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Old 12-28-2005, 04:16 AM   #1
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Default Track Surface Preparation Tips

Does anyone have any good tips for surface preperation of an off-road track?

We're planning to run 1/10th EP classes, (2wd stock/mod, 4wd stock/mod), 1/10th Gas ST and 1/8th Buggies.

I love the look and feel of high grip & high speed 'blue groove' type tracks, but dont know how to build one.

Is the method to build the surface out of wet clay, and simply roll it smooth and let it crack up? Should it be watered occasionally to prevent cracking? Ideally I want to cut down on dust also, of course Does anyone have any tips for a track of this kind? I like the track that is called 'tiltyard', how was this track built? Homer are you reading this?

I've seen people who also use other substances such as Vegetable oil on non-clay (loamy soil based) tracks, this works well on my local track. Does anyone have any tips for a track like this?

I've heard also that Sump oil works better than Vegetable oil but has some serious environmental concerns. Is this true?

What about Sodium Chloride (I think it was sodium chloride)? Has anyone experimented with this as a surface treatment?

Does anyone have any other tips for creating a high-grip, high speed type - relatively low maintenance track surface?

Thanks.

Steve.
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Old 12-29-2005, 06:45 AM   #2
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a lot of it depends on the type of dirt or clay you have. But if you can get good red clay and pack it down like crazy, run 100 buggys on it it should blue grove. To tes if you have good red clay here is Homers test that works good.
Take a 2 liter coke bottle and fill it half full of dirt. Then fill the remaining portion of the bottle with the water. Shake the bottle feverishly and liquify all the dirt.Now let it set. After a few hours the dirt should seperate and reveal its content. The heavier clays will fall to the bottom, the topsoil will hang out in the middle and the lighter will rise to the top. Homers track shows 95 percent of clay when he does this

Homer also offered me some more advice of track building.

Try some Calcium chloride (this was for a indoor track, not sure if that matters) Just don get it wet untill you know how its going to react. Sprinkle it with a fertilizer spreader and add a little water so it can melt in. It will make the dir hold moisture better and when it dries it Will blue groove big time.
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Old 12-29-2005, 09:30 AM   #3
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I just helped rebuild the track I run on (see sig). After all the jumps were backho'd up one of the guys ran his tiller (BIG tiller Farm style) and grated it up good. Took a while to get it "fluffy". Then we mounded the dirt with the buckets on the trucks. Formed the jumps with shovel's and rakes. Once everything was formed to our liking it was watered. It will be watered several times over the next few days. Then we will take a lawn tractor and roll over everything packing it nicely.

This process is for a 100% clay indoor offroad track. The disadvantage to all clay is that it has limited ability to hold moisture. You can't "over water" it or water will just sit there. Also due to the limited moisture it can hold it makes the track more susceptible to breaking up. For much better moisture retention and ease of maintenance it would be nice to have a 50/50 mix of topsoil and clay. One such track is McCullough's INDOOR track. In talking with Doug he stated his was a 50/50 mix. I don't know what his outdoor is like so I'm only discussing the indoor track. The McCullough's track will absorb MUCH more water and makes watering very nice. It keeps up the traction very nicely. The 100% clay is IMO much more of a pain. Also reference that both tracks are indoor. When your outdoor and the sun is beating down characteristics can be quite different.

With the 100% clay from what the owner has stated, using a tamper or roller can start to make small bumps on straights. For instance those little braking bumps you see at stop signs where they are like small rollers. Nothing you would ever want on a straightaway. The lawn tractor seems to give the most consistent smoothness to the track. This doesn't apply to the 50/50 mix as the guys over at McCullough's say it smooth's much easier.

With a 50/50 mix the track is a bit easier to repair as well. Getting that huge 1/8th scale Divit repaired can be a pain with 100% clay. Getting both the "patch" and the "track" to have the same consistency and moisture content to make them "bond" is much more tricky. The mix of soil/clay you can mix up some "fill" and water the heck out of it, lay something over top and let it sit overnight and you'll never ID the surface that was bad.

Keep in mind. Every track is different so you need to take my comments with a grain of salt and see what works with yours.

Also, the Ashtabula track runs nitro as well as electric. To help break down the nitro fuel that helps repel water we use soap. Some basic laundry soap cut with water in a sprayer and then sprayed directly over the track before a light coat of water. This helps break down any nitro fuel as well as help the clay absorb more of the water. We've been testing on how much works best and we're still in the testing phase. We're going to up our water schedule and track how things go. If you are 100% electric I don't think this would be as necessary as the elec's are much less abusive to the track.

Hope this helps!

Ryan
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:11 AM   #4
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Calcium and sugar water will blue groove.
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:52 AM   #5
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with the calcium... Has anyone noticed that the track hardness changes? I've run on a dirt oval that had calcium chloride put on it over a two year period. The thing was almost concrete by the third year. Keep in mind the track was never changed, grated, or worked for the whole time.

Just curious.
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