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Old 12-06-2006, 09:48 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Bob-Stormer
Here's my thoughts on why spec cars almost never work... In a nutshell, 95% of the hobby is the stuff you do at home. You got into the RC car "thing" because you wanted a hobby, something to fill your time.

When you have a car with only 15 parts on it, all of which you can't work on, and you cannot make or buy pieces to improve it, what exactly are you supposed to do with your spare time? I suppose get another hobby, Golf, Motocross, hit the dunes, PS3, etc.

Most spec cars eliminate the hobby, from the hobby.

Bob, I have seen you comment on this a couple of times, and I loudly disagree completely with your stance on this. Who says "spec" cars have to be simple Bolink Legends-like and dull? Have you attended a Tamiya TCS event? It's about as spec as you can get. I know you have at least some experience in seeing SCCA spec classes work, and they are NOT and do not have to be simple and cheap-looking. Spec Racer Ford is still one of the largest classes in amateur SCCA racing, and Spec Miata is rapidly swallowing everything in it's path... almost literally.

Spec classes just limit spending and modifications that most people either can't do or don't have the knowledge to do. A spec class with a Corally RDX or TC3 wouldn't be any different than a spec class with a Tamiya—just different price points. You can limit things where ever you need to limit them, like motors, batteries, bodies, and especially tires—which is the first place to start to bring back the fun in road racing.

Spec this: $200 (street value) chassis price limit, sealed up Mabuchi-type motors, 6-cell stick packs and treaded hard compound HPI ADVAN tires.


I'm in.




Stop trying to appeal to kids. It doesn't work. They have less attention span than I do, and WAY too many other distractions that are far more appealing, and have far more money to win over their hearts and minds. Try to appeal to the masses of racers who are already out there and completely disenchanted with the mess that is the current state of road racing.



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Old 12-06-2006, 10:50 AM   #137
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Well, here is something we tried this year to get electric turnouts back up (well, they were never really that "up" in the first place), and we encountered some moderate success.

By late last year, electric racing in GA had pretty much been reduced to nothing.

We started a late-summer, early-fall electric points series...6 races over the course of only 2.5 months. We wanted to span the series over a short period of time as one way to keep interest up.

BUT, we all know how these points series work by now; everyone gets all excited for the first one, and then by the last few races you barely have enough racers to form classes!

So, we created a planned-out prize system. At each individual race, we gave out small-to-medium value RC door prizes (such as t-shirts, tools, and other odds and ends) to the racers, most of which were donated. At the finale, we gave out over $1000 in high-value items, some of which was donated, and some of which was paid for by the series revenue.

Here's the kicker, though: We made the series-ending door prizes eligible ONLY to racers that competed in at least 4 out of our six races! Basically, we bribed the racers into showing up (and they know that). Racers started clearing their calendars so they could make sure they showed up for enough races. Once racing began, people started having lots of fun, and the prizes became less of a priority.

How did we get the revenue? We spoke with the two tracks involved and asked them to donate $5 from each entry at each series race they held. They gladly did this, as they would end up getting much more money just because of the potential higher turnouts. In the end, there was enough cash raised to both pay for more prizes and provide all the racers a meal at the finale.

How did we get prizes donated? We just called or emailed and asked. RCAmerica was the most generous, donating a brand new XRAY T2 kit to give away at our last race.

Racers attending 4 out of our 6 races were eligible to win the following prizes:
-XRAY T2 Kit
-NOVAK Brushless system
-MuchMore Racing Power Supply
-MuchMore Motor Cooler
-AMB Personal Transponder

Another thing we did was to implement a CS27 spec tire for the TC class, and SchumacherUSA gave us a nice discount we could pass on to the racers. Also, we teched all the tires and limited each racer to a maximum of 4 sets for the entire series. Our company, Nexus Racing, fronted the cash for the tires.

The rules were pretty flexible: we allowed Li-Po, etc...after all, the more racers was definitely the better in our case.

The biggest thing this series did was get people excited about electric racing again. Also, we were able to bring in a few new guys who have now become regulars. We have hit a little slump now because of the cold weather, but the racers are still out there and still vocal, and a lot of us are traveling to race on carpet.

Next year, we are hoping to have a couple of exhibition races in some public parking lots, etc.

