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Mad Ax

Back to the Track: Truckman Class

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I've posted a few Back to the Track series in the past, each time documenting my return to the wonderful world of indoor club racing, each time starting full of enthusiasm and delight and, as often as not, ending a few months later in apathy and boredom when I hit my plateau and get bored of getting nowhere, declare that I don't really enjoy racing and pack it all in for another year or two.

Will this time be any different?  Who knows!  But this has been something I've wanted to do for a little while, so here's a nice and typically long opening post to get us all started.

TL;DR: I went back racing.  Continue to the next post if you don't care about my epic ramblings on the state of my life

I haven't been a regular racer since I retired my M03 a few years back.  We raced to Clubman rules, with a Saturn 20 control motor, Sweep control tyres, and bearings and oil shocks  and springs being the only allowed hop-ups.  By that time everybody was using the M05, and no matter how hard I raced I could never quite get on the back of the top racers.  It might have been my skill, it might have been my setup, it might have been the deficit of the M03 against the M05; more likely it was all of them, in various measure.  Either way, I got bored of having to pick up 3rd place whenever somebody else didn't show.  I got frustrated that my hopes for a podium finish in the championship hinged not on my success but everybody else's failure.  I shouldn't really race for the trophy but there's got to be a goal, otherwise it wouldn't be racing, it would be bashing, and I felt (rightly or wrongly) that my laptimes were as good as they were ever going to get.

So, why am I going back again?

Well, various reason.

1.  My 2018 Revival Failure.

I went to the 2018 Iconic Revival full of enthusiasm and confidence.  I had a great car (a vintage Top Force with vintage hop-ups) which had done me well the previous year, I'd raced well at the opening round of the Iconic Cup that spring (unfortunately I couldn't make any other rounds, as that turned out to be the highlight of my RC year), the weather had been fantastic and we were all looking forward to a dry weekend.  The reality was different.  I'd failed to properly prepare the Top Force and it punished me for it in every race - loose screws, seized suspension, the lot.  I let the red mist descend when I couldn't get it to drive straight, and ruined most of my heats with bad driving.  The weather turned the day before the event, treating us to three days of downpour, and the pit shop didn't have any wet tyres in stock.  I, as an infrequent off-road racer, didn't have any wet tyres either.  To top it all off, I was taken ill and spent half the weekend in the toilet tent.  My wife came down with the same virus but owing to a medical condition, she was taken into hospital on the Sunday morning, having to leave our 18-month old daughter in the care of friends.  As a good father I should have aborted my race weekend and made the 4 hour drive home, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see it) my camper was at the very back of the camping field and blocked in by at least 5 other tents and caravans, so there was no way I was getting off site until the end of the day.  Plus, given heavy winds, a lot of gazebos had been damaged so I'd offered my awning to some other racers - leaving early would have left them and their kit out in the rain again.

Despite all that, I managed to get 2nd place by the first corner of the C final and was all set to hold the position - until the timing system failed and the race was aborted.  I started badly in the re-start, was plum last after the first lap, and two laps in the car became impossible to drive.  In a proper example of racetrack bad manners, I stormed off the rostrum after a huge head-on crash with a wooden post, to discover the Top Force had lost a kingpin from the front hub.  No wonder I couldn't drive it.

Why is this relevant?

Well, the Revival is usually the highlight of my year.  Bad weather and ill health can't be helped, but I could have done a lot better if I'd prepared and practised.  I underestimated how much prep the Top Force needed and overestimated my ability as a driver.  Taking a hiatus from racing had not just affected my laptimes, it had affected my judgement, and my enjoyment of a rare weekend away.  I left the venue determined to do better next year.

2.  My 2019 Iconic Success

I only managed two races in 2019: the first round of the Iconic Cup at Mendip RC Raceway in April, and the Iconic Revival at Bingham Model Raceway in July.  First change I made from 2018 was downgrading my ability rating from 5/10 to 3/10.  Less expectation on myself and less embarrassment if I had a bad day.

