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My First Race Day In Great Detail (SC10RS 2wd Sportsman)

My First Race Day In Great Detail (SC10RS 2wd Sportsman)

Old 01-25-2013, 07:23 AM
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KVS
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Default My First Race Day In Great Detail (SC10RS 2wd Sportsman)

I know this post is very long, but I wanted to try to document as much about my first race experience as I could, as I'm sure I will look back on this and think, wow I was really bad back then!

On Tuesday, January 22nd I purchased my first short course truck for racing. I have previously owned RC cars, my most recent being a Jammin X1-CRT (not very recent as the model may suggest) and previous to the Jammin was a Team Associated B4. After a lot of research and interrogation of the staff of my local track (CRC Raceway in Rome, NY) I was torn between the HPI Blitz and Team Associated's SC10RS. In the end I decided to go with the TA SC10RS since I had previous experience with this brand and had pretty good luck with it, even if the B4 was just for bashing.

So, $500 later, I have everything I need to hit the indoor off-road carpet track at the hobby shop! I first got my charger set up so I could work on the truck while the battery prepared, which is where I ran into my first issue. The Onyx 235 that I bought wouldn't charge my battery without plugging it into the balance board for some reason, which was very confusing to me and the hobby shop employee. In the end, I just had to set up the balance board to get it charging, which is kind of a pain every time I want to charge. Anyways, I get back to the truck and get it out of the box. I tighten down all the screws on the RTR model as they are prone to being a little loose and after about 45 minutes, I'm out on the track.

I took it pretty easy at first, just getting a general feel for the vehicle's turning and overall power. I was very impressed with the responsiveness of this RTR compared to my previous two vehicles. It seemed to turn on a dime in the corners and hooked up pretty well with the stock tires, or so I thought. So after about 15 minutes of zipping around the track, I brought the truck in for its first inspection and nothing was out of sort, so I packed up shop to return on Wednesday to practice for my first Thursday race.

The track opens for practice at 4:00, and this was right when I got there. I got inside and it was a ghost town, which was surprising to me. I figured people would be lining up outside to get in and practice. So after about 20 minutes of adjustment the first pair of people strolled in and set up their pit station. These two, an middle aged man and his son from what I could tell, seemed to be seasoned veterans at this hobby. They got their trucks ready to go in no time and were out on the track putting in their time. I followed suit shortly after.

After about 10-15 minutes of practice, a recurring theme started to show with my truck's handling. In the corners, if I took them even at a moderate speed, my truck would do a barrel-roll. I figured it was because of the nobbies that I had on the back of my vehicle, but it turns out it was actually the front tires having an aggressive tread that was digging in causing a lot of body roll. Luckily enough, by now there was around 10-15 people inside and someone took notice of my truck's issue as well. One of the guys a couple pit spots down from me had a spare pair of tires that matched my front tires that he let me "borrow". I locked the tires on and went back out for more practice. This difference was night and day! I was taking the turns like a champ now and hooking up better with the carpet. I thanked the guy who let me "borrow" his tires and went to take them off to return them to him. He told me to hold on to them since I was going to be running the Sportsman class tomorrow I would probably need them. I thanked him and packed up shop once again to head home for the night.

My first race day had finally came. All day at work I was trying to visualize the track and how I would handle different situations that came about. Needless to say my eight hour shift dragged along, seemingly taking 16 hours. Finally I was free and shot over to the hobby shop getting there a little before four o'clock. I went inside and was delighted to see that the guy who let me borrow the spare tires' truck sitting in one of the pit spots. I set up my truck and charger next to him and got to work tuning my truck.

I decided it would be a good idea to put the borrowed tires on the front of my truck and the new harder foamed original tired on the back for better handling. So I switched the two over and noticed something strange. The spindles didn't seem to be inserting into the hexes of the tires all the way upon transition. I thought maybe the tires just had different dimensions and this was the cause of my problem. After my first run of poor handling, I found out that the front and the back hexes are NOT interchangeable. The front hexes are much thinner and flat on the surface while the back are thicker and convex. Lesson learned I suppose, and I didn't appear to do any damage to my truck that I could tell, or did I?

By now its 6:30, and the employees are yelling for last call for sign ups as the races start at 7:00. At this point I got the butterflies in my stomach, very similar to when I used to play hockey or baseball and I can't seem to stop pacing around the store. I guess that's just how I deal with this kind of stress. Soon after last call the employees of the shop post the race schedule and I locate my name as being in the second race of the Sportman class which contained eleven entrees. So at around 7:05 with some minor complications, the first Sportsman race went off and I inspected the competition carefully. I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of driving as most of the individuals in this race were around 10-13 years of age or 60-70 years of age. The first heat ended with the leader putting in 18 laps at about 5:10 or so.

The time had now come for my first heat, and I took the racers stand. I had the shakes really bad as I performed a couple practice laps. One mistake that I made that I am realizing now is that I had chosen the wrong transponder offered by the house. There was a list of which transponder you should be using that hung above the transponder rack that I neglected to read, so naturally there was a hiccup in the start of the race because of me. After getting the computer reprogrammed to the transponder I had in my truck, we lined up on the back stretch of the track. By luck of the draw, I was 3rd in line which started just on the face of the large double of the track.

