What Makes a Race Day, What Ruins a Race Day?

May 06, 2011 20 Comments by

Racing is fun. I hesitate to over simplify something that many people are extremely passionate about, but that’s why we do it–to have fun. In that sense, RC racing is no different than, say, bowling or billiards. But, like those two examples, racing can go beyond being simply fun and elevate to being highly fulfilling. That’s when it really starts to mean something. I’m making a great case for racing here. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, it’s something you can feel truly passionate it about, it has meaning. If all of this is true, why do some people look so miserable at the track. I’m not talking about the kid with the bummed out look on his face and slumped shoulders because his RTR didn’t get him anywhere near the winner’s circle–again. I’m talking about the 40-year-old guy slamming his car down while belting out profanity. Think my little scenario sounds too dramatic? Think again. I’ve seen that scene play out a hundred times–at least a hundred times. I recently swung by a hobby shop I only visit a few times a year. It’s an excellent shop with great indoor and outdoor tracks. This particular day they were hosting a trophy race. I’m a huge fan of trophy races as having something (even a cheap plastic trophy) on the line adds some excitement to what can be a routine toy car race. On the flip side, trophy races bring out the worst in some people. I was there with my 3-year-old son who really wanted to watch some racing (I just wanted to pick up a couple aluminum servo horns). In 15 minutes time, I witnessed three grown men throw what were essentially temper tantrums. They were, to be fair, fairly mild outbursts that, as far as I could tell, went essentially unnoticed by everyone including my son who was fixated on the racing, but the “My day life has been ruined” script was followed with precision. Equipment was roughly grabbed, slammed back down and the swears flew the whole time. I want to know why? I don’t care what inflamed those three chuckleheads. I want to know about you. What makes your race day and what ruins it?

Featured News, Matthew Higgins

About the author

About Matt:I think it’s safe to say I’ve done a little bit of everything in RC. That said, I predominately race off-road and my current passion is short course. One of my all-time favorite classes is oval carpet racing. Besides racing, I can often be found working on one of my many never-complete projects, and it seems I have an ever growing collection of rock crawlers—specifically scale crawlers. Matt’s 5 Hot Topics: Short course, Racing, Scale Builds, Crawling and the General RC Hobby

20 Responses to “What Makes a Race Day, What Ruins a Race Day?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I understand that you have to have forgiveness in your raceday. But it really chaps my … that the rules are becoming more laxed to create a welcome environment for the new guys to get started. That is all fine, but how long do you let someone cut the track or use reverse to avoid being marshalled. And don’t get me started on the way marshalling is become a time for b.sing and texting, I know I crashed my car but that does not mean you stare at it hoping it will continue to lay there upside down playing dead. It makes it very hard to see who is actually fastest, I will get off my soapbox, because we have all seen it become a growing issue.

    What makes it good is hanging with your buddies and clean, close racing.

    Hacz Racing

  2. Token says:

    Winning or at lease finishing the race is a good day. Even if I dont finish, dont make it a bad day as there is plenty to do at the track. Volunteer marshal, pit, water, help new guys.

    Nothing can ruin my day. Im in this hobby to have fun and hang out enjoying some racing whether Im in it or not. This is a hobby that some take WAY TO SERIOUS, even the guys who get paid to do so. It suppose to be fun.

  3. Rival says:

    What makes me mad, is when (a great!) magazine hints at a new product coming out, but fails to take a guess at a release date. LoL.
    The good me: I agree. Things break. Things happen. Let it go. Stuff happens in racing, deal with it. There’s always somebody better, or who has more knowledge than you. Let it go and just have fun competing.
    The Evil Me: If I’m losing, scream out “FIRE!” That should distract everybody for a few seconds and allow me to catch up! LoL!

  4. legal eagle says:

    There’s no better feeling than beating factory guys straight up, and there’s no worse feeling than chasing electronics issues.

  5. Bob S. says:

    What ALWAYS makes my day is when I feel I’ve made improvements to my car, or my driving throughout the day(or both, if possible), to get a little better as I go(I know I won’t win that much, so I’m usually pretty happy if I feel competitive & drive my best when it counts). What ruins my day is when I have to hear an overgrown toddler(namely the grown people you mention throwing tantrums) ranting right in my ear, making it impossible for me to focus on my race, as well as those “racers”(i.e. bashers who think they can race) who have NO regard for driving etiquette or sportsmanship(doing things like repeatedly cutting barriers, hacking other drivers without so much as an apology, much less any waiting for them to catch up), etc.

  6. avery schwab says:

    i have a peoblem with new drivers just taking me out if you are new race say sportsman, or stock buggy, not mod buggy GGOoSSHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Big Juice says:

