2013 Survey

FarrOut Slot Car Club

2013 Survey Results

First: thanks for all the participation.  You can see all your comments and votes below, as well as my comments and decisions.

  • 34 people voted representing 93% of all racers by attendance in 2013. These people raced a total of 642 races out of 693 possible, Of the 10 2013 racers who did not vote all but 1 attended 2 or less race days in 2013. 
  • In 2012 29 people voted, representing 91% of all racers by attendance


  1. In 2014 we will race on 25 days for a total of 45 races – 5 Team races on 5 days, 40 Heat races on 20 days
  2. There will be 7 separate classes, plus Team Races, plus Drivers Championship
  3. Decisions:
    1. We are not dropping any class  
    2. We are adding a new class: Racer/Sideways 1976-82 Group 5 /1978-81 IMSA GTX Special Production Cars running Ninco 20x11mm tires with no weight added
    3. We will test metal wheels in one class for one year
      • We have to decide which class that is going to be (see below for my suggestions)
      • We need to specify which wheels and which inserts will be used to get to lowest cost/ease of entry
    4. We will vote on replacing the existing NC1/8 in Ninco GT1 with BWNC-1 motors
  4. All 6 existing classes, the new Group 5 class, the Team Races and the Driver’s Championship will now have a total of 5 races each
  5. We will have 3 Setup/ Race-craft Days in 2014, one less than in the last 3 years
  6. We will likely race at 12 tracks in 2013. We raced at 10 in 2013: 1 dropped out (Russell); and we are likely to add 2 or 3 (Rafael, Gary, possibly Rene comes back)
  7. We will meet at Bruce’s this coming Saturday, December 7, after the 3Hr Team race
    • We will: discuss the votes; figure out details around metal wheels for one class; test the proposed new motors for the Ninco GT1 class; try the new Sideways class cars on Bruce’s track
  8. SFJ needs to focus on editing the Website for clarity on rules etc. (funny I wrote that last year but now, curtesy of Craig, we have a fully editable website so I will do it over Xmas!)

Full details below. I really encourage you to read it all, specially if you are new and even more if you intend to debate any of this with me or others :)All the best,Stephen2013 Survey Summary

Change In Race Structure and Days90% of voters voted for the change to add another class (90% / 28 Yes, 10% / 3 No).  So we are adding another class.  

Your Comments (SFJ comments in blue)

  Sounds Good

But either way is fine

Variety is the spice of life. Guys have been clamoring for a new class for a long time.

in the spirit of keeping it simple, I’d vote for not adding another class… though I would vote for replacing some of the classes – specifically anything involving driving an SCX car… just my personal dislike of SCX driving characteristics and how hard they are to tune well. More classes means more cars to tune and maintain. Racer group 5 replacing SCX would add a new kick ass class that requires minimal tuning – a la slot.it

Brilliant!Sort of, but not looking forward to yet another car(s) to have to buy and prep. Like some others, might just race loaners in the new class rendering it another driver’s championship class.  

[SFJ: that’s part of why loaners are so important to the club.  Also it will only be a DC for those who don’t buy cars]We need to introduce a new class with new or current manufactured cars. The cars we run now are obsolete and service parts are becoming difficult to locate (I.E. NC1 motors)  

[SFJ: adding 1 current production class and 5 of the other 6 are still in production with cars released in last/next 6 months. Motors are however a challenge in  2 classes.  SCX F1 is only class not in production]

I like the new class, but it is too much monkey-business trying to have a decent car for every class as it is. I would rather drop a class in order to add a new one, or else just leave as is. Seven classes is too many, unless some common sense is applied to the rules.The only hesitation I have in voting for this come from not knowing what that new class would consist of. If it’s a class I really like: YES. If it’s a class I have no interest in: NO.  

[SFJ: this person got their wish and got a class they really like]

SFJ’s original comments: I would prefer more races for each of the the 7 classes. For example drop the whole Drivers Championship entirely (5 races) drop another Team Race (leaving 4) and give those 7 available races the 7 classes i.e. 7 clases of 6 races each. From my, selfish, SFJ POV the Driver’s Championship just means Michael and I need to buy/organize another 25 loaner cars. BTW for the team races, if we reduce it to 5, I would have the 5 classes that historically have long distance races have a team race. i.e. F1 and 4WD would not have a team race but the other 5 would

Drivers ChampionshipEveryone likes the Drivers Championship except for me, who cast the only no vote  (97% / 31 Yes, 3% / 1 No).  You voted overwhelmingly to keep it rather than convert it into another proper class (78% / 25 Yes, 22% /7 No).  So it stays, proof positive the Benevolent Dictator does not always get his way.

Your Comments (combines both comments made in 2 questions -SFJ comments in blue)

This is an IROC style set of races. A driver can be great driving his/her own cars, but driving something you’re not familiar with takes a different kind of skill, and those who can adapt to varying tracks/cars/conditions really are “champion” drivers.

Frankly I don’t much care for some of the drivers.More importantly, I feel it very important that the DC races provide the only real opportunities to try different types of cars besides those we usually run.  

[SFJ: this is ONLY true to the extent to which Michael and I continue to be willing to offer up new classes for you to try.  Additionally there are very few potential classes that are really drivable and have enough car types in them]

Often (always?) gives us a chance to try some different cars we don’t normally race. Perhaps this feature gives us the same benefit as adding another class. [SFJ:see comment above]

It’s a pretty good way to compare driving skill across the club population. However, I think a bit more effort needs to be put into one person prepping all cars, and verifying no fluctuation in power. for each heat throughout the race. I know, picky picky!

