Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off-Road Racing Report: NorCal Hobbies 09/13/08

Hey there all, we had a great time at norcal Saturday! I pitted with Pigiron (thanks for letting me have a table PI!) and Fabrc brought his air compressor by (totally useful, thanks man!) Darksoul was also there (great chatting with you and frank!). There were A LOT of people there yesterday, I left a little after 5pm and they still had mains to run!


The new addition to the track, called the "rythm section", is a series of 6 mini jumps right after the hairpin that leads into the step down jump. This was pretty painful in every class. Things got really shaken up and we saw what usually are the fastest cars on the track (4wd mods) lose out to the 2wd 13.5 drivers - I think those bumps really changed everyone's game.
The slashes actually handled it well since they had some good ground clearance. The 4wd mod class had it pretty bad since you could get stuck on the apex of the mini jump and be stuck there spinning your wheels! The jumps were hard to master but at some point everyone KNEW what to do, doing it consistently was the difficult part.
Double-double-double was the easiest way to tackle it, but if you missed that first double, you were either on your lid or singling the next 4 or 5 little jumps. It was pretty brutal. some of the pros were triple-tripling it, but even they could not do it every lap so a lot of time was lost there.

Darksoul, Pigiron and I all raced slash. This was fun as usual! They combined the mains into one big 10-car main, which I think is still too many slashes on the track at once. With a handful of really good pro-level drivers and so much traffic to contend with, it's just a lot of big trucks to have to deal with. I am not sure how the other guys placed, but I managed to come from dead last and finish 5th.

The guy to beat in slash was James Arluck. He's definitely a seasoned expert on the track, but his slash was really fast! he was running the 23t pinion, but the power was there to really take him over the jumps, and far! I actually had a 19t pinion (from the 23t) for the added torque and Arluck's looked like it had even more! This seems to substantiate the claims I have read in other forums that the quality of the titan motors can vary greatly. This was only my 4th outing with the slash and my motor is feeling way sluggish.

Work had me super slammed all week so I didn't get to do the overhaul I wanted on my cars (again!) but i burned the midnight oil to completely clean out out the slash, re-lube the transmission and rebuild all the shocks with new o-rings. I made some minor tweaks to the front suspension (heavier oil) and I loved the way it handled. I just need more speed out of that titan motor!

My suggestion for the slash: break in a few motors (use the water break in) and test which is faster. I'm going to break in my spare motor and maybe get another, break that in and test before I race slash again - I dont have a lot of runs on my current motor, I broke it in and i clean and lube it before every race, but it's feeling slow - hopefully the other motor works better.

PigIron rocked it in rookie with his Losi XXX-CR - he did great! He didn't get much practice time because he broke a caster block. Super prepared with some spares, he made the fix and did fairly well in the qualifiers. He really turned up the heat in the main with some solid and steady driving that sealed him a 2nd place finish! Congrats PigIron!

We had been discussing earlier in the day about how rookie is actually pretty difficult as there are some seasoned rookies in there as well as the really novice drivers. some on road folks start out in rookie even though they have excellent driving skills and some rookies have been in there for a while. The difficult thing is there isn't an easy graduation point from rookie. For example, any rookie with a 4wd automatically goes to 4wd mod, one of the more competitive classes at the track (hence me being thrown into the fray :)) - it would be great if there was a middle stage, some sort of sportsman level for 2wd and 4wd, where you are better than rookie, but not having to battle it out with the pro level drivers right from the start.

PigIron also took a few laps with the Golden Fox (his TC4) on the on-road course in preparation for the Sunday Marin event, his setup looked solid!

4WD Mod
4WD Mod was fun, but hard! I hadn't had any practice time from my rookie race a few weekends ago and I was anticipating being pretty slow - and I was! I started to feel a bit battered by the time the mains came as I just couldn't break out of rookie driving habits. slow-n-steady doesn't win races in 4wd mod ;)

I ended up in the C-Main and had decided that I would just drive as aggressively as possible (for me) - not try and fly off the track or anything, but really push harder than I have in past races. this mental shift really paid off! I was clearing the front triples consistently and I was finally going full throttle on the back straight. I ended up in a battle for first with Brice Arnold- lot's of lead changes and really aggressive driving by both of us. It was really fun and totally exhilarating. I actually felt some freedom to push it once I started to clear the triples and not worry about breaking. I managed to hang on to the lead and it really made my day - I had thoughts in qualifying that I didnt belong in 4wd mod but this race really was fun! I wish I had driven as hard during qualifying, and certainly will push it harder now that I've broken through that mental barrier.

Another great day at the track. Thanks again Pigiron for the awesome pit area, we had a few guys out there representing the club (Fabrc, Darksoul, Pigiron)! I cant wait for the next one!
-Michelangelo "Hopbot"

Want to comment? Join the Discussion!