Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mrslotcar.com

Mr Slotcar in the Australian Muscle Car Magazine

Recommended Posts

Making Trax

317483_05529cad42c040a2987fb4f27aa1e1d0~

Twelve months ago I was writing of the unknown future we had ahead of us with Covid 19. Victoria was particularly hard hit, but there was a good news story in the slot world, and that was the Mr Slot Car slot shop businesses operating out of southeast Melbourne. AMC spoke to one of its owners, Peter Van Horssen to find out what has been happening.

Australian Muscle Car: When and how did you first get into the retail side of the hobby?

Peter Van Horssen: I had built a track and placed it onto an old trailer, which allowed me to roll it into the middle of the garage for us to play with. Soon after, my neighbour suggested I take it along to a fair at my daughter’s new primary school. Amazingly, I got requests for bookings on the day, and so the Mr Slot Car story started.

317483_26dd0d356018462e93c3e2adec0cca3b~

AMC: Who makes up the Mr Slot Car business?

PVH: There are three of us, with another fellow on standby on busy weekends. With my wife Debbie, and Peter Dimmers, we run the shop from week to week. That includes, retailing, hosting parties, corporate hire, design and manufacturing the modular range of Mr Trax products, importing and some distribution. And sometimes, local and interstate deliveries.

AMC: How did you get to this point?

PVH: We started in 1994 with a single portable slot car track mounted on a trailer, and added another one the following year. We also purchased an old eight lane commercial hill climb track and located it within a skate centre in Cranbourne. In 1996 we moved to a factory in Narre Warren where we added a drag strip and a smaller hire track made from Ninco plastic sections. In 2001 we moved into Dandenong and after 16 years and a mix of 19 different tracks over that period, we made the latest move where we are now in our own purpose-built 800 m² facility which includes the raceway and licensed café with an adjoining CNC manufacturing complex where we make the track modules.

AMC: The onset of Covid 19 must have come at a bad time. How has the last twelve months gone for you?

PVH: Like other businesses, we had to rethink our strategies. It made us concentrate in other areas to maximize our survival, like increasing our product range and design features.

317483_a9316a76b35e4cf1bccb85ce81701e2d~

AMC: How did the wooden track side of the business come about?

PVH: I think it was in 2013, when it was our turn to host the Model Car Nationals slot meeting in Dandenong. I decided to design and build a new track to suit that race meet. Since then, we have built many commercial and corporate tracks that sit in almost every state of Australia.

I got started with a router. I’ve spent many hours crawling over sheets of timber on the floor with a long straight edge and a hand-made compass. It can be a long and tedious process but thankfully I’ve now moved to CNC manufacture.

My good friend Miguel La Torre (an Engineer) set me up with a licensed CNC program and said, “I know you’ll do something with this”. Miguel saw my vision and knew what I needed to progress it to the next stage. Now, after many hours of practicing, CNC programming has become second nature.

AMC What designs are available using your modular track system?

PVH: At the moment we have four systems available with a multitude of combinations. The folding two piece track we call the Lockdown Track in five options/sizes. We also have a modular speedway oval system in seven designs. Then there is our regular two and four lane modular system with about fifteen modular tables to choose from. And our latest 2021 release is the Mr Trax hybrid system. It has all the regular analogue two lane modular pieces plus the new digital sections. So now you can assemble as many modular tables as you like, and at any time, insert digital lane change sections to run up to six cars on two lanes, with pit lane access and re-fueling etc.

AMC: What makes up your typical track systems?

PVH: The tracks are made predominantly from MDF, supported on steel folding legs, and for digital racing we have integrated the Carrera lane change system into our timber tracks. It makes it easy for existing or new customers to add a commercially available product, be it a car or an accessory, to our hybrid system.

The track surface is a special black paint we use - a well-guarded secret! It gets a great result whether you are racing with rubber or foam tyres. Our most popular controllers are the Slot.it controllers for the avid racer. And the DS Controllers are a great entry level. Power is supplied by the Hop Wo range of power supplies. It’s capable of handling any track size and power requirements up to 80 Amps. For race timing we use the Trackmate system. It serves the racing and drag racing community. Their range is extensive and very good, and we are the resellers in Australia.

317483_cc8e2db561744964b03d9cd7420ac9bc~

AMC: How do you engage with your clients?

PVH: We go through all of the basic questions: Is it for corporate use or home. Do they want to hire or buy. What area is available. How many lanes are required. What is your largest group of people. What is the budget. Do they need a full turnkey operation. Do they need delivery/installation/training. We have worked with clients such as Mercedes, Kia, Phillip Island GP circuit, Crown Casino, GP teams, CAMS, trade shows, V8 Supercars, Good Friday Appeal.

For custom manufacture we get down to the nitty-gritty. What is the footprint of the space – where are the doors and windows, where is the power, how will people get around the track. Then we get down to systems, how many lanes, analogue or digital. Will it be fast sweeping, or rally style, what kind of cars do they race. I often get asked about doing a Bathurst track, but it is hard to replicate a specific track and not waste space, so then I talk about making something similar that will maximise the amount of track, rather than replicate it exactly. Most people go that way once I have shown what I can produce for them.

317483_1650a55e46494e6bb427f4973d7ccf76~

317483_9cc417f23e10483d93a6f1ec9034c50f~

AMC Do you do scenery as well?

PVH: Scenery can be a challenge. We do little ourselves apart from green infields, track borders and fences. You can put in a lot of hours to get a reasonable result which is very hard to make for a good price. We recently acquired the Australian agency for Magnetic Racing. They specialize in high quality, detailed laser cut buildings which are supplied in kit form. The kits come unpainted, so customers can put their own stamp on the buildings to suit their layouts.

But if they have the budget and want it made, our good friend Tony Di Pastena (see AMC#103) can make detailed pieces. I can supply the CNC base templates that will drop straight into the track. Tony will add park benches, turnstyles, marshals huts, grandstands – things that suit the layout and it’s all nicely assembled and ready to go.

317483_72592114e1764d6a9f459b1d57735ca9~

AMC: Where to from here?

PVH: There are many loose bits of paper with ideas floating around my office. And every now and then, I decide to explore one of them and bring it to reality. We are forever designing more modular sections to increase the range and versatility.

AMC: How can people find out more about your services?

PVH: Simple, www.mrslotcar.com or call during business hours 03-9796-3830.

317483_d26a4b03a8064954a73c659dedc04d40~

Edited by mrslotcar.com
Uploaded too early
  • Like 3

Cheers, Peter VH

Mr Slotcar website       MrSlotcar NEW Facebook Page       MrTrax modular track systems      MrTrax Facebook page

Owner of Australia's fastest ever lap time on a Blue King track @ 1.4838 secs. And the fastest pass ever on a 1/4 mile Drag strip @ 203.2 kmh

Designer and manufacturer of quality domestic and commercial Tracks.

Both Logos.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...