SFJ’s original comments: I dislike it immensely because it means less races for all the other classes and much more work in preparing loaner cars for essentially one-off race.  Given how much effort is put into providing great loaner cars and helping those who want it make their cars as good as the top cars I see no benefit to this “class” at allI would like to see more modern classes of this era Like DTM racing. 

[SFJ: open to it but, as far as I can tell from online reviews, the DTM classes available (Carrera/SCX) drive poorly without magnets.  Also since I am not willing to buy them someone else would have to purchase 5 cars and prepare them]   Why can’t we decide what class’s the Drivers Championship will be…. Lately someone decides what the class will be…and we race it… No one asked me? Take last weekend at Michael Smalley’s…I hadn’t the foggiest at what the class was going to be?  

[SFJ: If you want to influence the class used in DC races then propose, buy, prepare]

Worth repeating, I feel it very important that the DC races provide the only real opportunities to try different types of cars besides those we usually run. That said, maybe we should change its name to reflect that since conditions tend to affect performance results.  [SFJ: See Below]

And keep with introducing cars we would not normally race; I like the X-factor. [SFJ: See Below]The Drivers Championship is a fun way to take a break from our usual racing, plus gives us the opportunity to try out new cars we don’t normally run.  

[SFJ: I think you may all be missing reality of “new” classes being tried.  In last two years (12 races) we have raced Cartrix once (was supposed to be twice), Carrera 1/24 once; Fly Front Motor 3 times; Monogram Stockers twice; NSR Mosler once; Carrera GT once; Scalextric Trans Am once.  Unless someone else steps up (like Christophe, Craig, Michael and I have) then we will be racing 5 from among that list again in 2014.  i.e. generally, you are not getting to try new things, you are just recycling stuff you have already done.] 

SFJ’s original comments: Either convert it to a new 5 race class or redistribute the 5 races across the 7 race classes

Class VotingIn general we are very positive about our classes. 229 of 256 votes were strongly positive/fine as is and 11% /27 just couldn’t stand something.  Interestingly just under half the 27 negative votes come from either people not currently racing or the one person who dislikes 5 of the 8 classes.  She or he accounts for nearly a fifth of the negative votes alone!

  • 58% /149 votes positive
  • 31% / 80 votes “like but neutral” 
  • 11% / 27 votes negative

In 2013 we are happier with our classes, overall, than we were in 2012 voting. As I wrote in 2012, it might have something to do with the existing classes providing a variety of chassis types to provide uniquely different slot car experiences, i.e. Slot.it inline

, wide axle inline Ninco, narrow axle inline Ninco, Open wheel, Sidewinder and 4WD.  Then again we may all be drinking while voting.Slot.it Group C still is the favorite class with Ninco 50’s roadsters switching into 2nd with the Fly 60’s Le Mans now 3rd.  Again those 3 are clearly split from the rest as the other 5 have more people who are cool either way.  Drivers Championship rises to 4th, ahead of Team races that drop a spot to 5th.  Ninco GT1 goes from 8th to 6th and SCX F1 and 4WD tie for 7th/8th.

Details of the current class votes are shown below shown as positive (Top 2 box), negative (Bottom 2 Box) and the neutral (Mid 3 Box), with the class rating. Below are also all your unedited comments.

Rating+ve Top 2 BoxLike/ Neutral Mid-3-ve Bottom 2 BoxPositiveLike/
Slot.it Group C Le Mans 1982-931.8274184%13%3%
Ninco “Roadsters” Le Mans 49-632.1228175%21%4%
Fly “Classic” Le Mans 1964-742.0216175%21%4%
Ninco GT1 Le Mans 1994-982.91410450%36%14%
SCX Formula 1 1970/80’s3.4138746%29%25%
SCX 4WD Rally3.41210643%36%21%
Driver’s Championship2.61512154%43%4%
3 Hour Team Races2.71510354%36%11%

Your Comments (SFJ comments in blue)HATE 4wds – 

[SFJ: Awesome!! FYI, 5 others share your POV, 21 do not]Allow metal wheels option, but only with strict adherence to appropriate appearance. 

[SFJ: I agree]

Consider allowing modern SCX F1 cars under the same rules (V2 motors, Ortmann’s, no magnets or ballast). [SFJ: I am not eager to introduce new cars to this class and upset the current balance when there are, still, plenty of cars available through the Altaya and SCX re-releases]SCX Formula 1 still good because we need open wheelers, but maybe looking forward to the new 70’s Formula 1 cars you mentioned.  

[SFJ: about 2 years from now there will likely be a Slot.it tech based 1970’s F1 class available]

Ninco GT-1’s still one of the purest and highest quality, straight forward cars we race, let’s keep them. 

SCX F1 sucks [SFJ: 6 others share your POV] 

Ninco roadsters not so good [SFJ: only 1 person put them in the bottom 2boxes]

We need at least one new class with current production cars.  [SFJ: adding 1 current production class and 5 of the other 6 are still in production with cars released in last/next 6 months. SCX F1 is only exception]

I’d love a class with cars that aren’t too costly; I’d love a Ninco 50s, for example, but they’re normally out of my budget. 

