K-dub retired from Supercross racing last night in Anaheim (I am writing this on Sunday). Kevin Windham turned pro back in 94′ and has been one of the most elite riders on the circuit ever since, making this news a huge loss for the entire sx/mx world. K-dub was known for his incredibly smooth style, the ability to make big obstacles from the inside line (when nobody else could), and his uncanny ability to find traction on hard/slick surfaces. Back in the day, his heel-clickers after a win were epic, more recently, his rider-intro transfers (on the dark stadium floor) were enough to make even the gnarliest of mx’ers cringe. Here’s hoping the best for Kevin and Dottie, they will be missed on the sx/mx scene.
Traxxas keeps on blowing up. By that I mean, they keep getting bigger, and keep expanding their reach into the mainstream. More proof of this can be found from last week- Traxxas being a sponsor of the Barrett Jackson auto auction in Scottsdale Arizona is big news, and their announcement that they are now a sponsor of rookie Brittany Force in top fuel dragster is too. Huge props go out to the Traxxas guys for continuing to promote hobby grade rc to the masses.
But… the biggest rc news of the week was “WireGate”. What is/was WireGate?
The guru’s over at ROAR, with all their infinite wisdom, declared the Trinity D3.5 17.5 turn brushless motor illegal on Friday. Roughly 10 months ago they had declared this motor legal. ROAR deemed the motor illegal because they say the wire used in the stator was too large. A ROAR rep has also stated that the size of the wire in the Trinity motor did not change from when they first approved it to when they banned it. A ROAR rep has stated that they have recently gotten access to more precise testing equipment, and with that new equipment the wire used in the Trinity is now found to be too large.
So what’s the big deal? Since its introduction, the Trinity motor has been quite dominant in stock class racing, from the “biggest of the big” trophy races, to the smallest local Joe Schmo race, if you weren’t running the Trinity 17.5 you were at a power disadvantage. With that being said, owners of the Trinity motor are torqued off at ROAR because they may no longer be able to race with it, people selling the motors, from Trinity all the way down to local hobby shop owners are torqued at ROAR because they may not be able to sell their remaining inventory. Then you have people torqued at Trinity because of their alleged cheating.
And… then you have the public relations train-wreck for ROAR. It’s bad enough that they are banning a motor that seemingly hasn’t changed since they first approved it, but they also have Steve Pond (their former prez, and still on their ex-com) getting on a message board and “threatening” to take screen shots of “false or disparaging” remarks to put in the records over at ROAR. Seriously???? Does Pond not know that making a comment like that on an internet forum instantly makes him look like an 8 year old that just just discovered the net yesterday? The last thing ROAR needs is someone running around the forums spouting off like a little punk.
And… I’m not the only one sick and tired of hearing people from ROAR use the “we are just volunteers” card every time they pull some bonehead maneuver. Hey, I volunteer to help elderly/single/needy women down at the local church change the oil in their cars once every 3 months. The job sucks, it’s dirty, I always end up getting burnt, the women constantly complain about the work we do, yet I keep volunteering to do the job. When I volunteer for that job I don’t complain about how bad it sucks, and I don’t do a bad job just because I volunteered. And I continue to volunteer simply because even though it sucks, it’s the right thing to do. Any moron that raises their hand and wants to “volunteer” for ROAR should know these basic rules of volunteering, but seemingly they don’t.
Anywhos… I have absolutely no idea, but lets just say that yes indeed, the wire in the Trinity motor is too large to meet ROAR specs. IMO, the blame falls on BOTH ROAR and Trinity. It falls on ROAR because they didn’t properly check the wire during their initial certification process, and it falls on Trinity because they know what the maximum size is and did not inspect their own motors close enough to ensure they were legal.
(Hit the Keep reading to see the rest so Brian does not yell at me for taking the whole front page.)
If the wire in the Trinity motor is indeed legal in size, the blame falls squarely on ROAR for this debacle. On-line, multiple sources have now posted photo’s of them measuring the size of the Trinity wire (including ROAR). Some of the pictures show the wire to be too large, other pics show it to be well within spec. Personally, I haven’t measured it, nor do I trust any of the pictures posted (including ROAR’s). This is something that needs to be measured by an impartial third party, an independent lab, not by anyone who has something to gain by its ultimate legality.
Personally, I think WireGate only goes to more fully illustrate the debacle that the “stock” class has morphed into, and how ROAR was clueless, and still is clueless, on the effects of brushless motor technology on rc racing.
The “stock 17.5″ class is a debacle because it has not been a “starter/noobie/novice” class for years (like for well over a decade). What the 17.5 class today is- a class where you can be a tenth place driver but can buy wins by being the guy that always runs the latest and greatest to have a performance advantage. When I visit my local track 60% of the guys in stock class have been racing since the 90′s, and 95% have been racing stock for more than 2 seasons. When I go to big events, I see former ROAR and IFMAR champions running the freak’n “stock” and “super stock” classes!!! The stock/noob class should be a class where NEW RACERS can get their feet wet in rc racing without having to spend big bucks or face seasoned racers (or IFMAR world champs).
ROAR was blindsided by brushless technology. Brushless motor technology is a great thing- it offers more power than you can ever use, with longer runtimes, with very little maintenance. Those are its upsides, and those attributes should have been capitalized on when ROAR made BL rules, instead, ROAR attempted to make brushless rules fit the old brushed formula. That was a recipe for disaster, and as we’ve seen, that’s exactly what has happened. There never should have been any form of “stock” or “super-stock” brushless class, it should simply have been brushless, with simple rules to keep costs down.
There was a golden chance at the beginning of the brushless era to correct all the issues of stock racing, to turn back time and return “stock” back to the noob friendly class. Rules could have been written to push all the seasoned racers into running “brushless” powered classes, and rules written that would make stock a class that a seasoned racer would never want to enter. An example of this would have been to demote stock motors from their former highly tuned 27 turn 24 degree brushed motors, to simple sealed/spec brushed motors (like a stock Traxxas Slash motor). Sealed brushed motors have very soft power (perfect for noobs), and being sealed allow very limited tuning options, also very noob friendly (and hotshot local racer repellent). But ROAR didn’t jump on that chance, instead they had to force brushless technology into the old brushed mold, creating a nightmare scenario that will continue to be a problem until radical changes are made.
What is healthy for rc racing? Scale looks are healthy. Having successful kids classes around the country is healthy. A strong noob class is healthy for the long term success of rc racing. Proper rules, fairly enforced, is good for the rc racing hobby. The rc racing scene, right now anyways, is set up to pacify long time hardcore local racers, at the expense of the long term health of the sport, and the people making the rules are making it worse. You see radical changes all the time in NASCAR, you see them all the time in F1, huge changes for rc are long, long overdue….
That’s it for this week guys, as always, support your local hobby shops and bash spots!
YOUR Cub Reporter