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rcmart 11-21-2012 08:49 PM


By RC Driver Joel

I started driving rc cars when I was around 7 years old. Later on, I joined off-road races using my Tamiya Ford XLT and Wild Willy (original model). There were major races that had around 400 entries and I usually finished in the top 7 of my class (which would have around 200 rc cars). So I felt good about my driving abilities.

It is until i met Hardjono in Queens, N.Y. USA. It was there that I improved my driving skills by around 30%!, a professional RC racer originally from Indonesia. In the off road race track there, I drove against sponsored drivers or semi-professional drivers. They were so fast that I would usually just place in the C-main. Sometimes even the D-main.

Fortunately, I met and became friends with one of the fast drivers- Hardjono.He was consistently winning races and was semi-sponsored.


Drive Consistently, Lap After Lap
I remember one advice he gave me that I still remember to this day… "Drive Consistently, Lap After Lap."

And because of that advise, I have managed to win some big races in the Philippines because I drove consistently, even though my lap times were about 1 second slower than the others. It was just that I avoided making mistakes or crashes that would have cost me 5 – 10 seconds per incident.

Also, driving consistently and error free will calm your nerves and make you more relaxed when driving and racing.

Practicing Is Not the Secret (Better Car Setup, Smooth Driving Style)
When not racing, Hardjono and I would go to various rc tracks,just to play. I remember we found one in Connecticut, inside a school campus. It was a beautiful outdoor off-road track.

He was consistently beating me during our one-on-one racing,so we switched cars.And he still beat me! Hardjono was simply a faster driver… but he also pointed out that my rc car setup needed improvement. I also noticed that his rc car had more power when I was driving it.

How did he drive faster? I noticed that when I was coasting through corners (off the throttle), he was driving the same corner sat 1/2 or 3/4 on the throttle. So he was basically faster than me
during the corners. But you need a good car setup and driving skill to do this.

He also had a smooth driving style, slowly accelerating, slowly braking, but always trying to maintain speed through the corners by keeping his finger on the throttle (1/2 to 3/4) rather than fully lifting off the power.

Practicing One-on-One to Improve Passing and Defending Skills

During our one-on-one driving sessions, our goal was for one car to lead, the other to try and pass. We would do this for two or three laps, then reverse the position of the rc cars. That waye both managed to practice our passing skills, as well as howo defend our position from cars behind us.

Doing this for months, I eventually managed to drive fast enough sometimes get lucky and get into the A-main. And I have to thank my mentor, Hardjono, for showing me how. Practicing is good, but it is not enough. You have to know what to do, then practice.

kevinbourland 11-28-2012 06:30 AM

Thanks for the tips.........makes sense......a structured practice session can only enhance skill development.
Sometimes to even discover a bad habit, is half the battle, to absolve from it.....the other half!

John Plair 12-16-2012 11:23 AM

Good info and thanks too. It's not how you practice but what you practice.

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