[SFJ: we can help find cheap cars online/ eBay if you ask us and you have patience]Two hyphenated words only: SLOT-IT CAN-AM 

[SFJ: This is likely a few years away – right now there are just 2 cars available]Plus, Ninco GT1 LeMans class sucks so badly I’d rather mow the lawn 

[SFJ: just 3 others share your POV]

SCX: I marked this “Either Way” but I what I really mean is I want to keep Formula 1, but I would much prefer a different brand of slot car. Perhaps Scalextric F1 or Fly F1, even if they are more fragile.  

[SFJ: about 2 years from now there will likely be a Slot.it tech based 1970’s F1 class available]Ninco GT1: I wouldn’t mind retiring these only because there are so few choices, and the majority of cars tend to be either McLaren or Mercedes. I think the Slot.it bodies in this class give an unfair advantage.   

[SFJ: I will be clarifying these rules to eliminate any perceived advantage] 

Potential New Classes

In stark contrast to prior years, this year a single class stood apart while there were in 2012 4 had general support and 2 had it in 2011.  The Racer/Sideways Group 5 class gained many more positive votes than all other classes. No other class got to 50% positive votes whereas the Sideways class got to 74% /23 positive votes.  

As a  consequence it becomes the class to fill the new class slot you just voted in.  More detail to come on eligible cars but basically any Sideways brand (plastic) Group 5 cars is legal.  We will likely use Ninco 20×11 tires due to very high wear on the OEM Slot.it C1 tires and Ortmann’s making the cars quite “tippy”.

There is a good list of the Sideways group 5 cars here – a full list of all the 12 car types to be released here, (it starts 8 cars from the bottom and continues for another full page). Of course EBay has a good selections well, click here for a sampling from today.  

In each case it is just the Group 5 cars not the expensive resin cars.  

All 4 cars out now (Ford Capri, Lancia Beta Montecarlo, Porsche 935/78, BMW M1) also come in plain white kits for decorating yourself.  

Official Facebook page  Official Website 

You will find the Facebook page is most updated.  I will write up a full list of cars coming out etc.  I will also structure the calendar to have the start in around March to allow more new car types to be released.  Apparently the Ferrari 512BB and Ford Mustang GTP are the next releases.

Details of the potential new class votes are shown below shown as positive (Top 2 box), negative (Bottom 2 Box) and the neutral (Mid 3 Box), with the class rating.

Below are also all your unedited comments.

Top 2 Box
Fun/ Neutral-ve Bottom 2 BoxPositiveFun/ NeutralNegative
Racer/Sideways (Slot.it) Group 5 2.3236274%19%6%
Slot.it Le Mans GT13.01413445%42%13%
Ninco Champ. Modern LM GT3.21510648%32%19%
Scalextric / Pioneer Trans Am3.71014633%47%20%
Fly 1970’s Formula 13.7916629%52%19%
Cartrix 1950’s  Formula 13.81210839%32%29%
Modern Formula 1 3.91110939%32%29%
Fly Front Motor Le Mans GT 90’s4.09111129%35%35%
Revell/Monogram 60’s NASCAR 4.5517916%55%29%

Your Comments (SFJ comments in blue)

DTM would be awesome Carrera has these.  

[SFJ: Indeed they do but do they run at all without magnets – which the club broadly dislikes.  If you believe in them propose, buy, prepare and use for Drivers Championship?]

I know lots of folks think the Cartrix cars are too expensive and don’t run well, but selfishly, I love the era that they represent. It was a time when I first began to be interested in racing cars, and I’m a hopeless nostalgic romantic. They can be tuned to be great little cars. 

[SFJ: I could not agree more 🙂 ]I certainly liked the Racer/Sideways thingy… I bought a Cartrix 1950’s F1 and would like to use it… Same goes for the Slot.It Le Mans GT1’s… I’ve always been up for a Modern F1 series….  [SFJ: show me a modern F1 car that works without magnets……]

love f1 both modern and classic (cartrix) – problem is tuning Very difficult to tune out the understeering de-slot, which I hate 


NASCAR would be fun but only on large flowing tracks like Michael’s. Suspect they would be cumbersome on small technical tracks I’m good with all things slot.it… only drawback is they all drive the same – which is to say great, but not much variety in driving experience 

Fly front motors cars are beautiful and would be great fun – only concern is drivetrain durability – I’ve snapped many center bearings that hold the long motor shaft… otherwise you can definitely make the handle well.I still believe that Slot.it and Fly GT1 should be allowed with Ninco GT1 using appropriate motors, tires and penalizing amount of added body weight. Maybe require lighting kits 😉  [SFJ: I think this might be a lot easier for this participant to do (swap motor, mess with weight equalization, monitor it each race) than for the rest of us and is not likely to be happening] 

I love the vintage American Stock Cars, BUT they are too much work to be a valid class so I hope we can keep them as part of the DC.

I like the Fly Marcos and may set up some of mine so we could use them in a driver’s championship. 

I was not totally smitten with the Racer Group 5 but might grow to like them, I need to try one on my track. 

I really liked the stockers on Michael’s track but I think the one’s I most liked had Slot.it chassis’. 

I already have two Cartrix cars so am close to ready to go on these.

Anything modern GT is awesome Especially GT1 slot it.  

Racer group 5 is awesome too

If the Revellograms stockers are oked, I would allow Carrera and Ninco cars as well. If they are not competitive, they will fall out of favor, but it could allow for a variety of cars and costs. Make it a 60’s-70’s NASCAR class open manufacturer.

If we go with modern F1, try not to go Carrera since we don’t race it anyway; it would just be more different parts. Revell/Monogram, thought we don’t race them yet, would be a good budget choice, and perhaps Michael can get them to run well. Flys are a bit pricey, aren’t they?