End result: We are by no means the racing-turnout capital of the southeast, but we are certainly headed in the right direction.
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:09 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by Nexus Racing
..The biggest thing this series did was get people excited about electric racing again. Also, we were able to bring in a few new guys who have now become regulars.....
Another great idea! Its all about increasing turnout. Half the problems we have now would be mute if 30-40 guys showed up every race day.

Thanks for the input, we look forward to hearing more from you!

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Old 12-06-2006, 11:38 AM   #139
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I think the dust is finally settling and the clear way to increase attendance and interest is becoming apparent. It is not make the cars slower it is make the cars cheaper. At Tamiya we are both lucky and cursed (some would say) to only allow one make of car lucky for this make supports many styles of racing.

Recently we have had an increase in Mini Coopers and when why the drivers went out and got a Mini there response wasn't "they're easier to drive" it was " it cheap and requires little maintenance" Now these also have a FWD drive train (mostly) which greatly improves cost and makes them easier to drive for the novice so some may argue that this is also a reason. Well then Tamiya released a Direct Drive touring Car F-201GT and then evolved in into a LMP (Lemans Prototype) kit with an open cockpit LeMans style body. This car is not slower it is actually much faster in a straight line then a touring car if the same motor is used and it is by no means easier to drive some may say it can be a handful. But is is cheap to run and to maintain you can get the kit for roughly $130 and even if you bought every factory or aftermarket hop-up for it, virtually replacing every piece on it your still under $240.00 and your done there is very little that will wear out and even less that will ever brake. Well every week for the past month and a half we have had an increase of at least 2 cars per weekend! Both from Pro's and novices alike. We run a fun run class allowing up to 23T motors but everyone chooses to run the Johnson because it is still fast enough and allows for drivers to join the grid and the cars are not slow by any means. They are (listen up chassis manufacturers):

• Lightweight
• Simple to build
• Easy to maintain
• Tamiya bodies look like real cars!
• Handle decent enough to rub fenders
• work with all of todays TC wheels, tires and Bodies
• Fit all kinds of batteries both Matched, Stickpack and Li-Po
• And last but certainly not least....Very affordable

I still say it is not the speed it is the cost that drives people away. The elements that make it fun to race have always been there and never have changed it is still lining up on a grid and going at the tone and there is a class for all speeds so this is not the killer. The one factor that has changed is price. Some argue that it should be expensive as this will make it better for those involved. I strongly disagree with this, if you want to call it a sport then be willing to take on all challengers, if you want it to just be your select few then call it a game.

I think the majority are tired of playing games.
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:53 AM   #140
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I agree. I see some real promise for class possibilities with the Mini Cooper and the F103 GT (in particular the GT since it can take LMP, Group C or Touring bodies)
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:16 PM   #141
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:31 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by ApexSpeed
Spec Racer Ford is still one of the largest classes in amateur SCCA racing, and Spec Miata is rapidly swallowing everything in it's path... almost literally.

Spec classes just limit spending and modifications that most people either can't do or don't have the knowledge to do.
Well, let's follow your path.

How is it that the SCCA can do well with a class that you can buy a cage for $2500, or have the head "freshened" for $850. And we supposedly have trouble attracting people with cars that are cheaper than a good set of goggles... Not a piece of the car, the entire RC car.

There are quite a few places that will set you up with an "arrive and drive" for the weekend for $2500-$3000 + parts. And there seems to be no real shortage of people willing to do that. Yet, here we are, confident that having a $100 car will bring in more people... I have the phone number to a guy, and it's a saved number on my phone, I call him 3-4 times a year (he has been to my home), of a guy that sets up Miata cars for "arrive and drive" people. He also makes a good living, GOOD LIVING, selling budget replacement transmissions to the "spec guys" at $1200 a pop.

Here's a snipet from a Spec Miata forum. Guy wanted to know what he could do with an extra $2 grand he has laying around. Here's the answer.
"...if I had an extra $2K I'd do another race weekend or 2..."

Here's another response to the $2 Grand Spec Miata question.
"...Don't worry about the $2k burning a hole in your pocket. In no time flat, it will be the other way around. Other things you can spend your money on: alignment tools, scales, HANS, radios, data acq... the list is endless...."