I never expected success at Mendip because my TL01-LA didn't have the speed tuned gear set, and was up against much newer chassis in the Super Stock class (the LA isn't eligible for the Stock class).  Mendip is fast, so the speed tuned gear set is pretty essential.  Even with the biggest pinion, I was being slaughtered on the back straight - it didn't matter how much corner speed I could carry (and as a 3/10 driver with limited tyre and spring options and an older chassis, I was never going to run rings around the class leaders) I couldn't get close to the FTD.  But that didn't matter.  I focused on small setting changes and improving my technique.  I found a setting that kept oversteer to a minimum out of the tight hairpin and, as temps came up, learnt to drive around the grip-roll that started to occur there.  Despite having a(nother) upset stomach all day (who would believe it..?) I had a really enjoyable time, improved every race and went home feeling happy.

I wouldn't race again until the Revival in July, where I campaigned a new-built Novafox and my fully-restored Top Force.  It was almost a disaster - my older MRT transponders don't work with BMR's new timing system - but tireless Revival organiser John Weston loaned me his spare, saving my weekend.  The new pit shop (local heroes and new friends Racecraft RC) had a great supply of wet weather tyres, so even the anticipated downpours couldn't spoil my challenge.  The Fox was epic.  Properly prepared with a rebuilt Super Stock BZ, it had just the right amount of speed for the wet weather.  Like at the Cup, I didn't expect to get on the podium - but I went out to enjoy my racing and improve every heat, and that's just what I did.  Top day.

The Top Force was almost a failure - a brand new Alturn high-speed race servo (a model I've been using for a long time) turned out to be slower than a slow thing on national slow day.  I've now had a couple of really slow Alturns - I won't be buying any more.  Adie from Racecraft had a spare race servo lying around which wast just perfect.  Disaster averted, the Top Force was an absolute dream.  I didn't go out to win - I went out to improve, and that's what I did.  I qualified 3rd in the C final, with a qualifying time that was miles away from either 2nd or 4th, and I figured if I stayed out of trouble I'd take home the 3rd place trophy.  I got tangled in an incident in the first corner and was last, but I kept my cool, reeled in my competitors, made neat, careful passes and - thanks to the mechanical breakdowns of my closes rivals - finished in 2nd.  For the first time in ages, I genuinely felt like I'd earned my trophy.

Why is this relevant?  Because I really enjoyed racing.  For the first time in an age, it wasn't just about getting drunk with mates, talking nonsense about toy cars, eating fried food and camping out in the rain.  It was about racing, as well.  I really got my money's worth that weekend.

So I figured - if I'm seeing results from my racing just by being patient and taking time to learn, how much more would I see if I did that every week?  Is it time to go back to the club?  And how much better will I race at the Revival next year if I get in some regular practice?

3. My 2019 Rut

OK, so the whiny and self-absorbed bit now - outside of RC, I've really struggled to find a happy place this year.  With a 2.5 year old in the house it's hard to be anything but Dad.  Being Dad is OK (it's not every day I can even bring myself to say that), sometimes it's the best thing in the world (I really mean that) but it's so hard to being anything else.  Once the bedtime story is read and the toys are tidied up there's precious little evening left.  Add to that the exhaustion of disrupted sleep and interrupted downtime, and once my duties are over, all I can do is flop into the sofa.  The things that my life used to be about have fallen away.  It's hard to write good music in a brain that's cluttered with nursery rhymes and kid's TV theme tunes.  It's hard to write good fiction when you're used to tempering every thought for toddler ears.

So I figured I could either sit on the sofa, feeling miserable and yearning for that one weekend every month when I can pack up the camper with toy cars and head off for a couple of days of freedom, or I can use the time I've got to go out and have fun.

So really, that's it.  WWMCC races on Monday nights, and Monday is my night off.  I get Fridays off, too.  I'm allowed to go do whatever I want on those nights (provided it's legal and compatible with continued marriage).  So instead of locking myself in my studio and feeling sorry for myself, I decided I'd get out and actually do something.