Racer cars as used at Michaels house are not yet ready for prime-time. The rubber tires just didn’t have enough grip, I think Ortmans would be better. I know Michael said the cars were tippy in testing with Ortmans, but he also said the rubber tires gripped well in testing. Come race day, with people coming in and out, a fine layer of dust settles on the track and the rubber tires just don’t cope. Also, the throttle response of the cars was not good, probably due to having the voltage turned down. Over all I thought the voltage was good in terms of the speed of the cars in relation to the tire grip, but again, if you have a motor designed to turn well north of 20,000 rpm and then you turn the voltage down all trigger response goes out the door. With grippier tires you can turn the juice up a little and get a progressive response back in the controller and the cars are easier to drive even though you are going faster. I really like the idea of another class using quality cars like the slot-It’s, but the details need to be worked out or else it is not worth while. 

[SFJ: I suspect this might come from someone who is more of a true racer 🙂 ] 

I would prefer ADDING either the Ninco Championship, Scalextric Trans Am, Racer/Sideways, or Fly front motor EQUALLY. If we were to REPLACE a class, I’d prefer either Fly Front motor instead of Ninco GT1, or Scalextric F1 instead of our current SCX. 

[SFJ: you got your wish]

SFJ’s original comments:Each proposed class has pros and cons. For me (SFJ), in my personal rank order (all prices are actual ebay sales in last 30 days incl shipping): 

– Cartrix 1950’s F1: Pro: totally different class; many cars & liveries to choose from; in production. Con: prepwork to make crashproof; prices $70+ 

– Racer/Sideways Group 5: Pros: wild Group 5 looks; 12 body types and multiple liveries over the next year; slot.it components and chssis; anglewinder layout is different, in production. Cons: 5 body types right now; Prices $60+ 

– Monogram Stockers: Pro’s fun to race; very different; reasonable amount of types/liveries; Prices $30+ Cons: take fair bit of prepwork to get running; Also Monogram no longer makes slot cars 

– Scalextric / Pioneer Trans AM: Pros: interesting era of US racing; b/w Scalex/Pioneer now a decent amount of body types; low prices; Prices $35+ . Cons: require Slot.it guide transplant to solve handling; previously voted out of club 

– Slot.it GT1: Pros: slot.it components and bodies; use anglewinder layout to get different class into club; Prices $40+. Cons: direct replacement for Ninco GT1 class but has same issue of few body types/liveries; some earlier cars need a motor transplant to become angle winders 

– Ninco Championship GT: Pros: more current GT/Le Mans class; wide selection of car types; Prices $40+ for Ninco 1, $50+ for Pro/Championship Cons: actually two classes and not easy to identify which car is in which; Pro/Lightning/Championship with hot motors (not in production) and crash-proof Ninco 1 with no interiors, small motor etc. 

– Fly 1970’s F1: Pros: great looking; in production. Cons: too few cars types/paint-jobs to select from; fragile. Prices $50+ 

– Fly Front Motor GT: totally different; lots of variety to choose from; prices $20+ Cons: not interesting class to me personally; not really liking the handling; not in production 

– Modern F1: pros: in production: Prices $30+. Cons: manufacturers not race compatible and each car issued is faster than the last one; unraceable without magnets; too few car types/liveries from any one manufacturer; just plain stupid.  In a couple of years Slot.it (through Policar) will have a stable of 1970’s F1 cars available which might be a suitable substitute for our current open wheel class. Search Policar on Slotforum.com to see detailsTracksA word first for track owners: in general we have a great variety of tracks that are all appreciated, so don’t spit the dummy if you have fallen in the ratings.  in 2013 1 new track was added (Christophe) partly replacing 2 we lost (Christian and Russell).  In 2014 we will likely race at the same venues and add Rafael and Gary.  All 11 tracks will host 2 race days and I will select a few others to host 3 times after I have consulted with the hosts. Compared to 2012: we clearly still love Smalley’s. Jim/Christophe/Eddie’s 3 routed tracks jumped above myself and Bruce. Bruce improved with vote balance shifting more toward positive from equal positive/neutral in the past. Nigel and I both got a lot more neutral/negative votes this year and Carlos’ got a lot more negative votes.  For me I suspect people are finally tired of the bumps and power on green and I likely will address that.  For Nigel he really needs to solve the consistent issue of inconsistent power.  For Carlos I wonder if the poor track at the RC LA Show is part of the decline.The voting is shown as Positive votes (a 1 or 2), Neutral (3), Negative (a 4 or 5).  See all your unedited comments below.

Where We Race (Scale 1 to 5 High to Low)RatingPositive Top 2 BoxNeutralNegative Bottom 2 BoxPositiveNeutralNegative
Riverside (Smalley)1.22800100%0%0%
Cars (Christophe)1.6142088%13%0%
Claremont (Jim)1.7181190%5%5%
King Mini Boola (Eddie)1.9197170%26%4%
Farrout (Stephen)2.1196466%21%13%
Circuit Villeneuve (Bruce)2.1178165%31%4%
Nigelstone (Nigel)2.3167557%25%18%
Silverlake (Craig)2.8117842%27%31%
Lauffenring (Carlos)2.876735%30%35%

Your Comments (SFJ comments in blue)

Not sure if I raced on Jim Wisemans track THIS year, but my rating is based on my experiences there in the past.

