By Mike Garrison
Whether it's wheel nuts, wings, tools, tracks, trinkets and/or anything in between, the LiveRC staff gives their testimonial and review of each every Thursday morning!
For this week’s Thursday Testimonials I have decided to take a slightly different approach. Rather than provide my personal “testimony” of an individual product, I have decided to provide my testimony and review of an entire racing class. As the spring weather is slowly moving in, my home track of Fastlane Raceway kicked off their outdoor dirt oval racing season this week. Dirt oval racing has been on a tremendous rise across the Midwest region over the past year, and the number of entries and level of competition for a Tuesday night club race kickoff showed that. One of the largest classes of the night with just shy of 20 entries was the Stock Spec Slash MWM (Midwest Modified). In addition to announcing all of the action, track owner Chuck Kleinhagen handed me the radio to his personal Traxxas Slash 2wd to do a little racing myself, and experience the Stock Spec Slash MWM class first hand.
The Traxxas Stock Spec Slash MWM class is what I consider a true spec class, as it requires a completely stock out of the box Traxxas 2wd Slash with 12T brushed motor. The rules at most dirt oval tracks running the class are very similar (unlike many other dirt oval classes, in which the rules seem to change track to track). At Fastlane Raceway you are required to run the truck box stock with the only changes to the truck allowed are changing out radio/receiver, battery, servo (but still requires the use of the stock servo saver), and a Midwest Modified Body kit is highly encouraged, but not required. Basic setup changes such as shock oil and shock location are allowed, but no purchase or use of aftermarket shocks, suspension components, etc. are allowed.
To race classes such as Open Sprint Car, serious racers are looking at car kits and/or off-road buggy conversions that will cost upwards of $400-600 for just a kit to get on the track (no electronics, batteries, radio system, etc. included). My Fastlane Raceway #33 ride has a total price tag of roughly $330 ($190 for the RTR truck including ESC, motor, and radio system, $80 for the body kit and mounting posts, and $60 for the LiPo battery). The beauty of the Traxxas Stock Spec Slash class is that while the cars are considerably slower in overall top speed, the racing is just as close, and arguably just as fun. Consistency is key in the Slash Spec class, which is my biggest downfall as an off-road racer. I truly believe that racing the Slash Spec class (and dirt oval in general) is an excellent way to improve your overall R/C racing consistency.
A major portion of R/C dirt oval racing is learning setup (which is entirely different than off-road), and with limited setup changing and options allowed in the Spec Slash class it also provides an excellent way to learn the ropes of setup without getting frustrated and overwhelmed.
The class at Fastlane Raceway is actually large enough that it has been divided into Sportsman and Expert divisions, and includes first time racers in Sportsman all the way up to local hot shoes from the Open Sprint, SC Mod, and other open motor modified classes racing in Expert.
As a racer with well over a decade of R/C experience, and accustomed to running the modified off-road classes, the initial thought of “slowing down” to race a box stock Traxxas Slash had me feeling mixed emotions. It only took me a few 7-second laps around side by side and 3-wide with the other racers, and I was all smiles. R/C dirt oval racing is a genre in which I have always been interested in but have been reluctant to spend the big money with the risk of not enjoying it as I had hoped. The Traxxas Stock Spec Slash MWM class is an excellent solution to that dilemma as it provides an easy way to get started in R/C dirt oval, provides an extremely competitive and fun racing, and eliminates the high cost of getting started.
The Stock Spec Slash class is what gave birth to the off-road short course truck racing boom years ago, and it has now reached the dirt oval scene. It is doing its job, as it is bringing new and experienced racers to the track to try it out, and if they are anything like me…they are now hooked on dirt oval.
After speaking with several racers, another advantage to the Stock Spec Slash MWM class is the ability to advance to the open motor and modified SC Mod class when they are ready, but still using their original Spec Slash vehicle by upgrading areas such as ESC, motor, adjustable rear arms, suspension, wheels, tires, etc.
For any new or existing R/C dirt oval track, if you aren’t already offering this class to your racers, I highly recommend adding it to your class roster. Stock Spec Slash MWM is fun, competitive, budget friendly, and an awesome experience for new and experienced racers alike. In my opinion this class is a 5 out of 5 on the beacon rating, and will have me back at the track to try it again next Tuesday night as well!
For tracks interested in offering a Stock Spec Slash MWM class of your own, CLICK HERE for an example of rules which are strictly followed to ensure the class remains fun, competitive, and budget friendly.