So...  Let's go racing!

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What to Race?

I went back to WWMCC a few months ago to talk about returning.  On the announcement of the Audi A4 touring car, WWMCC had proposed a new ‘classic touring’ class, using stock TT01/TT02 chassis, a control motor and speedo, kit tyres, proper wheels and classic touring bodies.  No silly tribal flame airbrushed paint jobs, no jellymould bodies and no annoying speed disc wheels.  While it all sounded like a great idea, it became apparent quite early on that a) nobody was ever going to agree with what constitutes a classic touring body and 2) we’d never get enough entrants to make it worthwhile, so we’d all have to race with the truckman class, which would likely have the exact same chassis rules.

So, if the chassis rules were going to be the same, why shouldn’t I just race in the truckman class?  I even had a MAN TGS race rig on the back of my race trailer.  I could race that…  But, no, that was made to be a display truck for big rig events – it might not look so good with track rash on it.

That said, it did get a good run at the SHMCC Tamiya Day in July.  (Actually strictly it was the practice day before the Tamiya Day, I was busy on the Sunday).  It ran really well, although suffered a bit with grip-roll.  Yes, that’s right, I rolled my display truck on SHMCC’s abbrasive tarmac circuit…

But I really didn’t want to ruin that truck, so…

 

The Truck

It was the beginning of August when I decided to purchase a new TT01E BuggyRa Fat Fox.  Reading the rules of the Truckman class at WWMCC, I also bought two Tamiya spring sets, steering turnbuckles, bearings and an alloy propshaft, so I could build from the ground up with the right parts.  I already had a set of oil shocks from a TT02D that I was decomissioning.

The chassis build was as straightforward as a TT01 always is – I’ve built more than a few over the years.  I assembled with the hop-ups in place, although things had to wait while I ordered some new servos.

I wanted to do something racy for the body, and after a lot of hunting around and experimenting with different colours in GIMP, I settled on something inspired by the Egress boxart colours.  I’m not 100% sure about the end result – Tamiya’s plain yellow always looks sickly and washed out, no matter what it’s backed with (silver, in this case).  I should have gone for a mustard or camel yellow.  Well, never mind, I’ll make up some decals for it eventually, that will help.

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The Big Night

It turned out to be quite some time before I got to race.  Firstly it took longer than planned to paint the body, then longer still to cut it out.  I just don’t get that much free time.  I did most of the cutting while sat in my camper during the rain storms at a big rig display we put on for a country fair.  Still, eventually it was done, but a family camping weekend (or disaster, if you prefer) got in the way, along with a bank holiday, and then a club closure too.  But that just gave me more time to be prepared…  Right..?

I arrived feeling reasonably confident that the truck would at least run.  Confident enough that I brought a spare Tx and Rx, ahem.  Yes, I bought a Turnigy GT5 wheel handset a while back and, if I’m honest, I’ve had nothing but trouble with it.  Last time I used it the steering just wouldn’t play ball.  Steering would be unbelievably slow, unless I pulled the throttle, in which case it was perfect.  The GT5 has a built in gyro and I wondered if it was something to do with that, but no, nothing, not even a dozen factory resets would fix it.  I was at a drift event when this happened, 90 minutes from home and with no spare radio, so, devoid of other ideas, I pulled the Tx apart.

It transpires that the steering wire runs above the throttle lever.  Every time I pull the throttle, the wire gets moved.  That was obviously creating a bad connection that was being temporarily fixed with a throttle movement.  A quick bit of re-routing and all was sound.

Until last night.  I’d given the truck a few quick runs around the drive and I wasn’t 100% sure the radio was working.  Sometimes the truck would randomly go full throttle.  Could be a dodgy pot in the handset.  I tried it while it was disassembled and it felt very cheap compared to other Turnigy stuff.  Well, on the night it was even worse.  It would switch on and bind, but after a few seconds it would cut out.  Tried it a dozen times before ripping out and throwing in a trusty Orx receiver bound to my old Spektrum handset.  Problem solved.

