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Old 03-21-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
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Default Practice Options

Having recently moved to a city without a permanent on-road facility, I find myself discouraged by the lack of practice time I'm getting. In fact, even with a track in town, it was hard to get away more than once a week since it was a 30 mile jaunt each way. I enjoy competitive racing, and hope to continue my growth as a driver. The problem is, if I can't get enough practice to improve and become more competitive, a lot of what I find fun about the hobby begins to fade away. My primary style of racing is 1/10 rubber tire on carpet, and I hope to travel some this year to large events to race it. Since there's none of that available locally until next winter (or 180 miles round-trip), I'm hoping to find other things I can do that will improve my skills, and hopefully translate to being better at my primary style of racing.

So, I've come up with a few options. I guess what I'm wondering, is, will any of these things actually help, and also if there are other ideas from the crowd, or stories on what has worked for you. It seems like many on-road drivers have lost their home tracks recently, so maybe this is something that other people have been thinking about as well.

Options:

1. On-Road Asphalt (parking lots): There's a lot of parking lot racing out here during the summer, and I plan to do it as often as possible. I figure this is going to be the closest I'll get to racing on carpet since I'll be using my same car, and it should further my knowledge of setup and adapting to difference environments and traction levels. I'd like to think the time spent here will directly influence my ability on carpet. I'm most looking forward to this type of racing, as I've never really raced outside.

2. Off-Road: We have a local indoor off-road track. I decided to pick up a buggy to do some racing. Off-road is fun, and I'm told the competition at this track is world-class. I don't expect to win much, but I'm hoping the wheel time will somehow make me sharper, and better when racing on-road. It seems to me that diversity as a racer can only improve your overall skill, however that's just speculation. Also, I'm told buggies require a lot of finesse and throttle control, which I'd like to think will improve the old smooth finger.

3. Virtual RC: Truly, this game pisses me off, because it's so close, yet so far away. I definitely have to credit it for improving my car control early on, but as I get more experienced, the game's shortcomings are maddening. It's far enough from the real thing that the little nuances drive me crazy. I'm eager to see how things improve with V4, especially with the introduction of electric on-road. I hear all the physics are completely redone, so perhaps the things that annoy me about the current version will be better.

4. Mini-Z: This is a new one I've been thinking about. I have a pretty large area in my basement that I may be able to convert into an "RCP" track. I stumbled across a Mini-Z video on YouTube today, and was surprised at how much it looked like a perfectly scaled down version of the on-road racing we do. In poking around, it seems like you can get by with fairly small tracks and really get a good portion of the whole on-road experience. Here is an example of one of the top Mini-Z drivers, wheeling a ridiculously fast (and expensive!!!) car around a track that seems pretty large by Mini-Z standards. Also, you can see a more reasonably priced car zipping around on a smaller track, which also looks very similar to our on-road cars. I'm most excited about this option, as it's something I could do at home, it's still a real car, and the driving style and control required seem like they would be very similar to our big cars. Has anybody raced these, or do you have any opinion on whether or not that kind of wheel time could translate to improved skills with a bigger car?

That's about all I've come up with for the moment, but I'm still looking around. I do feel like watching videos of good drivers helps me a lot, since I better understand how my car should look on the track, and I can study the lines they take on different layouts. Otherwise, it seems like I spend 99.9% of my R/C time thinking about racing, but not actually doing it. To me, that feels like a VERY long road toward improvement.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:34 PM   #2
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Not to be a jerk, but it sounds like you have pigeon holed yourself.

You'll have all these opportunities to race but rubber tire on carpet is the only thing that really gives you pleasure?

If you changed your outlook from "carpet racing is the only fun racing" to "I'll race anything anywhere because the racing itself is what gives me the most pleasure" you wouldn't be in a such a funk.

Count yourself lucky to have so many venues to race at.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by chicagokenji View Post
Not to be a jerk, but it sounds like you have pigeon holed yourself.

You'll have all these opportunities to race but rubber tire on carpet is the only thing that really gives you pleasure?

If you changed your outlook from "carpet racing is the only fun racing" to "I'll race anything anywhere because the racing itself is what gives me the most pleasure" you wouldn't be in a such a funk.

Count yourself lucky to have so many venues to race at.
Sorry if it sounded that way, I'm actually VERY excited to run some off-road, and some asphalt. I'm not doing them just for the wheel time, I'm genuinely looking forward to both, and expect to enjoy them equally. However, at least currently, my passion is definitely on-road, especially with rubber tires. When I travel to big races, these are the type I'd like to attend, since so many of my R/C friends race the same style, and it's generally what I know and love.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I live in a great city for racing, and I'm actively working to take advantage of as much of it as possible. I guess you never forget your first true love. :-)
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chicagokenji View Post
If you changed your outlook from "carpet racing is the only fun racing" to "I'll race anything anywhere because the racing itself is what gives me the most pleasure" you wouldn't be in a such a funk.
I actually agree with this, and really do look forward to all types of racing. But in the back of my mind, I'm also looking for ways to improve at the style of racing I enjoy the most. But between my B4 and two 416's (carpet & asphalt), I'm definitely looking to support much of the local racing, and participate as much as possible.

