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A MOMENT WITH MIKE: Slower is Faster

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By Mike Garrison

A Moment with Mike is a weekly opinion column where LiveRC’s Mike Garrison gives his take on hot-button issues, general topics, and conversations within the RC industry. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.

This past weekend I was reminded of a very valuable lesson in R/C car racing - slower is often faster. What does that mean exactly? Let me explain.

Too often racers associate how fast they can go on the track with how fast their motor can go. In other words, they believe by using a faster motor they will automatically be a faster driver. To a certain extent this may be true, but for many drivers (myself included) a faster motor can slow you down.

I recently attended the JConcepts Winter Indoor Shootout and Invitational at my local track of Fastlane Raceway in Blue Springs, Missouri. Locally 13.5 4wd Buggy is far more popular than Mod 4wd Buggy, however, this event saw a solid turnout for the Mod class. I took advantage of this time to race Mod 4wd buggy using my Tekin 6.5 mod motor. Obviously a 6.5 motor is going to be faster than the 13.5 motor I have become accustom to – which means I should automatically be faster, right? Wrong. 

My fastest overall time in qualifying was 19 laps in 5 minutes and 9 seconds, which would be my only 19-lap run of the weekend. 

Fast forward to this past weekend for the opening round of the Fastlane Raceway Winter Off-Road Points Series, I swapped out my 6.5 mod motor for my Tekin 13.5 Spec-R motor to race the more popular 13.5 4wd Buggy class. On the same track layout with nearly identical conditions to the JConcepts race a few weeks prior, my fastest run of the day was 20 laps in 5 minutes and 11 seconds, with every other run being 19 laps.

How could I possibly go nearly one entire lap faster using a slower 13.5 motor opposed to the blistering fast 6.5 mod motor that was used a few weeks before? The answer is because sometimes slower is faster.

The 6.5 mod motor allowed me to turn a single fast lap that was .7 seconds faster than my single fastest lap using a 13.5 motor, however, as I’ve preached a thousand times…fast lap doesn’t determine the winner. Driving consistent, hitting the right lines, staying in control, and avoiding crashes is the key to going fast and winning races – which I could not do with the 6.5 mod motor.

Regardless of what other drivers are using, there is no shame in admitting “this motor is too fast for me” and slowing things down to fast. After all, when you’re holding a first-place trophy on the podium, no one will care how fast or slow of a motor you used to get there.

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