Driv­ers Wanted

RC Car Action - - CONTENTS - Peter Vieira Edi­to­rial Di­rec­tor/ Sur­face Group pe­terv@airage.com

IF YOU WANT TO GET A LOT OF RC OPIN­IONS very quickly, just float this fill-in-the-blank: “What RC rac­ing re­ally needs is ______.” Ev­ery­body and their brother thinks they know what the com­pe­ti­tion side of the hobby needs, and the one thing ev­ery an­swer has in com­mon is it’s the point of view of some­one al­ready in­volved in rac­ing. Which makes sense, of course. But the peo­ple we re­ally need to hear from are those who aren’t rac­ing; af­ter all, isn’t “need more peo­ple do­ing it” the prob­lem that rac­ing needs to fix? Not that rac­ing should be turned up­side down to suit peo­ple who aren’t even do­ing it. RC com­pe­ti­tion has been evolv­ing for more than 40 years now, and that’s not a recipe for get­ting things wrong. But it has re­fined and hard­ened RC rac­ing into a very tech­ni­cal and in­tense ac­tiv­ity that con­sumes a lot of time and money, at least if you want to be com­pet­i­tive. “Ca­sual rac­ing” isn’t re­ally a thing. Fam­i­lies with Traxxas Stam­pedes or Ar­rma Gran­ites or other fun-run­ners in the house­hold prob­a­bly aren’t think­ing, “This week­end, should we go to the wa­ter park or go RC rac­ing?” Which is too bad— there should be some kind of rac­ing for ca­sual RC en­thu­si­asts to en­joy, a low-stress, run-what-you-brung way to have fun with equally laid-back hob­by­ists that doesn’t con­sume an en­tire Sun­day just to get in 20 or 30 min­utes of ac­tual track time. And maybe it’s not ac­tu­ally rac­ing, just “track fun.” Any hobby store that op­er­ates a track has a ton of money sunk into that square footage, so more cars on the track, more days of the week, is al­ways bet­ter for the bot­tom line. Fam­ily pizza night? Timed bracket-style rac­ing so that mis­matched cars and driv­ers can com­pete with each other? Monthly con­course com­pe­ti­tion? There are all kinds of ways track op­er­a­tors can en­tice driv­ers to the track that don’t in­volve tak­ing a deep dive with transpon­ders and a quest to shave hun­dredths of a sec­ond. Some will get there, for sure; those sus­cep­ti­ble to the rac­ing bug will get bit­ten. If I were a track op­er­a­tor, I would make it my job to sat­isfy not just my rac­ing reg­u­lars but to make sure there’s am­ple op­por­tu­nity for every­one with a RC car to have fun on a real track, which is al­ways the most fun place to drive an RC car.

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