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Youth RC Initiative, a low-cost class for young drivers - Thoughts?

Youth RC Initiative, a low-cost class for young drivers - Thoughts?

Old 03-24-2015, 12:43 PM
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Default Youth RC Initiative, a low-cost class for young drivers - Thoughts?

Hi Everyone,

Please excuse the long post!

I've been in and out of (but always around) the RC scene for almost 20 years, starting as a kid racing touring cars during the boom of the mid-late 90's, moving into off-road buggies, and eventually losing interest as the usual distractions of late teens and twenties took over. Now that I'm in my 30's, I'm getting back into the hobby, as something to enjoy in my spare time, and to hopefully get my kids interested in.

Last weekend I attended the Canadian On-Road Nationals as the first big on-road RC race that I've attended in around 3 years since the Canadian TCS series disappeared.

My biggest takeaway from the race (other than how popular it was and seemed well run) was the lack of young people taking part, and although classes like VTA and USGT are aimed at reducing cost, many of the competitors still used very expensive equipment to compete at the competitive level, which would be very intimidating for any parent looking to get their child into the world of racing RC cars, which seems like an inexpensive hobby at first glance.

That being said, I think there is room in the on-road RC world for a true low-cost touring car series for young people, that offers them the potential and experience to progress into higher touring car classes, which I don’t believe an M-chassis can offer as directly.

After some thought, this is where I believe a starting point can be for this series, which could be known as the Youth Radio Controlled Initiative, or YRCI (better title suggestions are welcome, of course). The series would be limited to drivers under 16 years of age, and encourage them to build, maintain and repair their cars by themselves. A website containing how-to videos, build tips and guides would be part of the learning process.

My equipment suggestions for the spec series are as follows:

Chassis: Tamiya TT-02 Type-S. This is a fantastic, high quality budget ready-to race chassis that will perform well right out of the box. It has some suspension adjustment ability to allow the driver to learn about setup changes. The chassis is available globally (providing potential for national and even international tournaments), and replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to get.

No modifications/hop-ups would be allowed initially, with a re-evaluation as the series gets off the ground to address any weaknesses. Car must run as it comes out of the box. The only allowed changes would be Shock oil, diff grease and screws, simply because they are too hard to effectively control. Stock spur gear must be used, though pinion selection would be up to the driver, limited to the range provided by the kit supplied motor mount.

Motor: Tamiya Torque-Tuned motor included with the TT-02 Type-S kit. Inexpensive to replace and consistent.

ESC: Either open brushed or a budget spec ESC such as the Hobbywing Quicrun WP 1060, which is durable and can be purchased for $20.

Battery: Any 2-cell lipo with a maximum 30C rating and mAh of 4000. Again, this can be re-evaluated as battery technology progresses.

Body: Any 190mm body would be allowed. The idea would be that the body can be reused if the driver decides to run in a faster class, and the aerodynamic advantage of a racing body would be minimized by the low speed of the spec motor. Scale bodies will be encouraged but racing bodies will be eligible.

Tires: USGT Spec Ride tires, either with open wheel allowance or the pre-mounts available from Gravity RC. This allows the driver to bump up into USGT as skills progress if desired.

Radio/Servo: Open. Budget components will suffice and be encouraged.

I think a local hobby shop support system for this class would be desirable, with shop owners encouraged to assemble fixed-price packages for the class to prevent confusion from a buyer’s perspective. The packages could be limited to a certain price point, such as $500 for the complete car package, a battery, charger and radio/servo. Online retailers would also be encouraged to offer a complete package, to make the buying process easy for parents or young people looking to get into the hobby.

This is only a starting point, but I’d like to hear from people and see what they think of it. If enough interest builds, maybe we can work together as a community to grow the sport from the demographic that it was intended for in the first place!
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:53 PM
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While the tamiyas are nice, I think it would be better to go with the associated tc4 club racer. Parts would most likely be cheaper and they are good tough cars. Interesting that you posted this, as I am planning on getting my daughter a tc4 and build her a vta car.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:18 PM
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I like it. My son is 5 and almost good enough to get around a track with a slow motor. In a year or two it would be nice if races were held where he can actually race.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:38 PM
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Low cost is great but your proposal gives a kid one class that he can race in. Kids have pretty short attention spans and 20 minutes of racing over an 8 hour day isn't going to make racing very appealing.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:48 PM
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I feel that VTA should ONLY be an entry level class......cheap chassis and electronics....maybe RTR kits only......makes it cheap for newcomers
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:12 PM
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As a "cheap" class and as a in theory fair class, our club runs 13T hobbywing systems and a 6.5FDR.
Can run any chassis you want, any tyres, body etc.
At the speed they run they are slow enough for anyone to pick up, but fast enough to be fun for more the experienced. We have a age range from under 10's up to over 70's in the class, even a teenager who sufferes from muscular dystrophy.

