Practicing Tip: Do you ever get so comfortable on your home track that you feel you can’t learn anything new? When is the last time you tried to stand on the far side of the drivers stand? So if practice has gotten to easy, challenge yourself and drastically change your position on the drivers stand to give yourself a new perspective!
TIP: Let’s re-name suspension blocks when referring to them on a car. Instead of calling them FF/ FR/ RF/ RR (Front/Front, Front/Rear, Rear/Front, Rear/Rear) Let’s simplify things. Lets call them the A, B, C, and D block respectively, front to rear. This can make talking about, and referencing the suspension blocks much easier IMO.
(Thank you Daniel Lewis for this Tech Tip!)
Pro Tip: Never give up during a race. If you crash or make a mistake you need to instantly get back in the groove like nothing ever happened. Every moment you are angry or upset is seconds coming off your race time. How many times has a leader flamed out, or crashed on the last lap, and you could have been there to capitalize if you didn’t let your emotions get in the way. To put it into just one phrase to remember: Give 100%, 100% of the time.
Pro Tip: Do you get nervous before or during your race? Is it really hard to gain complete focus when your body is trembling and your adrenaline is pumping? Create a keyword or small phrase you can use to get your mind focused and calmed. This word or phrase has to have meaning to you and it will take time to make it even more powerful. For example my phrase started as “Imagine every moment in your life without fear.” I then think about that and truly imagine what life would be like if their was no fear whatsoever. I ingrain that in my subconscious. Now to use while racing I have shortened it to “Imagine life without fear” and even now to “No Fear.” So when I am racing and I find my mind wondering how far back I am, or is 2nd place catching me? I can say “No Fear” in my mind and it regains my focus on the task at hand! Giving 100%, 100% of the time
Pro Tip: Expectations are Limitations. Just give 100%! If you expect to make the A, or expect a podium or victory, then anything short of that will be a disappointment, no matter how well you drove. So instead, just give 100%, 100% of the time and let the chips fall where they may. If you are giving it your all every moment then there is nothing to be discouraged about. Do your best, give 100% all the time, and the results will be more positive, and you’ll enjoy this hobby more!
Pro Tip: Do you wonder how that other guy is clicking off laps half a second quicker than you? You feel like your running perfect laps but he’s still going just that little bit faster and you can’t see where.
At the end of your runs, Rate You Level Of Hustle. Are you giving it full throttle at every opportunity to go faster? Are you cutting the apex at the optimum spot. Are you taking the jump face where it launches you the fastest and lowest to clear the section?
If you feel like your stuck in a rut and can’t get faster, check these questions above after your runs. Start to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit and develop the ability to push that little bit harder, and go that little bit faster! Rate how much you achieved this after every run and be honest with yourself.
Pro Tip: Pros aren’t perfect and make mistakes as well. As you improve, something you need to work on is being a better crasher. Pros know how to crash and don’t give up on a wreck until it’s known there is no chance at saving it. This can be done with throttle and wheel inputs while crashing to attempt to be cat like and land back on all fours.
Of course, please use proper judgement when doing so as to not harm marshals or bystanders or interfere with other racers.
*some people say I’m fast. I say I’m good at crashing.
Pro Tip: Focus on your performance, not on the result. Not everyone can win. If you give it 100% (perform) then you have nothing to be upset about regardless of finishing position. Once you focus on your performance you will see the results begin to take care of themselves.
(Q) – “How you treat your race from start to finish, and when to push and when to not push”
(A) – In my old train of thought this would be a multifaceted question that has many variables. However using the tools I have been sharing recently I think a new answer along those lines are in order. That answer is to give it 100%, 100% of the time. Give full focus on what your doing. Imagine every moment without fear. Do your absolute best in every moment, giving 100% of your self to the task at hand and you can’t be upset at the outcome.
An example: Anybody who watched me run my truggy this past weekend at the Fall Brawl can attest that even when I built a few second lead, then half lap, then 3/4 lap, I just kept pushing at the 100% of my ability. I could have taken it easy with such a big lead (i.e. not taken the superman jump) but often when you let your guard down (give up that 100% focus) is when mistakes can start to happen. Suddenly the announcer is saying the guy behind is catching up and you get more nervous. You start to loose focus and worry more about the other racer. Suddenly your in a battle for the lead instead of walking away with a win. So what I did was keep my intensity the entire 30 minute main and ended with over a lap victory. I think this is a perfect example of my change in attitude and mental approach and how it has benefited me.
**If you are interested in these Mental Pro Tips and want to improve your mental game, I suggest checking out this book by Ross Bentley. This is an Amazon affiliate link to this book I purchased that has completely helped my mental game as well as how I think about racing on the track!
How lost do you get with tires? This is something that is becoming more and more common as the tire companies release more tread patterns and more compounds.
