Our family did our first post-COVID airplane trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. We were there for a week, so I looked up Intermountain RC Raceway (IRCR) – a place I had visited before but never raced at. Their off-road club racing is Wednesday night, so I got the B6 ready to hit the clay.
It was also the first airplane trip that I wanted to bring my RC car on. Normally on road trips it’s a no-brainer. This would be a learning experience – hopefully you can learn from my (many) mistakes.
I could (and probably should) have just packed my car to travel on the airplane as it was only $30 per checked bag – I thought it was going to be $50. Instead I mailed my car to a relative at our destination for $40. If you’re looking for a good video on packing your car for air travel, check this one out by Team Associated:
I also don’t have a fancy Ogio bag. But I do have several boxes from package deliveries. I saved a larger one to pack my 1/10 scale buggy:
What to bring
Before I packed my car, I went club racing at my local carpet track. While I was there I took stock of everything I used throughout the night. Since I know I won’t need everything, I wanted to make sure I had enough to work on the car plus some extras so my night wouldn’t immediately end if I broke something.
Here was my initial list:
- Car and Radio
- Car Stand and Pit Mat
- Traction Compound/Tire Sauce (sealed in a bag)
- Tire Cleaning Station
- Charger and Power Supply
- Collapsible cup for tire gluing (more on that later)
- A parts organizer box with tools and spare parts
What’s in the box?
For the parts organizer box, I had to make sure it would fit in my shipping box with the car. Then I had to choose what to put in it. I started with my spare parts – I only packed the ones I was likely to break – suspension arms, castor blocks, etc. Then I only packed tools that I would likely need:
- Hitachi electric screwdriver (life changing!)
- TS-100 portable soldering iron
- Ride height gauge
- Turnbuckle & cross wrench
- Small side cutters & needle nose pliers
- Tire glue & CA kicker
An aside about the bare wheel mounted on my buggy in the photo: When I went to switch my car over to the clay setup, I remembered I purchased and glued up a set of new Electron & Positron tires. The sad news was that I screwed up on the Positron rears – they’re a directional tire and I mounted one backwards 😔 Rather than delay my shipment, I mounted a wheel and sent it. Then I took some time to un-mount the tire with acetone so I could reverse it and re-glue it.
I brought the (correctly mounted tire) and the LiPo batteries on the airplane. I put the batteries for my car, transmitter, and screw driver in a lipo bag for the trip. It saved from having to pay a hazardous materials fee at the post office.
Tires are the biggest difference maker on your car when it comes to they way it drives. Rather than guessing or bringing a bunch of different tires, I called IRCR to see what the preferred setup was. Luckily most of the guys driving stock 1/10 scale buggies run a the same setup as they do at clay tracks near my home:
I spoke to IRCR race director on the phone and he said that when grip is really up they’ll switch to Shadow (S3 compound) front and rear. He also said they have them for sale in the pro-shop at the track. I opted to bring my Electron/Positron setup and would purchase additional tires at the track if necessary.
That’s why I brought the collapsible cup – to quickly mount up tires. I glue one tire bead to the wheel, spray some CA kicker into the cup, then put it upside down over the tire. The glue dries in seconds while I’m gluing the next bead. Rinse and repeat.
I purchased some Simple Green for $5 at the local Walmart to clean tires in the cleaning station. I should have instead asked on the phone about cleaning stations – the track had several ready for racers to use. One less thing I had to bring.
Practice & Preparation
<Insert Racer Excuses Here> 😂
I meant to get to the track around 4 on race day to have a couple hours of practice before qualifiers started at 7. With traffic, I arrived at 5 and still had to make ride height and camber adjustments.
I realized quickly during practice that my tire package was wrong. When I spoke to the race director (RD) on the phone, he mentioned that it would be a new layout. My thought was it would still be a little loose, so having new treads would be beneficial.
I think the RD thought I was coming a week earlier than when my travel dates were. The track was clean and compacted.
Everyone else was on slicks and I had fully treaded tires. I didn’t give myself enough time to prep and glue a set of Shadow S3 tires – plus I forgot my tire punch 😞
If I were super serious about racing, I would have come to practice the day before and had everything dialed. But I’m just a casual club racer looking to have some fun.
You know what’s fun? Just driving the car. I got used to it being a little loose during practice, so I just keep running it as-is and worked on my racing line.
Changing tires for the main
Then another racer named Jason lent me a spare set of Shadow S3s for the main that were ready to go. The only laps I was able to test them out on were the check-in laps before we lined ’em up and sent ’em for the race. It was quite a difference maker. I felt a lot more confident in the corners and probably could have squeezed the trigger for more speed, but I just wanted to stay consistent. My goal was to try and turn a 16-second lap, but the best I managed was a 17.01 😥
I still had a great time despite the lackluster finish. Honestly it was just fun to turn some laps. A local friend who races 1:1 scale cars competitively met me for the mains. Afterwards I dialed the throttle down a bit and handed him the controls. After turning about a dozen laps he said “This is addictive!” Maybe I can convince him to race my B6.2 when I upgrade to the B6.3 😎