Its been a reasonably busy couple of weeks but busy for mostly dull reasons. mostly centered around being chauffeur to my academic partner who doesn't like driving long distances but has had to go to Brisbane a couple of times recently for work purposes. I won't bore you with the amount of paperwork a university requires of someone to do such a simple thing but believe its far more than you'd expect.
The upside has been that I've managed to get quite a bit of track time in a couple of different places, if only to practice. Firstly, Toowoomba has been running some extra meetings to make up for some washed/weathered out ones, so we've been racing every 2 weeks instead of just once a month. Secondly, I got to spend half a day on the carpet at XRay Raceway (Trackside/Brendale) with the RM and thirdly I managed to get to a Midweek at Logan with the F1. While I enjoy/enjoyed each one thoroughly at the time it has started my thinking down a path I am not convinced isn't reality.
Car speed is always a relative thing and we probably all think, at one time or another, that we should be going faster than we are. Recently, especially with my TC, my single lap pace as been within a 1/10, or a couple of tenths of our local gun import, Ed C, but I am finishing races 2 and 3 laps behind him. Why is this? Simple answer - my consistency sucks.
Now I am possibly going to break out the violin here as far as some are concerned, but as much as I enjoy RC racing, I've never found driving an RC car a particularly "natural" thing to do. I was already in my 20's before I started racing and I jumped straight into on-road. Initially, I made a mistake of switching from one class to another too quickly without really giving myself time to learn it properly but, at the time, I was trying to find a class that I was good at, rather than trying to get good at a class. Eventually the progression of RC towards 4WD TC as its nexus, and the loss of other classes kinda "forced" me into TC...
... and I've never really been comfortable since.
Sure I've had a few minor success with them, a few podium positions at larger meetings and even a club championship in one class one year and up till relatively recently, expecting to be in the A main in stock classes wasn't being too big headed. Overall though, I've never really felt comfortable with them. It hasn't been helped by some bad choices (buying an early TC3, selling my HPI Pro4) and I freely admit that the more adjustable they've become the less comfortable I feel with trying to set them up.
Which is probably why in recent years, every time a class that isn't TC based has made a popularity surge I have jumped on board - Mini, 1/18, 1/12, F1. Ultimately though I don't think this has done my driving any good at all. All these classes need a different driving style to achieve the maximum lap speed from them and I simply don't get enough time driving any one of them to get my brain fine tuned into whats needed to race them well. I can drive them fine (and usually fast) for a few laps but putting it altogether for a 6 or 8 minute race just isn't happening.
I think this is what is killing my consistency because I am making mistakes I just shouldn't make and it stems from the unnaturalness I've always felt combined with trying to switch between the driving styles needed for each different class. Add to this the fact I am now 42 with eyesight and back issues and its probably safe to say my best driving days are already behind me
So whats the answer? To that I am a bit stumped - I simply don't like TC enough to make it my focus again, but circumstances being what they are I don't see a practical alternative if I want to get back to a competitive level remotely close to what it once was.
Ok - a few other things -
1) Development on the Mi1.5 is continuing with some new, slightly longer belts on the way. I've realised there is just far too much tension on the front belt and its causing so much drag its actually pulling the diff pulley onto an angle against the friction pads and plates. Hopefully going 2 teeth longer will stop that. I am also starting to design a new motor mount, and a new pulley mount as the original design doesn't let me change spurs without pulling the whole thing off - bit of a f%&k up there. I've also notice a couple of interesting spare available for the Mi5 that may make a couple of other ideas I've had possible.
2) There is a bit of discussion going on about the SEQ Interclub. Personally I love going to them when I can and will go as often as possible, but after much thinking and self-censoring the only other thing I will say is that I think it needs to adopt a completely different race format rather than the standard qualifying/finals format that is used for pretty much every event these days. Perhaps something like a round robin style of thing (Reedy Invitational?)