Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spec Class Practice Sessions

Last night I got home at nearly midnight from our second Spec Class meet. I had an awesome time - good food (thanks to RCRookie), great people, fun conversations about RC, and a really challenging track!

When the RC18 Spec Class was proposed, i was happy to go along with it, but truth be told, i've only ever raced 1/10 scale off-road and was not expecting much action from the smaller 1/18 scale buggies. The Spec Racing Class is designed to keep the playing field even and competition high by requiring everyone participating to have pretty much the same vehicle (an RC18T, RC18B) in a nearly stock, out of the box, condition, identical drive train, and the addition of on-road tires (the club meets are on pavement). I thought it would be fun to bash around now and again but not much else. Now it's turned into something of an addiction!

First, these smaller scales of today rival the bigger 1/10 scale RC cars of 20 years ago (the last time i was racing RC) - especially the RC18 series of vehicles. These are shaft-driven 4-wheel drive, have full ball bearings all around, ball differentials front and rear, oil-filled shocks and all the other advances you would expect in a race-class machine. in fact, when i started to do a little homework on these, i found that there are very active racing communities for these scales. my initial prejudices against these smaller cars went away almost immediately once i took it out of the box (did i mention they are RTR?) and took it for a spin.


This thing, even with the stock out-of-the-box motor, really moves! i've had this fantasy of getting a 1/8th scale truggy (4wd truck) and this little RC18 might just keep me from needing to get one! These really are Mini Truggies!

So now i'm in love with this thing, but will the pavement really be that fun? well, the group has done an amazing job fashioning a track that combines all the technical pieces of a good on-road track, with some of the challenging elements of off-road tracks - all in all, a good curvy track with jumps! i was astonished at how much driving on this track feels like an authentic race experience - an off-road one to boot! I walk away from the night with that same giddy feeling i do after i get back from the off-road track!

Mother's Raceway Track

I love the fact that this does really feel like a real race machine, on a real track, and that what i learn at these events will help me with my 1/10 scale racing. all the things i would learn from the couple of times a month i can get down to the off-road track with my B44 (roughly an hour away for me) are here in the Spec Racing Class: keeping focus, looking for the right line through the track, anticipating speed for jumps and learning to be consistent. what's more, these little vehicles are so durable and inexpensive to maintain, that i'm way more confident pushing the truck to its limits (and my own). This makes me less afraid to make mistakes, and through these mistakes, i'm learning a lot if things i can use on any track.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of these events are just hanging out with fellow hobbyists and talking RC. In my area and in my line of work, very few people i know, if any, even know that this hobby/sport actually exists (I think that's a trend these days for a lot of hobbies), so it's really great to have members show up with their latest builds, talk about their last race meet, compare paint jobs, ask questions, and share experiences we've had in this hobby of ours. There's nothing like good, solid camaraderie to finish a fun night of racing!See you at the next Club Meet!

- Michelangelo

For more photos, click here and here.
(thanks to B-Dog and Knytemare for the great photos)

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