New face, old name

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!

 

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

 

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2015 IFMAR Off Road Worlds at Yatabe on Astro Turf?

There has been quite a bit of discussion among some media, on Facebook and on RC tech about the possibility of the 2015 World EP Off Road Championships at Yatabe being run on Astro Turf as it is currently configured.

Neobuggy are calling it astrogate –  http://www.neobuggy.net/2014/12/01/2015-ifmar-yatabe-worlds-astrogate/
RCTech forums – http://www.rctech.net/forum/electric-off-road/849776-2015-offroad-worlds-astro.html

Interesting though much of the feedback has been overwhelmingly negative towards the idea which surprises me a little I have to say, certainly I have seen some very heated debate on Facebook varying from support to horror and threats of drivers pulling out. . Neobuggy suggested that some manufacturers have been working on new models if it eventuates, and certainly the Hot Bodies (HB) team members appear to have been testing a lot on the similar high traction surface of carpet of late.  The way it is worded almost sounds like it is scandalous though, because there aren’t any manufacturers that have cars suited to those conditions!  Oh, wait, that’s not right! The B5M exists for precisely these conditions, Schumacher has a number of models suited to high traction as does Team Durango and TLR. Ok, maybe not specifically for those conditions, but designs that work well on this type of surfaces and are commonly raced on those surfaces in various parts of the world. Let’s not forget the current trend for sugared surfaces as well which offers almost ridiculous levels of grip and very heavy tyre wear.

I have seen comments from all off road should be on dirt through to it’s just touring cars with big wheels, and whilst I personally disagree, I doubt this post will change many minds other than for me to vent about it a little and put across my point of view. However I have seen dirt tracks with far fewer “off road obstacles” than many of the astro turf tracks that I have seen around the place. Have a look at the video below of Yatabe and tell me that it is boring or even lacking in challenging features?

There has been the suggestion that it would be unfair for the drivers who race on dirt all the time and have no astro setups.  My first thought was that they have been missing out, but how is it any different for a racer used to racing indoors and on carpet or turf coming to race on a dirt track, how is that any less fair?  and you will always have locals with a certain level of experience with the surface and conditions in a local area. It is no different to a loose dirt track vs a sugared high traction track? The same argument can be applied to the suggestion that you need to buy a car for the astro conditions, but if you already race on astro, the same applies to going to race on dirt.

Personally, I race on a carpet and astro turf track.  I race a buggy that can be configured for anything from loose dirt through to high grip carpet and everything in between.  I enjoy the different challenges racing on this surface brings, but it is not as easy as it sounds.  I actually have used the phrase “Too much grip” a number of times when referring to my setup. The surface is not 100% the same everywhere with some areas wearing out, some areas blackening up with rubber down, and other areas are quite bumpy because of the layering of carpet.  I took some photos at a recent event and the layering of the carpet alone was putting the wheels of most cars in the air. As far as looking after the surface it is much easier than dirt to look after as we are indoors so no rain to need to cancel race days (unlike most Tasmanian clubs), it is easy to change the configuration of the track and in our case, we have to be out of the shed for at least 4 weeks a year so that the owners of the site can use it (so dirt simply is not an option for us).

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A stadium track over a “flat” corner into the main straight at Launceston R/C in Tasmania, Australia.

At the end of the day, it is about seeing which driver makes the most of the equipment that they have, at the location they are racing to see who is first across the line at the end of the day.  The challenges along the way is what makes it interesting and exciting.  If that means adapting to a new tyre, a new track, a new car or a new radio, that is all part of the challenges that you need to overcome. I don’t see how a different colored surface changes that much, perhaps some drivers are worried that they loose an edge being unfamiliar with the conditions, surface or track?  Only time will tell the outcome, but I really can’t understand what all the noise is about!

Racing Lines 218 Out Now

Yes the latest edition of that home grown RC Magazine, Racing Lines, has hit the shelves, and I am happy to say a Rally Car makes it on to the front cover!!

