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Old 06-29-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
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Default Clay Track Surface Maintenance!

Hey Guys, I'm looking for some expert knowledge on preparing & maintaining a clay track. There was a thread on here started by some one else a few weeks back discussing this, but was deleted during the last R/C Tech melt down...
From that thread I ascertained that lime & calcium attack the cars, so thats out. Laundry detergent works like a wetting agent, holding in the moisture much longer so reduces dust whilst still allowing for a bit of sliding & drifting. Sugar works well & makes the track hard & grippy, but brings in the insects. There are other products on the market... but at a cost.
So assuming I have all that correct, please chime in if I haven't, I think sugar sounds like the way to go.
Our track (In Sydney Australia) is 100% gray clay. We got it from a dig 14 meters (46') down. The jumps, everything is from solid clay.

What sort of prep is required before first application?

How strong of a solution should be put into the hose dispenser (like a weed & feed type bottle)?

How many application & over what period of time, before racing on it?

How often should we reapply?

Anything to be careful of?

Missing anything?


Sorry for all the questions. Just thought if we can get some good expert info, this would make for a great place of referral.

Apparently the club tried some chemicals on the track a few years back, the track was dirt back then & the surface broke up after a week.


Thanks in advance.

Pete.
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:32 PM   #2
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Peter, what is wrong with the track the way it is? We have had at least 20 days of racing on it and the only part that is slightly breaking up is the jump faces..

The covered pit area is what we need to worry about..

If you want more grip just run m3 compound tyres then there is heaps of grip.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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Hey Justin, I'm just examining our options. We've built a great track, & it needs to be maintained. On Sunday, we did a sweep in the morning before starting & a thorough sweep of the whole track mid way through the day. I went & checked the surface after a few races after the second sweep & was quite shocked at the level of wear (new powder) on the track. I know we've had a lot of rain lately, so the track isn't hard baked, & that will contribute to the wear. But if we can do things to help maintain the surface, I think it is worth investigating. Deno & I stayed back on Sunday & rerolled the fixed section after the quad & it was incredible just how much powder there was in just that small area to sweep over the soft section, & sweeping itself, was creating more powder. At that rate, the track will be in very bad shape within 6 months.
This is all just me talking. None of this is official. I'm just collecting as much expert (hopefully) information as I can, to present & make some informed decisions.
Rather than take this thread off topic, PM me (on our site) the details of what your referring to with the "covered pit area" &/or any other concern you have. I'll see what I can do buddy.


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Old 06-29-2009, 06:23 PM   #4
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I started the thread you were looking for. We got water hooked up at our track about 10 days ago now and we've been out watering every second day to catch up for what we missed and the track surface is WAAAAAY better now. We just sweep and water a couple times every race day. Since we can wet the track down we can fill in holes and repair jumps and it will actually hold.

I guess your looking for something to bond the surface of the track together so it won't wear at all, right? Sounded to me like sugar would be the way to go if you don't want to hurt the cars.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:31 PM   #5
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Default Works great for clay tracks

Maintenance Tip


Instead of watering the whole track to keep the dust down ?


Only water the outside edges of the lanes and sweep the groove....

Water makes for only more dust & it will produce rough bumps & pot holes in the corners because the moisture softens up the clay ...

I`v seen a lot of tracks abuse the water hose thinking they are helping the track ......
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Cherry View Post
Maintenance Tip


Instead of watering the whole track to keep the dust down ?


Only water the outside edges of the lanes and sweep the groove....

Water makes for only more dust & it will produce rough bumps & pot holes in the corners because the moisture softens up the clay ...

I`v seen a lot of tracks abuse the water hose thinking they are helping the track ......
good point. my local track started watering for the first time yesterday and it formed ruts and wholes pretty fast. before they would just blow it off with a leaf blower and that worked great. got all the loose crap out of the way and still kept the track packed and smooth. but the watering it was just breaking the dirt up much faster.
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:47 PM   #7
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Yep, basically what I've noticed. But ours is from rain & the softer it gets, the more it wears. When its really dry, we give it a light/quick wetting with the hose. That helps reduce the dust clouds for a race or two.

I walked the track yesterday & had a close inspection of the surface. Found that several areas seam to be delaminating (top 12mm-1/2" is letting go & breaking up. I think this is happening because the track is being worn down, so we are thinning out the top highly compressed (rolled) layer. So when that layer becomes thin enough it starts to break up.

I'm really not sure if my deduction are correct, don't know a lot about clay tracks & am trying to find my way.


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Old 07-01-2009, 03:55 AM   #8
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Is anyone able to answer the questions in the first post??


