local club, as well as wherever I could find space.   I actually had the white and grey beast that was the Blitz ESE racing   version with stiffer plastics and a ball differential (and on  that note, me and that ball differential did not get along, and it was a replaced with a eFirestorm grease filled gear diff fairly quickly).  However to my horror I found that the new HPI post financial crisis have killed off the Blitz, and it’s older brother the eFirestorm! In their defense they have been replaced with the jumpshot range featuring a twin vertical plate chassis like the very successful savage trucks.  Now the  blitz wasn’t the first, it probably wasn’t the best.  But it was a tough truck that looked great, was heaps of fun and generally did whatever was asked of it.  Mine was only retired when our club moved to a carpet track and the blitz just didn’t work well on it at all.

My personal Blitz ESE

So now the dilemma is what to purchase.  I have to admit true Short Course Trucks like the Traxxas UDR and Losi BajaRey etc look and work incredibly well and are 4wd. But I also love the simplicity of the 2wd stadium trucks like the Losi 22S and Associated SC10 Short Course Trucks.  Somehow the TVP chassis of the Jumpshot Short Course Truck doesn’t appeal.  Even the Kyosho Outlaw  Rampage looks like fun. I suppose it will probably comedown to budget, so we will see what happens I guess.

In the meantime, rest in peace to the mighty HPI Blitz, we will see who inherits the SCT crown in time …..

Worlds 2wd vehicle breakdowns

Huddy arena posted this chart showing the breakdown of the 2wd leg of the worlds in terms of who is racing what. In terms of chassis Associated, Xray and Yokomo have the lions share, with Schumacher trailing behind Kyosho and TLR. Maybe I should be buying an Xray to replace my older Associated car…

Electronics are also showing people’s confidence in Hobbywing reedy and LRP. Interesting to see only one Tekin in the list. Motors also show a similar breakdown, but with many sponsored drivers attending the worlds, they tend to be matching pairs. An interesting list to contemplate if you are wondering what the top drivers in the world are running at the moment.

AARCMCC 1:10 Off Road Stock Motor Survey

For 1:10 Electric off road races sanctioned by RCRA (Formerly AARCMCC) events in the last couple of years, it has been a requirement that you run a control motor for 2wd and 4wd stock buggy.

There is a lot of sense in this because it means that there is a level playing field in terms of power so that the contest within a race comes down to driver skill, not equipment and who can spend the most on a fancy 17.5 turn motor.

On the flip side it means people have to cough up for just one specific motor if they only have a motor that was previously allowed under the ROAR / BRCA regulations.  Both cheaper and more expensive motors are not allowed and if the motor changes, it is not only useless in sanctioned races, but valueless second hand within Australia too.

So as they should, RCRA  is asking the opinion or racers via their clubs.  Now only clubs can vote on the matter, but you need to tell your club which of the 4 proposed models below you think will work best.  At my local club a voting form was put online, with the results surprisingly in favour of on particular option.

Personally I am a little split which way to go, I like the control motor situation in terms of equality, but not that they appear to be wanting to chance what the stock motor is so soon.

Leave a comment with what you think!

The EP Offroad section has been running control motors in 17.5 Stock class since 2018. Following the EP Offroad drivers survey split results, the section committee feels it worthwhile to reach out to clubs to determine the type of stock motors to be used for the 2019 racing season and beyond.

The current control motor has created negatives and positives depending on your preferences even to the extent the drivers survey results were approx 50/50 split between those who like and those who don’t.

Implementation of the control motor has seen some of the closest racing in stock in a long time and a performance parity between cars on track. From all accounts 2WD Stock with the current control motor has an acceptable performance but 4WD Stock needs more performance. Negatives could include the performance of the motor is lacking for 4WD stock and the actual driving in 4WD stock is not as much fun with the current motor and lack of tuning available to the individual racer.

Now we’ve had two years running a control motor, it’s best to go back to clubs to decide if we continue this path or change direction for 2019 racing season.

Some racers and clubs wish to move to 13.5 ROAR approved motors of their choice in 4WD stock, some racers and clubs want to go back to using 17.5 ROAR approved motor of choice and some racers and clubs like and want to use control motors.

Option to Add a 13.5 4WD Class
One option we would like to propose in this vote is adding a 13.5 4WD “Super Stock” ROAR/BRCA approved open motor class and continue with 17.5 control motors for 4WD and 2WD Stock. We feel this is worth consideration by clubs and racers as the survey results show racers in different states and clubs have different preferences. This may be a way to have an option for those in either camp.

