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Old 04-02-2008, 04:55 PM   #46
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Tom,
I'm really enjoying this thread and I'm impressed with the conversation going on.... except for the one idiot but he seemed to have got the message.
Anyway, I have a degree in marketing and have applied it to business, sales, and RC. I've donated my experience and knowledge to help promote the tracks I race at and recently, to help promote and get sponsors for a recent race held at my local track. What I've noticed is that these companies are reaching for ideas and are basically desperate for ideas on how to expand their market. This was obvious with how anxious and generous most of the companies were in helping with our event.

One of the problems is that they are already hitting their very narrow target market considering racing is probably about 2 percent of the already small RC industry. Although RC Racing is the root of the development and the focus of highend RC, advertising to just the noobs might not be enough. I really think the way to get RC expanded to a broader market is to co-advertise with another similar industry. The RC Drift scene does just that. At just about every full size drift event on the west coast, there is an RC drift demonstration. And now the RC drift scene is growing extremely fast. This is a low cost method of attracting a similar target market. The next step would be to come up with ideas of other types of racing that would share the interests and who would be willing to open the doors to RC enthusiasts. Just a thought, what do you think?
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:28 PM   #47
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Scott54 thats a good point, when i go to the monster truck races they have teamed up with a local large hobby shop and they come out on the infield with ramps and buggies and trucks and do a little session before the races, this is the kinda promoting that reaches out cause there are a ton of kids there as well as adults and if it was backed with some industry support that would make it better as well.
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:50 PM   #48
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Actually, opening a store in the mall during the winter months would be a pretty awsome idea. You would hit the x-mas crowd & you would have a place to run indoors during the winter. I would run those 1/16ths so you can run off road & invite the new people out to the outdoor event for some 1/16 in the dirt. During the week you can have a couple demo cars that bypassers can run through the track a few times & then during peak mall times you can have race day. If you wind up babysitting kids then just remeber they are driving r/c cars @ your store instead of playing x-box which also means they probly have something else on that Christmas to go along w/ those new x-box games. It would also be a good idea to run a few laps w/ a tweaked out car(keep it under the price of that new xbox) during the day if you ever get a crowd. These paren'ts will take their kids out to the mall & let them play around in the toy stores. When the kids find something they like to play with it gets taken off the shelf 3 days l8er when the kids are at home w/ the baby sitter. It would probly also help if you had complete rtr bundles w/ everything listed so it's not confusing to the buyer. I'm sure if you put a 40mph mini inferno up there for $300 it would get noticed.
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:46 PM   #49
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We have just started the hobby 3 months ago father/son team.
I would have never known about our local track here if my father in law had not bought a car at raceline. He bought the car and I was not impressed
on being able to rebuild it or tweak it. So I searched out for hobby shops
and low and behold i watched racing there for a month before buying a brand
for my son(losi) based on how many racers ran the brand and what the lhs stocked for parts.

What I would like to see is the lipo manufactures offer a discount for turning
in Nimh batterys from the racers, the discount given towards a lipo purchase.
Then when a new lhs sells a kit or car to a new client give them the batterys
at that discount price. Like wise with the brushed motors. Cost has turned off
some long time racers who had a lot of equipement for brushed and nimh.
the tracks in return get to retain exisiting racers. They also give a good start to begining racers.  

My opinion is that Losi did a smart decision by teaming with horizon their name is well regonized. I remember from when I was a kid. The XXXt line
is a nice starter group . My son started with a xxxt-rtr . I liked it enough
that I bought a xxxt-cr from my lhs to build that started our buying spree
from them.  

What can manufactures do to suppport LHS. To allow there parts to be boughten by region only. How this works, if there is a local shop in the zip code area the purchaser is given the hobby shop local place to pickup or buy from to save shipping. If there are no LHS within in so many miles of the zip code that will either host the company or transfer parts for them then the purchaser can purchase online and have the part shipped to them. The manufacture still wins along with the lhs shop. But we know this will never happen .

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Old 04-02-2008, 06:57 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by dynodan22 View Post
We have just started the hobby 3 months ago father/son team.
I would have never known about our local track here if my father in law had not bought a car at raceline. He bought the car and I was not impressed
on being able to rebuild it or tweak it. So I searched out for hobby shops
and low and behold i watched racing there for a month before buying a brand
for my son(losi) based on how many racers ran the brand and what the lhs stocked for parts.