Haven’t raced at Big Lou’s, Jim Wiseman’s, or Christophe’s. Craig is a great host, but Silverlake is just too short a track for my taste. Likewise, Eddie is a wonderful host, and the track is fine, but I never have liked the design of the King. Don’t have good luck at Circuit Villeneuve, despite the wonderful hosting of Bruce. Mostly, the tracks I’ve rated less satisfactorily are tracks I don’t do well at, for whatever reason, and it has nothing to do with the hosts or how the tracks have been maintained, but more to do with how poorly I fare at those venues.

This one always gives me the Heeby-Jeeby’s. So I’m going to give it a pass. I don’t think it’s fair to judge one track or another. Each track in their own particular way is fun to race on. And each host (or at least most of them) provide a satisfying “race themed” luncheon, with a nice “sweet” for afters. Considering into account the cuisine offered, seating arrangements, comfort as in is there enough shade provided (pools are a plus here and racers should be encouraged to provide their own towels and a suitable swimming costume) or area heaters (bring your own?) when it becomes a trifle chilly. I am truly very sorry I couldn’t maintain the standard of excellence at “Cirrhosis By The Sea” for another year of racing hi-jinx. I enjoyed all the pre-race prep, planning everything down to the slightest detail…and then was stoked watching everyone who attended the race having a great time….and of course not clogging the toilets! I just look forward to the next race…no matter where it is. Period.

Out of fairness I did not assign a number to tracks I have not raced on. All of the tracks that I have marked are very good. I gave a 4 to Craig-Silverlake because it is so short and I have found that while concentrating on racing I tend to get dizzy and that takes all the fun out of it.

prefer fast flowing tracks some tracks have a bit too many turns for cars traveling at a scale equivalent of almost 300mph

In previous years I considered my performance on a given track as part of my overall experience, which was not constructive for the hosts and I’m sorry for those misunderstandings. I especially hope that we can return to Rene’s again soon. I am appreciative and proud of all the tracks participating in our club

As always, I enjoy all the race tracks and very much appreciate the hosts generously providing a place for us to race! Some comments that apply to some or all the track’s: I am spoiled by the wooden routed tracks and prefer them, but feel we need some plastic tracks to stay connected to the roots of home slot car racing. I still think there are differences in the controllers at most tracks which is disruptive to good racing and could be solved by us being allowed to use our own controllers or the host frequently buying new controllers (which gets very expensive). So, let’s use our own controller’s, from an approved list, if we want to. I think all tracks should have adequate corner aprons so the cars aren’t hitting the guard rails. Tracks that require “grabbers” to marshall the cars should be reconfigured so that they don’t, although it is spectacularly entertaining when things go wrong with the grabber unless it happens in one’s own heat. All lanes should be more than adequately colored striped so that us befuddled marshall’s can more quickly figure out where to replace crashed cars.Farr jones track needs major improvement …  

[SFJ: sure does]

I regret my experience is limited to 6 tracks.

It looks like routed are my preferred tracks.

Like them all; would like to add others if at all possible (test at Rafael’s once he’s set, for example).

Lauffenring is a nice layout, but traction issues spoil it for non-mag racing. Claremont Raceway is a great track hosted by one of my favorite people in the club, but the voltage has been too low at the races I have attended. If you just want to watch small electric vehicles circulate a track with minimal driver input there are some excellent model railroad clubs to hook up with. You get to look cool wearing an Engineer’s cap and everything! 

[SFJ: I like trains]SFJ Original Comment: 

Looks like we will have 2 new tracks in 2014 from Rafael and a return of a possibly revamped track from GaryIt’s not easy or cheap to host on race days. There could be a bit more conscientiousness when it comes to putting money in the kitty, and “treading lightly” with others’ property.

 [SFJ: I agree with this 100%]  I think that those who consistently attend most races tend to make sure their tracks are more “race-ready” on race day. I’m thankful for having the variety of tracks, but perhaps we can make a bit more effort to have a race practice day before the race to make sure everything is working well.  

[SFJ: I would love to do this but simply do not have the time]

Other Things to Consider

1. Allowing Metal Wheels

The voting on this can, unfortunately,  be interpreted in 2 ways.  Additionally in 2011 voting this was not supported. I will confess and state that, personally, I am 100% against it (and was only one to vote “Are you Kidding me?”)So the vote: it was a 5 box vote.  

  • Grouping the votes by Top 2 Box as positive, Middle Box as neutral and Bottom 2 Box we get 50% of votes being positive, just over a 1/4 were neutral and just under a 1/4 against it.  
  • However if you view the Middle 3 boxes as neutral (making the Top Box positive, Bottom Box negative) and suddenly 28% are for it, 69% neutral and 3% (me!) against it.  See table below
RatingTop 2 Box
Mid Box
Fine Either Way
Bottom 2 Box
Top 2Box
Mid 3 Box
Bottom 2 Box
Should we allow metal wheels as a replacement option (only if used with detailed inserts appropriate for the car body style) in some or all classes?2.5169750%28%22%
Reclassified into top box/mid3/bottom boxTop Box
Mid 3 BoxBottom Box OnlyTop Box
Mid 3 BoxBottom Box

So we are going to compromise: we test one class for one year and it is optional if you use metal wheels or not, however inserts will be mandatory.

No inserts, no racing just like in our Slot.it Group C class right now. We will specify the class and the wheels/inserts that are legal and buy in bulk once we decide class/parts. My big concern here is that people may be thinking this will give an immediate performance advantage. Given how much we have put into helping people with their cars you need to be looking at a brand new car for this to make a difference – and then what it is doing is saving you on prep time. 

