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Peter Gunn

Club Racing

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Seems to be a bit of interest in club racing , so gonna bung a spanner in the works using my very vast experience, ( means i,m old ) , from the beginning in 1962 until early 1972 i belonged to a club in those days you had 3 cars , a f1 , a sp/gt, and a saloon, that was it and we all drove out of the box cars until extras came out like Airfix clubman, and MRRC that changed things a lot.

Until that moment there were no club rules but the lads started to moan about the guys who had started buying the newer cars because they still had the old cars , so the rules came in , pretty basic about a A5 sheet , basically you could race what you wanted to but there was a handicap system, to give all a chance of glory, basically it was you got points exactly the same for the places in group 1 and group 2 that worked very well until slot cars and membership really took of mid 60,s .

Now we had a problem chaps and chapesses turning up with anything from the old scaley, Airfix to the latest 500 can in a metal chassis, but we wanted all to race , non to be left out , so the rules got bigger A4 size now.

But some of the younger one's started not to turn up , so we had a club chat and the problem was keeping up with the fast boys was expensive and some didn't have the tuning skills of others, so what did we do , stand still or go forward with by now a quickly changing sport, so we voted for going along with the sports development .

That meant loosing some members , but that didn't really matter as there were plenty of new members , not being harsh but that was true of that period with Model shops open all over the place this sport was really taking of.

So there we were a good size club think we topped out around 24, quite intimate in a garage i can tell you , but the rules got larger and larger and the club scrutineer had to have assistance to get that done to get to the racing , by now 2 A4 sheets , why because there was so much on the market and we wanted to keep up with others we were racing against in inter club and area 9 the top boys were buying the latest which came out every week it seemed.

So through a lot of this all over this country clubs here hit a brick wall which was RC , now this was expensive but there were clubs springing up and lets face it racing a big Shadow sports car on a concrete track on a airfield was great fun, but where did it leave those of us who didn't convert .

The demise of model shops was well under way now , speaking to owners who were having shut down sales it was obvious the rapid development of the sport left many carrying old unsalable stock which put so many out of business, why because we all wanted the latest car , the latest motor, e.t.c.

Bringing this up to date, i still enjoy the sport came back in 10 years ago now , but there were very few clubs , some stalwarts up North , and a few down here still were there but vastly different to the old days as there are splinter groups , some build brass, some RTR a few scaley only clubs.

i did find one club within 4 hours traveling time there and back which i did think of joining for one last hurrah so sent for the rules and a reissue of the bible came back , this club ran 14 classes from Ninco to Thunderslot , with rules all different for each class, with appendages for each class, and used different voltages for them as well, so i sat pondering for all of 5 minutes and thought sod it i'll just go in the garage on my own turn the power on , open a tinny and enjoy my cars and the way i build them.

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Sounds similar to the 2000’s boom to be honest. I think it will keep doing the same thing, peaks and troughs.

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Our club down here is going well, 18 racers last week, but usually around 14 to 15 most weeks.

We rotate around 5 tracks located in members garages or homes.

We run about 14 classes during the year,using. 7 week series.

These class’ s are run every second year, so over a two year period we have around 28 classes.

Each year we review the rules and often update so the older cars can be kept running.

Some people are still running the same Fly cars that they were running back almost 20 years ago when they were first released.


Phil

 

Hobart Miniature Car Club

 

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Hi Peter, very interesting to hear of your experiences over a long period in the hobby.

 

A coupla questions:

 

MRE, Pendles & Topslots websites are brilliant. Are they actively promoting the hobby amongst their customers in the UK?

 

What are UK race clubs using for tyres for 1/32 scale racing? Urethane, rubber or foam?

 

Cheers Caddo

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Thanks for the interest Caddo , i could fill pages of my experiences in the past as regards slot car racing , but in answer too your questions , i deal mainly with Pendall's and Topslots , Pendall's have the largest amount of stock so tend to get the new items in fairly quickly , and what is most important the spares to support the cars.

Topslots i find give as good service as Pendall's and do the cars a few quid cheaper but don't keep the range of spares, only used MRE a couple of times , we are lucky here get product in a couple of days of ordering .

As regards advertising the sport , must give Pendall's due here they organize a fair number of things like Gaydon for instance, and you normally find advertising material in the box your order comes in, again they are based up country where there seems to be one or two more clubs around , they have a very good track to race on and hold lots of meetings up there , i,m not sure about outside advertising.

Where i am for instance normally word of mouth or a E mail pops up from someone with the latest info, for instance when i found out about the NSR F1's being available i notified people i know by e mail and they notified people they knew by media means, same with the staff's wheels , i just posted how good they were a bit pricey but added something to the car and that was passed on around some slotters down here.

I suppose the biggest thing i,ve noticed is the lack of Scalextric advertising, always remember the before Xmas ad,s they were always on showing their tracks in operation alongside the railway stuff, sort of getting dad interested so he bought a set for sonny boy when we all know it was really for him, but now nothing at all like that .

Now this is where i think the sport is suffering, at the beginners level the initial burst of excitement of your first slot car and you had all the gubbins to put a circuit down, and race with dad or family, from little acorns trees grow , but alas no more media has really taken over , hence the lack of interest , not many if any clubs around anymore , what there is here in what i would call locally within a 4 hour drive are 2 and the age group is round about 60 plus, new younger blood is rare, and let's face it we ain't gonna live for ever , hence the numbers dwindle .

On the tyre side there are a number of clubs racing different types of cars some of the metal brigade obviously use treated foam, some use the tyre the car comes with to keep costs down , some use NSR and some use the slot it , if i had to put one up the top i suppose slot it just from NSR, don't think we have many club urethane users here, apart from people like me who use them in some proxies , i also use them as a general tyre on Carrera track , i use NSR mainly on your tracks down under in proxies like the Group 5 or the ATCC because the rest do and they know their tracks.

Must mention the smaller supplier , i use people like Mark at Slotrace NZ for things like H&R motors which i find hard getting anywhere else, does a very good service and the postage is reasonable , Lakota's in the USA again for motors like the 25k Piranhas,and we have quite a few 3d makers here like Amato, Wasp, the ones i call cottage industries.

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