trf racer - i didn't say you were lying i said either that OR (keyword that one) he had really crap stuff.
and yes if you use a crap car etc IN BOTH CARS you will still find the fastest one, but what about if one car, pack etc was crap and the other was good (ie your car, packs, and motor are good and your friend's are crap, which is why you were beating him)
another thing is that as you've said you gear at around 10 at your track, gearing so extremely can do strange things when comparing motors. and by the way anybody who drives a 540 will most likely know you gear a lot higher with them than you would a stock motor.
Johnny J - i drive at a fairly large, very open track (TFTR, i think there's some pics of the track at http://drive.to/tftr
). my motors come off warm but not so hot you can't touch it for several seconds. again due to the size and openness of our track
the most likely reason you were beating mvp's geared so much lower than you is that monsters are high rpm motors, mvp's have far more torque, not so much rpm.
all - another thing you can do is to regularly just put you motor in a container of water (disconnected) and leave it there for a while. this not only flushes out a lot of dirt, but also makes the magnets stronger