Cheap eh? People don't do it because it's cheap, they do it because it's fun. People will find a way to do the things they REALLY want to do, or really enjoy doing.

A $400 RC car is just keeping people out of the hobby, we need a $200 to get people in the hobby... $200 car is just to expensive, we need a $100 car to get people in the hobby. $100 car is to expensive, we need a $60 car to get people into the hobby... At some point you have to realize that no amount of telling people how cheap something is, is going to get them to do it if they don't feel THAT IT WILL BE FUN.

No amount of telling me that I can get a good fishing pole and all the necessary items to go fishing for under $200 is going to make me go fishing, even if it was actually a $2000 setup and was a REALLY good deal.

I own a set of rollerblades, but I have no interest in joining a street hockey club or event.

If racing, in ANYTHING, was only about price, nobody would ever race ANYTHING. Racing has a price tag.

Yet motorcross clubs across the country (including Montana) have no problems bringing in hundreds of racers and familiys that have spent upwards of $6-$20K to go racing. Not to mention RV's suppor tequipment...etc...etc...

Hobbys are about fun, and filling your spare time. Where racing is fun, it fourishes, where it is not, it dies.


Make it fun, put it in front of people, and people will do it. Hide it in a warehouse, keep it to yourself, and watch the group develop into "cliques" and it will die. Look at the posts where people say they are having successes, they are upbeat, having fun, and keeping interest up.

If racing in your area is WAY down, you can't blame the hobby. Well, you can, but it wouldn't be an entirely accurate assessment of why nobody is showing up.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:48 PM   #143
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Well, apples to REALLY expensive apples comparison, there. Racing real cars has a completely different market than those that race toy cars. In the grand scheme of things, Spec cars in the SCCA are relatively inexpensive—compared to other forms of open class racing. I spent 4 years racing Formula Continental, and I can tell you, a $450 Corally RDX is easier to swallow than a new set of $750 tires for one race weekend, if that. It's all relative.

And regardless of the real class (there are expensive spec classes, too), any type of racing costs money. Those guys who are filling the ranks of the spec classes in the SCCA are choosing those BECAUSE they COST a lot less than a brand new $45,000 Formula Continental. While the Spec Racer Ford may seem like a LOT to many, especially when you are comparing the costs to TOY car racing, they are relatively cheap to race on a regular regional or national level, and the classes are PACKED everywhere around the country.

Spec classes have HUGE merit, and deserve consideration for those of us who don't want to spend in order to compete on a level playing field.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:53 PM   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob-Stormer
Well, let's follow your path.

How is it that the SCCA can do well with a class that you can buy a cage for $2500, or have the head "freshened" for $850. And we supposedly have trouble attracting people with cars that are cheaper than a good set of goggles... Not a piece of the car, the entire RC car.

There are quite a few places that will set you up with an "arrive and drive" for the weekend for $2500-$3000 + parts. And there seems to be no real shortage of people willing to do that. Yet, here we are, confident that having a $100 car will bring in more people... I have the phone number to a guy, and it's a saved number on my phone, I call him 3-4 times a year (he has been to my home), of a guy that sets up Miata cars for "arrive and drive" people. He also makes a good living, GOOD LIVING, selling budget replacement transmissions to the "spec guys" at $1200 a pop.

Here's a snipet from a Spec Miata forum. Guy wanted to know what he could do with an extra $2 grand he has laying around. Here's the answer.
"...if I had an extra $2K I'd do another race weekend or 2..."

Here's another response to the $2 Grand Spec Miata question.
"...Don't worry about the $2k burning a hole in your pocket. In no time flat, it will be the other way around. Other things you can spend your money on: alignment tools, scales, HANS, radios, data acq... the list is endless...."

Cheap eh? People don't do it because it's cheap, they do it because it's fun. People will find a way to do the things they REALLY want to do, or really enjoy doing.

A $400 RC car is just keeping people out of the hobby, we need a $200 to get people in the hobby... $200 car is just to expensive, we need a $100 car to get people in the hobby. $100 car is to expensive, we need a $60 car to get people into the hobby... At some point you have to realize that no amount of telling people how cheap something is, is going to get them to do it if they don't feel THAT IT WILL BE FUN.

