No events near you? No worries. You don’t need a hobby shop or RC club in your town to get in on the fun of RC competition. Don’t join in on the action, start the action. Check out these alternative ways to get competitive with your Axial vehicle. One bit of advice before you tear off: keep the rules simple and the focus on fun.
Rock racing is growing quickly, but not every hobby shop has a course. Most hobby shops don’t have traditional race tracks. If you want to race your Yeti across more than the lawn, the best solution might be to to make your own rock racing course. If fact, it’s far easier to make a rock racing course than race track. You’re really only limited by your imagination. The whole course doesn’t need to be rocks. Collect a few wheelbarrows full of rocks of varying sizes to create the rock section. Use dirt to build ramps up onto the rocks. Use a little more dirt to fill in the bigger holes and gaps in the rock piles and you’ll be good to go. Like desert races such as the Baja 1000, a race like the full-size King of the Hammers doesn’t have clearly defined lanes, so don’t worry about creating and grooming a whole track layout. Make your rock section and mix it up with the go-fast sections. A few cones placed around your yard can search as gates that have to be raced through in a certain order. Your homegrown King of the Hammers doesn’t have to be in your backyard. Scout out local parks. Many have rocky sections of naturally exposed rock or areas filled in with rocks. To keep it safe, make sure you’re away from other people.
While they are extremely cool, you don’t need an official pulling sled with a moving weight box. A dead weight box is easily made out of wood and good old fashioned tug-o-wars are a lot of fun. Dead weight pulls are best on smooth, level dirt. Make sure you’re prepared to groom the track as needed to keep it fair. Dead weight pulls can work two ways. You can load a box with a modest amount of weight such as one or two bricks and time each truck to see how fast they can pull the weight 10’ to 12’. The key is to use a weight most if not all of the vehicles will be able to get a full pull with. The other way is to start with more weight, measure the distance of pull and add weight for the vehicles that do get full pulls. Generally, the first method works best with a dead weight sled. When doing simple tug-o-war contest, pavement actually works best. On loose dirt, both vehicles often end up in a wheel spinning stalemate. Make sure you practice commonsense safety measures when having a tug-o-war.
DIY Scale Rock Crawling Comps
If there isn’t a scale club near you or if the local outfits aren’t offering what you want, you can host your own competitions. You might find out you’re not alone. One example of DIY scale competitions done right comes from the east coast. Eric Bresnahan of Connecticut and a couple friends started building a course on a dirt mound out in the woods. As their course grew, so did the crowds. Now, 40 people sign up for 1.9-tire based class. They have to cap the classes to keep the day manageable. And, they keep the rules simple and focus on having fun. As a result, hours after announcing a new comp has been added to the calendar, the classes fill to capacity. Many hobby shops and clubs wished they had that problem. The courses are carved into the dirt with a shovel, rocks and some manmade obstacles are added as needed and the whole thing is again only limited by their imagination. The group has also made good use of social media to grow. Almost all of the club’s communication is done via Facebook. As long as you’re extremely careful and exercise common sense safety measures, social media is a good way to find other people interested in RC competition.
There are a lot of times when things are done a certain way simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. RC racing is often a perfect example of this. Many people stop racing just because they’re bored. Sometimes the focus is far too much on the competition and not on the fun. Nothing changes because people are so used to doing it a certain way. Nothing changes and racers disappear. Some inventive racers in southern California have come up with an interesting twist on the racing format. Two changes make for a very different racing experience. First, after each race, the running order is reversed. Finish first and you’re going to the back of the pack. In a big field, it pays to not break away if you don’t want to have to contend with trying work your way through the entire field on the next race. The second twist in the program is each race goes in a different direction. Talk about really mixing things up. They also allow you to jump in at the start of any race. It doesn’t matter if you missed the first three races. Again, the focus is on fun, not determining who’s the world champion.