ASK Cubby – One Question, One Rant
What in the hell is going on with gyro-gate from the worlds? I have been reading all sorts of crap on my Facebook feed, did the guy that won the worlds really cheat? How many of those guys are already running gyros anyways?
Cubby- So hey there Sonny, it’s been a while since we’ve talked, but thanks for writing in. To get one of our BigSquidRC sticker packs, shoot me your snail mail.
Big Squid is not a racing website. Some of our Bash Crew members do race, in fact, most of them will race at least a couple times over the course of a year just to stay current with what’s going on with the race scene. With that said, no, we didn’t cover the IFMAR 1/8 nitro buggy worlds down in Australia.
However, even I can’t escape some of the buzz (complaining?) that surrounded the nitro buggy worlds this year. A young Davide Ongaro took the win with his Associated buggy, and from the sound of things, his car was heavily inspected after the race as his competitors were saying (complaining?) that he was cheating by running a gyro/electronic stability assistance. No evidence of cheating was found, Ongaro is the world champion, and those that did all the complaining and wanted all the tear downs, well expect for all that to never be forgotten. Payback is fair play after all.
As I was not there, nor do I have any “inside info” on this one, this is how I see it.
1. I don’t see any way that a sanctioning body is going to be able to detect the use of electronic stability control in a true cheater. Being an industry insider myself, I know exactly what lengths some companies will go to win, and yo sanctioning bodies- if you aren’t prepared to spend a LOT (let me just emphasize the word LOT one more time) of money, you aren’t going to catch the stability control cheaters. Today’s electronics are simply too sophisticated. Period.
2. If the sanctioning bodies have no realistic chance of being able to track down stability control cheaters, then seriously, there is only one option, and that is to make stability control LEGAL. Oh yes, I know the racers will have a meltdown on-line, but I would be highly surprised if many aren’t already using it as much as they think they can get away with. Locally I know stability control cheating is rampant (on slicker surfaces anyways), and that is with absolutely nothing on the line. I would say winning one of the bigger IFMAR titles would have to be worth at least a half million dollars over the course of a driver’s career, at what dollar figure would you turn the stability control on at?
3. I am one of those guys, I dig tech, and I typically jump on early. I have been using gyros in my cars (off and on) since the 90s, when Spektrum came out with AVC I was all over it, and today I still run AVC whenever possible (even in my crawler!). Yes, I am a huge supporter of the tech, but I am also a person that uses electronic stability assistance on the daily. I know exactly what the various electronic stability systems can do, and what they can not. A gyro isn’t going to cut lap times in half, in fact, on the high-bite tracks that that pros Always run on, stability control is going to do very little in the way of lowering a lap time. However, where a gyro would really come in handy would be a “near crash” situation. Stability control could help a driver keep from crashing in various scenarios, thus allowing the driver to push even harder, or it might just save a racer a few 3 second marshal times. Stability control is an advantage, even on high bite tracks, but it isn’t tremendous, especially in the hands of an elite world class driver. While it makes a HUGE difference for newer drivers, or any driver on a slick surface, the day gyros go legal, that lap time record down at your local track will fall, but not by much.
4. Our sport desperately needs any form of change. RC racing is mired in the 80s, seriously, it is like watching dinosaurs racing around a track. Rc racing needs REALISM, not just in the shape of their bodies, but also how they drive. Rc cars are notoriously hard to drive fast, stability control can help our race cars look like they are driving more realistically too. Oh and, it can help your local back-marker crash only once per lap, instead of his usual 3 times. Furthermore, it can help make the buggies/truggies drive more predictably, thus allowing even high-end racers to race more closely, to push harder, and to go for more “non-hack” passes. To boil it down, making stability control legal could be one step towards a bright new future in rc racing.
5. Where is the downside again? Seriously? Where is the downside if everyone is running it? And, you had better not even open your mouth if you haven’t extensively driven gyro equipped vehicles…
6. Our sport needs a claiming rule, pronto. For those of you that are familiar, your eyes just lit up! For those that are not, a claiming rule allows ANY other racer to buy the winners car after the race. That means every single car on the grid, should it win, is for sale after the race. It made big waves in moto when companies were getting a bit too esoteric with their cheating, it can do the same for rc. Wanna cheat? Sure, go for it, but if you win, I am going to buy your car after the main. Google it for all sorts of awesome moto stories…
So to boil it down, racers don’t want it legal so they can keep an advantage when they use it for cheating, and the sanctioning bodies could care less if racing makes it another 5 years. There ya are, and there ya have it…
Have an unanswerable question? Desperately in need of an answer? Do you have some massive rant that you just have to get off your chest? Email me- thecubreportrc at gmail dot com.