Taking the final step from your workbench to race track.
Contributed by Tyler Watkins (@TheOkieIronhead)
Now you know what the typical racing format is, and what to expect when you get started racing. All that’s left is for you to take that first step and go visit your local R/C racetrack. Before you jump right in, however, let me give you some pieces of advice….
Start with one class at a time.
I showed up to my first race trying to race two classes. Trying to switch the transponder from one vehicle to the next between rounds proved to be a major challenge not to mention the work of cleaning and prepping the tires between rounds. This ultimately cost me a better finish in one class because I had to run the final with dirty slippery tires when all my competition was on fresh clean rubber.
Clean your tires between rounds.
This can be done with green cleaner, or even just water and a towel, but get the dirt off of them. If your track allows it, you may sauce your tires. Cleaning alone will get you a lap or two of nice sticky performance on a typical clay track. Sauce extends that performance by softening up the rubber in your tires and making them more sticky. Either way, if you don’t at least clean your tires you will be at a disadvantage when the race begins.
Set Reasonable Goals
If you expect to show up on day one and win first place you may be prone to setting unreasonable goals. As an example, my goal at my first race was to simply make the A-Main in the Novice class. Not only did I make it but I took 4th. The day was a success and I was hooked! Had I set my goal to finish 1st I would have missed it and wound up frustrated. Give yourself time to learn and improve.
And the most important tip of all…….
Yes, you heard that right, drive slow. The old saying is a cliché by now, but it’s true, “Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is Fast.” If you drive fast and sloppy you will wind up upside down with your race performance depending on the corner marshals. The reality is the fastest corner marshal in the world can’t keep you on the lead lap if you are constantly crashing.
There you have it! R/C racing is a TON of fun and I have found it to be very rewarding. As long as you go into it with your eyes open and put some work in before you get started I think you will have a great time! As a side note, if, after watching some races at your local track, you decide R/C racing is not for you that is OK! There are many ways to enjoy the R/C hobby and racing is only one of those options.
Until Next Time, take it slow so you can keep going fast!