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…..🤷♂️
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
Reproduced with permission from Nick Daman