What I would like to see is the lipo manufactures offer a discount for turning
in Nimh batterys from the racers, the discount given towards a lipo purchase.
Then when a new lhs sells a kit or car to a new client give them the batterys
at that discount price. Like wise with the brushed motors. Cost has turned off
some long time racers who had a lot of equipement for brushed and nimh.
the tracks in return get to retain exisiting racers. They also give a good start to begining racers.  

My opinion is that Losi did a smart decision by teaming with horizon their name is well regonized. I remember from when I was a kid. The XXXt line
is a nice starter group . My son started with a xxxt-rtr . I liked it enough
that I bought a xxxt-cr from my lhs to build that started our buying spree
from them.  

What can manufactures do to suppport LHS. To allow there parts to be boughten by region only. How this works, if there is a local shop in the zip code area the purchaser is given the hobby shop local place to pickup or buy from to save shipping. If there are no LHS within in so many miles of the zip code that will either host the company or transfer parts for them then the purchaser can purchase online and have the part shipped to them. The manufacture still wins along with the lhs shop. But we know this will never happen .

Dynodan22
This is my point exactly. I went to raceline on a whim to take a kid I mentor there and it got me back in the hobby because it peaked my interest. I had a great time driving the 1/18ths and decided I wanted to get something more serious and started doing research and discovered the Rustler VXL. Then I discovered leisurehours raceway and several grand later, I am driving a brushless rc8 there.

Even if raceline is more the "toy" side of the hobby targeting preteens, the fact of the matter is that they are exposing a lot of people to the hobby by being located at a shopping mall. I would love to see this concept targeted at an older demographic. Hobby shop in a mall type setting with space for an electric indoor track and possibly an outdoor track in the parking lot with bashing areas. I know this would draw a lot of spectators and expose new people to the hobby. I am talking more of a serious set up though as opposed to making it look likea a toy shop.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:59 PM   #51
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One possable link with a storefront national chain is the Jo-ann fabrics or Ben Franklin chain of chick hobby stores. They are always hosting classes for the ladies to do scrapbooking or sewing and stuff. What better place to carve out a area in that store to have some guy hobbies. Most of these stores are huge. Start off with the 18th scale stuff. A small carpet on road or off road area. While the ladies are doing their sewing and going ga ga over the latest font style for their ink stamps the guys can be tuning and racing little electic cars in the back. If you have something for the spouse to do while your racing you likely will get to the track more often.

Another possable outlet for RC racing is link it to the indian casino's spread out across this nation. A little in house betting on the outcome of a race will put some much needed interest in this hobby catapulting it to the sport of kings. Soon there could be a regular circuit of events that could be wagered on. They put on boxing shows at these casinos just for this purpose. Bring in the pro's for the main events and have the other classes for the filler. Think about it. What sport doesn't have a line in vegas? Develop a link to the casino's and a regular circuit and this sport would explode.

There's a couple of thoughts that I have been kicking around for a while.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:01 AM   #52
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very good point. the 1/8ths look great flying through the air, but at $1000, most people cant afford them.

Where as i can get a brand new duratras STep for $120. and still be competitive in the class.

the fact is. there are no "cheap" 1/8ths out there, that a noob would be able to drive. but give them a TC on a parking lot and watch them have fun with it.
Although, there are some decent 1/8 rtr's out now that will allow someone off the street to have a raceable 1/8 without dropping a grand. For example, the AE RC8RS I believe is either about 600, or less. I'm not entirely sure. The Losi 8ight RTR (buggy and truggy) are both around the 550 to 600 mark I believe. And then there's the "budget" 1/8 such as the SHO, etc...

The kicker is to get the RC world in the limelight a bit more than it is.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:35 AM   #53
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I hate to be a nay sayer on this one, but the internet is a reality. Thought it may have ruined the hobby to some people, it introduced others to it.

I agree that it does close the doors on some mom and pop business but thats progresson, unfortunately. Change and adapt or stay the same and get left behind.

Like I mentioned before the LHS here has a great track, they hold events, and sell the most popular buggies and trucks, and they have the parts, tires, bodies, oils ect... and knowledge to keep almost everyone happy. They also keep there prices in line with realistic internet pricing.

If there is a part that needs to be ordered they order it. But then again I can order it too, have it shipped to my house, save time and gas not driving back to the LHS and though I have to pay shipping, it equals out in the long run because of his mark up.

The point that I am trying to make, is you cant have a shop with so many hobbies under one roof that your limited to the type and ammount of inventory that you can keep. If the typical LHS would pick a specific type of hobby, like RC (instead of trains, rc, die cast, models, wood carving) they could concentrate the same dollar that they are already spending, and just spend it more targeted.

The internet is here and the LHS need to adapt. Carry the parts that we need at competitive prices, and we wont have to shop on line.

