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Here we are, over a fortnight since the Revival, and finally I'm getting around to doing my write-up. Don't expect loads of detail on the racing or a blow-by-blow account of my tweaks and changes during the day, this is more an overview of the atmosphere and friendliness of the event than it is a race review. I set off at 7:45am on Friday 30th July for the 150 mile journey along the Fosseway to Bingham, and arrived at 11:30 after a clear and easy run. The weather was dry and pleasantly balmy, if not as warm as one might expect for midsummer. I got my awning set up near an old friend who I first met at Revival 2018, and before I was finished another old friend arrived, so we parked our campers in a Circle of Love and made that corner of the campsite our own. This is the view from beside my camper, looking towards my two Revival buddies. Despite being a Revival attendee since 2015, I've never actually made it in time for Friday practice before, so as soon as the van was ready I unboxed my Blitzer Beetle and went out for a play. The track was slippy after the recent rain and I was lacking for turn-in, so I dialled out some of the camber I'd added at Robin Hood Raceway a month ago. I had Schumacher Vee-2 yellows on the rear, which were too hard for the damp track, and I was spinning out on every corner. Adie from Racecraft RC was testing his Sand Scorcher, mostly stock apart from a ball diff and modern tyres, and I must confess I had a real hard time keeping up with him with my inappropriate tyres, which was the cause for much mickey-taking for the rest of the weekend (he was still going on about it at the Iconic Cup two days ago ) Anyway, he was kind enough to sell me some Schumacher minispike silvers, foams and colour-coordinated Blitzer Beetle wheels - well, I say kind enough, he runs the pit shop (https://www.racecraftrc.co.uk/) so it's sort of his job to sell me tyres. A little while later the Blitzer slowed down and stopped. I'd had the same happen at RHR last time out, and before that when I was running it at the beach last. I knew I'd replaced the brushes so perhaps the Acto Pink was past its best after all. Fortunately I'd brought a spare Etronix Sport Tuned 17T with me, so I threw that in ready for Saturday's race.
This thread charts the conversion of my Blitzer Beetle from bone-stock basher to vintage racer. The story begins back in late 2011 when I placed an order for a Blitzer Beetle re-release. I honestly can't remember what shop I ordered it from, if I got it from overseas or a UK-shop or the local shop or even in a trade on here. Usually there's at least some vague recollection of where and when I ordered things, but this particular model escapes me. I can't even remember why I ordered it. I had previously owned a Stadium Thunder, which I bought new-built from someone on here and I ran for a while before selling it on, but I had never really fully 'got' the stadium truck thing. While it was a lot of fun, and the Thunder body is IMO one of the finest most aggressive-looking trucks to come from the Tamiya stable, I didn't feel the need to keep hold of it. I sold a fair bit of stuff around that time, so it was probably a victim of one of my random clear-outs. I do recall that I intended to build this model to mark the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. I had made a plan with some friends for an NYE Build-Off. My wife (then my girlfriend) and I would head over to our friends' place with a pile of NIB kits and a keg of locally-brewed ale and we would sit and build as the night went on and (hopefully) celebrate the new year with some freshly built Tamiya goodness. My intended kit was the Blitzer Beetle, I honestly can't remember what my wife had - possibly a TT01 that I wanted built for something, as I'd already built a few and she'd never built a car before. Alas, it was not to be. The sudden onset of flu-like symptoms in the destination household put an end to planned festivities, so my wife and I stayed home and watched Star Wars instead, setting a tradition that has become less often our fallback and more often our default state in the NYE celebrations that have followed. The Blitzer Beetle was not forgotten, however. It remained NIB until April of 2012, when it was slowly built over a period of lazy evenings and mated to the stadium truck body from a HPI Firestorm. And the Blitzer Storm was born. Here it is in all its glory, freshly-built and resting on the sofa in my old flat. This was back before I bothered to take half-decent pictures of anything. A year later the trusty Blitzer Storm accompanied me to a local beauty spot for a light bash. The wheel fell off.