No amount of telling me that I can get a good fishing pole and all the necessary items to go fishing for under $200 is going to make me go fishing, even if it was actually a $2000 setup and was a REALLY good deal.

I own a set of rollerblades, but I have no interest in joining a street hockey club or event.

If racing, in ANYTHING, was only about price, nobody would ever race ANYTHING. Racing has a price tag.

Yet motorcross clubs across the country (including Montana) have no problems bringing in hundreds of racers and familiys that have spent upwards of $6-$20K to go racing. Not to mention RV's suppor tequipment...etc...etc...

Hobbys are about fun, and filling your spare time. Where racing is fun, it fourishes, where it is not, it dies.


Make it fun, put it in front of people, and people will do it. Hide it in a warehouse, keep it to yourself, and watch the group develop into "cliques" and it will die. Look at the posts where people say they are having successes, they are upbeat, having fun, and keeping interest up.

If racing in your area is WAY down, you can't blame the hobby. Well, you can, but it wouldn't be an entirely accurate assessment of why nobody is showing up.
Real race weekends are a lot more fun than RC race weekends any day.... Honestly, I'd rather dump 20k into a real race car than another $450 on another RC touring car....

You just don't get the same rush heading down the straight in an RC that you get in a real car....
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:46 PM   #145
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Mind you, all I was trying to point out was that Racing is expensive, people understand that, parents understand that, spouses understand that.

And that people will spend money on things they believe to be fun. Regardless of the cost, but within reason of course.

I don't know that I've ever purchased something I DIDN'T WANT because the price was really good. ?!

I have spent to much money on a few things I thought would be HUGE FUN!!!
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:54 PM   #146
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I have spent to much money on a few things I thought would be HUGE FUN!!!
Me too and the majority were female....
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:17 PM   #147
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I'm glad I found this. We did what you guys are talking about this year and it worked. A couple of basic classes for a traveling series that took the races anywhere people would have us. It grew better than we hoped The series was for F1 racing and included stock touring cars. But F1 was the reason for the series and we started with 4 cars on the track. Now we have over forty F1's in two classes and more on the way for the 2007 series. Very simple rules. Some perm tracks and a portable to use at malls, businesses, etc. It started 2006 racing in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. This year it will expand into Illinois and South Carolina. Pretty much low budget racing and that was the whole idea other than having as much fun as we could doing it. Keep the ideas coming here, I'm all for keeping it simple which makes it more fun. Which seem to make people want to join in. That's the plan right?
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:20 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Bob-Stormer

Cheap eh? People don't do it because it's cheap, they do it because it's fun. People will find a way to do the things they REALLY want to do, or really enjoy doing.

A $400 RC car is just keeping people out of the hobby, we need a $200 to get people in the hobby... $200 car is just to expensive, we need a $100 car to get people in the hobby. $100 car is to expensive, we need a $60 car to get people into the hobby... At some point you have to realize that no amount of telling people how cheap something is, is going to get them to do it if they don't feel THAT IT WILL BE FUN.

No amount of telling me that I can get a good fishing pole and all the necessary items to go fishing for under $200 is going to make me go fishing, even if it was actually a $2000 setup and was a REALLY good deal.

I own a set of rollerblades, but I have no interest in joining a street hockey club or event.

If racing, in ANYTHING, was only about price, nobody would ever race ANYTHING. Racing has a price tag.

Yet motorcross clubs across the country (including Montana) have no problems bringing in hundreds of racers and familiys that have spent upwards of $6-$20K to go racing. Not to mention RV's suppor tequipment...etc...etc...

Hobbys are about fun, and filling your spare time. Where racing is fun, it fourishes, where it is not, it dies.


Make it fun, put it in front of people, and people will do it. Hide it in a warehouse, keep it to yourself, and watch the group develop into "cliques" and it will die. Look at the posts where people say they are having successes, they are upbeat, having fun, and keeping interest up.

If racing in your area is WAY down, you can't blame the hobby. Well, you can, but it wouldn't be an entirely accurate assessment of why nobody is showing up.
Bob-I've seen you bring up the cost comparisons to other hobbies before and here's the big difference that you're not including-all those other hobbies,real race cars,motorcycles,go karts,paintball,golf,fishing,ect.,ect.,ect.,are all the real thing. They're one to one with reality so to speak because you're in it or on it or whatever but you are actually,physically connected and involved with what's going on.R/C is one step removed from reality because you are outside of the actual activity-(where a video game is almost completely removed from reality).And so it should cost less!-in scale.

