The weather was a bit iffy in the morning after a couple of days of heavy rain, but as the day progressed everything dried out and racing was on. It almost wasn't as a lot of people were very "late" to front - 4pm is supposed to be setup time and most didn't arrive much before 5pm. With winter getting closer and the track in a very exposed and cold location, I hope people might consider starting a bit earlier, but we'll see. The track was also surprisingly dirty in a few places due to dried puddles depositing lots of little stones etc.
I decided to leave the F1 on the bench this week and do something a little different. I had put back together the faithful M03 but at the last minute I decided to buy the extra bits to make it an FF02. This tourer sized version of the M03 chassis is a bit unloved and some of the TL01 parts required to make one up are getting a bit rare but, for me, its a bit of a toe in the water to see if I want to go the FWD tourer path. I've said since QLD Titles last year that I am done with 4WD tourers but the reality is that, given how (understandably given the current RC market etc) tourer-centric most clubs are, if you don't have something that fits into a 190mm tourer shell then you really don't have many options to race.
With track laid out and everything in place I took the car out and was immediately struck by just how much steering it had and how much pace it could maintain through the corners. We only run 21.5 now as our main class so even as a FWD it isn't going to be overwhelmed by horsepower. Gearing is a bit limited - despite fitting a 3Racing speed gear set - so straight line speed is a little down and certainly would be massively underwhelming on a long straight like at Logan, but on our dual tennis court straight it didn't lose too much.
The reality was that in the heat of racing the FF02 was pretty unstable in the rear. I had been aware this was a possibility given the layout (high CoG etc) and reading other people's experiences with them. It took me a couple of races to find a reasonable solution. When I had built it I didn't really have an idea of what sort of setup to start with so it was sort of a mix of proven M03 ideas and a couple of assumptions. I had given the front more up travel than I would with an M03, mostly because of the larger tyres. That was a mistake and when I took that away it became much better. The rear seemed to hang on much better (still don't really understand why) and if it did start to slide a bit of throttle and the FWD pulled it back into line. It also seemed the Ride 32 tyres liked the conditions better than Sorex 32's.
In the final I held onto 2nd place (about 1 lap down) for most of the race against a couple of regulars and their XRays until the borrowed battery (I only had one stick packed that still worked) dumped with about a minute to go and I made a mistake trying not lose any speed, pulling the body clips out on a track barrier.
I've already made one, and have planned a few more, modifications for the next time I race -
1) Modified the battery area to allow regular sized LiPo's to fit rather than be stuck with stick packs - basically lots of filing. This will also raise the weight but it was miles under the 1380g limit anyway before the lead supplies came out.
2) Swap some plastic parts for alloy - mostly in the front - M05 knuckles replace the old style M03 which required a special long and sometimes, fragile, ball stud. M05 knuckles have a different steering arm position. Will also replace the C hub and a few other bits. In the rear will switch to M05 uprights and try to get rid of some of the slop in the rear arm mounts.
3) Swap the old SP 1.1 ESC for my Tekin RS.
4) Hope its not too cold by the start of June (it probably will be).
Or I just may buy a 3Racing Sakura FF2014... or but a CRC F1... or take up spelunking... or...