Like everything, the fast guys are still much faster, you'll never do anything about that.
But the actual speed differences in the cars between cheap Tamiya cars to top of the range race cars isn't that much (with the same driver) though it's much easier to be consistent with a better chassis.

What really needs to be done is more help from the experienced guys.
Normally a basic club day I'd run 3 cars sometimes 4 just to help with the numbers in each class.
Last weekend I only wanted to run 1 class. There were 2 new kids, never raced before, so naturally, they were having a few problems.
I had more fun quicky fixing their cars during a race to get them back on the track, setting their cars up between races, showing them what line they should take, just all the stuff I wish someone did for me when I started.
It was more satisfying at the end of the day seeing how much fun they were having and their lap time improvements than it was actually racing.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bd581 View Post
What really needs to be done is more help from the experienced guys.
Normally a basic club day I'd run 3 cars sometimes 4 just to help with the numbers in each class.
Last weekend I only wanted to run 1 class. There were 2 new kids, never raced before, so naturally, they were having a few problems.
I had more fun quicky fixing their cars during a race to get them back on the track, setting their cars up between races, showing them what line they should take, just all the stuff I wish someone did for me when I started.
It was more satisfying at the end of the day seeing how much fun they were having and their lap time improvements than it was actually racing.
This is by far the best way to get new blood into the hobby and keep them there. If every track had a Brad or two, we'd be much better off!
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:39 PM
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Here's another idea to consider:

http://www.rctech.net/forum/electric...pec-class.html
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by hotrodchevy14 View Post
While the tamiyas are nice, I think it would be better to go with the associated tc4 club racer. Parts would most likely be cheaper and they are good tough cars. Interesting that you posted this, as I am planning on getting my daughter a tc4 and build her a vta car.
The TC4 was my other choice for chassis. I am leaning towards the TT-02 type-S for the following reasons:

- Global availability, should the class take off and become more than just a North American program. I'm not sure how easy it is to get Team Associated parts at a hobby shop in Korea or Belgium.
- It comes as a kit, which I think is more beneficial for young people, as they learn by building their own car, and have more of a sense of achievement and ownership once they've built it.
- The kit comes with the spec motor and a set of wheels, so those items will not need to be purchased separately.
- The TC4 is a great club chassis for sure (and fantastic value!), but I think it might be a bit too advanced for young kids, and with a front spool, may be too difficult to drive.

Thanks for the feedback so far! My vision for this class would be that the experienced racers can help the kids progress, but it's important for them to learn along the way, instead of just going along with it. A support system in the form of a youtube channel or website that they can use or contribute to would go a long way.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:41 PM
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......think getting more youth in rc is good.

-video games, sports and Internet compete with rc for a youths time.

--then factor in the high cost of getting into rc.......especially if parent isn't mechanically inclined........can be intimidating.

If cars could be provided free or at low cost........maybe have some driving lessons every hour or so......then kids could see how fun it is.........parents could see their is support.........maybe then they would make the financial commitment.........imagine if you had three sons(or daughters......
It would take a big financial and time commitment.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:09 AM
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There is a track near Lordstown, Ohio(N2Deep-indoor carpet on-road) that is doing a great job of getting youth involved. It's the first time I was at club and saw kids of parents who don't race attending. That's huge. These guys are running a Dromida SC 1/18th spec class($99RTR) that is getting 20 to 25 entries a week and club total entries have been regularly upper 60's to 70-71. Which is fantastic for regular club races. I think Racers are getting to caught up in trying to get new folks up to speed in a National Event Class than figuring out what it takes to get them to commit to Racing in the first place. What's needed is time to establish relationships and rivalries, that will be what hooks them on racing RC. Many of the people who started up with the Dromida spec have now moved up into VTA which now has three heats with more guys on the way. Locally(different track) VTA has been all but completely cannibalized by USGT. Without a novice feeder class there will be no new growth is this hobby that we know and love. Cheap to a seasoned racer is not cheap to someone wanting to find out if this hobby is for them or not. Once they have decided this is something they want to do then they will naturally pick a "Standard" class and join the rest of us, but until then we need to make it CHEAP and FUN by ANY means necessary.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:15 AM
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Your original idea is essentially what the TCS is (was). The problem (reality) is that the tt02 is a limited vehicle, and is a poor choice as a platform.

First, it uses Phillips screws. That alone, is enough to make any kid go crazy. Showing up to a track to "race", only to find out that the stripped heads prevented proper torquing down, so the chassis falls apart at the seems while rolling down the straightaway.

