For what it's worth...
Race impressions after a 7 year hiatus.
My good friend Alan Trump has been after me for years to race 1/5th scale again. I had a light attempt back in '07, with.....less than desired results. Never the less, it was great to see some of my old friends and customers at that event. This one was much the same, but with many more familiar faces and better results.
I have to hand it to Greater LA and most importantly to Mr. Williams. I'd hate to think of what would happen to the great club without him. Cheers to you!
Anyway, arrived on a very early flight Friday morning with the weather in question for the entire weekend. Picked up my rent-a-racer from Alan and headed to the track. Outside of a few "lighter colored" hairs, everyone looked much the same as they did back in 2001.
Great layout especially for 1/5th. Awesome braking zone at the end of the straight and a nice flowing infield. Hhhhhhhowever, there was that dreaded concrete island at the entrance to the sweeper prior to the straight that proved to be a "parts consumer" for all scales. Ehhhh, just add's some danger to the track.
After an hour or so of shaking hands and fitting the new shell to the rent-a racer, I ventured out onto the track. A bit nervous and shaky at first, but it started to come back like riding a bike.
For those reading this that don't know me- I was a bit involved with 1/5th scale and it's origins back in the 90's. The cars today, are close to what we had when I departed back in 2001 with the exception of the ability to get the power down and a huge amount of set-up configurations... Meaning, that they have become,,,,,,,,well, complex.
I was a little surprised to see a race that once had great numbers of 1/5th drivers down to the current level, but the sport overall has increased in numbers around North America, so I have to assume that much of it is just the simple ebb/flow of R/C sports in general. What first intrigued me about starting 1/5th scale here still holds true today with a vengance... The fact that the f'ing things run for 30 minutes on a tank of gas and only require the simple tug on a pull cord to fire to life is unbeatable.
Tires, tires, tires...
As always, R/C seems to come down to tire selection and this race was no different. The 1's on all corners worked great and only took a small amount of heating to get up to speed with a tolerable amount of wear, but in a last minute change based 1/2 on my past experience and the other on a "guess" of contemporary compound's, I decided to run with the "new" 3's on all 4. Not too shabby. It took a while to come up to speed, wear was a bit better than the 1's and you had to realllllllly push them to see any sign of overheating. The car overall was quite stable to a fault, and was very consistent showing a best lap time .5 second slower than the race winner Frank Killam's single best lap. As I understand it, Frank was running on 4 wheel 3's as well.
So, my setup in the end:
FG Comp something-er-other
Caster- moved upper arm to mid position (never measured and can't remember the spec's on what MM that is)
Front Bar- slightly more than mid setting (again, never measured the bar)
Toe- 3/16 inch toe-out measured from the inside of the rims. (best I can do with the tools I had)
Ride Height- 9-10mm
Up Travel Stop (droop)- 14mm
Down Travel- no stop...
Ackerman- Hubs mounted on inner forward hole and servo saver mounted on forward outer hole.
Roll Center- Top A-Arm upper position.
Camber- near zero
Toe- 1/2 way in on the forward 3014 body mount. (don't remember the mm's)
Bar- Slightly less than 1/2 to 1/2.
Ride Height- 8mm
Up Travel- 16mm
Down Travel- ground..
Differential- Alan? FG Standard 800 plate diff???
Gearing- never looked. Alan?
3rd. Consistent car, but “consistently slow” in order to win the race. Capable of 2nd, but driver error seemed to prove more,,,,,,,,,well, you get the point.
1/5th is truly a "kings sport". They may not be the fastest or made from 100% carbon impregnated plastics by some fancy name, but the sure move and are just as easy to use and maintain as ever..
Oh, I was asked at least 50 times what I thought of the cars “now” VS "then". Hard to say... Back in the day (2001), there wasn't a car in North America that could touch Eric Vasutin, Frank Killam and I as we prepared for the 1st World's. The cars were quick, predictable, and amazing. I wonder who wound up with my World's car... Memory these days...
Vasutin working on some body work..
What plagued us back then was the ability to get out of the corner quickly. This still haunts 1/5th, but Frank obviously figured it out this weekend. Hat's off to the TFT winner- Mr. Killam for a fantastic drive. There is so much more to do with the diff technology on these cars…
Tires, I can't say have changed a whole lot. Wear may have come down, but they feel nearly the same as they did back then and motors have certainly improved but not to the degree that I have heard. Victor Garcia with VSpeed tuned the motor that I ran and it was fast, made time, and wasn't out gunned by anyone. As always, if you can't lay the power down, it doesn't matter the HP- but if you can, then VSpeed’s got it covered.
I would have liked another day with the car. The bars are now so much more effective and responsive along with the diff and roll centers. Surely with a bit more testing, the car would have gone at least the .5 best lap time needed or better. Funny how some things change and others not.
I have to say, that I admire this guy's taste in colors:
So, till next time my friends- keep the shinny side up and rubber down.
Merry Christmas All! We all made a lot of kid's Christmas merry with this event!
Alan Trump on his way to winning the F1 class:
Alan and I (no he's not stoned):