The Iconic Cup vintage tarmac racing series has been steadily gathering in strength over the last few years, and 2020 should have been an epic season. I started my prep in January, with a refresh and rebuild of an FF02 and an update to my FF01 racer from previous years. Unfortunately the pandemic came along and put a stop to racing for the first half of the year, but Iconic team didn't sit idle and they made sure we got at least one good tarmac event before the winter closed in and Covid started gathering its strength for a counter-attack. With two cars prepped for racing, I planned to be covered for every eventuality. I had the FF01 for technical tracks, where better weight distribution and nicer suspension would give the best results in the corners, and the FF02 for those longer straights, on tracks where having the tallest possible gearing makes up for any lack of corner pace. The Iconic race day took place on 30th August, and had a robust attendance - enough for some great racing, not enough to unduly increase risk in these trying times. The air was warm and breezy but no rain was forecast, so those wet tyres could stay in the box. Instead I went out for practice with the FF02 and the treaded Sweeps and I use for Frontie racing. The FF02 had been set up on the Hudy before arrival but had never been raced, and it was a pig to drive. Super-slick at the rear end when the Sweeps were cold, then super-snappy with nasty grip-roll once they warmed up. I figured the Sweeps might be all well and good on a modern super-lightweight racing chassis (where they are the BRCA control tyre anyway) but they don't work too well for the older FF cars. I was surprised by how soft the FF02 felt. I ran 3Racing shocks with M-chassis length springs, and it looked very much like a real car with realistic levels of mid-corner lean and loads of compliance over bumps. But, regardless of that, it was too twitchy to drive effectively, so I put it on the stand and got out the FF01 for the first heat. The FF01 lacks the outright pace of the 02, and is also using an older version of the control motor, but it's a much lovelier car to drive. The track was still cool, so I used additive and tyre warmers on my well-worn Sweep 24R slicks. That seemed to be about right for the start of the day, although as the track temp came up throughout the day I'd find myself turning down the tyre warmers and then abandoning warmers and additive altogether. The FF01 improved throughout the day, with only a few changes of spring to try to balance front-end slides with grip roll and oversteer. I don't really race that much and despite doing a few rounds of the TORC at Stafford with a TL01LA, I still felt badly out of practice and it took me all day to get my lines right and feel that I could hit the apexes and get the correct lines every lap. Even then, I was a good way off the front-running pace and it was clear from midday that I wasn't going to be challenging for a podium spot. Content to settle for "not last", I focussed on making the car driveable and staying away from the kerbs. I decided to give the FF02 another try for the first final. I fitted the scrubbed Sweep 24s without additive or heat, and stiffened up the front of the car as much as I could. I started 5th out of 7 and got a typically good start (it's the only bit of RC racing that I seem to be good at), struggled with low rear temps in the first lap, then found a rhythm with the car and was starting to get some good times. A few laps in the heat got into the front tyres and it started grip-rolling - uncontrollably. That seems to be the curse of the FF02 (as it is with the M03 it is based on) and once the final had started there was no going back. I finished the race with the feeling that in the right hands, the FF02 was the faster car - despite being more primitive in design, the suspension really seems to work and it's a real joy to drive, far nicer than I expected (until then it had literally had a few seconds on the patio and nothing else). If I'd stuck with the 02 all day I might have played with front camber, glued the outer edge of the front tyres, experimented with ride height or even some ballast, but as it was I had to settle for 6th, 3 laps off the lead, 1 lap off the closest car and ahead only of a driver who retired after 3 laps. For race 2 I went back to the trusted FF01. The speed difference at WLRC is marginal, and there was a mix of 01 and 02 in the top 3 places, so I figured I was better off with a car I could control than with one that would pass down the main straight. This time I fitted a set of newer Sweep 24Rs to the front, unscrubbed and slick. These were slower to heat up and offered less bite, helping to control the grip roll that was affecting even the FF01. For the first time all day I was able to properly push, really enjoying the driving and mostly avoiding the frustrations of grip roll. Towards the end of the race it started to bite again, but I was able to keep it on the black bit and put in some solid laps. For the first time all day I beat the 14 lap barrier, finished in 4th, 2 laps off the lead and 1 lap off 3rd. In fairness, 5th and down didn't actually finish (one didn't even start) but it was a little victory nonetheless, and one I'm proud of, considering how bad the cars had been at the start of the day. In summary - the racing was great but the atmosphere was better. VRC can only get you so close to the real thing. I'm not a hardcore racer, nor am I an extroverted socialite, but for me racing is about people and atmosphere, and the Iconic Cup had both. I had a chance to meet up with friends I haven't seen since last year (or the very least, since the start of lockdown), and to check out all the fresh Tamiya stock at the Racecraft R/C pit shop. Given the state of the world and the uncertainty that lies ahead of us, there are no solid plans for any Iconic races next year. We're all silently hopeful that things will look better once the next season comes around, but there's a lot of planning and organisation that must go into a full vintage season well in advance of the first race, so next year might have a truncated season or maybe one or two one-day events. We'll have to keep quiet and see what happens. A few pics of the racing in my showroom here: https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=136158&id=15729 Here's some pics of the FF cars I ran:
Greetings: I recently registered on a related website, TamiyaBase. The resources are excellent, and the content is fascinating. Reading over some of the old guide books gave me a few questions, though, mostly regarding Tamiya's early racing events. While we do have some insight on their SRBs and the early racing scene (such as their their eventual demise by the Associated RC-10 and company), I wanted to ask about some of the more unusual races featured in the guidebook photos. Many of the images I am referring to are in the 1984 edition, but some also appear in the 1985 book on different pages. The most intriguing one for me is a picture of a race on what appears to be the Tamiya home circuit. In this one, a Sand Scorcher and a Sand Rover are seen leading two Audi Quattro Rally cars, and a front wheel of another SRB is seen on the far right. Right below that is another photo of the participants at a Tamiya event; models involved include the Sand Scorcher, Super Champ, Subaru Brat, Hornet, and what looks like a Lancia Rally, among others. This all appeared on page 7 of the book. What I really want to ask is: does anybody remember any of those races? Were they exclusive to Japan, or were 'leisure' Tamiyas raced at other circuits around the world? If so, what kind of upgrades or tricks were to be found on the cars, if they were modified at all? I am especially intrigued by those racing the larger-tired cars, such as the Brat, Lancia Rally, Audi Quattro, and potentially the Opel Ascona, which were a little more common in the 1980s than today... It may be an obscure topic, but I would like to know more if I can about these events. Tamiya's racing history in inter-marque events is known; however it seems its one-make events have less documentation. In the same manual, on page 18, a Lamborghini Cheetah is seen on a track - and that potentially-famous image of the 3-speed truck race, with the two Hiluxes and a Blazing Blazer mixing it up mid-race. If anybody knows anything about the latter races, I would be interested to learn more about those as well...