Here's the real problem-racing R/C touring cars in the "conventional" manner with top of the line equipment costs too much(in money and time) FOR WHAT IT DELIVERS,for a lot of people.

To draw another parallel to SCCA,conventional r/c touring car racing only has something comparable to GT1,GT2,and GT3 or Formula Atlantic,Formula Continental,and Formula Ford.Those are all big bucks full blown race cars.There isn't much in widespread use in r/c that is comparable to Showroom Stock,or Improved Touring,or American Sedan-entry level classes.

A conventional,mainstream r/c touring car-the thing you set down on the track,is $1000 to $1500 needlessly.(and has been said many times on here,people interested in the hobby come in and that's all they see) The challenge of set up and driving,and the thrill of racing can easily be had for a third the money.(and I know that most people are spending more than they need to,but that is a seperate discussion).

You're in the industry so I'll put it to you this way.Would you rather sell 100 kits at $500 each or 1000 kits at $200? Or both? (assuming similar margins of course) 1000 $200 kits is 10 times the customers needing electronics,upgrades,service parts,ect.It's the same way at the hobby shop.If you owned the track/shop would you rather have 10 racers a week spending $100 each or 50 racers a week spending $40? Any hobby shop that only has 10 racers a week is struggling to survive and in a very precarious position-if they lose 2 racers they're screwed.If they have 50 racers and lose 10 it's not the end of the world,and with 40 racers still showing up they still have a good program that can attract racers.If you only have 8 cars per night there isn't much going on,not a lot of choices of what to run,and probably nothing on the lower end of the scale.The whole idea is to add 40 racers a week to the local track-and thats a whole lot harder to do at the high end of the scale.Another thing-it's easy for those of us that have been doing this for a while to forget how steep the learning curve is when you are just starting out.To jump into the hobby,especially into touring cars,requires someone that is really truly committed,since they have little other choice but to dive in to the deep end of the pool.

I'm going to try to illustrate this one more way to make sure I get the whole point across.We have something like 30 Chevrolet dealerships here in the metro area.We have one Mercedes dealership.Benz's are really sweet,and worth what they cost,but they are far more than is needed to perform the task at hand of getting you to work and the store ect.,and out of the reach of most of the population.A Chevy will do the job just as well.If the Chevy dealerships all went away do you think everyone would just go buy a Benz? No, they would just do without a new car if that was the only choice.All those Chevy stores are in a lot more stable business position than that one Mercedes store.Every Chevy store sells several cars on a bad day,the Benz store may go several days without a sale-their market is smaller.For the r/c racing market to thrive there needs to be more Chevys in addition to the Benz's.There needs to be a Spec Miata class and a GT1 class,and many others.

That's the whole idea-to make the market 10 times bigger by serving every price point,and growing classes that aren't so serious. You're right in that it thrives where it's fun.Broadening the appeal opens the door for more people to find it FUN.You can blame the hobby if it has become too exclusive,and from what a lot of people are saying on here,in most places it has.
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:09 PM   #149
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DrOlds,

Go into any shop that has a Tamiya mini on the counter for $90, and T-maxx on the counter for $500. Ask which one sells better. Kinda shoots a small hole in that Chevy, Mercedes theory. We have plenty of "chevys", available to us.

Somebody mentioned the Tamiya TCS. In this scenario, the car is $90... How much cheaper does it really need to be? If it was just about pricing, we'd all be running that car.

There are 2 different things here, one is the "RC hobby", and one is "RC racing". They are not as similar as you would think.

Even this thread, are the folks on it interested in changing the hobby, or changing RC racing? The thread is entitled "Change the hobby".

People that are looking for a hobby and something to beat up and down the street with their buddies, don't seem to mind plunking down $750 for a Kyosho Truggy, Or a Grand for a Robonova servo robot, or $550 for a Losi Muggy, $450 for a Savage-X, or a Grand for the HPI Baja.

Yet it is thought by some that we need $90 kits to get racers to the track.

