By Mike Garrison
Toby Hamson is a long-time R/C car racer who was born and raised in England. He has spent the last 22 years in the USA, and after a recent trip back across the pond where he club raced again in the UK, he shares a very interesting comparison of 1/10-scale off-road club racing in America vs. the UK.
Team Tobameister Blog Post:
Written by Toby Hamson
I consider myself lucky that I grew up in the UK for the first 27 years of life. Then spent the last almost 22 years in the USA, and 10 years ago got back into RC.
So 10 years isn’t exactly a wealth of experience compared many of my peers in the hobby; but then again; many are not as lucky as I to lived into 2 different continents!
If you read my post on a Club Race event I attended at 1066 Racing it sparked a few thoughts and ideas. I wrote about the efficiency of the club in that article but I also wanted to just talk about the classes they run in the UK and probably most of Europe and beyond.
I’ll just state observations here…but I’ll write it with two thoughts in mind based on where I live and race :
- We have too many classes
- Club Racing “barely has a pulse”
I’ll keep the context of this discussion related specifically to my observations about the UK.
So in the United Kingdom (and maybe a good deal of Europe) , in general, there are 2 classes, thats it:
- 2WD Open Buggy
- 4WD Open Buggy
Occasionally there maybe a Truck class; but mostly thats it, just 2 classes.
There are obviously different ways you can run qualifying; but my understanding is you basically “RACE where you qualify”; and then you go home Happy (because of the experience rather than the results – if its both, then thats a bonus!) :
- No multiple classes of the same Chassis
- No Bump Ups
From my experience at 1066 Racing on Sept 22nd 2019, racers race in the MAIN they qualified in, and thats it…. They’re done.
What I then went on to observe was what I wrote about here in a 46RC Post about club racing:
“They laugh at each other, blow huge leads, crash spectacularly on a TQ run, Loose wheels, Forget their transponders, Come from the back to win…They leave on a Friday night (or whenever) and get ready to do it all over again next week !”
This stuff above is what is getting lost in translation….this is the essence of Club Racing. Club Racing in the UK is HUGE; its the core of what they do.
Racers learn ‘Racecraft‘ thru weekly club racing. Drivers have the option to then decide if Club Racing is enough for them. Or if they have enough time under their belts or are getting faster and faster and want to take it to the next level; they attend Regional races (all under the governance of the BRCA).
From racing at that Regional level, they are graded and then based on the UK Regions and number of higher graded drivers; a certain group then qualify for National races and beyond.
Aidan Burke (Schumacher driver and presenter on the Extra Lap RC Podcast) explained this all to me in detail, but the above is the simplified description. What is key is the concept of drivers just working to move themselves up thru the ranks, racing all their peers, in a single class (2WD and/or 4WD), via club level racing and community.
So to draw this post to a conclusion, The concept is quite simple across the pond as far as 1/10th scale racing goes:
You rank where you finish, compared to your peers. You race because you love racing. There can be 1 winner, one Podium. Everyone else below just needs to try harder, at the next Club Race ; and thats what makes you want to come back!