Sunday, 26 April 2015

2015 Interclub Round 1

Its been a while since I posted anything here but with some actual racing to go to I decided to blather on a bit. An alignment of the stars meant that there was a meeting at Trackside (1/12) on Friday night and the interclub round (F1) at Logan on Saturday. The other half said go and stop complaining about the lack of local racing. So with accommodation  booked and a bunch of of old cars to race I packed the Renault (the Chev currently a smoking POS) and headed down the range.

Friday night was good but nothing special as far as results are concerned. It was the first time in almost 12 months that I had put the RM-01 on a proper track and it showed. Setup was all over the place and getting to Brisbane a couple of hours later than I planned meant I had little practice time to really do anything with. I stripped some servo gears early on and that required a servo change and as I could only tape it to the chassis I think this introduced a "vagueness" I couldn't really get on top of in the time I had. I didn't bother with trying traction sauce until after racing was finished and I will say straight out I didn't see the point - it certainly didn't transform the car in anyway that would justify the extra cost and mess. In fact, the set up change that brought about the biggest change in car behaviour was lowering the front ride height.

I've always been of the opinion that traction compounds and treatments should be banned and nothing has change my mind in this area. IMO it simply adds a level of "voodoo" to car set up and tyre choice that the sport just doesn't need.

I was up early Saturday and arrived at Logan at 9:30am to find the track buzzing with people practicing etc. I'll admit I was a little surprised given the entry form said practice didn't start until 9:30, but it was what it was and I set up and got myself organised.  A couple of quick practices had me focusing on gearing to maximise Logan's new longer straight and dealing with general under-steer. I was told that the track grip would be consistent as the day changed from day to night so I wasn't worried to much about that aspect.

Qualifier 1
Not bad but not great. With Corey Broadstock running an XRay F1, the goal posts have moved a bit and he really is in a class of his own. Even so I was 3 seconds per lap slower and I was having to wait so long for the car to turn into the apex I could've stopped for a drink.

Qualifier 2
Ride tyres are noted to induce under-steer in a lot of situations. I had some Sweep tyres in my parts bag so I decided to try them. The car was more consistent but even slower. They were Extra Hard compound so not a surprise.

Qualifier 3
I perused through some setup guides and decided to make some camber changes and it was at this point I realised I'd dropped the ball quite badly. When I measured the camber I found 4 degrees on one side and 0.5 degrees on the other. When I had fitted the Exotek arms, I had forgotten to adjust them correctly thinking I would do it at the next club day, which didn't happen due to the weather. I set them both to 2.5 degrees, also made sure the ride heights were set correctly and refitted the Ride fronts. The result was a car that was a full 2 laps faster than the previous 2 qualifiers, but still 1-2 laps off the race pace.

A 15 minute final and a long wait as the event cycled through other class finals and a 20 minute gas final. Just a quick aside - it was great to see a field of gas runners and they do add a certain ambiance to an event, but the 20 minute final was, for me and I stress that bit,  a bit boring with the noise of the cars drowning out the race announcements so there was no idea of who was leading etc.

As for the F1 race - I did briefly consider changing the gearing again but I felt I had the diff settings perfect and changing the spur gear upsets this so I left alone. I didn't change anything else either and so the race started and I immediately found that my car was almost impossible to see under the lights. I did the best I could but by the 10 minute mark the lack of blinking and sweating hands from the concentration level led to a few mistakes and possibly cost me another lap overall. 6th was the result. Surprisingly I had the slowest fastest lap but 4th best consistency.

There wasn't much to take away from the weekend. The racing at Trackside/XRay raceway was good and they guys there were friendly. Racing indoors is always a challenge.

Saturday I had a look at an Exotek F1R2 chassis and they are just as nice in the flesh as pictures, and the combination of t-bar and side links seems to becoming a trend given the limited information about the upcoming Tamiya TRF102. The XRay dominated pace wise, but that could be as much the quality of the driver as an any chassis advantage. I do think the rules at the moment provide a very even racing class. For example I was using a 6 or 7 year old chassis design with the car itself heading for 5 years old, a SP motor of similar vintage (no timing etc) and with only minor upgrades to a F104 front and with a couple of repeat visits and maybe an upgrade to a slightly better motor I don't see any reason why it couldn't be in the mix, results wise. Could it win? Unlikely but I doubt I have the consistency in my driving any more to win regardless of what I had for equipment.

Now its a couple of week wait for club racing and I am hoping to get to Logan again before the truely cold weather sets in. I've decided, after last year, that racing at night in winter is just stupid and so I will sit this winter out. 

So till next time....

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