The cynics among you have read the title of this blog and already thought, “not true, cheaters win all the time.” Well hold your horses there, turbo. I’m not talking about cheaters in the sense you’re likely thinking of them. I’m talking about the people who attempt to cheat the odds out of the hard work required to be successful…ie, the racers and RC’ers out there who believe the odds don’t apply to them…the guys who say, “Just one more weekend before I really give the car a good tear-down and rebuild.” These are the people who attempt to cheat the system. It doesn’t work, and I’m speaking from experience.
I’ve known for years that you can’t cheat fate, yet every so often I think I can get away with it. When tempting fate to bite you in the rear, it will. I thought I could go several weekends with zero maintenance on my 1/8-scale buggy without a failure. Mind you, I race a minimum of once per week if not twice, often with 20+ minute mains. Plus practice. We’re talking several hours’ run time on my car every week. I was feeling lazy and unmotivated, and I figured “eh, what are the odds I’ll break?” As it turns out, the odds were excellent. I had my rear end handed to me in the form of multiple broken parts, failures and engine problems over two different race days. I was frustrated and angry with my gear but more importantly I was angry with myself for thinking I would beat the odds. Reality check: no one beats the odds for long. It takes hard work to properly maintain a race car, and there’s no bypassing this requirement.
So I decided to rebuild my car, rebuild my engine, and do things the right way. You know, prepare my gear correctly and go through those maintenance routines I *know* work. Rebuild. Recharge. Practice some good laps, and then perform a bit more maintenance. And guess what…I had a great race day, my car was dialed in on the track, and friends were telling me that my car looked great out there. I went from “Oh No!” to “Oh Yeah!!!” faster than the Koolaid Man smashing through a brick wall. Big friggen surprise, huh?
Me, after multiple DNFs….
Me, after lots of wrenching on my buggy and a great night at the track…
The next time I attempt to convince myself that I can go “just one more week” without a speck of vehicle maintenance, I will either stay at home and not race or I will stay up the night before and prep my gear. As I’ve found out time and again throughout my RC career, fate will kick you in the face every time if you think the odds don’t apply to you. Face kickings are not pleasant, and neither are multiple DNFs. Proper maintenance requires lots and lots of hard work, but it pays off. I’m hoping to remember this the next time I am tempted to try my luck…again.