I am guilty of this - How many of you have needed a couple of parts, but decided to stock up or spend just a little extra to qualify for free shipping or $25 off your purchase? I have about a hundred times.

If the internet companies can do this so can the LHS. Carry a big inventory or the hobby that you wish to support, keep the prices competitive, and the business will grow. If you keep a small inventory and the shopper has to wait for you to order it on line, they can and will do that them selves.

If your worried about not making enough money, charge a couple of bucks for using your track or property to drive on, if you have one, and or offer repairs, or build race kits for customers. I couldnt tell you how many people I have heard ask the LHS to build there kit for them because they dont want to or dont have the time to. The lhs just blows them off and says either in a couple of weeks, or no.

Customer service goes a long way.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:43 AM   #54
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One of the problems is that they are already hitting their very narrow target market considering racing is probably about 2 percent of the already small RC industry. Although RC Racing is the root of the development and the focus of highend RC, advertising to just the noobs might not be enough. I really think the way to get RC expanded to a broader market is to co-advertise with another similar industry. The RC Drift scene does just that. At just about every full size drift event on the west coast, there is an RC drift demonstration. And now the RC drift scene is growing extremely fast. This is a low cost method of attracting a similar target market. The next step would be to come up with ideas of other types of racing that would share the interests and who would be willing to open the doors to RC enthusiasts. Just a thought, what do you think?
I like that idea. The same can be done for stadium truck racing and even NASCAR. Ride the brands on the back of an already established brand and it gains exposure. Another cool thing to consider is local car shows. I see them all the time in NJ in various parking lots. Why not set up some on-road RC events in conjunction. Many of these guys are seriously narcissistic about their uber tuners so I could see them building a 1/10th scale versions of their rides using 1/10 pan and TC cars easy.

If you see a local car show, just pull up with a few friends and whip out your RC rides and start ripping up the parking lot. Summer is comming and that is car show season.

@ OG,

You are right about the LHSs needing to change their paradigm. What they should do is set up a decent, well organized web-site (use a template for user friendliness and easy updates) and set up a forum specific to your crowd. So when a regular customer needs a part they can post it on the LHS's forum and the owners/operators can then simply put the order through. It would be the perfect venue for scheduling races and other events while still opening up a wider birth of exposure to neighboring towns within a reason driving distance. Another thing that LHSs should do is rather than compete in such a small market, is pull thier resources. Hobby Shop A is mostly gas with little support for electric but has a nice outdoor track that is getting too expensive to maintain. Hobby shop B supports electric very well but doesn't have a huge base of customers. If HS B, moves into HS A for track access and gas support, HS A gains electric stock for electric customers which means more people in one place and a track to race on. Now we have a more stable HS C. Add in a solid website to keep the community together and over time the business grows.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:12 AM   #55
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i cant get my 14 or 16 year old boys to race .... its just to much work for them for the 15 to 20 minutes of track time during a 4 to 6 hour race day
Same here. My son is a decent driver, but seems to be losing interest. The "cost" for him isn't $$$, it's time. He just doesn't want to give up 10am till 4pm of his Saturday for 20 minutes of track time.

My hope is that in the near future, brushless and lipo will enable longer races. Maybe "endurance" type of races (20 or 30 minute races?) where the entire race day is about 3 hours long instead 4 or 5 or 6 may help.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:52 AM   #56
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Getting back into this hobby has really made me happy and it pains me to see that in some respects that it is dwindling. I made this thread so we can brainstorm and come up with ways to do this. I have been thinking about this alot lately and I have a perspective on this that I think could really get this hobby into the mainstream.

First, a little about my background. I am a graphic artist and I specialize in branding and identity. I mainly freelance but I have just taken a job at as an art director for a branding firm. My exposure to this part of the creative industry taught me valuable lessons about marketing and business and what makes them succeed and fail. My experience tells me that what is holding this hobby back is the way the major players in the industry market themselves. The other factor is small hobby shops with limited budgets for advertising which in turn strangles the business. In short, both the local hobby shops and the manufacturers need to change their business models.

Here is a basic list of things that I believe will elevate this hobby to a mainstream level:

1. Advertising - trade and hobby magazines are nice but it doesn't really bring new people to the hobby (to be honest the 70% ad to content ratio in those magazines gets tiresome anyway. 50/50 is really all they need. I would rather see reviews on those products more than the adverts as well). National Newspapers and cable TV is where the hobby will pick up steam. Yeah it is expensive, but more on that later. Cable TV is awesome. Advertisments on channels like G4, Gameplay HD (new and advertising would be relatively cheap), Science channel, Discovery channel, Speed Channel (big one here) and TLC will definately hit many in the demographic that would be likely to delve into the RC hotness.