Pete.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:52 PM   #9
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Pete
Here in Cols Oh we use clay/pulverized topsoil 40/60. we never use an additives indoor or outdoor we change track layout completely every 5-6wks so maintenance is .... often automaticly dealt with.

Watering ....WOW is there alot of opinions on this.
1st- traction is prefered over loose surface, so we feel watering is important. 1 thing we have noticed is when watering if only top 2-3in are gettin water then track will get tore-up. We are developing a method of watering the dirt under the track to keep moisture and surface tougher.
2nd- watering must be done as a 2part spray method, water 60-70% of desired water 1st time around track then go back to starting point and track looks and is dryer then water again. you end up given it more water than any other method and it is deeper in soil. The 1st pass soaks in and when you come back around dirt is wetter deeper and sucks it even further in to soil. Another method used at an outdoor track near Cincinatti is pulverized mulch (much finer than what u put in a garden) mixed in 2 adv 1> it allows soil expansion and contraction 2> holds moisture and adds traction.

Soap we find it does hold moisture and seems to allow water to penitrate dirt faster and deeper, but careful soap and water can get slippery.

The harder the surface the more it tends to eat tires and chewup chassis, I cant afford to replace $60-80 sets of tires either.

Poorly maintained track surfaces is a key reason why 1/10 nitro is all but dead and 1/8e is growing. If trend continues we will all be runnin 1/5 so we can get over the fricken pot holes


Just thoughts that work for us.

Last edited by nitrohead1; 07-02-2009 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:54 PM   #10
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Nitrohead1, thank you for your post.
Some very interesting information there & some good food for thought.
Our track is 100% gray clay, So when dry we get a LOT of dust/powder & when wet.. well... you've seen that scene in the movie ghost..... very slippery.
We are also getting a lot of wear.
If we have a few weeks of sun, then the track goes quite hard & watering helps, I think your method would work very well & give us a bit more "moist time", could be a problem with the amount of time needed during a race meet to water twice each time....
When we've had some rain (like recently), the wear on the track is huge. Not as much air born dust, but really wears the surface.
So thats why I was thinking sugar. I believe if it's done in a slow way, many weak coatings until it build to the desired hardness. Not so hard as to destroy tyres. Our last track surface destroyed tyres & cars. Average set of crime fighters would last for 2 races, most guys used them for 1 race day...... but that track had a lot of rock etc. This track I have had the same set of Crime Fighter M2 on for the last 4 race meets & they still look unworn...... which is a pain, as I've been waiting to wear them out . Going to shelve them & buy some Caliber M3's.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Cherry View Post
Maintenance Tip


Instead of watering the whole track to keep the dust down ?


Only water the outside edges of the lanes and sweep the groove....

Water makes for only more dust & it will produce rough bumps & pot holes in the corners because the moisture softens up the clay ...

I`v seen a lot of tracks abuse the water hose thinking they are helping the track ......

Hey Wild, Yep that is exactly what I've noticed. Watering help keep the dust down & improves the grip slightly (as long as it's light watering), but softens the surface allowing for more & faster wear.

What is your opinion of the sugar solution?


Pete.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:20 PM   #12
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Sugar will turn the dirt into pavement basically and eat tires quickly, but you'll get a track with insane amounts of grip and not have too much maintenance to worry about.

Here's what a sugar'd track looks like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKA13...eature=related
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:21 PM   #13
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this prolly wont help where you live but dew is the best way i my dad and i have found that moisturizes a track we would till the track every two weeks and let it sit over night then one the dew settled we would tamp it back down to a racing surface almost as smooth as a dirt oval track and then in between we would water it and run it in as much we could with the lawn tractor. Talk about Bite. i broke a dogbone one time coming out of one of the burms right before a double. so yeah we never added anything to the soil we just made sure that rocks and debris was out of it and we have red and gray clay in maryland and its pretty nasty to work with but worth it
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yzracer758 View Post
Sugar will turn the dirt into pavement basically and eat tires quickly, but you'll get a track with insane amounts of grip and not have too much maintenance to worry about.

Here's what a sugar'd track looks like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKA13...eature=related

Nice Vid!

Thanks, I was looking at only applying enough sugar to bond the clay & minimise surface wear, but without taking it to extreme... somewhere in the middle. Obviously any hardening of the surface is going to increase wear & tear on tires, but my current hope is it can be done in a manner to keep that to an acceptable level.


Pete.
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackie001 View Post
Nice Vid!

Thanks, I was looking at only applying enough sugar to bond the clay & minimise surface wear, but without taking it to extreme... somewhere in the middle. Obviously any hardening of the surface is going to increase wear & tear on tires, but my current hope is it can be done in a manner to keep that to an acceptable level.


Pete.
Sugar causes a real stench and also attracts flies galore... great for traction tho.
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