Essentially one can have the choice to do the work or spend the money.   Michael will tell you that if a

nyone comes to him with a new car to prep, he is going to tell them that the cheapest, easiest, most reliable competitive solution is to glue the tires and wheels then true the assembly. If they want to spring for metal wheels, the only advantage is it greatly reduces the importance and hassles of gluing. My other, lesser, concern is it will kick of a tech arms race where people who should be focusing much more on practicing their driving skills instead of focusing on “tech” improvements. To me this is just another “slippery slope” moment reminiscent of when we first had to change OEM tires on (now) 4 of 6 classes class and then again when we added weight to 2 of the 6 classes. 

Your Comments (SFJ comments in blue)Just saves time!!  

[SFJ: precisely and that is all it will do, it won;t give you an advantage over loaner cars or other cars with well prepped plastic wheels]Would add more expense, and someone would have to research the correct wheels/inserts for each car and match them to the correct tyre type allowed for each class…

 [SFJ: correct.  it is a massive and unnecessary pain in the derriere]I’ve said this for years. Metal wheels are much easier to true and keep round. They may be slightly more expensive to purchase at first, but can be used on most of our class cars, and they’re a lot less expensive to maintain.  

[SFJ: a fair point and seemingly no expectation of a performance advantage]

Well….I don’t have a GF….at the moment. But I’d gladly take my ex-wife for a scrap and dump her in a shallow grave outside the Women’s Correctional Facility in Tehahapi if given the choice! But….metal wheels solve a whole gaggle of problems. (you know it and so do I!) Plus I’ve been running them for years… 

I think metal wheels would help to stabilize the cars. I think we would have fewer cars coming apart during a race.the plastic wheels are crap and every class, once the Masters have tested and approved the use of metal, would benefit. As would the average racers. Like me.  

[SFJ: I suspect the improvement would be in getting your car prepared quicker]I think metal wheels are a fine idea ONLY if we strongly enforce the importance of proper appearance. If one’s car looks unrealistic because of its wheels, it mustn’t be allowed to run, strictly, unquestionably and absolutely enforced. 

 [SFJ: If this is not enforced then we have no metal wheels, period.  No one runs their Soit.it Group C without their inserts and there is no need to change that approach] Already shared them, but basically it just adds to the expense and complication and unnecessarily adds yet another factor to the ‘arms race” to be competitive. 

 [SFJ: Well said!]If this is voted in will the club have them for sale? or do I have to track them down? If I can by them from the club then I vote YES!!! If I have to track them down then I vote NO!!!  

[SFJ: we would specify what brand/type is legal and figure out where to buy them]Metal wheels would even up competition and reduce prep time. Cost is nothing when compared to time spent fixing & replacing plastic wheels.  

[SFJ: it would certainly reduce preparation time but i doubt it will even up competition]Having the option to add metal wheels, in theory may make the cars performance more consistent and as a result making the racing experience more enjoyable. If the club outlined recommended wheel replacement/gears it would help more novice racers, taking the guess work. I think overall the change would be welcomed 

without leaving one thinking they absolutely have to upgrade to enjoy the experience.  

[SFJ: a very sensible comment.  So long as this is the outcome then I think we will be fine.]It keeps the cost down, It’s cheaper then buying another car, if I’m not mistaking the one of the clubs main goals is to keep the cost down.  

[SFJ: you are correct, that is a key aim.  However, as loaners show, wheels can be fixed with time and effort so it is not necessary to buy another car.  To that point all my cars including some 100+ loaners are running their original wheels with the exception of a literal handful where he wheel broke completely] wheel cost is not a significant issue and helps the reliability and drive-ability of the cars..Wheel inserts not needed 

[SFJ: Wheel inserts will be required.  It is not negotiable]Plastic sometimes is even better. The aluminum has to be perfect on the axle otherwise wobbling is un reparable ….good luck. [

SFJ: a key reason to make this optional, nor mandatory]

SFJ Original Comment: No no no no no no no! Unnecessary cost and complication. 

1. it is not necessary: we can get the plastic wheels to a decent standard now. Have a problem with yours ask us to help fix it. We have alrady invested massive man hours to solve this for tens and tens of loaner cars. If yours still isn’t right then you haven’t used the setup day or Smalley’s advice and even services well 

2. it is directly contrary to goal of as out-of-the-box as we can get the cars and has strong risk of people thinking they must have them to be competitive – a tech arms race

3. Who is going to pay to replace the loaner car wheels: 2 wheels per car plus inserts x 6/7 classes x average of 12 loaner cars per class = 168 wheels x $5 (which is way low BTW) = $840 

4. Are you each willing to pay $50 minimum to upgrade 1 car per class (5 classes) $100 to upgrade 2 per class? 

5. we run model race cars – I don’t want to see metal discs running around the tracks so if by some horror this comes to pass, all cars at all times will have to have proper inserts

Appropriate looking, club-approved metal wheels would be great. I think you have to also allow after-market axels and gears, again club-approved and in stock gear ratios only.

[SFJ:  going beyond metal wheels with inserts is the slippery slope to hell.  This club is ABSOLUTELY NOT about ultimate slot racing performance – the tracks, controllers, cars types, the fun and everything else is not setup for it.  If we start down this path why not have disks for front wheels, vacuum inserts for the interiors, vacuum bodies, goop on the tires, balanced armatures, rewound motors, zapped magnets, replacement guides, unlimited motors ……]    

We should allow them anyway; why work with substandard equipment? Metal wheels should be guaranteed true; perhaps this would minimize having to true tires so much. As for wheel inserts, is that necessary? I know that SFJ goes for appearance and authenticity, but I believe that we should consider function first.  

