Have you ever been at an RC race and thought man this should have been over a long time ago? Yea me too. It seems to happen too often. Sure it’s easy to sit here and type all the reasons why and get scalded for being a whiner but in reality we the racers are the customer. We pay our entry fees, buy the parts, put money in the vending machines that pays the bills to keep the doors open. Is it really too much to ask for an efficient program to be run? So many times I see multiple racers leave before mains and it just does not seem right. Let’s face it, we love this hobby but none of us want to spend 14 hours at a track or be there till 2am to have 20 minutes of track time right?
Over the years of traveling to different tracks I have seen some of the same things done that make the program run slow. Here are some of my ways to speed it up.
-Start on time! If you say racing starts at 5pm then the first heat should roll off at 5:02. Not 5:10 as you are now really over 15 minutes behind. Start your drivers meeting 15 minutes before the races start and make sure the first heat is on the track ready to check in at 5:00 no exceptions.
-Give your transponder number when you sign up. Every time. No exceptions. I don’t care if you have been to the track each week for the last 4 years. There is always that one guy that switches transponders in his cars. Each time a car has to be checked in that is lost time.
-ONE warm-up lap. No exceptions. If there an extra warm-up lap taken and there is 15 heats per round there is a minimum of 15 minutes saved.
-Blowers. Some tracks get this and others do not. Educate the drivers on how to properly blow the track off instead of just waving it or blowing the dust to the groove. Have enough blowers in place to speed the process up as well or just simply don’t blow the track off. I think it’s safe to say the hobby as gotten too used to ‘good traction”. Again, if you have 15 heats, its a minimum of 15 extra minutes per round to blow the track off. If you have 3 rounds a main that my friends is over an hour of your day just blowing the track off over and over.
-Having a place that is easy for the drivers coming off the stand to get their cars turned off and set down with their radios and come right out to marshal. The longer it takes for this to happen after each race again just adds more time to the program. It should be done in a timely manner every time, no exceptions.
-Time between rounds. This one is tough. I think if there is less than 10 heats its ok to take a short 15 minute break. But again, 15 minutes means 15 not 25 or 30. If you have 12 or more heats your first race should always be the same (maybe rookies?) so you can call them to the track when the next to last race is on the track. Take a super short break to resort and post the next round and get right into the next heat.
-”Racer’s Minute” I know we don’t ever want to offend anyone but if you are not ready for your race it’s really not fair to the ones on the stand that were ready to race. Again this adds time to the program. If you are not ready then try harder to be ready the next time.
A lot of keeping the show moving along is creating the culture and setting the expectations of the racers to what the race director is wanting from the racer. Most race directors want to be the racer’s friend. That simply should not the case. It’s similar to parenting, you cannot be the kids friend, you have to be the parent. Racers are like kids, they are going to push the limits and you need a director in place to keep them in check. If the expectations are set up front that this is the way it is then there should be no issues right? All race directors should aspire to demand the respect a guy like Scotty Earnst gets. If you have never raced under his guard you should!