2. Aggressive marketing strategies beyond advertising. Call up the host of Pinks and get some marketing guys to put RC cars on the show on the speed channel where people race against one another for their rides. Call MTV and get few drivers on the true life series (This did wonders for WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber and really opened the door for the WEC franchise). ESPN2 would entertain airing major RC events. MORE tradeshows too. Not just TOY shows but RC shows complete with indoor/outdoor tracks and events. I have lived in NJ all my life and never once saw anything like that.

3. The money - The major players in the industry need to consider consolidation. This will lower operating expenses and open up a larger revenue stream for advertising and promotion. Suck it up guys. In the immortal words of Marcellus Wallace (Ving Raimes - Pulp Fiction) - "If you feel a little sting" If you care about the hobby and want to be a gazllionaire then this is what needs to be done. While friendly rivalries are nice for the sport, but at the end of the day, its the bashers who make up the largest demographic and we do not care about having a favorite team. Its about having fun in our spare time. The magic that can be made if say Team Associated, Trinity and Novak merged. Issue an IPO, go public and the money will roll in and product will become cheaper and more reasonable to the average consumer.

4. Hobby shops - I have seen the websites for some local hobby shops. Sickening....some literally made me want to upchuck. Stop having your 12 year old kid throw up a sloppy looking site with no functionality. You are judged heavily on your website. Consider branding. In fact call me. I just may donate my services to help you get off on the right foot. Most hobby shops, like many small businees fail because they are too frugal with advertising and promotion and in the end they die out as a result. If you cannot muster up the capital to do it right, then don't do it. Sell your stuff on ebay and save the leasing and liability insurance. One thing I have told all my small business clients is that their opinion of how their business should be represented comes second to the customers opinion. Hire a graphic artist who knows how to set up a tone and feel for your business that will attract new business. Also consider partnering up competing shops to ease costs and keep a larger inventory or build a track. Strength in numbers.


Thats pretty much it. There are other ways I am sure but this plan WILL do it. Please post your ideas and lets revive this awesome, pure and challenging hobby and get it into the mainstream.
Which hobby are you talking about, R/C cars or R/C racing? They are as different as figure skating and ice hockey.

R/C cars ARE mainstream. There are few other products that are sold in such a wide variety of stores.

R/C racing is not mainstream. I have been around R/C since 1982, mostly as a pro racer and as a business owner ('85-'99). The main difference from the beginning to now is the fact that R/C is marketed to a different demographic than it was at its peak.

R/C racing is an adult (16+) hobby. It requires a substantial financial commitment (like most hobbies) that requires a decent amount of stability and a decent job. It seems like that more and more we are trying to get kids involved and I think this is the wrong direction to take.

I saw a post talking about $400.00 to get into racing. I see these things and wonder why this is so much now when in the late '80s and early '90 (R/C Racing Golden - 25000 ROAR members) that amount would have been considered normal. I spent almost $200.00 to get into R/C racing in 1982. We are pushing racing to the wrong people if they think $400.00 is too much. The cars are undervalued as it is. The competition segment is barely profitable and the cars are worth the full retail price.

R/C racing is a miniature form of full scale racing. We should be promoting the hobby to those that are interested in full scale racing and show it as a safer and less expensive alternative to the real thing. I road race a Honda Civic and know that R/C cars are an excellent alternative because you deal with the same basic challenges - driving, setup, maintenance, etc.. In fact, competition R/C cars are more sophisticated than most real race cars and when completed is more adjustable than a F1 car. But how many people know that?

Enough babbling. To sum it up I think we need to target middle class adult racing fans by showing them that R/C racing is a way to compete with less expense and danger.

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Old 04-03-2008, 10:04 AM   #57
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Which hobby are you talking about, R/C cars or R/C racing? They are as different as figure skating and ice hockey.

R/C cars ARE mainstream. There are few other products that are sold in such a wide variety of stores.

R/C racing is not mainstream. I have been around R/C since 1982, mostly as a pro racer and as a business owner ('85-'99). The main difference from the beginning to now is the fact that R/C is marketed to a different demographic than it was at its peak.

R/C racing is an adult (16+) hobby. It requires a substantial financial commitment (like most hobbies) that requires a decent amount of stability and a decent job. It seems like that more and more we are trying to get kids involved and I think this is the wrong direction to take.

