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GROWING UP WITH RADIO CONTROLLED R/C
During College in the year 2000 I was so fascinated by 1/10th scale racing it hurt my grades.
I lived, ate, and breathed RC for a several years and was a veteran on the HPI forums.
Every penny I earned working at Toys R Us (where I played with more toys) was spent on RC and I had a total amount of $3,000 spent on the hobby by the time I retired racing.
My room became my RC garage and the carpets were made a mess...
The smell of fresh burning nitro methane gave me butterflies because it reminded me of race day! The day I went to the HPI headquarters in Irvine to view the national championships, was the day I became addicted to racing. Having a chance to see the sponsored Japanese drivers race with such graceful consistency and accuracy was a gorgeous sight. I knew that one day I would be able to keep up with such people, and boy was I right!! :)
I would wake up at 5AM, drive 45 minutes to a race. I'd travel anywhere within 50 miles to make sure I'd race at least twice a week. If I wasn't racing, I was practicing in my grandmas basketball court with cones/chalk. RC racing is like 70% the driver, and 30% the car. It came to a point where the driver was getting close to its potential, so that's when I started shelling out more money on my car(s).
My first car body was a Porsche 911. You can sort of tell this isn't a race car because I've got the OEM mesh wheels and the red heatsink from a O.S. CV-X pull start motor... Noob stuff. :)
Eventually, I got body after body, tire after tire... And I eventually got a Dodge Stratus body.
BOY, the wedge shape, good downforce, and smooth clean lines of the stratus was PERFECT. After going through my 3RD dodge stratus body I decided that I would never buy another body again!!
The #5 car is my favorite dodge stratus body. Above that is the Mercedes CLK DTM.
My first radio was a Hitec toy good for ready to run toy cars. I got my first REAL radio when I shelled out $375 for a Futaba PCM. I partnered it up by getting the top of the line fastest, strongest servo's. I'm pretty sure I paid $100 or more for my servos. The difference was the new servo's felt buttery smooth and extremely fast responding. I want to describe my first impression fo the Futaba PCM as driving without LAG having a silky smooth control over the car.
Being limited by small displacement 2-stroke engines. I started exploring the complex realm of engine modification. I began knife edging my connecting rods, porting the sleeve and crankshaft. Basically lighting up my engine internals so that I could get faster RPMs without sacrificing reliability too much. I never did blow up an engine and my car was able to keep up with more sophisticated models that sported pivot ball suspension. My competitor cars were by Serpent, Mugen, and Team Associated.
This HUDY setup is on a flat tile. I used it and let my racing partners setup their ride's toe, camber, ride height, etc to the highest degree of accuracy. This type of kit will set you back a couple hundred dollars.
This is my electric car below: The HPI Pro3. I ended up forking over $120 for a carbon fiber chassis and numerous upgrade after upgrade.
Yep, I had all the gear too. An army of stock motors, armatures, and brushes. I had a Trinity lathe to cut motors, a $200 battery peak charger, and all the discharging and battery conditioning bells and whistles. The most expensive battery I bought at the time was probably $200 for a 6 sub-c sell pack. NIMH was just gaining popularity at the time. I soldered my batteries with silver solder and you can see how thick the Dean's battery wire I used. Those wires were coated in silicone.
To make a long story short I began beating older guys in their 40s in advanced class races, winning prizes, and getting my picture taken for RC magazines.
I never placed in any national competitions, but I stomped on the local competitions and my name was frequently posted in the top ranks.
It got to the point where I was racing Nitro modified expert/advanced class, electric stock advanced class. I eventually surpassed my friends in skill level and they weren't able to make it to the same class that I was racing in.
In my electric stock expert class, the competition was fierce. From the very start of the race all you hear is whining of the motors and the cars immediately form a single file driving line. I suppose I had good reaction time back then so I could avoid crashes, make passes against cars, and keep a steady pace.
What killed the hobby was two of my most favorite race tracks closed its doors. It became more and more inconvenient for me to race and soon I was going to races that had new rules, bad drivers and weird track layouts.
Now my gear and cars are collecting dust.
I will never sell that stuff. I'm still waiting for the day when I take a car out, put in some new batteries and fuel and see if I can still race :)
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