The trick is to figure out how to get those 10-20 T-maxx owners that flitter through even the smallest of towns, to come on out to the track and HAVE SOME FUN!!!

The "RC hobby" and "RC racing" are not the same, and appeal to different people. There is some crossover, but it's pretty low, like maybe 5% or less? So the real problem is not that we need those 10-20 T-maxx guys to come out to race, but that they don't care and aren't interested in that segment.
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:19 PM   #150
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lots of good ideas from people. heres my 2c.

the cost of racing, while a bit pricey, is not completely unreasonable when compared to golf, windsurfing, skiiing etc etc. people will spend their money where they percieve they get the most benifit. If the hobby was twice as much fun, relatively it would be better value.

a new racer could be very competitive with a T2r, BL motor and esc, radio, charger and a lipo, for around $600US. Quality costs money, and 600 or so is not that bad. however I agree that a RTR only class would be good for the newbs.

we need to inject more FUN into the racing.

Personally, I race for fun, not for points or trophies, I race at 2 clubs and it shits me when I try to reduce the amount I spend on this hobby, while still getting the same amount of fun (I bought a brushless and lipo) and I get told I cant use it at club A, but club B is ok with it. Club A has 3 races for a total of 15 min of race time, at Club B I get 6 races for a total of 30 min race time. Guess which club is growing?

Club B has 3 classes, Novice (run what ya brung, inc Drift), Electric and Nitro, and a handicapping system so that silver can, stock and mod can all race on the track at the same time, depending on turnout cars are then grouped by laptime into A, B, C heats and finals, depending on how fast you are. A Silver can driver who drives well and avoids trouble can beat a Mod if the mod guy has a bad race, even if the mod driver takes "line honours" the Silver Can is still able to win based on handicap.

the "brushless/lipo is the ultimate leveller" argument is on the right track, but not everyone has the cash to get a BL setup (even though they are waaay cheaper in the long run), but I beleive the handicap idea has some real merit.

next year I'll stop racing at Club A, because it is too competitve and not enough fun - people bitching and protesting about "you diliberatly hit me" (it was first lap of first heat... OMG chill out man!)

I *think* that the number one sport, worldwide, by pure numbers of participants is..... GOLF. an "A grade" golfer can play a round with a "B grade" golfer and the B grader can still win, if they play a good round, even though they take more shots to complete the round, because they have a UNIVERSAL HANDICAPING SYSTEM.

Im not sure how this would/could be setup with RC, but the way it is organised at "club B" from earlier is this:

a decent driver does 10 laps of the track to come up with an "average laptime". for Mod its 15sec, for stock its 16.5sec, for Silver Can its 18sec, and novice has 20 sec. so in a 5 min (300sec) race, a mod driver should do 20 laps, and a stock should do 18. so the mod driver needs to beat the stock by MORE than 2 laps to win, which means that they effectivly have a 2 lap penalty. even though the mod driver takes line honours, they dont necessarily "win", they have to drive a good race and not make mistakes in order to win.

Also for the record, in Australia most tracks are concrete/asphalt, and grip is something that we need more of, not less of. I race rubber, cos its cheaper and there arnt the setup issues to do with tyre wear. Also id say that 30% of racers run silver cans (we call them "540") becuase it keeps the cost down, BUT! in the never ending quest to go faster, people spend on other areas. its not uncommon to see a AU$700 car, with a AU$500 radio, AU$300 esc, tyre warmers, discharge trays, 2 chargers, bla bla. making classes based on motor type is not the answer. The good thing about SC/540 is no breakages, hardly anything gets broken.


And if we can borrow a lesson or two from other major sporting events...

In Australia, there is a major yacht race every year from Sydney to Hobart (several thousand kilometres), that attracts hundreds of yachts of all different sizes. There are two races, one is for "line honours" (the bigger boats with large sail areas always win) then there is the "time adjusted" winner which typically goes to a smaller boat that is sailed very very well. Just like us, if a 540 driver drives really well, with a 40watt motor, and is only a few seconds a lap behind a mod driver with 200watts in his motor, who do you think really "won" the race. I'd say it should always be the guy that drives the best, not the guy with the most money/gear or fastest motor...

anyone else like the idea of some sort of handicapping system?
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