As a racer, sometimes you need to take some time away from the racing scene and catch some fresh air. That is exactly what I have done for the last month or two. This past weekend I attended the ROAR 1/8 Regional Championships in my division, marking my first race back since taking my ‘vacation’ from R/C. While I knew I would be a bit rusty, I had no idea how quickly rust builds, and how hard it is to shake off. I know I am not the only one who takes vacation’s away from R/C racing from time to time, and to save you a bit of trouble when you return to racing, I have put together my top 10 list of things to remember BEFORE heading to the track (all of which I learned this past weekend).
- When opening your R/C hauler bag for the first time in several months, it is highly recommended you do so in a well ventilated and open area with no small children, family members, pets, or loved ones nearby. The combination of musty dirt, tire sauce, spilled glue bottles, and sweaty racing shirt you stuffed in the bottom, creates a dangerous combination of odors in which may or may not cause temporary loss of consciousness.
- Despite everything else in this technologically advanced world, your power supply and chargers do not run off WiFi. In order to achieve maximum charging capabilities, it is crucial that you include a power cord to each of your devices when packing your bag.
- IF you remember your charger’s power cord, you must also remember the basic functions of your charger. For example, when charging it is imperative you understand that the ‘START’ button MUST be pushed in order to accurately charge your batteries.
- Once on the track, the barriers lining each lane (often known as ‘pipes’) are intended to stay between…not for driving on top of, underneath of, inside of, or bouncing into.
- 99.9% of tracks have a straight away. At the end of that straight away is most often a corner. Your transmitter’s trigger features a two-way hinge which is OK to use. Pull back on the trigger when entering the straight away, and push forward on the trigger (apply brakes) at the end…emphasis on ‘apply brakes at the end’.
- Turn marshalls are not stupid. After crashing 10-12 times in their designated area, they WILL begin to recognize your vehicle, and realize it is not worth the effort, struggle, and hustle to flip you over…AGAIN.
- Set screws may be small, but they typically have a large role in keeping your car together. Do not forget to place them where they belong when building a new vehicle… such as drive train, sway bars, and pinion gear (all of which WILL fall off if you don’t).
- When gluing tires, remember to complete the ENTIRE process before leaving for lunch. If you clean your tires, place them on the rims, and put rubber bands in place before leaving…chances are you will forget the glue when you return. Tires on rims with no glue look perfectly normal, but do not function quite so normal.
- After E-Buggy tech inspection you will need to plug your ESC wires back into your battery. This process means plugging the black wire into the black (or negative) plug, and plugging the red wire into the red (or positive) plug. Doing the opposite WILL result in an un-planned fireworks display under the tech table for bystanders to enjoy.
- After each race, routine preventative maintenance is highly recommended. Such as tightening your wheel nuts. If you fail to do so, you may wait up to 3 hours for your A-Main, and lose a wheel 3 laps into the race…
These 10 tips of things to remember when returning to racing are only a select few of the incidents, mishaps, and screw-ups in which I experienced this past weekend. I chose these 10 to share simply based upon the amount of time, money, effort, and results they cost me. As one racer to another…when returning from a vacation away from R/C, pack a few extra cans of WD-40, as the rust is REAL.