TBC...

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Race 1

The club has such limited time at the venue that we don’t run practice.  With seven heats, there’s only time for 3 rounds before the venue closes.  So I was straight out into my first race – I didn’t even have time to properly sauce the tyres.  Not that I needed to – with Tamiya soft red springs installed it had a lot of grip on the front.  Very twitch and tail-happy, but slow enough that I could drive around it.  As the heat came into the tyres I started to get some grip roll in the tight hairpin.

I finished with one tyre half off the wheel.  Ah, yes, I think they need gluing…

 

Race 2

I has considered changing the front springs, but I figured it might be better to adjust the handset first.  I added 25% expo and sauced all four tyres.  Oh, and I borrowed some superglue to glue them to the wheels.  I had some 0.5mm spacers in the springs which were giving me too much ride height, so I pulled them out.  That’s as low as the truck will go without illegal mods.

My first few laps were a bit rough – I think 25% expo was too much and I wasn’t steering in hard enough, but I re-calibrated my brain and started finding laps.  I had a few big impacts with the barriers – just out of practice on these tight indoor circuits – and found a braking point for the hairpin that got me round without flipping over.  By the end I pulled back some laps on the two junior truck racers.

 

Race 3

I was so happy with my race 2 pace that I didn’t bother to change anything.  I only sauced the inner part of the front tyres.  Back on track I had a much more balanced truck.  It’s still a little light at the rear, and still flips over if I’m not careful in the corners, but I finished in 3rd pace with 27 laps.  1st and 2nd came in with 29 laps each, to be only 2 laps down over a 5 minute race is pretty good going for me.  1st and 2nd are regular racers and have been running in Truckman for a while.

 

Summary

In all, I’m really pleased with my return to the track.  The most important thing is that I had loads of fun.  The club is still just as good as it was, and everybody was pleased to see me back.  There’s lots of new members too, which is always good to see, and plenty of youngsters.

The second best thing is that the truck is an absolute hoot to drive.  I know you can go way faster with a carbon fibre race machine running silky smooth tyres and a three-figure brushless combo, but those rigs are so much fun.  The high ground clearance, the hard tyres, the soft springs, the top-heavy bodies – it’s like watching 1:1 racing.  And everybody has put some effort into their paint, too.  No silly tribal paint here – it’s proper clubman racing colours.

My pit buddies have decided the truck needs to be run by “Helmut Racing” so my next challenge is to design some appropriate decals.

Oh, and apparently the alloy prop isn’t legal after all, so I have to pull the chassis apart to put the stock one back in – assuming I can find it.  And the Probe WP speedo isn’t legal either – I need to buy a Quicrun 1060.  It probably makes no difference at all but still, I like to play by the rules.

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What a great story - really enjoyed every bit of it. I love the idea of the period touring car racing.

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4 hours ago, Superluminal said:

What a great story - really enjoyed every bit of it. I love the idea of the period touring car racing.

I love the idea too.  The Iconic Cup is basically period touring car racing on period chassis - the list of eligible bodies gets tougher every year, but the sad truth is that lots of people still hunt out the best performing "scale" bodies to chase laptimes.  One of the favourite bodies for 2019 was the Suzuki Pikes Peak car - it has a slanted nose and a massive wing, so it performs well on track.  And yeah, I get it, it's a pretty accurate replica of a 1:1 race car.  But it's not the sort of 1:1 race car you'd see driving around Mallory or Thruxton or Knockhill, so IMO it doesn't count.  We all know what a touring car looks like, IMO we should all build our race cars to look like them.  If it was down to me I'd ban speed disc wheels too, but I appreciate not everybody wants to buy a few sets of expensive scale wheels + tyres + inserts for a season of racing when they can use the ones they already have for their other formulas.

One of the top racers at WWMCC has printed out stickers of wheel spokes to go on his touring car wheels, something I did for my buggy about 8 years ago, but he's done a better job of it.

