Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
How should I get into this hobby?
Everyone has a story on how they got into this hobby and there are plenty of opinions on the best way to start. Long time racers generally agree that 1/10th scale electric classes are the easiest way to start. They are less expensive, less complex, and easier to drive than other classes. The best car or truck to buy depends on your local hobby shop and local racers. You should try to buy something that is popular among the local racers and has good parts availability at your local hobby shop. Once you get to the track, find someone that is winning and talk to them about tire choice and vehicle setup for the track.
At RC3 the popular 1/10th scale classes are 2wd short course truck, and 2wd buggy. The winners in these classes are usually racing Team Associated or Team Losi vehicles, though sometimes we see Durango, Kyosho, or Tamiya's win.
RC Hobbies can help you find a car or truck that fits your budget, just make sure you tell them that you plan to race at RC3 so they can sell you something that will work at our track.
What are transponders?
Transponders are small devices mounted to each vehicle so that the computerized lap counting system can detect when a vehicle crosses the start/finish line. There are many different lap counting systems on the market, but the most popular is the AMB MyLaps system.
Which transponders work at RC3?
MyLaps RC4 standard or hybrid personal transponders will work. These transponders look like this:
AMBrc DP personal transponders which look like this will work:
AMB hand out (house) transponders which look like this will work:
Original MRT transponders will NOT work, however MRT has released new PTX (NS) transponders which they say are compatible. If you have an older MRT transponder, contact MRT and ask about their upgrade program so you can trade up to a newer version that will work with our timing system.
What are house transponders?
House transponders are kept at the track and loaned out to racers that have not bought a personal transponder. These are rechargeable and are kept in a charging tray when not in use on the track. The system looks like this:
House transponders are mounted to your vehicle by drilling a 1/4 inch hole in the body and attaching the transponder through the hole with a body clip. Each transponder has a unique number that is assigned to each racer. Drivers should check their assigned number before each race and take the appropriate transponder. After the race is complete, transponders should be returned to the charge station immediately. House transponders are NOT replaceable as AMB no longer sells them. If you intend to race a lot, you should buy a personal transponder. Used personal transponders sell for almost the same price as new ones, so they are one of the safest investments in R/C.
How should I mount a transponder to my vehicle?
Transponders should be mounted horizontally no more than 6 inches from the ground (lower is better). Avoid areas with metal or carbon fiber between the transponder and the surface. Transponders should be securely mounted to the chassis in an area protected from impacts.
How are the races organized and scored?
ROAR is one of the largest R/C racing sanctioning organizations and we typically follow their rules regarding how the races are organized.
Drivers will compete in at least two qualifying races and a main event race for each vehicle class they sign up for. The best result from the qualifying races are used to determine the starting position for the main event race for each class. This is often referred to as "Rocket Round" qualifying.
If the number of entries for a class exceed 11, the qualifier and main event races (mains) for that class will be divided to ensure no more than 11 vehicles are on the track simultaneously. Qualifying races that are split like this are referred to as heat races (Heat #1, Heat #2, etc.), mains that are split are referred to as A-main, B-main, C-main, etc.
We may move drivers between heats of the same class to avoid having them race consecutive races if they are entered in multiple classes. Heat races are run using the IFMAR format. Each driver will be timed on an individual clock which starts when they cross the start/finish line. This allows the drivers to start their qualifying runs spaced out evenly around the circuit to improve consistency. Results for all the heat races of a class are combined and sorted descending by laps and time (the most laps in the least time). For special events we may use points based qualifying which will be explained during the morning drivers meeting.
The main event races are run after all qualifying races for all classes have completed. Racers in the lower mains that finish 1st or 2nd place are automatically entered into the next higher main at the bottom of the starting order (aka Bump-ups). For special events we may use a points based scoring system for the mains which will be explained during the morning drivers meeting.
What software and hardware is used to manage the races?