It's just not enough... I want to practice... a lot.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:48 PM   #5
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What I've heard for years and what seems to play out is that if you can race 2WD Mod buggy in offroad and master it that you can do well in just about any other kind of racing.

Generally I've never seen guys who master rubber on carpet doing the same in offroad.

So....maybe concentrate on the mod buggy to make yourself a better carpet racer?
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:51 PM   #6
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If you have access to your own parking lot and want to practice more you could make your own layout and use I-LapRC as a timing system. It would be very affordable and an easy way to monitor your practicing.
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:01 PM   #7
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Syndrome,

Asphalt racing is really fun, its different then carpet for sure but its equally fun. I do both, I perfer neither over the other. They are both great fun but for different reasons. I really think that if you perfer on road over off road (like I do) and you go racing outdoors knowing that you will have to learn a thing or two but go into with a good attitude, then you will enjoy yourself fully. When you get yourself setup with a good car on Asphalt you will have a on your face just like on carpet.

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Old 03-21-2008, 03:11 PM   #8
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There are at least two thread on the Trinity Tech Talk site about on-road in the greater Denver area. RacerRuss is a friend, top notch, a good driver and a great source of information. There are several national caliber drivers over there and you can push your skills just trying to keep up. I have raced electric and nitro on-road over there and the Colorado Gang has always been friendly and very helpful.
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:16 PM   #9
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There are at least two thread on the Trinity Tech Talk site about on-road in the greater Denver area. RacerRuss is a friend, top notch, a good driver and a great source of information. There are several national caliber drivers over there and you can push your skills just trying to keep up. I have raced electric and nitro on-road over there and the Colorado Gang has always been friendly and very helpful.
You're right, I've met many of them and raced with them their last 3 races on the carpet. This is an amazing town for racing, and I feel very lucky to have so much here. I'm a member of the local club, and deeply appreciative to have something so cool locally. This is in no way a complaint about the local race scene, I totally dig it, and am participating at every given opportunity.

I'm just looking for ways to practice and improve while the rug is rolled up for the summer, especially since I plan to hit up some big carpet races later in the year.

Rus was the very first guy I met when I showed up to race here. He's everything you say and more. :-)
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:25 PM   #10
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Syndrome -- I think Jess would let you run on the permanent on-road track at MHOR when ever the shop is open. You would have to sweep it off at a minimum, but then again the same would be true for a parking lot. On top of that, the surface quality there will probably be way better than what we will race on with the club...you probably wont find a better quality surface anywhere else. The drive may be further, but you could go there on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, practice on-road, and then head inside and race off-road in the evening... Thats what I would do if I lived closer to Denver...
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:12 PM   #11
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Syndrome -- I think Jess would let you run on the permanent on-road track at MHOR when ever the shop is open. You would have to sweep it off at a minimum, but then again the same would be true for a parking lot. On top of that, the surface quality there will probably be way better than what we will race on with the club...you probably wont find a better quality surface anywhere else. The drive may be further, but you could go there on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, practice on-road, and then head inside and race off-road in the evening... Thats what I would do if I lived closer to Denver...
That's a good option! I need to meet the off-road guys and see where they stand on using the outdoor track for practice. It's actually quite close to me. I'll probably be out there next week to see what all this dirt and jumps stuff is about.
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:55 PM   #12
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Geez Syn, quit whining and go race whatever you can!! We may have a couple of big races this summer over here in SLC, so you can think about coming over for those. It will be parking lot, but it is better then nothing.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:28 PM   #13
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That's a good option! I need to meet the off-road guys and see where they stand on using the outdoor track for practice. It's actually quite close to me. I'll probably be out there next week to see what all this dirt and jumps stuff is about.
Are you going to race off road Wednesdays or Saturdays? I'd be willing to come down early on Saturdays (except tomorrow) if you want to practice on-road...
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:19 PM   #14
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Are you going to race off road Wednesdays or Saturdays? I'd be willing to come down early on Saturdays (except tomorrow) if you want to practice on-road...
It's hard for me to get away on Saturdays, unfortunately. I'm planning to do off-road on Wednesday.
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:30 PM   #15
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I have never raced on carpet (I race out on asphalt) but I have to say

Being out doors is nice, fresh air, sun
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