Second, it has no growth potential. It seems that the intention is to get kids to evolve into touring cars (not 1/12 scales or world GT's). Although the tt02 is a "TC", there are many things about it that will limit the ability for a teenager to progress. Ultimately, this 15 year old kid will feel like he/she was bait & switched into buying a tamiya 419 after realizing the deficiencies in the tt02. On the flip side, the tt02 could transform into what the "mini" class is now, where people are spending $500 in hop ups to make their "spec" car go faster. The world currently doesn't need another onroad class. The world just needs more onroad racers. Forcing too much "spec" is what killed the TCS in canada.

Third, the tt02 may be globally available, but it may not be the best universal choice. The Vaterra (team associated) and the Sprint (HPI) are just as easily available in the North American market, and the supporting "hop ups" are primarily from the chassis manufacturer which means local shops can easily support it. Last time I checked, most tt01 and tt02 hop ups were made from after market companies, which made it difficult for local shops to supply at feasible prices.

I believe the bigger issue is how to welcome new blood into the hobby. There are many ways for kids or new racers to get into onroad racing. A WGT with spec tires and a communal club tire lathe would be a very cost effective way to get people started. Although a 13.5 is the official rated motor for such a class, there is nothing wrong with running a 17.5 or 21.5 in that car to start off. If TC is the focus, the Sakura and Spec R cars are tunable vehicles, with plenty of hop ups available, can hold their ground with modern TC's, and use regular 2mm screws as opposed to Phillips. These cars are 79 US dollars. Sure, some local shops will complain. But instead of complaining, why not start stocking these cars through non-traditional distributors? Borgerfeldt isn't the only game in town anymore. Besides, there is more money to be made in spare parts.

Putting newbies and novices into the current popular 17.5 tc class helps bolster club numbers and prevents them from purchasing inferior cars. If 7 novice drivers show up to a race date, their qualifying order will ensure that they are grouped together so that they can have fun. Furthermore, if they decide to buy used from an old racer, they will get a great deal and (hopefully) support from fellow racers who are familiar with their car. If they buy new (xray, associated, Sakura), they end up with a car that fits their budget, which can be tuned and worked on as it is a modern touring car that won't make the new driver feel like they purchased a POS.

I like the tt02. It's a great rc car, but a racer, it is not. Just like the Traxxas Stampede, I love that vehicle, but I'm no going to try and race it against Team associated stadium trucks.

That's my two cents.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by (0000000000) View Post
Putting newbies and novices into the current popular 17.5 tc class helps bolster club numbers and prevents them from purchasing inferior cars. If 7 novice drivers show up to a race date, their qualifying order will ensure that they are grouped together so that they can have fun. Furthermore, if they decide to buy used from an old racer, they will get a great deal and (hopefully) support from fellow racers who are familiar with their car.
I agree with this. One-make 'budget' classes rarely last (plenty of clubs in the UK have tried over the years). The newbies who enjoy it will quickly want to move onto something better (and will have wasted money on the junk they started with). Those who don't enjoy it will go back to their Playstations.

It's nearly impossible to have a big enough in-flow of newcomers to keep the budget class stocked with drivers, and it'll end up being mixed in with the 17.5 stock class anyway.

Pointing the newbies at decent used kit is the way to get them started without breaking the bank.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:52 AM
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In the UK we have a class called GT12 which uses simplified and cheaper 1/12th pan cars on 1S with 13.5T motors on blinky. Performance is limited by the chassis and motor/speedo rules whilst the cars are also tough and can take a good knock.
But the even though the cars are simple and cheap the racing is competitive with many experienced racers also taking part as well as many newbies that find the class less intimidating than touring cars or traditional 1/12th and an ideal first step into RC racing. In many clubs now GT12 is more popular than touring cars as many have swapped over.
We have just completed a 9 hour endurance race against 14 other teams and the breakages were very small in spite of some very close racing and a busy track. This class has also seen a resurgence in the traditional 1/12th class as people look to move up as there skills improve.

The costs are low, most kits are under £100, parts and hop ups are cheap and the. For the electrics you can get a competitive 1S Hobbyking speedo for £30, a very popular servo is the Core RC one which is also £30 which we used without one issue in the 9 hour endurance event.

You can also get the kits and parts in the US from Amain and The Discount RC Store.

For a better insight you can look at these two videos;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1zD...layer_embedded

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbpJ...layer_embedded
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:57 AM
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This is a good idea to get KIDS started. A 17.5 is to fast for some SEASONED drivers so why tell eriko that should be the motor for a YOUTH spec class? 25.5 with limited gearing and limited mah and C rating to keep it slow and simple to hone during skills would help.
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