Anyway, we talked about scale touring being restricted to standard TT01 / TT02 to keep it cheap, simple and not too fast, but it looked like it was going to be hard to make it happen.  Just look at the trouble John Weston has with arguments over the Iconic Cup rules every year...

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Thats a shame it gets taken too seriously. Would be great to see Alfa 155s, merc 190s, audi a4, honda accord, the odd volvo and mondeos etc all racing. They could set a 10 year time period for it say, 1989 - 1999 era body shells only from the DTM an BTC types as there are quite a few knocking around (although some bodies are quite rare, and for selfish reasons from when i remember enjoying it on tv) I would love to have a go in this in a stock motor / stock kit tyres and wheels combo as it would encourage the really close racing that the touring car races were all about.

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Back to the Track

Second day back at WWMCC with the TT01E Fat Fox.

Wife and child went out on Saturday, so I had a day to myself pottering around the workshop, sorting out some cars for Sunday's off road meet at Dirt3D and getting the Fat Fox converted to full Truckman spec.  Basically that just meant removing the alloy prop shaft and replacing it with the stock plastic one from an unbuilt TT01 that's been sitting in an M04 kit box for longer than I can remember.  Not the most convenient of jobs with a completed chassis but it all came back together in the end.  I didn't have time to fit the basic Hobbywing ESC but since the Probe WP fitted doesn't have much in the way of adjustability, I wasn't too bothered.

I almost didn't make it to the club - family matters got in the way, then as I was leaving (10 minutes later than planned) I found I'd left my van lights on and the battery was flat.  It couldn't be persuaded to start off the leisure battery so back in the house it was to fetch the wife's car keys and swap everything over.  Everything apart from my trackside chocolate treats, but that turns out to be OK because I'm eating them now while I type up this review.

Anyway...

I arrived trackside just in time to marshal for the juniors race, then got the truck out of the box and sauced the tyres.  A full dose of additive on the rear, and just the inner half of the front - too much grip and these trucks flip over in the corners.  Besides a quick tweak of the expo (down to 18% from 25%) I left the setup alone.

Race one came around faster than I could catch my breath.  Six cars on track - five trucks and a lone M-chassis entrant taking refuge among us.  One truck dropped out on the opening lap, leaving just four trucks and one Mini on track.

The truck was very well balanced throughout the race - the fault was all mine.  After a long Sunday (badly) racing my Top Force Evo in a vintage 4wd class at a new local track, my brain was badly out of calibration and it took me best part of the race to get myself under control.  All too soon it was over.

It was a fairly poor show on my part, with me finishing 4 laps off the lead but only 6 seconds off my closest rival (or is it colleague?  Judging by the scrapes on the bodies, I think it's only the Mini Clubman class where other cars are considered rivals).

I used the same saucing pattern for race 2, although I noticed a lot of carpet floof gets stuck to the tyres and sauce doesn't seem to want to get it off.  My pit buddy (and regular TQ truck driver) uses aerosol brake cleaner to clean his tyres before using additive - something I used to do a long time ago when I raced touring.  (Actually we'd use brake cleaner to "clean" the tyres when additives were banned because it seems to soften the rubber a little).

Interesting point to note: my tyres felt very hard and plasticky when new, like most treaded Tamiya tyres, however my pit buddy's tyres are soft and have a balloon profile, almost like a motorcycle tyre.  I had a sneaky squeeze to make sure they didn't have a banned insert, but they were empty.  Way softer and stickier than mine, though.  Apparently they soften up as they're raced - they've been on there for about 7 months, racing once a week.  I wonder if the brake cleaner is gradually making them softer?  I will add some to my pit box for next week.  A definite wear pattern is showing on his tyres but they've still got a few months racing left in them.  They'll turn into slicks eventually :D

I felt like I raced a lot better in race 2, but we were back up to our full grid of 6 vehicles and traffic became a more serious problem.  A few times I tangled with a backmarker and a few times the leaders tangled with me.  I use the word 'frustrating' lightly because racing is about having fun, but it is frustrating to compromise my laptime to let a faster vehicle pass, only for that faster vehicle to crash on the next corner and compromise my laptime again.  I probably wouldn't have minded at all were it not that I was continually swapping places with the next fastest truck but was always just a few seconds away from 3rd in the class.  It would have been great to have had a little victory on my second week back but alas it was not to be, and in the end I finished with a slower overall time and several laps behind the faster trucks.