Articles in this edition include:

  • the latest news
  • the Team Orion and Savox equipment in the Racing Lines RC10 worlds tester
  • an RC History article on the Tamiya Boomerang
  • a flashback down memory lane to a February 2005 edition
  • a review of the Team Associated Pro Rally RTR
  • a review of the Falken Edition Jeep Wrangler G6 from Axial Racing
  • all the latest race reports from around the country

I don’t normally run any editorial on the content of Racing Lines as generally I enjoy what I read, however I found an exemption that I took a dislike to in the report on the Keilor Cup.  Of course all of the racers were listed in what positions they came in , with reports on how each class fared. 4wd Modified naturally got one of the larger write ups, which is normal being is it is the pinnacle if you like of competitive RC racing in 1:10 electric off road.What got me off side however was that much of the writeup was not about the gentleman who eventually won the class.  To quote the paragraph that got my hackles up;

While it needs to be said Wells drove most likely on of the best drives of his career, he was never at any point the fastest guy out there by any means but when you finish a final with a 0.2 consistency you know you are doing something right.

The driver in question is Tasmanian driver Sam Wells, who is arguably one of the fastest drivers in the state.  It wasn’t the presumption that this was an exceptional drive for Sam but the apparently snide comment about him not being the fastest person out there by a margin.  That may be true, but racing is about many things, being quick around the track is only one part of the winning formula, doing it lap after lap after lap is another, having a competitive car another, having a well prepared car that does not fail also a key ingredient, with luck being the final factor.

At the end of the day, the best driver crosses the line at the end of the race to take the win.  I don’t know if this was simply not intended to come across the way I read it, or if the explanation is a different one.  Personally I like to see credit given where credit is due, not lament and excuses for those that were supposed to perform better than they did.  If that was the case motorsport around the world would be very different, just look at the Bathurst 1000 just last week!

Be the judge for yourself, but that is my rant for the week.

HB Pro 5 Announced

I was excited to see the headline that the HB (Hot Bodies) Pro 5 Touring car was being released, and expecting to see new photos as it’s been a while since HPI / HB released an all new 1:10 touring car.  However disappointingly it was just that, an announcement with no details as yet.  All I can say to that is “Boo, show us the pictures”

HPI did have this to say:

From the World Championship winning team at HB, comes the latest in a long line of ground breaking state of the art racing chassis, we proudly present to you the PRO 5 Competition 1/10th Scale 4WD Touring Car! Using its vast knowledge of competition chassis design, the HB R&D Design Team set out to the create the next level Touring Car platform. While the pursuit of outright speed is still paramount, the Team also strived to create a platform that provides the driver with the ultimate level of “stability” and “flow”.

With today’s vast array of ultra powerful and ultra fast motors, races are becoming amazing festivals of speed with drivers continuously pushing the speed envelope beyond levels previously seen. In order to truly harness this newfound speed, drivers need to have the ultimate confidence and control in their race machines. With these goals in mind, the HB R&D Design Team determined that a complete re-think of the standard TC design was needed. utilizing the latest state of the art resources and the input of World Championship winning team driver, the Team arrived at the basic concept design of the PRO 5.

The Team then further refined this concept to achieve the ultimate goal of supreme “stability” and “flow” in a no holds barred next level top competition chassis. The resulting PRO 5 chassis affords the driver with the ultimate stability at speed coupled with the edge in being able to smoothly flow in the transition areas. The superior combination of these features makes the HB PRO 5 truly the next level in TC design and performance!

Stay tuned for more information on the HB PRO 5 Competition 1/10th Scale 4WD Touring Car!

I just hope that the release is not as protracted as that of the D413 and Savage Octane as if they do the same thing and not have the vehicle available for 6 months to a year, I think they will loose a lot of fans.

Source: http://www.hpiracing.com/en/article/view/2014100201

Why so Serious?