If clubs choose to continue with one of the below options that has control motor the committee will approach market for a high performance next gen control motor with adjustable timing. We feel this would provide the performance boost people are looking for.

The EP Offroad committee want to clubs to choose the direction of stock motors for 2019 and beyond

The options we would like your club to consider a vote on are:

A: Control Motor for 2WD and 4WD stock – 17.5 adjustable timing next gen control motor

Continue with a 17.5 control motor for 2019 and beyond in 2WD and 4WD Stock – if this option is voted in, a new approach to market for a 17.5 open timing motor will be conducted in a tender style process and the motor with the best performance v price will be chosen for use for 2019 and 2020.

2WD and 4WD Stock 17.5 Control Motor – adjustable timing motor

 

B: Add 13.5 4WD Super Stock open ROAR approved motor class and Control Motor 2WD / 4WD Stock – 17.5 adjustable timing next gen control motor classes

This option adds a 13.5 4WD class to the racing schedule and provides for those who want 13.5 4WD class with motors of choice and those who want the 17.5 control motor concept to remain.

2WD and 4WD Stock 17.5 Control Motor – adjustable timing next gen control motor as per A

4WD Super stock – 13.5 ROAR/BRCA approved motor of drivers choice

 

C: 17.5 ROAR/BRCA approved motors for 2WD and 4WD Stock

Bring the rules back to the way they were before the control motor was implemented in 2017.

17.5 ROAR/BRCA approved motors open for drivers choice

 

D: 13.5 4WD ROAR/BRCA and 17.5 2WD ROAR/BRCA approved motors

Change the 4WD stock class from 17.5 to 13.5 ROAR/BRCA approved motors of drivers choice

17.5 2WD ROAR/BRCA approved motors

13.5 4WD ROAR/BRCA approved motors

 

New face, old name

Hi Everyone, I’m happy to be writing my first post here as a contributor to Aussie RC.

Some of you may know me, but if not…allow me to briefly introduce myself:

Im Chris Mitchell, 25, from Perth WA. I’ve been racing RC for 5 years now and currently race 1/10 EP OFR at tracks around Perth, but i’ve been known to pick up other peoples cars in other classes and fly around for a while before something breaks (you can guess how I got the name ‘Crash’).

Aside from racing, Ive been involved in the West Coast Model RC committee for a few years now, having the pleasure of being the club President in 2016, and being able to host the 2016 AARCMCC EP OFR Australian Championships at my home track late last year. These days apart from racing, I serve on the EP OFR Committee for AARCMCC, helping to coordinate rule changes and matters arising for sanctioned events around Australia.

I also have a well known talent for being able to talk the back legs off a pool table, as as such I have the pleasure of announcing and race directing some of the biggest RC race events in Australia. Anyone who races the AARCMCC 1/8 Off Road Nationals Series at the moment will have gotten sick of me by now! I’ve had some amazing opportunities and attended some fantastic events in the last couple of years because of this, all starting at the 2015 1/8 Nationals at MORBC.

So, I am here to help bring more stories to the Aussie RC page, if anyone has something to share, feel free to contact me via Facebook. Thanks for reading!

 

IMG_3069
Champagne showers sound a lot more glamorous than they really are…

 

The true cost of a new 2wd buggy?

So I have 3 Team Durango vehicles that I race, and my son one as well, 4 vehicles in all.  However I face the prospect of looking to change camps because Team Durango, that I do love for their flexibility and parts cost, have simply been silent for so long.  It isn’t strictly the lack of new releases that bothers me as their two new 2wd buggies are not that old, but after their release was a deafening silence about EVERYTHING!  Parts are hard to get, bodies near on impossible and in the current financial climate, you can;t help but think things are going very badly.  My only thread of hope is rumours of a Chinese factory making parts went under and stopped the supply of parts rather than the company itself.

So I looked at what other Buggies were on the market to see what is our there and what they cost.  For the purposes of this article I looked at Amain Hobbies in the US (I know, boo me, but hear me out), you see I wanted to see how they compared in price, and few stores if any in Australia stock the new buggies from all the main brands.  However as one friend said to me, make sure you look at parts cost too because that realy varies across the board.  Now i’m not a good enough racer for design to make all that much difference, however strength is important to me, but racing on Carpet/Astroturf, I was looking at the carpet edition cars.

Immediately I took the Hot Bodies car out of the equasion because unlike the current generation carpet cars, no laydown gearbox.  Something also lacking in my Durango, but partially fixed in the more expensive DEX210F.  So I looked at the new Losi 22 4.0, Team Associated B6, Serpent SER-2, Xray 2017 XB2 CE, Kyosho RB6.6 and Yokomo YZ-2 CA.