[SFJ: the ONLY way metal wheels get in is with mandatory wheel inserts every race, with NO exceptions, ever]

I would sell my girlfriend for this IF I could get enough for her to pay for the requisite detailed inserts!

2. Other Rule Change Suggestions

We already have car prep days and a defacto class legal store through Michael and sometimes Frank.  45% and 42% asked for that.  Everything else was below a third of voters asking for it. Despite 29% of you ticking tech checks, we won’t be doing them: it requires a much greater commitment than I am comfortable making and if I really have to check against cheating then I don’t want to be a part of the club.  

However I DO need to update the website which Craig has helped me with by setting up a editing system.  I hope to do this soon as I feel the lack of website updates may, in part, have had an impact on our overall behavior by introducing uncertainty around our rules.

See my comments to various other thoughts below.  

Of what has been raised I think the idea of getting a new motor for the Ninco GT1 class, in part to free-up current NC-1/NC-8 motors used in Ninco GT1 for the Ninco 50’s roadsters has the most merit. The newly available BWNC1 motor is $5 and while it is a straight size swap for the NC-1/NC-8 motors it has 40% more torque, 4% more rpm, 50/70% more power (W) and costs 83% less than a NC-8 with adaptor clips.  Due to this performance difference we can’t mix it with the current motors.  

Proposal for consideration therefore becomes: replace Ninco NC-1/8 in Ninco 1990’s GT1 class with mandatory $5 BWNC1 motor.  

We would buy motors from the supplier in bulk to make sure we had plenty going forward.  We have checked and they have thousands in stock.

Class legal cars ‘store’45%14
Car preparation days42%13
Tech Check of cars before races32%10
Car prepping services26%8
Stricter Race Day Time Mgment19%6
Bring back magnet cars6%2

Your Comments (SFJ comments in blue)I would like to get a trophy for the winners at my track for 2014 if its possible 

[SFJ: as the host you are fee to do anything you want]

Haven’t raced enough with you guys in the last year to know if rules are a problem or not.

No…we have too many already. I’m cool with the way things are.permit the replacing of the front guide with any guide – I recommend the slot.it or ScaleAuto routed wood guides. It’s a $3, 1 minute mod (except on SCX cars) that can totally transform a car’s handling. Specifically it can greatly reduce, almost eliminate understeering deslots (my pet peeve in slot cars) – eliminating understeer de-slots = less de-slots, less marshaling, more fun, closer racing 

[SFJ: I regard this as part of the slippery slope to a tech arms race so we will maintain the original guides.  If you are having issues with you cars understeering come and ask us how to fix it.]

Allow BWNC1 replacement motors in Ninco GT1 to free up NC-1 and NC-8 motors for 50’s/60’s Classics. Allow ’65 Mustang and Corvette bodies into 50’s/60’s Classics. 

[SFJ: that is fine, just needs to be within current chassis setup rules etc.]

Allow one to use their own controller. From an approved list that might include basic Parma’s and basic Professor Motor non-adjustable controllers. In essence, using the same controller that the host may already be providing, but without any of the funkiness that the host’s controller(s) might be exhibiting!  

[SFJ: how about if we focus on preparing the provided host controllers and that is something you can help do each race day?  I regard free controllers as no less of a potential arms race issue and unnecessary additional cost as free motors etc.]  

Allow BWNC-1 motors as replacement for NC-1

If there were a way to increase the track practice time without making the core racing push back to a later time, that would help racers get their cars race prepped.  

SFJ Original Comments: No, nothing is needed (and that includes allowing people to have their own controllers)For some classes, like Slot-it, why not allow drivers to elect to race in a race with the voltage turned down, or to race on an honest 12 volts. It takes no longer to let 8 guys have a race at 10 volts, then another 8 guys race at twelve volts, than it does to have all sixteen racing at 11 volts. Results would be handled as if it were a single race, i.e. the guy with the most laps wins, regardless of which race he was in, the guy with the second-higest total is second, etc. 

 [SFJ: interesting but kind of negates the idea of racers getting to drive against everyone in the club and against different levels of race capability]All classes should allow ballast where possible; for F1s perhaps a Ninco button magnet (max 500 gauss) like we once did with Ninco GT1s–just enough to help them stick a bit but still require driver skill.  

[SFJ: club voting has always been clear – no magnets.  As to proper ballast my POV is that no other classes need it and I have no comments from anyone else suggesting we need it.  Again it just adds to time and hassle and gets us further from our core aim]

I don’t know the solution to this should be, but it’s happened that the Loaner Cars were so much faster than all the others (Jim Wiseman’s F1 race) that the first six spots were Michael Smalley-owned cars, and only seven of the 20 racers used their own cars. I think people who have been in the club more than a year should race their own cars. I don’t think this should be a rule, but it seems like a good place to vent.  

[SFJ: the survey is always a good place to vent!  I actually regard that day and the fact that someone other than the usual 4 to 6 suspects got the top 6 spots as a perfect outcome. Smalley used the practice day to setup his cars very well and then JIm, Smalley, Casper, Thomas, Craig, Frank Jim, Smalley all drove well and C and T got within  lap of 3rd place. IMHO fast loaners keep everyone honest and spreads the wealth and I do insist on new “secrets’ to prepping being shared]

Tach wheel speed or motor. Check tires and wight to top 4 podium drivers  

[SFJ: while I understand other clubs do this it is really against the ethos of our club.  If we have tech/inspect etc the cars then the club is over so we won’t be doing this.  We do informal checks every so often and the one person who did try to cheat got kicked out.  We do have a clear policy that top performers have to share what they do as setup for their cars, no exceptions.  So you should simply be able to ask and they have to show you and be ecstatically happy to do so.]

