Hints and Tips

With this following guide, the secret of great car preparation will no longer be a mystery! Written by and with acknowledgments to former National, MDMC Club and Interclub Champion, Dave Norton.

  1. Remember you are racing what is effectively a mass produced plastic toy! Check its put together correctly. Most important are rear wheels/tyres. Ensure that these are running true, otherwise your car will bounce widely under acceleration and cornering speed will equally be compromised.
  2. Check the front axle spins freely and the front tyres do not rub on the arches (when sitting on a piece of track) as this will slow the car down and is commonest reason for “front end chatter” when blasting down the straight. Old worn tyres or those turned down (using a drill and sandpaper) to a smaller diameter will prevent rubbing and ensure car weight is transferred on to the guide blade so keeping it in the slot. Old perished tyres are perfect!
  3. Ensure the guide braids are of equal length and flat, not bunched up pointing in different directions! Use a small pair of long nosed pliers to check this after every race as bunched braids prevent the guide from fully sitting in the slot. A cornering car leans on the buried face of the guide so depth is important for speed as pressure increases on the guide.
  4. Carefully oil all axle bearings and motor drive shaft ends with a small amount of oil, excess amounts encourage dirt to gather and clog up. Use only light WD40 type oils as 3 in 1 and similar are too thick. Sewing machine oil is perfect.
  5. If your car has wires connecting the guide to the motor check these are not trapped by either the bodywork, interior detail or fouling the front axle, or tyres.
  6. Clean your tyres after each race. Track surfaces get very dusty and grip is obviously vital. Watch the top boys, they are always using Stain Devils, or even just lighter fuel to remove residue from their tyres.
  7. Use lighter fuel to clean your braids, to ensure the greatest electrical contact at all times.
  8. Glue the motor in by using an impact adhesive such as Evo Stick or better still invest in a glue gun! This will prevent the motor from “twisting or jumping” as you suddenly accelerate out of a corner. A moving/loose motor is normally the problem behind a bouncing car if you’ve dealt with point 1. If necessary a blob of glue can be applied to the rear axle bearings.
  9. To greatly improve the handling of any car, loosen (half to one turn only) the screws that fasten the body to the chassis, so the body can slightly “rock”. This creates a very crude but effective form of suspension.
  10. Assuming car and motor choice are correct, the combination of points 1, 8 and 9 are almost the “key” to car preparation. A smoother handling car is more stable, easier to race with, gives you greater confidence and therefore ultimately faster; the quickest car in a straight line will not win races if it handles like a supermarket trolley around the bends.