Slot­car Ad­dic­tion

Off the Beaten Track

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents - with Brett Jur­mann

Afew is­sues ago I de­tailed my Mt Panora­mastyled home cir­cuit, which is a nat­u­ral set­ting for Aussie mus­cle cars. It was built us­ing Ninco plas­tic track pieces, but of course it is not the only way to con­struct a track. This month we’re go­ing to take a look at some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent – a routed wood rally track be­long­ing to Gary Blayney in Syd­ney’s south west.

Emu­lat­ing the world of rally with a slot track can com­pletely change the pa­ram­e­ters of track build­ing. Rac­ing off the beaten track re­moves the re­stric­tions of cir­cuit rac­ing, such as mul­ti­ple lanes, armco and as­phalt. As a re­sult, it en­cour­ages free­dom from the lim­i­ta­tions of plas­tic slot track and al­lows the imag­i­na­tion to go wild. It doesn’t elim­i­nate the use of dou­ble lane plas­tic track, but it lends it­self to sin­gle lanes and home-made routed wooden track. In fact, if you can cre­ate a slot in it, it can be part of your track. Jumps, bridges, switch­backs, creek cross­ings, pot­holes, can all be added. Even spe­cial­ist chas­sis with drop arms can be used to al­low front wheels to leave the ground. Or if you think you can time it right, just try your skill to get a nor­mal chas­sis to land back in the slot. That doesn’t make for se­ri­ous rac­ing, but de nitely en­cour­ages your in­ner-Duke boy. Yeee-hah!

And the free­doms don’t stop there. Un­like cir­cuits, of course, ral­lies are some­times run in un­civilised coun­try­side, where strange things can some­times be seen. Rally tracks like Gary’s al­low vis­ual treats to be con­structed and hid­den for the ob­ser­vant to be nd. Gary has been work­ing on his track for more than 10 years, adding bits and pieces as the op­por­tu­nity arises. As well as the ex­pected moun­tain men, all sorts of strange folk can be found if you look long enough, in­clud­ing celebri­ties, aliens and even Daisy Duke...

In com­bi­na­tion with the world wide web, rally tracks such as Gary’s have also fos­tered a new form of slot rac­ing called Rally Proxy. Proxy rac­ing means that en­trants from around the globe can pre­pare a car and send it to a nom­i­nated start­ing track to be raced by oth­ers. The cars are run and timed, then pack­aged up and posted to the next lo­ca­tion. The next host does the same thing and so on. Gary and like-minded rally friends in Syd­ney run one such event called the World Rally Proxy (WRP).

Hosts of WRP events must have a ral­lyin­spired track and a tim­ing de­vice ca­pa­ble of mea­sur­ing to 0.01 of a sec­ond. The cars, though, are more strictly se­lected. As slot man­u­fac­tur­ers ad­just the se­lec­tion of rally cars in their model ranges, op­tions for WRP en­trants have changed. SCX was once the pop­u­lar choice, but they have faded from the mar­ket, and now Scalex­tric Group B rally cars with sidewinder mo­tor lay­outs are manda­tory for the 2018 WRP. This lim­its the el­i­gi­ble cars to Ford RS200s, Lan­cia Delta S4s, MG Metro 6R4s and Audi Qu­at­tros.

Modi cations are lim­ited to bet­ter guides, bet­ter track braids and mo­tor wires, lead weights and Aussie MJK af­ter­mar­ket tyres. Un­like the To­rana I modi ed in the last is­sue of AMC, mag­nets, al­loy wheels, metal gears and pre­ci­sion axles are not al­lowed. Mi­nor hand nish­ing to blue­print tyres and plas­tic parts is per­mit­ted, how­ever.

One of the great chal­lenges of Proxy is that you may de­velop a car that is fast on your home track, but it might prove un­suit­able for an­other track some­where around the world. Lessons can be learned from re­search­ing the in­ter­net for tips and hints, and some of the pre­vi­ous suc­cess­ful en­trants have out­lined their build pro­cesses on the Aus­lot slot fo­rums. Some­times it’s down to just nut­ting out where you came un­stuck the year be­fore.

Apart from car pur­chase and prepa­ra­tion, cost to en­ter the WRP is $45. That cov­ers postage be­tween In­ter­na­tional rally tracks, re­turn of each car to its re­spec­tive en­trant and the dis­tri­bu­tion of tro­phies/prizes to the win­ners. Also in­cluded are two pairs of tyres sent in ad­vance to the en­trants. If the postal ser­vices around the world play nicely, ev­ery­thing should run smoothly.

Af­ter en­trants kiss good­bye to their care­fully pre­pared cars and pack­age them off to for­eign lands, they anx­iously await the out­come. Rounds are sched­uled two weeks apart, with the rst be­ing in Syd­ney, where the WRP or­gan­is­ers con­duct a tech­ni­cal in­spec­tion to en­sure the cars are com­pli­ant.

Events are run un­der the man­age­ment of the host track, how­ever, each event must con­sist of two or three stages. Each stage is a sin­gle race within the event. A min­i­mum of two stages are to be run and the third stage is at the op­tion of the track host. The times from all stages are added up to make the event time which rank the cars to re­ceive time points, with to­tal time over the com­bined stages no less than eight min­utes for the fastest cars. As in real ral­lies, the car with the min­i­mum to­tal time is the win­ner. Eight min­utes doesn’t seem much, but when hosts have to do that with each en­trant, it soon adds up. As well as post­ing the re­sults, hosts are ex­pected to pro­vide pho­tos and race re­ports on the Aus­lot in­ter­net fo­rum and gen­er­ally keep ev­ery­one in­formed of what is hap­pen­ing in the other side of the globe.

Ac­ci­dents will hap­pen and things fall off slot cars, so in­evitably re­pairs will be needed at some stage, and that can be a bit tricky. Ur­gent re­pairs in the mid­dle of a stage can be made by the track host, but the track timer must con­tinue to run. Re­pairs can­not be made be­tween stages, but can be made be­tween events, as long as the en­trant en­sures the re­quired parts are sent to the host of the next event. Ob­vi­ously that re­quires good-will be­tween the com­peti­tors, not to men­tion good com­mu­ni­ca­tion!

The 2018 World Rally Proxy will kick off in April, so if you want to nd out more, head over to the Aus­lot fo­rums at www.aus­lot.com

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