Actually, my closest opponent was the only car to achieve a faster time.  "First race is always fastest." Said my pit buddy.  Track gets stickier as the night goes on, which compromises the race - everybody starts grip rolling and losing time.

I sauced my tyres again for race 3 but noticed my pit buddy left his outside front tyre dry to combat grip roll.  A good idea, I thought - but come race 3 my truck was pretty well planted.  I made a few mistakes (nothing big but enough to cost little bits of unrecoverable time) and swapped places with my nearest rival a few times.  The fastest two had terrible trouble with grip-roll, but my driving style favours a smoother corner entry, and I only rolled once when I misjudged the track and performed an unintentional Scandinavian flick to avoid a heavy crash with the inside barrier.

The joint curse and blessing of the Truckman class at WWMCC is that we race last.  As soon as we come off the track, we start packing up.  No more marshalling duties (we marshall the first race), no waiting around for the night to finish (or trying to dash out early so we don't have to help pack away the track).  Mostly that's a blessing.  The curse is that I'm always so busy packing down that I forget to look at the final scores listing, so I have no idea if I improved in my final race or if I managed to nab that elusive 3rd in class in one heat (even though I doubt I'd have got it on fastest times).

Anyway - a fun night was had, the truck survived without any damage and I'm all set to go back and improve again next week :)

(Also both of my cameras appear to be broken so I haven't got any photos this week).

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Ah, man. I know how you feel about the wee 'un. Ours is now nearly four and we're almost getting to the stage where we can each have a night off regularly. I'm the stay-at-home and I love being with her all the time, but it'd be really, really nice to have enough time to get back into doing some of the stuff I used to. Quizzes, DJing, having the occasional night out with my mates, I've barely done any for years. I haven't raced for 25 years, but to be fair that's nothing to do with my daughter, that's just life changing as it goes along.

 

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@Yalson my wife and I were very keen to make sure we didn't lose ourselves when we started a family.  We've seen it happen to so many people and we were determined to do it differently.  (Of course, I'm think most prospective parents probably say this and end up in the exact same place).  But we had a plan, and so far it's worked out really well.

After the first couple of weeks (which are basically legalised torture) we took it in turns to look after baby while the other had a bit of time off.  That worked pretty well, so after a few months we formalised it.

Basically every week, I have two nights where I'm "off duty" - that means I can do whatever I want, either going up to my studio to work on writing or music or play games on my laptop, or I can work on some RC stuff in the workshop, I can go for a walk, go for a bike ride, go out with mates or go racing.  I just need to kick myself up the backside to do these things instead of falling into the trap of staring at BBC iPlayer or scrolling through Facebook all night.

My wife has her two nights also.  I'm the working partner (my wife only works 2 days per week) but I also do most of the cooking, so my nights on duty are long ones.  I get in from work and take over the toddler while my wife goes up to the studio (or goes out - she does caving).  I do toddler bedtime, then I cook our dinner, then finally I get to sit down and watch a film.  Back when my wife and I had our own creative spaces I would be in the studio every night - I had time to work on music projects back then.  Now we share a studio I have become something of a film buff.  I watch 3-4 films every week, where I used to maybe watch 3-4 in a month.  I actually enjoy my nights on duty now, though.  There's no pressure to be creative or make the most of my time.  Mostly my daughter sleeps well, so I just stay within earshot of her bedroom and enjoy my film.  On the nights where my wife is out on caving trips, I can take the baby monitor to the workshop or studio and do whatever I want.