I saw a post talking about $400.00 to get into racing. I see these things and wonder why this is so much now when in the late '80s and early '90 (R/C Racing Golden - 25000 ROAR members) that amount would have been considered normal. I spent almost $200.00 to get into R/C racing in 1982. We are pushing racing to the wrong people if they think $400.00 is too much. The cars are undervalued as it is. The competition segment is barely profitable and the cars are worth the full retail price.

R/C racing is a miniature form of full scale racing. We should be promoting the hobby to those that are interested in full scale racing and show it as a safer and less expensive alternative to the real thing. I road race a Honda Civic and know that R/C cars are an excellent alternative because you deal with the same basic challenges - driving, setup, maintenance, etc.. In fact, competition R/C cars are more sophisticated than most real race cars and when completed is more adjustable than a F1 car. But how many people know that?

Enough babbling. To sum it up I think we need to target middle class adult racing fans by showing them that R/C racing is a way to compete with less expense and danger.
Completly inaccurate....... Although i left full scalle racing cause of cost and headaches, I havent had so much fun since i cam back to r/c racing. Well off-road at least, gas and electric on road was too expensive for r/c racing for me at the time.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:24 AM   #58
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Solid points Rick. I am not sure if you read the whole thread but I did mention that racing is the catalyst for the hobby. Much like motocross racing is the catalyst for the weekend rider or NASCAR is to sports car sales. The idea is to get racing mainstream. I do not believe that it is. I do not see it on TV. I have yet to see a national advertisement for RC Kit and RTR cars. I do not see adverts in major publications for Team Associated or Losi...

Maybe what we need to do here is define mainstream so we are all on the same page. For convenience I will lay down a definition for us to go by unless someone else has another.

Mainstream as I understand it is national recognition on a large scale. Like Nike or MLB. Common household names. Like Photoshop....what was once a powerful application used strictly by professional photo retouchers is now a commonly used verb to describe photo manipulation that now has lighter versions more affordable to the general public. If there is no dissent to this definition lets go by this one.

Many people said MMORPGs would never go mainstream but World of Warcraft changed that. They have over 10 million subscriptions paying $15 per month for the game and service. It too is a common household name and its brand recognition is bringing in new business every day.

RC can do this. It is possible. Very possible. The hobby and the sport has huge potential. The only reason it is so expensive right now is lack of demand or more accurately lack of business volume. The only way to increase that is to take the plunge and heavily invest in advertising and promotion on a national scale.

Many of this can be a relatively low cost like the Speed Channel as mentioned earlier. Get 2 100+ Mph LiPo draggers racing it out for ownership of each other's rides on PINKS. As I understand it the host (name eludes me at the monent) is a very cool guy and is open to new ideas. He even dragged 2 snowmobiles against each other in one show. This is a no brainer. It would cost nothing to get that going. Just phone calls and travel. The cost would come from advertising during the show.

Another show that would definately put RC on the national scene is American Chopper. Those guys are crazy. Have them build a company chopper for say Team Associated (and make it electric) or even build a custom RC to help promote the sport. They love stuff like that on the show. While Paul Jr. is a little arrogant Sr. is a very amicable guy and I think he would go a little out of his way to help this awesome hobby.

I also want to reiterate that despite my interest in Nitro I do not think it is the future of the hobby (not the sport) on a mainstream level due to the noise and disruption they cause. However, the national exposure to electric RC would still help the nitro scene grow especially in racing.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:49 AM   #59
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Since X-box360 & PS3s are mainstream forms of entertainment you have to compete directly with them. This means that there needs to be a solid class at a track that can compete w/ the price of xboxs and playstations. If a track has a popular class that people can readily compete in for $400-$500 then you will have the power to pull people from xboxs & ps3s. If the track does not have a class that people can readily compete in for that price then expect these people to continue buying ps3s & xboxs.
1/10th scale 2wd buggy//truck looks to be the only class that currently fits this budget. Oh yeah, aren't these those $300 rtrs that go 50 mph that the lhs sales all the time? The last time I checked rtr stadium trucks are cheap mainstream bashers. The only problem is that in alot of areas the truck class is not booming like it was during the golden age of r/c racing. When these basher friendly classes become r/c racing mainstream @ your local tracks it will be easier for you to draw the bashers out to the track if they have a class to run in.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:11 AM   #60
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I think one of the problems tracks get into is they run too many classes, which ends up with 3-4 cars pewr class sometimes. = boring. Who would be watching, Nascar,F1,Cart or any other form of motor sports with 3-5 people running at one time .

Losi did a great thing with the slider, complete ready to run with spektrum For $150-$180 depending where you buy. Our LHr has sold alot of these.

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