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The Ideal "newbie" class. Needs a name, needs some fleshing out..

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The Ideal "newbie" class. Needs a name, needs some fleshing out..

Old 03-05-2018, 03:40 PM
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A few years ago before the local hobby town closed down here they ran parking lot races every Sat. Oval and road course classes with many different classes and types of rc vehicles. One of those classes was oval VTA 9sec breakout, same theory as you have where any lap over 9sec was not counted and slow was the name of the game. Sounds like this would be a great class for beginners and experienced racers alike right? It was to some degree, however it only took a very short time for the experienced racers to get the timing down, set the radio throttle percentage and lay down lots of 8.98 laps. Also creative solutions started to creep in, the class was supposed to be a 21.5 class but guys would run a 17.5 instead, no tech. What's the problem you say with running different wind motors? Well the 17.5 guy could make up ground and catch up from a bad line or in race crash where the 21.5 car could not. Also the 17.5 guys would lay just behind a 21.5 car but have the extra throttle at the end of the last lap to just nose ahead of the 21.5 car and win. Many serious (as well as lots of dick racers) want to win and will find the creative solutions to get it done. And lots of rules means you have to tech which is a pain at the club level.
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Old 03-05-2018, 03:44 PM
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The only rule you need beyond tires is every advanced or veteran in the crowd has to take on a noob or two to tutor.
I believe that this is crucial for the beginner. It is also very, very hard to make happen.
I visited/volunteer marshalled at my local club for weeks before purchasing a setup. Several people kept asking me, "When are you going to get a car!) Nobody said, "Do you need any help?" I suggested to one guy that a mentoring program would really be helpful. He said, "Yeah, that's a great idea." However, he never offered to help me! lol

I'm a brand new 57yr old newb. Raced automobiles my whole life but never raced RC cars. Visited my local track and decided to run in VTA because it looked like fun and all of my research indicated that it was a great 'starter class.' At my club there is a novice class but basically it's only the kids of the regulars that run in it to keep them entertained it seems. My plan was to run in VTA.

Here's where the problems started.

1) I only visited on race days. Big mistake since guys are in the zone and aren't remotely interested in chatting with strangers. If you're new, only visit on practice days if you want to chat or access someones pit space. Point is, I had nobody to really talk to to get answers to my questions. I used the web and research almost exclusively for answers. FWIW, local hobby shops are totally useless for such things. That's another discussion.

2) Deciding on what equipment to buy took me weeks of research. What do I need, how many, VTA rules/specs, what chassis, transmitter, charger, motor, ESC. It was totally overwhelming to make decisions and hopefully the right decisions. Even now that I have everything, I see that I made some bad choices. This stuff is complicated. Racing complicates everything always has and always will. It's easier to work on automobiles than it is on RC cars, mainly because of the difference in the availability of information.

3) The big one. Learning to drive isn't easy. I spent hours painting my VTA body and destroyed it to bits at my first practice. Thank god I bought a bigger bumper. As I'm bashing it to bits someone took mercy on me and yelled out, "Adjust your dual rates!" That definitely helped. Point is, you're not going to be racing in VTA without months of practice or some insane natural ability to tune and drive. Expectations need to be set. I'm older so yeah, it will be more challenging. For younger folks this might not be so much of a factor.

The point: I personally feel that if I had a contact, or contacts, at the club I visit it would have been much easier for me all around. It sounds sickening to suggest that someone should have held my hand but man, I do wish I had someone to sit down with to lend a hand with the equipment list and setting those all important expectations.

(I must be fair and say that now that I have all of the 'stuff' and have started going to practices, my club members have been very kind and helpful. If any of you are one of them, I thank you very much.)
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Nerobro View Post
I may have stolen the idea from you, or other posts. :-) It happens.
I did the same thing!
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:22 PM
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On the question of how to bring in and keep new drivers - is it a class question, a cost question or an "intimidation" issue? Or some combination thereof? I will say that I recently returned to racing a little over a year ago. And I had issues with all 3.
Here I will add, that it's also an "expectation" issue. As I was watching the 'regulars' race all those weeks before I bought my setup, I never actually thought about how hard it is to drive like they did and that it would take considerably practice to even stay out of the way! I've raced cars and karts for most of my adult life. Not bragging but I'm usually top three in my class. It was a mental error, equating my accumulated racing experience with what it takes to race RC. So, from the start my expectations were off.