My suggestion that I have given people in the past who aren’t sponsored is this: Pick one brand and stick to it. Choose maybe 3 tread patterns and 2 compounds and that will cover you at 90% of the offroad outdoor tracks you go to. For instance with AKA I take Grids, Impacts, and maybe a Catapult or Enduro just about everywhere I go. I bring SS (for when the track is wet or cold) and Soft for when it’s not. This combo will get you by 90% of the time and you will be able to familiarize yourself with these tread patterns and compounds. Thus you can build your set-up around these tires and you will always be comfortable and know what your getting when you decide to try one or the other.
So don’t get lost in the multitude of tires. Pick your ‘core’, stick to it, learn it, and build your set-ups around it.
Pro Tip: Don’t let slow servo’s slow you down.
To illustrate I want to give an example. At a race earlier this year I was running my equipment as usual but broke a proto part I didn’t have. So a gracious teammate allowed me to run his buggy in the mains. If you watch most top drivers, you will note they do things in the air with their buggies. For me this includes having a good ‘feel’ for the car and adjusting flight and landing angles. Well when I drove my teammate’s buggy I suddenly couldn’t do my flight adjustment quick enough. I was crashing over the same jump because I couldn’t do what I was doing before. You see the servo wasn’t fast enough to alter the flight path enough of the buggy. Thus I wasn’t finishing my adjustment in time and crashing.
Now, I often tell people to learn how to do the in flight ‘acrobatics’ if you will, to just practice them. However now I know that if their steering servo especially is not up to the task, then it’s just not going to turn out right anyways.
So what i’m saying is, know that there are other limiting factors possible when you are trying to learn in air adjustments. Your servo could be what’s holding you back.
Pro Tip: Set your Steering EPA (End Point Adjustment) with the car on the ground. I’ve heard numerous times of people saying their cars didn’t have enough steering. I asked if they set their EPA with the car in the air or on the ground and often in that case they say in the air. So when they go back and set it on the ground often they are able to get an extra 5-10 clicks on the radio more travel. You’ve got to figure that most of the time when your steering, it is going through corners and you are going to actually have even more resistance than just sitting on the ground.
Pro Tip: My number one tip for a rough track condition:
For me, when the track gets really rough there is always one set-up I go to 95% of the time. That is a lighter center diff fluid. This can be as light as 3K-4K depending on the vehicle and the conditions. This is especially true on looser bumpy tracks. (Example being PNB)
The reason being is that the lighter center will give up more energy when hitting bumps and will allow the necessary end of the car to take, or give up the energy. So impacts to the rear tires for instance, won’t be as noticeable when hitting ruts because they will have less energy going to them as more will be diverted to the front which can help pull through the ruts.
Pro Tip: Try to build your shocks in the conditions you will be racing in. It’s especially noticeable during summer when you build in the A/C and then go outside where it’s 90*+ and your shocks will hydrolock (shaft stops before pushed all the way up in the body.)
To verify if your not able to do as above, when you arrive at the track, take your bottom shock out of the arm and remove spring retainer and spring. Pump the shock a couple times and push shaft up. You want it to still be how you built it for the most part. If you can’t push the shaft all the way up you will probably have to let some pressure out and re-blead them.
Setting your throttle endpoint.
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Setting your Steering Endpoints.
It was requested I did the Steering endpoints in video format. So here is how I set my steering endpoints to be sure I am getting full steering on the racetrack!
*Also the more your willing to crank down on the servo saver the better and more consistent your steering will be. Just realize that it will be harder on your servo.
Venturi’s and Exhaust Tips explained.
It was requested I explain exhaust tips and venturi sizes. I did my best to do so. I’m not the best expert on the subject, but my base knowledge should hopefully help a handful of people.
To leave them tight or loose. Also a little bit about what they do and when to change. Again, another topic i’m not the best at but hopefully it can help some folks.
Pro Tip: I suggest you Do Not build a new car or break in a new engine for a big event. Let me explain. In the past when it came to Nitro Challenge or Nationals or Worlds I would be inclined to build a new car or break in a new motor for the event. I would then always struggle. The car never felt the same as what I was used to even with the ‘same set-up’ on it.
What I prefer to do is just refresh needed parts as you go along and keep the car in a constant state of good condition but never replacing everything at the same time. I have found this to give me more consistent results because I relatively know what my car is going to feel like going from track to track at all times.
Regarding new engines it’s much the same thing. I personally try to run my engine as long as possible until it’s just tired. For instance the Lutz Worlds Edition engine I ran at the ROAR Nationals last year in buggy had 7 gallons on it by the end of the event. But it ran like a top and I knew what to expect out of it. Use your club races and practice sessions to have engines broken in and with a few races on them so you know what to expect from them. Don’t get caught with the allure that a new engine will be better for you at a big event where there is already not enough practice and tune time.