    I still remember my first race here in Georgia. I was running stock 1/10 buggy. Eight yrs old, no clue how to read heat sheets, forgot to grab the right frequency ribbon for practice :D Luckily an oval racer stepped up and showed me “how to”. That was awesome, and something I have remembered to this day.
    The other side of that night was in my first heat. My Ultima jumped the track when my steering hand got anxious for the turn. And “Hey you can’t do thaa (and a few other words i’m not repeating) bellowed from the drivers stand. I stopped, looked over in bewilderment. I didn’t understand this behavior, a grown man whining
    like a kid? Well I was 8yrs old at the time…
    Funny thing, I won that heat. And 28 yrs later, I still see that grown ass man on the stand…hollarin for justice! Funny isn’t it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    My experience with a bad day just came recently. I was up on the stand racing a heat and the person next to me just kept complaining the entire race. About people bumping into him and yelling at every corner marshal when his truck flipped over some of it maybe deserved. However there was a kid there and I am guessing he was around 13. He was marshaling one of the toughest parts of the track. It was hard because you could not see the other side of the jump. I could tell that the kid was nervous and didn’t want to get hit by an on coming car that he could not see (who could blame him). This guy was relentless on this kid yelling at him to go faster shouting to everyone not to crash near him, really putting the kid down. A comment made to the kit was “if you get hit it will not hurt” I thought to myself, let me hit you in the head with an 7lb hyper 10TT and then tell me if it hurts. I understand competition and wanting to win but at the cost of safety that comes last. This just completely ruined that day for me to have to listen to that and watch it.

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      Sounds like the guy was a total jerk. What a shame it is to have guys like that at the track.

  9. electricdave says:

    There are so many great things about racing. As to what can make or break a race day I’d say that the best race days I can think of are when my RC equipment just works. It’s my job to drive fast and smooth, I just want my vehicles to work properly from tone to tone. It helps if I’m able to put down some fast laps and race up to my expectations of myself. Winning or at least making the podium is often a plus but I can remember early in my racing career that just making the A-Main meant the world to me – even if I came in last place in the A I was with the “fast” guys and that felt good.

    Ruining a race day isn’t easy for me because at the end of the day, I’m usually socializing with people who’s company I’d enjoy even if I weren’t at the track however I’m not terribly fond of Nitro guys who death-rev their engines in or next to my pit spot. I don’t like seeing other racers getting upset after all we are just trying to have fun. Finally, being an electric 1/8th scale racer competing in a mixed (Nitro/Electric) class, I hate it when a marshal picks up my car/truck and holds it up because it “stalled”. Just flip it over and I’m back in the mix!

  10. James Mikoliczyk says:

    What makes my race day good is when I get to hang out with people that I enjoy beoing around, as others have said. Knowing that there was some improvement in my lap times, driving, or keeping up with a few guys that are faster than I am running that day. It never hurts your day when everything is working as it should and you are doing well.

    What can kill my race day? I guess that might depend on the day, though I try not to let the little things bother me as much. There was once a time when I was running/ racing a lot and practicing every chance I could. I could hold my own most days, but it got to the point that if I wasn’t winning or in the top three I wasn’t happy. Not happy to the point that I wasn’t the nicest person to be around at times. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t having “fun” racing and had long forgot why I enjoyed racing to begin with. Took some time off and stepped away from racing. Probably the best thing I could have done.

    That is not to say that getting hacked by the same racer(s) race in race out doesn’t get the blood boiling a bit. I just try to roll with it as long as I can and not let it get to me. Though, I will punt if needed to prove a point.

    Marshall’s? Yeah, sometimes not always the best out there and more often than not I see kids busting their butts trying to do a good job marshalling. Maybe some of us old people could learn a thing or two.

    About the only thing that really gets my goat is the constant complaining about something not being fair enough, or the layout is too hard, race day is too long, mains aren’t long enough, race fees are too much for the track time racers get on race day, so forth and so on.

    I don’t think many of the new racers understand how good they have it now or even care. I came from a time when I payed 10 to 15 dollars for two 4 minute heats and one 4 minute main. That’s all there was for club racing. Now I see racers saying one 14 minute main isn’t long enough track time on race day in the 1/8th elec. class. Now it’s about some wanting/feeling entitled to a doulble A main format because the nitro class runs a 20 or 25 minute main. Gets old quick for me.

  11. Rossco says:

    good race day= friends+fun times+improving on your skills+enjoying the hobby we all love….finishing firstis coool and all, but im just here to have fun

  12. BIG DOE says:

    what makes my race day is being able to drive my car and if it flips over a marshall will get you back over. what ruins my race day is breaking a part and not having a replacement or leaving home without all my stuff.

  13. Mike Kremmer says:

    I want to start by saying just how much I love this hobby!!! Having been involved with several clubs and many classes over 24 odd years I have seen the best and worst of people when it comes to racing and sportsmanship. The truth is when ego and stupidity get involved commonsense flys out the window. After all at the end of the day no matter how you look at it we are mostly grown men playing with toy cars, high tech and incredible amounts of engineering that have gone into those toy cars but still to people outside our hobby they are considered toy cars. Almost seems funny that new racers and potential club members get scared / tuned away by these type of people when in my opinion we all got started because Rc cars are so much fun….. Love the hobby!! Smile at the newby help them out!! AND HAVE FUN!!!

  14. Ted says:

    What makes my race day is when you get better through the heats, and are running very consistently without crashing (which usually equates to winning or running in the top 3).

    What ruins my race day is when you are battling back and forth with a competitor, possibly for the lead, and having a backmarker swerve into your car, letting the other get away. Either move over or slow down! Inside I’ll be raging, but I always try and manage to keep calm on the outside. :)

    • Matthew Higgins says:

      I 100% agree with the “when you get better through the heats, and are running very consistently…” sentiment

  15. Anonymous says:

    The worst is when you hack a wall, break a piece, and lose all chances of even finishing. Even worse than that is when you hit the same wall and break the same piece in the next heat. I hate DNFs

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