BING! We were off and right out of the gate the 1st and 2nd truck tied up. I took advantage of this and turned wide but was followed by the 4th place car closely. I got bumped back to second but only for a short while. After a couple lap chase, the lead car couldn't hold pace anymore and started driving erratically. I kept calm and made the pass and was home free, or so I though. I started moving into lapped traffic and with such a small course, it is difficult to keep track of which truck is in which place. In Sportsman, you rarely see someone move aside for the lead car. Because of this, I chose to take the first heat conservatively and just let the other trucks make the mistakes and then pass. This worked out well for me as I placed first with the 22 laps at 5:02 and top qualified! The next closest truck in the heat was at 20 laps at roughly 5:08. I was very happy with the performance of the truck in the first heat.After staring at my truck for the last five minutes, I took my eyes off the track and noticed my mom and dad standing in the far corner. I hadn't expected them to come, but they had made it for the end of my first race. I was happy to see them there. After saying hi to them and having them congratulate me on the win, I put my battery on the charger and got back to the track for track marshaling.

In between heats it was time to make sure that everything was in running order with the truck. When tightening up the wheels, I noticed the back driver side wheel had come slightly loose. I tightened it down and didn't think much of it. Next, I checked my gear mesh to make sure the motor hadn't moved. With the help of my buddy in the pit next to me, he reset the mesh by slowly rotating the tires while elevated and listening for the best gear mesh, rather than looking for the best gear mesh. It appeared to work really well. He said that the transmission was incredible smooth compared to his SC10 and that there was hardly any vibration coming from the motor or transmission at all when he had it set perfectly. Next, I tightened up my shock to make sure they didn't pop off during the next run.

Now, it was a waiting game. With a total of 7 first heats, I had a lot of time to examine what the faster pro-lite and pro-2 competition was doing on the track. After a while, I began to realize that these competitors had much more experience and money into these trucks allowing them to glide effortlessly around the track. Anyways, the next set of heats came around and the first pack to go out was still not very impressive completing 17 or 18 labs. The first race of the second heats seemed to be a bigger bash fest than before, but surprisingly no one broke.

Race two finally came around and once again, nervous me was up on the stand. This time, I did feel more confident and had the lead spot on the start. BING! We were off and I was quickly taken out by an aggressive driver in the second turn, which dropped me back to fourth. As the race progressed I slowly chased down the leader and made the pass as he crashed. I was troubled when the announcer a few laps later said that I was still racing in 3rd place. I thought, maybe I wasn't on the same lap as the leader, but I was fairly certain that I was as we were only 6-7 laps into the race. Regardless, I continued my race weaving my way through traffic this time. I attempted a new race style this heat as my top qualifying time still stood leaving me some room to race aggressively. Once again, I came around the track and passed the "current leader" putting me this time into first place in the inspectors eyes. I went on to finished the race with a time of 5:05 with 21 laps on paper.

After hooking up my battery and marshaling the course, I talked to my pit neighbor and asked if he had noticed me passing the leader and not getting credit. He said that he noticed as well since he was watching me the whole race according to him. This troubled me so I went up to the counter with the employees and asked if maybe the transponder didn't read one of the laps. The employee said that he had never seen a transponder malfunction like that but he would look at the lap times. Sure enough, I had an average lap time of around 12.8 seconds, with one of my laps reading in at 30+ seconds! There was the error in the race. One of the laps did not record properly in the computer system, so I should have finished with 22 laps at 5:05, instead of 21. Either way, I had won the heat so I didn't ask him to change any of the record as it truly didn't matter.

The seven races of heat two finished up and the schedule for the mains was posted. I top qualified and was put at the head of the pack of the A-Main for the Sportsman class. The B-Main went off without a hitch and the winner got bumped up to the A-Main race with me. Back to the drivers stand I went nervous as ever and took my place on the back stretch.

BING! This was the last race of the night for me and I wanted to make it count. I got a clean start out of the gate and imposed my will on the course at the front of the pack. No one was going to catch me now that I was out front. I bobbed and weaved my way through the track and at around lap 7 or 8 I notice something funny happening with my truck. It seemed to me that the slipper clutch was loosening up as I wasn't getting the usual power to the ground that I was accustomed to. I continued my race at a slower pace keeping the pack behind my still. The slipping kept getting worse! After a couple laps of slipping, I can no longer clear the doubles or the table top. I am not rolling every jump on the course and driving as smart as I can to keep myself in the lead. At this point I am only one lap up and the second place driver is closing in fast on me.

On lap 14, my poor truck can take no more punishment and I drive over to my neighbor at track-side and signal him to pull the vehicle while yelling slipper clutch to him. I see him take off with the truck, and pop off the slipper clutch cover and tighten it down quick. He looks puzzled, as he knows the ins and outs of the truck, and he knows that the problem is not yet fixed. The truck does not return to the track for the A-Main.