We currently use a software package called LiveTime running on a laptop computer. The timing is provided by a MyLaps RC4 timing system. The computer is connected to printer so that we can print the results of every race and post them on the results board located on the directors stand. We have a PA system to announce the races with speakers located around the track. We have a backup laptop available if our main system malfunctions on race day.
Are race results publicly available?
The results from all RC3 races are published on our website and on LiveRC. If a sponsor requires official hard copy race results please contact us as we are happy to provide this documentation.
What is a Turn Marshal?
During a race vehicles will become stuck, get overturned, become entangled with other vehicles, go off the track, break, etc. These vehicles pose a hazard to other racers and will need some human intervention which is referred to as marshaling. Turn marshals are people that will stand in designated positions around the track and monitor a given area for disabled and stuck vehicles. Turn marshals are responsible for removing disabled vehicles from the track and returning stuck vehicles to the track in a position where they can continue to race. They are not responsible for repairing the vehicle or delivering the vehicle to the driver or his pit crew. Turn marshals are expected to be alert and to move quickly to recover vehicles so that the racer's lap times are minimally impacted.
For most events at RC3 each race is turn marshaled by the drivers from the previous race. Racing can not begin unless there are adequate turn marshals available to service the entire course. If a class does not have enough participants to marshal the entire track during the next race the race director will ask for volunteers. Some classes such as 1/8th scale are considered dangerous to turn marshal so children are not permitted to turn marshal during these races. If you are unable to turn marshal for any reason, you will be asked to find a substitute to cover your duties. Failure to cover your turn marshal duties will result in scoring penalties or even disqualification.
What should I bring to the track on race day?
At a bare minimum, racers should bring their vehicle, radio transmitter, and enough charged batteries for all the races. Since the race day will last all day most people bring a chair, table, and a canopy for shade. If you do not have enough batteries for all your races, you will need to bring a battery charger and extension cord (50 foot or longer). You may also want to pack spare parts, tools, and cleaning supplies so that you can service your vehicle between races.
How long is a race day and what is the schedule throughout the day?
The registration cut-off time and race starting time is published on our schedule. You should arrive well before the registration cut off time so you can unpack, set up your pit area, and get some practice on the track. Most racers show up in the morning around 10am or earlier. If you are running late, our scoring system allows late entries at any time throughout the day however you may miss some qualifying races. We usually finish racing before sunset around 6pm or 8pm during summer.
What tires work well for the oval track?
Depending on which class you are running, there may be tire restrictions so check the rules first. If you can run rubber tires, you should go with something with very small pins such as JConcepts Bar Codes, Proline Suburbs and ION tires, or AKA Handlebars.
What tires work well on the off-road track?
The off-road surface is soft and we try to run it damp so a medium pin tire works well in most classes. JConcepts Goose Bumps and Double Dees, Proline Caliber and Blockade, AKA Enduro, Panther Boa, and Losi Eclipse all work well. If the track is dry, it will harden some and a smaller square pin tire such as the Double Dee, HoleShot, etc. will work better.
How should I setup my R/C vehicle?
If you have never raced before, you should start with the stock setup. Use the owners manual as a reference to put all the settings back to the original setup.
For detailed information about car handling and setup, check out this website.
What should I do to prepare my car before a race?
Check all the screws and nuts are tight
Inspect the wiring for poor solder joints, dirty or loose connections, and broken insulation
Check the gear mesh, it should have a small amount of backlash between the pinion and spur gears
Check that the shocks have oil and that they feel the same left to right
Take the pinion gear off the motor and spin the tires to check for binding in the transmission and for seized bearings
Look for hairline cracks in plastic parts (a bright light helps with this)
Check the radio batteries and recharge or replace them if needed
Check that the tires are glued around the entire circumference of the wheels and that the pins are not worn down
Does the hobby shop (RC HobbyBarn) run the races?
RC HobbyBarn owns the land and the track where RC3 currently races. The water and electricity costs are covered by RC HobbyBarn. RC3 currently pays a portion of all entry fees to RC HobbyBarn for the use of the land and to cover the utilities. None of the RC3 club officers are employed or reimbursed by RC HobbyBarn.