The last four that race should Marshall. It works at ITG.  

[SFJ: Ironically at our club it is last 4 racing marshal next 2 heats.  It was clubs inability to do this that led me to leave the club for 6 months this year]

After the race, we should weigh the three winner’s cars and test the engine Rpm 

[SFJ: see the response above]

Races up here are run with software that has a time limit between races, and drivers know that they need to be on the track within a certain frame. If you’re not on the track at the start, that’s your problem, not the Race Director’s. Marshaling is a different story; it’s difficult to get guys to step up to that duty in a reasonable time frame. You solve that problem by assigning marshals in the same way you assign heats: So-and-so races, then marshals the next heat, and so on. I think the car prepping services that some have done really help newbies and those with scant time to prep cars, as do the prep days that you’ve scheduled in the past. It helps everybody in the club, and it’s evident from the increase in the skill level of everybody who’s in the club. There are very few guys who are constantly back markers anymore. The racing is approaching parity.

Race back-biting and petty squabbling I think has reached an all time low this year. Although there are some who raise their voices like fishwives too much, while others have pitched a “hissy” and left after spitting the dummy out. I think that’s infantile behavior and should cease.I have always lobbied for the Modern Formula 1 cars. The real cars have a form of downforce and the slot car versions could have magnets. In thinking back to when we explored the idea four years ago I found that drivers were pushing the cars until they flew off the track. And then they would complain that the cars would break. I always thought that excuse was BS. Slow down and the cars will stay on the track. If you stay on the track you might even win.  

[SFJ: Ahh I see where it all went wrong, you are applying logic to the behavior of people who choose to play with little toy cars!]

I’m good with things are they are… stricter time mgt is always good, but last couple of races seemed to run pretty smoothly. I’d say the loaner cars are a must for me though… happy to pay because I’ll never tune anywhere near as well as Michael – nor is it a goal of mine to be a great slot car tuner… biggest fun factor for me is close racing – I support anything that results in closer and more wheel to wheel racing

I think cars that win in the top 3 spots at the end of a race should be checked to keep everyone honest [SFJ: see the response above]

What are the reasons people are using for not participating? If one of the reasons for not participating is fighting over the rules, do we have a complete list of rules available for us to read? Are they not participating because of how long it takes us to complete the races in a given day? Unless we know why they are not participating we can’t fix it or talk about how to fix it.  

[SFJ: As far as I can tell a few people (less than a handful) have left us because the they feel the 6 or so top racers are so intensely focused on racing that their occasional arguments and “spirited” debating ruins the atmosphere for them.  The majority though seem to, strangely, prioritize other things above slot cars (family, work, etc.)]  

Although I like to see new people and have them join the group, I think the ideal participation level is about 19 or less drivers per race day.

All is good

If it mattered then some of the above would need to be required. But we race for fun so it doesn’t. when someone has a car that leaves all others behind then it needs to be checked. We can tell if you have supercharged your car outside the box. If that is what it takes for you to have fun, then enjoy!!! By the way its called CHEATING!!!

To tech all cars would be very time consuming however, winners, runners up and protests provided protester’s car is teched as well.No magnets!!!!! Ya I said it!!!!!! You can all join me and Big Lou’s to get your speed fix!!!  

[SFJ: I fully support people running slot cars with magnets somewhere other than in this club !!!]

A buying consortium to hold down cost of cars and parts would be excellent.  [SFJ: we already do this where feasible but you have to realize we don’t really have any sort of significant buying power. We do it for Ortmann tires and will do it for BWNC1 motors if we decide to use them

SFJ Original Comment: I feel we already do a lot to help people once they have found us. I would be interested to see what would happen if we challenged everyone to bring 2 new people to the races during 2014.

Seems like people have generally improved regarding getting to the starting line on time. I wouldn’t say it is a problem at this point, but I am always in favor of looking for ways to make things move along more smoothly.

Things still seem to work well as they go; not much to input here, except the magnet idea for F1 above.Continue to make turn-marshaling for the two heats after one’s own race heat MANDATORY. That will improve “participation levels” of a different sort. 

[SFJ:  Agree 100% on that If winning cars were available for purchase (at a reasonable cost), it would put a greater number of competitive cars in the mix on a regular basis.

  [SFJ:  I really don;t like idea of people having to sell a car they put effort into.  Also I don’t know if people realize that A. Michael has sold his race winning cars on many occasions B. the loaners are as good as both Michael’s and my race cars and are available to all and C. Michael and others offer car preparing services for a fee which have been used by some of us so as far as I can tell the goal of this suggestion is already happening without the unnecessary competitive edge of “buy the winners car”    

Posted by: Stephen Farr-Jones

November 30, 2013

Despite being run by a benevolent dictator, every year the members of the club are surveyed about what they do and don’t like and are asked to vote for the race classes for the coming year.  We then have an annual meeting where any questions about the classes and any back-to-back testing can take place to make the final decisions.

We find that it usually brings forward new ideas and allows us to discuss any problems.  Below are the surveys and answers from past years.

Page created: 12/17/2023 – PK

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