After the race is over, I completed my dues corner marshaling and returned to my pit to find my truck being worked on feverishly by my neighboring companion. He informed me that the problem was not my slipper clutch, it was actually my hex drive pin assembly on my rear, driver side tire. In the heat of the race, it had sheared off completely leaving my differential to power the broken wheel only by the nut holding the tire on, rather than using the pin that is imbedded in the hex assembly. The friction of the tightened nut on the wheel was so great that it actually melted into the plastic slightly. This brings me back to one of my earlier details, maybe when running with the front tire hexes on the back and the back tire hexes on the front, I had damaged that pin. It is hard to say without knowing I suppose (I love this saying, it usually strikes up a good laugh). One other thing that I was considering was that I had over-tightened my tires due to horror stories of racers having their rear driver side tire fly off.

My crafty neighbor said that this had happened to him before, and he had it fixed for me upon returning to the pit, free of charge, by cutting a body pin and inserting it into the hole where the broken drive pin was dissected. He let me know that the body pin he used it actually really tough and make a good hex pin that should last a long time.

So, on my first night of racing I placed 6th in the A-Main in the Sportman class due to a broken drive pin. I feel that if that pin had not broken, I would have gone on to have the fastest time of the night for the class and might have even thrown down a 23 lap race. Week one of ten was in the books and the points race was out in front of me now. I honestly donít know if I receive points for last place in the A-Main, but I do know that I get a bonus point for the top qualifier. Hopefully I can come back next Thursday with a little more experience and get the top qualifier and the win!
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:08 AM
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Well, you couldn't have picked a better place to get started at - the CRC crew is tops. Great guys. Can't wait to get back up there in the summer time.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:32 AM
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wow that was long but good.....

you need to move up a class ...you don't belong in sportsman ...that is a coment!!!!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:35 AM
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well said tony, that is a quality facility with great racers.

my first race was at bir back in 1985 and back then those 1/12 racers were very tight lipped.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:57 AM
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I may be a little to advanced of a driver for sportsman, but regardless, this is my first time racing so I figured it would be a good place to start. That is the class that the CRC staff recommended for me even if I dominate, it will be good experience for the outdoor offroad season. Thanks for the replies guys and thanks for reading!
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:02 AM
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all in all you had a good time .......i wasn't busting on you for running sportsman ....

next time i hope you finish your main

i'm in the over 50 class
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:04 AM
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You got the hang of it already - using words like "advanced" and "dominate." You're ready to turn pro!
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:52 AM
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Sounds like you are on the path to becoming an rc junky. Just like a real junky your car will speak to you, you will lose all your non rc friends and you will soon be spending all your money on your addiction....

Have fun, enjoy all the cool new peolple you meet and never take it too serious.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:40 AM
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Sounds like you did better than my first RC race!!

BTW, I ran an SC10RS this past year in a spec SC class and ran away with the points championship. It's a great truck for sure. I also had a hex pin shear off once this past year...avid makes solid axle pins that I'm sure would cure that problem. The wheels should be interchangeable between front and rear. That's 1/2 the reason I bought the truck and then converted my FT SC10 to hex. I swapped tires/wheels from front to rear on both trucks all season last year.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:37 PM
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Yeah, the wheels are interchangeable, but the hex inserts in the front wheels are different from the hex inserts in the back (or at least for my truck they are). I had to pop the hex inserts out when doing the rotation of the tires because it simply didn't fit.

Racing update, I went back to the track today for Sunday's race day. I don't plan on racing regularly on Sunday, but I had to redeem myself from Thursday's breakdown, so I gave it another shot. I top qualified in my class in heat 1, then re-top qualified in heat 2 beating my previous time. I ended up winning the A-Main in Sportsman, got bumped to the C-Main in Pro-Lite which I won, got bumped to the B-Main in Pro-Lite which I placed 6/7. I didn't run a good last race as back to back to back races takes it's toll on your truck and the driver. Overall, I was very happy with the performance of my SC10RS and can't wait for Thursday to come so I can get some points on the board.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KVS
Yeah, the wheels are interchangeable, but the hex inserts in the front wheels are different from the hex inserts in the back (or at least for my truck they are). I had to pop the hex inserts out when doing the rotation of the tires because it simply didn't fit.

Racing update, I went back to the track today for Sunday's race day. I don't plan on racing regularly on Sunday, but I had to redeem myself from Thursday's breakdown, so I gave it another shot. I top qualified in my class in heat 1, then re-top qualified in heat 2 beating my previous time. I ended up winning the A-Main in Sportsman, got bumped to the C-Main in Pro-Lite which I won, got bumped to the B-Main in Pro-Lite which I placed 6/7. I didn't run a good last race as back to back to back races takes it's toll on your truck and the driver. Overall, I was very happy with the performance of my SC10RS and can't wait for Thursday to come so I can get some points on the board.
OK I got ya now. Those plastic hexes are kinda annoying for that reason. The aluminum clamp-on ones are much better!
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