By Mike Garrison
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
For this week's Talk It Up Tuesday we sit down with newly crowned Tri-State ¼-scale Oval Champion, Tim Barth, for an inside look into the world of 1/4-scale racing.
LiveRC: Welcome Tim to this edition of Talk It Up Tuesday! Let’s start off talking about how you got started in R/C car racing in the first place. When, where, and how did it all begin for you?
Tim: I was about 10 years old when I got started in R/C. My Grandpa took me to the local flying club. After spending a week with him he sent me home with a Dumas Swamp Boat. My 1st R/C car came later that year. It was a Traxxas Bandit. My first race was at a indoor carpet oval when I was 15. Been involved in the hobby ever since.
LiveRC: What different genres and classes of R/C racing have you participated in over the years?
Tim: I have raced everything from 1/18th scale BRP cars to 1/4 scale, on road, off-road you name it I have done it.
LiveRC: Your most recent success as a racer is winning the Tri-State ¼-scale Oval Championship Series. How did you get started in ¼-scale racing?
Tim: Good question, when I was 17 I traveled with a pretty low budget World Of Outlaw Sprint Car Team. We where at Knoxville Raceway in Ohio when I saw my first 1/4-scale sprint car. I knew from there that it was something I wanted to try. Over the years I would keep track of the QSAC website to keep up with what’s going on. We moved back to Indiana last May and I told my wife I wanted to build a car. She was on board from the get go, we got a car built, and we were ready for the last race in 2017...it got rained out. So my 1st season was this year in a 1/4 Scale Limited Sportsman Car.
LiveRC: Who was some of your biggest competition in this year’s Tri-State Series?
Tim: Matt Graves. It’s also his 1st year in 1/4 Scale. We went back and forth at all the Tri-State Races. It was good clean racing. It makes it fun when you can race someone hard. Matt and I have become great friends too.
LiveRC: Tell us a little about the maintenance routine and setup required in ¼-scale racing.
Tim: Setup for me was the hardest part. Luckily the guys from WCM Racing were more than willing to teach me what I needed to know. It’s as close to a real racecar as you can get. Scales, shocks, checking every nut and bolt on the car. It’s not near as bad as maintenance as it seems, and all part of the fun for me.
LiveRC: You’ve raced a variety of scales, both on-road and off-road, would you say that you enjoy ¼-scale racing more than any of the others? Why?
Tim: I enjoy 1/4 scale a lot more. It's like family, our club races are awesome. Everyone brings some kind of dish for a nice lunch. We sit down and have club meeting then time to race. Its not like any other R/C Racing I have done before. There is a huge challange with driving these cars. To me that makes it way more fun. It's just alot more laid back than other forms of R/C.
LiveRC: Quite honestly as you can tell, 1/4-scale racing is not something I am very familiar with, which is what intrigued me to do this interview today and learn more about it. What are some of the similarities and differences between racing say 1/8-scale vs. ¼-scale vehicles?
Tim: Wow, that’s a good question. There are more differences than anything. 1/4 scale cars don’t use diffs. They are belt driven off the left hand side. 1/8-scale did teach me very good car control I think that helped. These cars move around a lot compared to other scales, so the car control I learned has really helped me make the transition.
LiveRC: What 1/4-scale classes do you primarily race, and is the racing format similar to that of 1/10-scale or 1/8-scale racing?
Tim: I started out in the Limited Sportsmen class. Its A lot like the open class in 1/8-scale, but I’m moving up to our Sportsman Division. That would be like the pro class in 1/8-scale. I am also adding Sprint Car as one of my classes. When I first started that’s all I wanted to run. But you can't run limited and a upper class like sprint cars. The racing format is a bit different, we have one 5-minute round of qualifying. That will set us up for our 2 heat races. Normally around 35-50 lap heat races. For the 2nd heat they invert the field. They take your 2 runs and the guy with the lowest points sets TQ. Then they line you up for the main based on that. Limited A mains are 100 Laps, Sportsmen around 150-200.
LiveRC: What chassis and equipment (engine, tires, fuel, etc.) do you run?
Tim: My chassis is WCM K1Evo, engine is a Zenoah G230, tires are BRP Bishop Racing Products and for fuel we run on VP110 Race Fuel mixed with Amsoil 2 stroke oil. Love the smell!
LiveRC: The large scale off-road racing scene has grown over the years with major smaller scale manufacturers such as TLR/Losi and HPI producing 1/5-scale vehicles. Have you tried your hand at 1/5-scale off-road racing?
Tim: I have owned a few 1/5-scale trucks but have never gotten the chance to race them. It would be something I'd love to try. There may or may not be a YouTube video floating around of me clearing a 60 foot triple with a Losi 5t pushing 13hp [smiles].
LiveRC: Its no secret that large scale R/C racing can mean a large scale budget is needed to get started. After the initial purchase of a vehicle, would you say large scale racing is more, less, or equal to the smaller scales in terms of cost? (Do they break as often, do engines wear out as fast, etc.)
Tim: The up front cost is more, but you make up for that once you have everything. Honestly I'd say its cheaper in the long run. An engine will last you along time if you take care of it. Tires cost a bit more but I only went through 1 new set this year so that wasn’t bad at all. Fuel is a lot cheaper than nitro I think the most I paid was $7.50 a gallon. Knock on wood I only broke 2 parts all year and they where both pretty cheap fixes.
LiveRC: I have to ask, how many cans of paint does it take to paint a car body that big [laughs]?
Tim: [Laughing] I asked my self the same question when I was buying paint to paint my 1st body. It takes about two 4oz cans per color, so in total around 4-6.
LiveRC: For someone looking to get involved in ¼-scale racing, what is the best way to get started and/or check it out?
Tim: There are a few websites to look at. First one would be www.qsac.org. That is our sanctioning body much like ROAR. There are links on their website to all the different manufactures for 1/4-scale cars and racing. For parts I shop at www.klmotorsports.com, Ken is an awesome guy and does a lot for our sport. For my chassis of choice www.wcmracing.com Chris and Mark are great guys. They have a VERY strong R/C background as well as full size cars also.
LiveRC: Do you have any 1/4-scale events remaining for 2018?
Tim: Yes I have 2 more races this year. The Sportsmen 500 at the "Mini Madhouse" in Ingalls, Indiana. Then in November we are making a 12-hour trip to the SOWF 500 in Montgomery, Alabama.
LiveRC: Thank you for joining us today Tim! Congratulations on your recent wins, and we appreciate you sharing an inside look into the world of ¼-scale racing. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Tim: Yea I would just like to thank everyone for the support in 2018. I have been told many times no one has been able to do what I have in their first year of 1/4 scale racing. I couldn’t have done it without the support of WCM Racing, KLMotorsports, Tony and John Wachter (Sportsmen Car Owners), and I’m sure there are a lot more that I’m forgetting. Thank you to LiveRC for this interview.