Oh yeah, I was going to race in the VTA class. Little did I know that picking a class would be the easiest thing that I had to do. On the flip side, now that I'm over the shock of that reality and have accepted the fact that it will be many months before I can even think of getting into the mix of a VTA race, I'm totally okay with it. I'm going to practice, have fun wrenching on my car, enjoy the challenge of working through the settings/setups, and overall just start enjoying the hobby that I've chosen to engage in for what I hope will be many more years to come.
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Last edited by JC3; 03-05-2018 at 04:23 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chris moore View Post
A few years ago before the local hobby town closed down here they ran parking lot races every Sat. Oval and road course classes with many different classes and types of rc vehicles. One of those classes was oval VTA 9sec breakout, same theory as you have where any lap over 9sec was not counted and slow was the name of the game. Sounds like this would be a great class for beginners and experienced racers alike right? It was to some degree, however it only took a very short time for the experienced racers to get the timing down, set the radio throttle percentage and lay down lots of 8.98 laps. Also creative solutions started to creep in, the class was supposed to be a 21.5 class but guys would run a 17.5 instead, no tech. What's the problem you say with running different wind motors? Well the 17.5 guy could make up ground and catch up from a bad line or in race crash where the 21.5 car could not. Also the 17.5 guys would lay just behind a 21.5 car but have the extra throttle at the end of the last lap to just nose ahead of the 21.5 car and win. Many serious (as well as lots of dick racers) want to win and will find the creative solutions to get it done. And lots of rules means you have to tech which is a pain at the club level.
Oh, hell yeah. Even against newbies, there are guys who relish the idea of 'winning.' No tech at all at my club. I thought about asking for it but didn't want to upset the balance as it were. Leaving practice one night in the back of my mind I thought, this is nothing more than the personal race track for a small bunch of guys who want to come and play around with their XRays and CRC's and 7.1's. Well, they don't call them clubs for nothing! lol I was wrong but still, for a while there I didn't get a warm fuzzy welcoming vibe. Could just have been me, who knows.

(Again, I'll say that now that I have my setup and have started practicing and regularly volunteer marshal, my club members have been very kind and helpful and I feel comfortable and welcome.)
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Nerobro View Post
There was some really impressive demonstrations by Richard at the track this weekend too.
Regardless of where this is happening, people need to start having a talk with Richard to make it known this is not acceptable behavior. It's ok to be competitive in the heat of the moment from time to time, but it's another thing to regularly act in a way that turns others off to an already struggling hobby. It's on all of the vets in this hobby to make sure others act appropriately and to do what we can to be good shepherds of the hobby.

There are a lot of wonderful people in this hobby, but sometimes it takes a few (or more) race days to figure out who they are. Unfortunately, the jerks become apparent right away.
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Last edited by Ike; 03-05-2018 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:41 PM
  #22  
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To the original point... I think a breakout with any class/car allowed would be best. Anything to encourage someone getting whatever kind of car they want and being able to race it every weekend would do wonders for the hobby IMO. I don't think another class with strict guidelines would help anything.

I was able to lap about .8 slower per lap than the fastest current VTA with an old Novak 21.5 and a LRP sphere, cheapo batts in a T2. That tells me that for VTA at least, somewhere in the 10% per lap range is good to keep people able to use somewhat modern, yet old/cheap technology.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ike View Post
To the original point... I think a breakout with any class/car allowed would be best. Anything to encourage someone getting whatever kind of car they want and being able to race it every weekend would do wonders for the hobby IMO. I don't think another class with strict guidelines would help anything.
Ya know, I think that you might be right. Also, looking through all of the comments on this topic it occurred to me that perhaps there will never be a perfect class for new people but rather a perfect scenario in which to help people to get into the hobby. Could that scenario be what you suggest above in combination with available mentoring from a veteran RC'er? I think so!
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Old 03-05-2018, 05:28 PM
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I became addicted to this hobby in 1982 as an adult. I'm 71 now and still addicted. I wanted an airplane but my best friend showed me the error of my ways. All he had to do was hand me a radio. We went directly to the local Hobby Shop and I plunked down the money for everything that was needed to go and race with the local 1/12 scale group. Come to think of it, it was 1/12 or 1/8 in those days and nothing else. I couldn't wait until the first race. We only raced modified in those days so there were effectively no rules to enforce. All of the local shops were represented within the ranks so keeping tabs on the only 2 rules there were which 1 was a set of batteries(ni-cad) couldn't cost more than $24 and the motor couldn't be over $30. There was virtually no mail order in those days.

