THE Cub Report, Version- First Time At The Track
I could see it coming a mile away. I have been down that road million times. What am I talking about? I was at the track last week working on a review and a basher showed up who had never driven on a track before. Oh my, it used to be funny to watch a first time track guy blow every corner and crash every 100 feet, but now days I simply find it painful. Here is my advice to all you bashers that show up to a legit track for the first time…
1. Your first goal when driving at a track is to NOT CRASH. This might seem impossible, but it is not, you just have to slow down, WAY down. And if you keep on crashing, you need to keep going slower. Crashing makes you look like a noob and breaks your car, so it isn’t fun to do or to watch.
2. While a 6S monster truck can put on quite a show out on the street, all that glorious power works against you at a track. Taming down your power system can do wonders for not crashing. Ya, sure, blowing a big hole in the snow fence surrounding a track might look like fun, but I can assure you it is not. If you run a 3S LiPo in your Slash VXL, bring a 2S to the track, you’ll be glad you did.
3. Don’t even think about driving from the stand on your first trip to practice at a track. The noob that I referred to at the beginning of this post sat his car down then climbed right up on the stand. He was crashing every 50 feet and was expected all the guys at ground level to go out and marshal his car. And while marshalling his car would have been a “nice” thing for us to do, when you crash 5 times a lap simply because you are the one who can’t lay off the throttle, the guys on the ground start to get a little angry about it. Furthermore, one of the best reinforcements to not crash is to have a long walk of shame. After you do a couple dozen of those, it will start sinking in that you are crashing too much and need to slow down.
3. Btw, here are a couple more tips on how not to crash at your local track. The biggest tip is to tell yourself to enter corners slowly, then come out of the hot. The number 1 reason that noobs crash all the time is that they completely bake the entry speed of the corners. The second tip would be to not triple all the big jumps. Roll/single all the big jumps until you have become very familiar with the course.
4. Once you can actually get around the track without crashing your brains out, then you can start concentrating on other things, like beginning to go faster. The first step here would be to make all the obstacles. If there is a triple, figure out if you can actually jump it on a consistent basis. If not, you will be faster by going double/single. After you have figured about the fastest way for you to get over the obstacles, then you can start working on corner speed, mainly driving right in the groove. The fastest way around an rc track is also the shortest one, meaning that riding the inside pipe at each corner apex is extremely important.
5. Lastly… I have known a lot of drivers that were fantastic in a parking lot or at a local park. Those same guys look like first day drivers when put on an actual track. Some of them would get really down on themselves for crashing/bouncing off the pipes, when they really should not have. Driving within the tight confines of a track with 10 foot lanes simply takes practice, and a LOT of it. So don’t get down, just know before you hit the track that getting around quickly without crashing takes a lot of work. Ya, sure, the local “fast guy” is lapping you every 3 laps, but that is because he has spent countless hours driving between the pipes, something that you can do as well if you put the time into it.
In conclusion… driving at a track isn’t impossible, it is just a whole lot different than hauling azz around a parking lot. If you choose to hit a track, don’t drive over your head, keep the speed down, get used to its narrow confines, and make some new friends.
There ya go, that’s it for THE Cub Report this week. On the way down to the track, drop by your local hobby shop and bash spot, support the hobby when ya can.
YOUR Cub Reporter