Beginners Information for RC Racing (and reminders for those that need reminding)

With the first organized event coming up at the Halifax RC Park in just a couple of weeks, we thought we should put up an informative post about what happens at an RC event and what is expected of you as a racer. This is just a typical list of racer etiquette, and specific event organizers may issue racers with a revised set of these rules and guidelines. Although long, they’re worth a read.


Before leaving home:

Make sure you have everything you need to race. RC Car, radio, batteries, fuel and any spares and tools you might need to repair your cars. Power may not be available so consider how you might charge your batteries between races (most battery chargers will happily run off a 12v life-size car/truck battery). Also be prepared for the weather at the track – in Nova Scotia this might mean gloves, hats, boots, goggles or sunglasses. You might want to bring snacks, lunch and beverages if you are not sure if the race organizers are providing any.


Arrival:

Registration. When you first arrive at a race event, visit the race director, complete the registration forms and pay your registration fee. You may be required to show your race cars at this time, collect race numbers (stickers) or provide transponder numbers if timing systems are going to be used.

Pit area. Then go and find a pit area to call home. This might be a table provided, or one you have brought with you, the ground or the trunk of your car.


General rules:

Race Time. Be aware of the starting time of your race and be ready 5 minutes beforehand. The race director will have a list of the heats. Take a look at them as they will show when you will be racing.

Radio. If your radio is older and uses the 27mhz AM or 75mhz FM frequency band, you cannot turn your radio on till your race is about to start. (If your radio has a long antenna then it probably is on the AM or FM frequency band). Even when the race director says the previous race is over, there are still cars finishing up the lap they are on, so wait until all cars have crossed the start/finish line before you turn your radio on.

Clean your pit area before you leave the event. This one is pretty simple. Clean up after yourself. Put garbage in the bins provided and take all your belongings with you (anything left behind will be considered dangerous and may be distroyed!)

Smoking. Smoking can only take place outside of the fenced area of the Halifax RC Park.


Practice:

Practice is often a free-for-all at club level. But consider whether you might have a radio frequency clash if you run an older AM or FM radio – see Radio section above. There might not be marshalls available during practice so take it steady. Don’t hog the track and leave time for others to get a few practice laps in. When practicing, follow the racing guidelines below.


Racing:

Get off the throttle when being marshalled. Drivers must get off the throttle when being marshalled so you don’t hurt the person marshalling you. Alot of times the marshall won’t even pick your car up until you get off the throttle.

Reversing is not allowed during races. Marshalls will recover your vehicle if you have an incident. Be patient and do not try to reverse out as that could cause unacceptable impact speeds, and subsequent damage to oncoming race cars.

Do not shout at the marshalls. In most cases the marshalls do not cause the cars to crash, the drivers do. It is not acceptable to be yelling at marshalls as soon as you crash your car. The marshalls should respond to a crashed car in a timely manner, if no one is going to your car it would be acceptable to call for a marshall.

Racers must not intentionally take out another car. If you are trying to pass a car for position and hit that car in the back end and take him out, you should stop your car, off the racing line, and wait for that car to get ahead of you. Try to make your passes cleanly.

You should not try to pass a car in the first couple of corners. When the tone sounds to start the race, give it a couple of corners before you start trying to pass another car, unless that car is obviously off the racing line. You can’t win a race in the first couple of corners but you sure can lose it there.

You should allow cars that are obviously faster to pass. When cars are coming around the track to lap you, you should allow them past unimpeded. Don’t stop on the track to do this, you can simply go wide on a corner or off the racing line on a straight. When cars are trying to get around you for position, this becomes much more of a grey area. Lots of people say fight it out, what usually happens is you will end up with two cars that need to be marshalled. If a car is trying to get around you for position and it is obviously faster, you may want to think about letting them go.

If your car is damaged or broken, you must take it off the track. Trying to continue with a damaged or broken car will often cause other cars to get damaged as they run into you. A damaged car can also damage the racing carpet which is not cheap.

At the end of the race. Turn your car off, turn your radio off, return your car to your pit area and get ready to marshall.


Marshalling:

Marshalling is the act of straightening out the vehicles that have crashed or have gotten hung up in some form. You must marshall straight after you have raced. You must marshall even if you missed your race because you were broken. Getting a substitute to marshall for you is ok, just let the race director know so they are not looking for you. There are a few general rules to follow to help you do the job a little better:

Marshalling Do’s

Do marshall from the outside of the track inward. Standing on the inside of the track will in all likelihood block the line of site of corners, as viewed from the drivers stand.

Do marshall the first car crashed first. If you are on your way to marshall a car and you see another one crash, get the first one first. There are more than likely 4 to 5 marshalls on the track so you don’t need to do everything yourself.

Do place the car back on the track in the right direction and from where it left the track. Sometimes the cars and especially monster trucks can jump over barriers, so be sure to place the car back on the right side of the barrier and facing in the direction that the race is running.

Do wear gloves when marshalling nitro races. The exhaust and engines can be very hot on these vehicles so protect yourself with a reasonable glove that will still give you some feel.

Do look before running onto the track and before running off of the track. This is as much a safety aspect as it is a racing aspect. You as the marshall do not want to cause another crash by cars running into you. Also I have seen monster trucks take the feet out from under a grown man. Look before you move.

Marshalling Don’ts

Don’t, and this is for the drivers, yell at the Marshalls. In all liklelihood it is you that has caused yourself to crash so don’t yell at the marshalls. If after a few seconds no one has noticed you than it would be acceptable to call for a marshall and not yell at them.

Don’t just throw vehicles back to the track. Be sure to get a vehicle back on the track on all 4 wheels. You don’t have to be gentle just be sure of how you are placing it.

Don’t stand on the racing line to marshall vehicles. You can often go off to the side on an unused portion of the track to marshall a car.

Don’t try to repair cars on the track. In most cases when a car breaks on the track it is over for that race. Trying to help with it’s repair takes your attention away from the section of track you are marshalling.

Don’t all stand in one area to marshall. Each marshall needs to pick an area of the track to cover. Congregating together and talking to the other marshalls takes your attention away from the track.

Don’t eat food or drink while marshalling. Your concentration needs to be on your area of the track.

Don’t put a car back onto the track in the line of oncoming cars. This one is pretty much self explanatory, if other cars are coming wait until you put the marshalled car back on the track.


We hope that’s it, but if anyone has any more suggestions then feel free to leave a comment. Questions are also welcome.

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