|Where do I start?|
I thought I would take the time to write a reasonably concise guide to getting started. Have been involved in racing 1:10th touring cars for a couple of months now I feel I'm in a strong position to remember the stuff I wish I knew early on with have progressed far enough to hopefully not sound completely out of my depth.
Let's start by making it clear that anyone of any level, age or ability can get involved with racing at club level. I know what your thinking but I've only ever bashed around in empty car parks by myself, well thats why you are ready to come and step it up another gear. I can clearly recall the first time I walked into Maritime Club I was overwhelmed by the help and support I received. It might be best to come up for the first time on a Saturday to practice (10am - 6pm) and spend the day testing the track and getting your car setup. If it's your first time with a car you can always just ask someone and they will help you get setup and going in the same way they did for me.
Now in complete fairness and a need to openly disclose everything in this day and age I've become addicted to racing in a short space of time, so much so that I'm sure it must be up there with Nicotine and Crack in terms of how compelling this is as hobby. It is probably fair to say that I've spent alot more money than I planned to but I must quantify that by adding that you can come up here and have fun without needing to have your monthly salary paid direct to your local model shop.
One of the first questions I kept repeatedly asking people as part of my due dilegence into researching this as a hobby was what car should I buy, a fair question but one that will yeild a completely different answer from everyone you ask. Why you ask? Well there are just so many variables that everyone has a different opinion. Lets break down some of the questions you want to ask yourself.
If you are new to rc cars you may decide to try it out before commiting too much money, if so then let me strongly recommend buying a second hand car. I wish I had given this some consideration and here's why. I went out and spent £300 getting a basic setup, only to sell it two weeks later because I wanted something better. If you like it you can always upgrade based on some experience and not having spent too much money on a car that is not right for you. There are always cars coming up for sale (take a look in the for sale section of the forum).
It's always a good idea to not get too carried away with buying all the extra's from day one. If you get hooked you will probably want to buy them but again based on recommendations and because you need something rather than because everyone else has one.
The biggest and best advice I can offer is talk to people at the club and you will be able to form an opinion for yourself. DON'T just ask at your model shop because unless they race at the club they will just sell you what's on the shelf and not necessarily what you really wanted. The hobby is as cheap or expensive as you want to make it, for example there are people racing cars which cost less than others have paid for a set of tyre warmers. At the end of the day we all share one thing in common and that's a huge amount of fun on race night.
So how does race night work I hear you asking? The format adopted is one of the things that attracted me to the hobby.
The first time you turn up to race you will be asked to assess your ability from 1 - 10, this helps to ensure you are placed in a suitable qualifying group.
Qualifying consists of 3 heats with the sole intention of running against the clock, you are attempting to drive as quickly and cleanly as possible trying to complete as many laps in a 5 min session. You are not racing the other cars on track and quite often you will need to step off the racing line to let faster cars through, hence the reason to place you in the right group for your ability. So you will complete 3 runs in a night which all goes to producing a table with the fastest guy at the top and the slowest at the bottom. Now for the clever bit, we all get to race in a final based on our ability. The table is divided into groups of 10 with the top 10 being the A final, so on down the list. On a busy night you can go all the way to an H final. The lowest heats are run first with the evening culminating in the A final. The final's are a bit special because this is when you are actually racing and so like real racing you are trying close the door to the guy behind whilst looking to find an overtaking spot with the guy infront.
I would conclude that the best place to start is by visiting us on race night and then coming along on Saturday practice to talk to some of the guy's, watch, ask questions and learn as much as possible. Remember we all knew nothing the first day we thought "Hmm RC cars look fun"