My first outing I was initially incredibly disappointed to find out that I wouldn't be allowed to actually race(could practice though) for the first three race meets as there were things that I would have to learn first. I spent that first day in the South Florida sun at Tropical park marshaling every race that ran and in those days there were 8 cars in a race and it usually ran through the "E". I learned the importance of not watching the race but just the section of track I was responsible for. The second event I was at least placed in the shade working impound. Yep, impound. Six 27mgz channels and a few 72 so as soon as you got done with your race you placed your car and radio in impound and went out to marshal. The third event I got to learn timing and scoring(what you did right after marshaling) which consisted of sitting in a lawn chair with a note pad and pencil while being responsible for only 1 car every time it passed my position I would make a tick mark on the pad. That finally graduated to click counters after the club made some extra money. Finally on the fourth outing I was to be allowed to actually mix it up I got harangued by one of the stars(we are still friends) for having an illegal body for that particular race and would have an unfair advantage. I hadn't turned a lap yet. Anyway the point of this diatribe is to show that with the proper introduction and training you can get new people that may actually become an asset to your activity if you take the time to show them the ropes so they don't get caught up in the politics that is always festering just below the surface waiting for Ralph's evil twin to kick over the slop bucket.

You can get new people. You don't need a special class for them. You do need to make them feel wanted, needed and welcome and don't pay any attention to Dick cause it feeds his ego.
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JC3 View Post


I believe that this is crucial for the beginner. It is also very, very hard to make happen.
I visited/volunteer marshalled at my local club for weeks before purchasing a setup. Several people kept asking me, "When are you going to get a car!) Nobody said, "Do you need any help?" I suggested to one guy that a mentoring program would really be helpful. He said, "Yeah, that's a great idea." However, he never offered to help me! lol

I'm a brand new 57yr old newb. Raced automobiles my whole life but never raced RC cars. Visited my local track and decided to run in VTA because it looked like fun and all of my research indicated that it was a great 'starter class.' At my club there is a novice class but basically it's only the kids of the regulars that run in it to keep them entertained it seems. My plan was to run in VTA.

Here's where the problems started.

1) I only visited on race days. Big mistake since guys are in the zone and aren't remotely interested in chatting with strangers. If you're new, only visit on practice days if you want to chat or access someones pit space. Point is, I had nobody to really talk to to get answers to my questions. I used the web and research almost exclusively for answers. FWIW, local hobby shops are totally useless for such things. That's another discussion.

2) Deciding on what equipment to buy took me weeks of research. What do I need, how many, VTA rules/specs, what chassis, transmitter, charger, motor, ESC. It was totally overwhelming to make decisions and hopefully the right decisions. Even now that I have everything, I see that I made some bad choices. This stuff is complicated. Racing complicates everything always has and always will. It's easier to work on automobiles than it is on RC cars, mainly because of the difference in the availability of information.

3) The big one. Learning to drive isn't easy. I spent hours painting my VTA body and destroyed it to bits at my first practice. Thank god I bought a bigger bumper. As I'm bashing it to bits someone took mercy on me and yelled out, "Adjust your dual rates!" That definitely helped. Point is, you're not going to be racing in VTA without months of practice or some insane natural ability to tune and drive. Expectations need to be set. I'm older so yeah, it will be more challenging. For younger folks this might not be so much of a factor.

The point: I personally feel that if I had a contact, or contacts, at the club I visit it would have been much easier for me all around. It sounds sickening to suggest that someone should have held my hand but man, I do wish I had someone to sit down with to lend a hand with the equipment list and setting those all important expectations.

(I must be fair and say that now that I have all of the 'stuff' and have started going to practices, my club members have been very kind and helpful. If any of you are one of them, I thank you very much.)
Good post!

I have had to get back into this hobby twice after multiple years off, and now racing multiple classes (clay 17.5, VTA, 1/12th, and now thinking of F1). It's a LOT to learn and is even overwhelming for someone that knows the basics and knows how detailed it can be.

By the way, if anyone is getting back in, or getting in for the first time, and needs help picking equipment just send me a PM. I'm a bit of a research junkie, not overly brand loyal, and am happy to help with what I've learned over the last few months.