Then we have two nights of the week where we share the cooking and child duties and we do something together.  We can't go out so we usually watch a film or catch up on one of the series we enjoy.

That leaves one night of the week that's spare - so we alternate.  We share the cooking, tidying and bedtime duties, then one of us gets the baby monitor and the other gets the studio.  This week it was my wife's turn, so I spent last night watching (another film).  Next week it'll be my turn, so I'll spend the night packing all my kit for the weekend.

Every month we each have a weekend off.  My wife usually camps over at a caving event, so I have two solid days with just me and my daughter.  It's great if the weather's nice and we can do out and do something.  If not, we just play around in the house and do some tidying.  My wife's away this weekend, so I can look forward to spending some quality time with my little girl.

I usually go away in my camper to some RC event or other.  There aren't many local events but to be honest I like to travel anyway.  Next weekend I'm doing a 4-hour drive to Derbyshire for the UK Scaler Nationals.  I'll be going up Friday evening and won't get home until sometime late on Sunday.

What works for us doesn't necessarily work for everybody, but it's enabled both of us to keep hold of ourselves.  I tell this to all prospective parents (plus those who have kids and tell me they never have time for anything) - we're proof that it can work, if both parties are prepared to put in the effort alone on on-duty nights.

Of course, things will change as she gets older - she's already starting to stay up a bit later and doesn't want to go to bed at 7pm.  The later she goes to bed, the less time I have for my film (and the later I eat, too).  I keep skipping past the 3-hour epics because I don't want to go to bed late.  And we're planning for another baby in around 12 months time - I expect it will be much harder to shepherd two youngsters into bed.  We'll see how it goes when it happens :o 

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Anyway, I digress.  I spent best part of 30 minutes on Tuesday writing up Monday's results only for my flakey home internet to drop out just as I hit the Submit button, which was kinda lame.  The long and short of it is:

Stock tyres gather quite a heavy amount of fluff on their outer edges when using additive

I need some brake cleaner to keep the tyre surfaces clean

I was just over 2 laps down on the fastest racer in race 1 and 2, and finished on the same lap in race 3 after he had a bad race with excessive grip-roll (and was probably not trying that hard because:).

The track gets slower as the night wears on.  Race 1 there isn't so much grip, so we can sauce the tyres and drive hard.  By Race 2, the grip has come up and we only sauce the inner edge of the front tyres.  Race 3, the track is like glue and tight corners are a balance of early braking and gentle turn-in.  Mess up a corner entry and have to turn tighter and the truck will flip over.  Being boxy shapes, they're more likely than a Mini to get stuck on their side.

My radio shuts off if I wiggle the servo fast.  That explains why my Turnigy radio wasn't happy when I first started racing.  I don't know why this should be, though.  I'll try a different ESC next week.  The race servo may draw too much current.

I've noticed that my pit buddy blips his throttle a lot in the tighter turns.  I maintain a constant mid-throttle in the same place.  My driving looks smoother but his is a lot faster.  When I try to emulate his driving style my truck flips over.

Having to get my best laps in in races 1 and 2 and effectively throw away race 3 makes heat-based racing a bit dull, but it should make championship events (with finals) much more fun.

I have some things to think about for next week :)

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I must apologise for there being no update to last week's race meet - I took some notes while I was at the club and I intended to do a write-up, but I got very busy at work, and all my spare evenings were taken up with getting some 3D print prototypes sorted for the UK Scaler Nationals yesterday.

In brief - the fastest racer in class was on holiday but one of the other fast guys turned up, so I had someone to race with.  It's actually come to something that I can say that - there are a few other racers who I used to battle with many years ago who infrequently join in the truck fun when they want a bit of a break from 17.5 touring - but I'm generally a lap or so ahead of them.  I didn't expect to be in that position when I started and it's nice to see some great improvement already.  I got some positive feedback from the fastest racer in class and I was only barely 2 laps behind him at the end of the night.

No racing this week (the club has a mini one-day championship kicking off later today but I don't be attending) so my next update will be in one week.

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