You may have seen the RC Tech thread that we shared the other day on our facebook page titled “The Crisis in Our Sport: Junior Participation” , if not, you can find it here http://www.rctech.net/forum/australian-racing/813885-crisis-our-sport.html .  I’m not sure i would call it a crisis, but much of the discussion appears to be centered around on road numbers.  However as I don’t race at enough places here or on the big island, I can’t comment on numbers there.

The thread is a few pages long with some interesting ideas and thoughts thrown around the place.  Now a lack of juniors is a problem in any sport, but a sport such as ours where the numbers are much lower than many other sports to start with, it can be devastating.  Personally I think that cost is a problem as it has always been in this hobby, however I also think that not enough Fun and some entirely too serious people are also partly to blame.  At my local club I have witnessed some highs and lows in this vein. From a new racer leaving, never to return, after being the subject of another members dummy spit, through to seeing three boys, all under 7, playing together with short course trucks near to the track on a social day on the Saturday just passed.

The event on Saturday of the weekend just passed was at my home club, Launceston RC.  We had what can best be described as a Social / practice day.  Because the venue costs us a significant amount each time we use it, and it is some distance from town behind locked doors and gates, we can’t have the track regularly open for practice.  So the committee decided the best way to promote the club and bring people together socially, was to run a casual practice day.  $10 got you access to the track from about 9:30 until 4:00 pm, some snags from the BBQ, and the time to practice, bring mates out for a try, have a play outside with any vehicles that didn’t suit the track (A 10th rally car beside a Baja SC is quite a sight), and generally have fun.  Track time was not limited in any way, it was open for all with the computer on for practice. Pick a quiet time for a run, let a mate have a try, or let the kids have a go as my 6 year old son was.

 

My Distinctive Green, White and Black Blitz ESE and XV-01 Rally car that many locally know well.

You see at the moment I am working out if my son would use a proper RC car (he wants a 2wd buggy) enough to warrant the $250 odd dollar investment to get him one.  As he only has toy RC cars I dialed my Blitz back to 50% throttle, and for the first time let him drive on the track, unaided but supervised, while it was quiet.  He was struggling a bit with not going 100% left or right, but he was doing much better than last time I let him try, I was a proud father indeed.  Slowly the track got busier as more people finished lunch and came back on to the track.  Most people know my distinctive Green, White and Black Blitz and many figured that it was my son, not me driving as while I am not great, i’m a little quicker.  They were also giving him plenty of room which was good experience for him to avoid other cars on the track.

However one person just didn’t get that the day was about fun. There are many stereotypes at a RC track, this person falls within the Very Serious type of racer, I am at the other end of the spectrum as I race because it is fun. I have nothing against the serious racer but mixed with a bad attitude it can cause a problem. Mr Serious started mouthing off from the drivers stand (I was standing on the ground in front of the stand helping my son) saying who is that person, they keep getting in the way, they shouldn’t be on the track and becoming fairly irate and aggressive towards whoever the driver was. Beside him was my Brother, loving Uncle of my son who is also fiercely protective of him. For those that know him, they know that he too is passionate about racing for the fun of it and not taking it all too seriously. Needless to say, this kind of behavior and attitude directed towards a 6 year old did not go down well, and there were some very terse words said for some time between the two.  By the end of it, Mr Serious still didn’t get why we should waste time running controlled practice by classes and experience on what was a fun and open practice day where the track was open for some 6 1/2 hours to anybody who wanted to be there.

I personally think it is people with that kind of attitude that put off people staying at local clubs, and certainly I would not want any child exposed to that kind of behavior. Not the serious racer, certainly not, but the serious racer who gets angry and takes it out on the world. Our club is based around drivers having fun, and being a family friendly environment and having a class for pretty much everybody to get on track and have fun.  Abusive behavior like we witnessed on the weekend has no place in any sport or hobby, and certainly does those of us trying to promote the sport to others no good whatsoever.

I think one of the best things we can do, is loosen up, have fun, and bring all of your friends racing!

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”.