In terms of parts I took into account the cost of the following assortment of standardly broken parts: Front & rear towers, front & rear arm pairs, front hub & knuckle pairs, rear hubs and spur gears. In honesty, I was surprised by the results overall. And yes, I know different cars break differnet parts, but I had to lay a baseline and these seemed the most reasonable choices.

  1. $310 – Team Associated B6
  2. $330 – Losi 22 4.0
  3. $330 – Serpent SRX-2
  4. $350 – Yokomo YZ-2 CA
  5. $350 – Xray XB2 CE 2017
  6. $400 – Kyosho RB6.6

$90 difference over all the kits, sales aside of course, not as much as I was expecting, although prices have certainly not stayed still of late as you used to be able to pick up 2wd kit under $300, although the new generation of kits are more complex and include more fancy (alloy or carbon) parts.

Similarly the cost of parts encompased only a $100 bridge as well as you can see below.  However this plays an even more important factor if you are looking at a 2nd hand car with a cheaper initial purchase price.  However there is a but in here as well, some cars have composite rear hubs and shock towers, some alloy rear hubs and carbon towers, and naturally those items are far more expensive.

  1. $402 – Losi
  2. $428 – Associated
  3. $454 – Serpent
  4. $473 – Kyosho
  5. $480 – Yokomo
  6. $500 – Xray

So overall the order was fairly much the same for the parts with the exception of the most expensive places with Kyosho tipping out Xray and Yokomo because of their kit’s more expensive purchase price when kit and parts are included.

 

  1. $732 – Losi
  2. $738 – Associated
  3. $784 – Serpent
  4. $830 – Yokomo
  5. $850 – Xray
  6. $873 – Kyosho

So first place to last is a whopping $141 differenice.  And the more parts you buy, the bigger that gap becomes!  Now this of course is not telling the whole story because differentials are an expensive item, and vary in price from $40 to $72 which is a lot, the story there, don’t break em!!  However the expense did seem to match the  overall expense of the kits and parts.

Of course performance plays a part in choice, and it’s hard to say that the Xray car is anything but a stellar performer in international competition but then so is the Yokomo buggy.  Other variants play a part in m decision making too, I love my stadium truck, so a company that does both with common parts is a big plus (ala Team Durango).   At the moment I have to admit to leaning towards the Losi product as they make a ST as well and seem to do it with a minimum of exotic materials, however I really want to see some real world results before making any jump, and I have enough parts (and little money) to have to make any choices just yet, so keep tuned to see where this race eventually finishes!

tlr03013

 

What is going on at Team Durango?

At this stage the answer to the question many people seem to be asking is nobody knows!

Ok, let’s go back a step, there has been a few things that have been annoying me about Team Durango over the last year.  Trying to get a DEX210 V2 or V3 body for example.  for the last 12 months few if anybody seems to have managed it! But I never put anything together with something happening until I read this Inside Line RC article this morning http://www.insidelinerc.com/off-road/durango-dnx8-discontinued-is-there-more-to-the-story/ .

 

The gist of it is that the new DNX8 buggy from Team Durango is showing on Tower Hobbies/Hobbico as Discontinued. Now this car was only announced early in 2015, a 1.5 year lifetime is extremely short for any platform. Ok, so the IFMAR 1/8 World Championships are coming up, but it seems a little off to me.  Other models are also listed as temporarily unavailable as well.  Of note these items are not listed as unavailable or discontinued on the Team Durango website.

bg_001

Next came the confirmation this afternoon (again hinted at in the Inside Line RC article) that Travis Amezcua, who is to many the public face of Team Durango, has parted ways with the company. Again this could be a case of greener pastures, or just time to move on, however the only thing hinted at in recent online postings from Travis was only hinting at new products that couldn’t be revealed.  Exciting maybe, but then to leave in the next breath seems … odd.  Maybe it’s the conspiracy theorist in me LOL.

I would suggest that something big is in the works for Team Durango.  A swath of new vehicles seems unlikely, however big news at a company level seems to be a likely outcome.  What that news is for better, or for worse, is yet to be seen. Certainly it would be a pity to see such an innovative player in the market disappear, especially one that discards the norms that have been set by other manufacturers and stands up to clearly say, “i’m doing things my way.”

Still, it adds a certain amount of drama to the lead up to the IFMAR Worlds doesn’t it!