Lastly, I'm Peter Eichler, I'll be racing when I can up at Trackside and WCRC. My dad Pete will be around at CRC as well. I'm still getting my feet wet again, but I'm happy to help anyone newer to the hobby with the basics if you're around and I'm around, raceday or not.
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Last edited by Ike; 03-05-2018 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:27 PM
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This discussion has come up a lot recently within our club, and with talking to other racers, I have to agree that in order to create an inclusive environment, more rules/regulations isn't always the solution.


Creating a fun & engaging program for racers would do more to bring people in than creating another class to muddy up the already confusing On-Road class structure.


Our outdoor program run by Galaxy Hobby in Washington is the PERFECT example of an inclusive program. They are a TCS-first program, and were one of the original Regional stops for the series. Their club has always centered around the idea of fair, fun racing for the sportsman FIRST. On our club race days (excluding TCS) The class structure follows the TCS rules, but the rules and regulations are set up loose enough to include almost any On-Road racer in the area. competition is still the name of the game, but FUN is priority #1, and if you ask any racer why the Galaxy program has done so well for 20+ years, they'd all reply with "It's just a fun place to race". The rules are structured for good racing, but lax enough so there's a place for anyone to race, regardless of what they show up with. It's a relaxed atmosphere that makes for a great day, regardless of skill level.


Far too often, we take this hobby WAYYY too seriously. Club racing is meant to be a fun/enjoyable escape, not a weekly ROAR Nats. But it has to start from those running the track, to the racers, and beyond.


Just my thoughts.
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Old 03-05-2018, 07:22 PM
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Nerobro, if your friends are hesitant about WC. Bring them to Orland Park this summer. I believe we know some of the same people. The Sidewinderz guys run a causal race day. VTA isnít a churrent class. But they open if enuff show.

It took me 6 years to try a race. Another year really get into it. Spent most of those races at the back. Racing against my previous times. And slowly improving.
Iíd try running track day style events. Separate from normal race days. Iíd focus on just getting people used to track driving. Used to others cars. That was a big thing for me last summer. Knowing the freight train of faster cars is coming up every few laps.
Maybe have time trial ďracesĒ at these. Or have smaller groups ďraceĒ. The focus would be on track time and driving. Not if a shim here, a camber adjustment there. Yes setup is important. Still gotta practice.
It could be once a month. Iíd go with a late Saturday afternoon or early evening. Giving up a full Sunday 8-10 hours itís always an option. Hard to give up that one day off a week that a lot of us have.
With VTA Iíd split the class. Chassis under $150 would be a way. That gives options:TC4, BT4, SpecR, Sakura. Just saw the HobbyKing Blaze yesterday. $100 for assembled with body and tires. Those wanting to use high end stuf, Tc7, 4x, Awesomatix, they are separate group. Maybe have them add weight. Still on track together but separate. Real TransAm racing has 4 class running. As do other European road racing. Remember one that added weight to winning car for next race.
The mentor idea sounds good. But see a bunch of potential blocks. Again work and family life. But just simple distance would be problem.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:57 PM
  #28  
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Doesn't F1 already meet the newbie needs.

Cheap.
Slow 25.5
Easy regular 2cell stuff.
Everlasting tires.
No silly etc. rules needed.
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Zerodefect View Post
Doesn't F1 already meet the newbie needs.

Cheap.
Slow 25.5
Easy regular 2cell stuff.
Everlasting tires.
No silly etc. rules needed.
My F1 cost more then my USGT car.
RWD is much harder to learn. They donít work on unprepared surfaces, for us that race on pavement. When I start up this summer it will have been 38 weeks since Iíve driven F1. While, weather permitting, I can and have practiced with USGT car all winter outside.
Noticeable drop in tire grip after 3 race days. Thatís 4 rounds of 6 minutes each day. Plus practice. Though as I improved that was closer to 2 race days. If grip didnít go, sidewalls usually failed.
To outsider, and to those first trying. F1 looks even more fragile the TC. Iíve now seen what they can take. And itís far more then ever imagined.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JC3 View Post
"Any car" No freaking way! TC4's vs XRays is what you'll have and that won't work. Euro truck is the right idea here. One chassis - many bodies, which allows folks to be unique in some way. Start a Traxxas 4-Tec class, please! $350ish and go racing! Why hasn't this been done yet?
I've been beating Xrays with my TC3.
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