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Posted 16-06-2008 at 11:46 PM by RCVoice
This week’s blog is derived from a question asked by woOdy. Sorry for the late response to this question, please in future could all questions be sent to Mrs Oople to ensure a quicker response.

woOdy asks: Need help! I am at the point of my career where I have been racing for many years at the top half of the leader board and now I am at a cross road. Do I carry on and not really getting anywhere, or do I quit! Do I try something new? Please help.

It’s interesting how over the space of a few weeks, the blog has gone from each end of the racing career spectrum - from gaining new racers and encouraging beginners, to now the potentially more depressing subject of when it is time to hang up that transmitter and pay a visit to your good friend, Mr E. Bay.

Yours is an interesting predicament woOdy. From the sounds of it, it seems as though you have been to the top and are now not enjoying the view from mid table. Who would?
Most of us who take part in this sport do so to quench their competitive instincts, yes I can hear you all now saying “I only do it for the social side and the fun” but deep down, we all know that there is no better feeling than picking up that trophy or seeing your name aloft a leaderboard.

So is it time to call it a day? Well, you have to consider which aspect of racing you have become disenchanted with.
It feels hard to take, but you should remember that this is a highly competitive sport at the top level. Technology is developing all the time, there are more and more people now devoting large amounts of their time to racing across a range of classes in the UK and in general things are just that bit more sophisticated.

Just because you are not at the sharp end now, doesn’t mean that it is something to get down over. There are of course the special talents who can sustain their “powers” over a longer period but this isn’t all that common, sometimes the old guard has to move aside to let the new blood come through.
Personally, I think you are in quite a privileged position- at least you’ve been at the top at some point! Plus this is a potentially exciting time for you and those watching as you pit your “more seasoned” wits against the new generation of stars, or are able to help others with your experience gained.

But to talk of quitting says to me that there must be some other underlying issue (wow I should have become an agony aunt shouldn’t I?) take a lye down on my couch for a minute.
Let me ask a few questions, and you can all play this one.

-How do you feel on race day? What is the first thing that goes through your mind as your alarm goes off at 5:30am?
Choose one of the following-
a/ You bound out of bed anxious to get the car loaded and head to the track.
b/ You look out of the window and consider rolling over?

-When you are at the track, how do you feel when you sit down at your pit table?
a/ Keen to get the car prepped and proud at the immaculate appearance of my vehicle
b/ Here we go again... there seems like there’s more to do eve... OH WHERE’S THAT SODDIN’ SPANNER GONE?

-When you are at the foot of the rostrum stairs, what goes through your mind?
a/ Right, smooth and clean, let me out there!
b/ O god, o god, o god... I’m up next... what if I lose or It breaks?

-You are on track and you get taken out when on a good run, the run finished 15 minutes ago, how do you feel?
a/ OK, that was rough, but I’ve got another run to go, it happens, now let me back out there!
b/ Oh he is so dead... nobody speak to me, I just wanna go home now!

If you answered A to most of these than no, now is certainly not the time to quit; racing is a blast for you and you’re enjoying yourself out there, with a positive attitude and a commitment, you will soon find yourself working your way up the leaderboard again.
If you have answered B to most of these then your problem is deeper than you thought, you clearly are not enjoying racing anymore, you are either putting too much pressure on yourself or you have just had enough.
The examples I have given are extreme, but they are certainly examples of a racer who has fallen out of interest with racing and when this happens. It is probably not worth spending your hard earned money on or, as said in the last column, wasting your sponsors time.
What I am getting at is your personal enjoyment is most important and when this stops then yes, maybe you should call it a day.

But there is a middle ground here, you may well enjoy every aspect of racing and the only thing niggling away at you is disappointment at defeat. The solution I would offer to this, is to take a break from racing at the higher level. Maybe take a year out from national competition, devote time to regional events or if you’re lucky enough, club racing.
If you still feel the same after this, then it is the sport, and not the competition that is getting to you, as highlighted previously.

How can you regain enthusiasm for racing? Well, maybe a new challenge, new team, new car or a new class. Do something to refresh your interest but look again at the questionnaire noted above, if you keep on noting B’s, this probably isn’t a suitable option and your best bet is to get away from it.
Maybe take a year out from racing completely, how are Sundays without it? Do you miss it? This will be the clearest indication of whether you want to extend that aerial again or keep the tranny in its case.

I hope I have given you some food for thought, I am sorry if it’s all a bit dreary and if you feel as though I don’t understand where you are coming from, it is a feeling I have never really experienced as I love the sport so much- let’s face it, I write about it once a fortnight!
Speak to those around you, your pit buddies (they may have been in a similar position), your family, and I hope you make the correct decision for you.

I will leave you with a topical quote from Aaron Waldron, a former pro racer and now editor of RC Car magazine in the USA:
  • “A bad day in R/C is better than a good day without it”.

‘til the start tone sounds,


P.S. Thanks for all the positive comments regarding some of the entries so far. This topic is a particularly interesting one, and one I am not an expert on as you could probably tell in the blog! Please feel free to offer any of your experiences to woOdy to aid him in his decision in the forum.
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  1. Old
    SHY's Avatar
    Another great article! Totally agree!

    Try to have FUN no matter what happens! And If you don't want to race, take a break... if you miss it, go back. If you don't you're done with racing... at least wait until you actually WANT to go racing again!

    Maybe you can do an effort for your local club or the federation as a break also?

    Keep in mind that most guys actually do NOT want to race. Ever. They just want to play around with their cars. We must respect this at cater for mere "fun" driving at club level as well.
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 09:27 AM by SHY SHY is offline
  2. Old
    Tim Ward's Avatar
    Vicky - too true about club racing! I tend to do a couple of seasons of early starts and manic car prep, then it all gets too much and I just race at my local club. Whatever happens though - always race at your local club!
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 10:13 AM by Tim Ward Tim Ward is offline
  3. Old
    josh_smaxx's Avatar
    Great article, very good read.

    I try to have fun, it isnt fun when you break it or get taken out ect but TBH, by the time my heat comes round again i cant wait to get back on the track.
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 11:31 AM by josh_smaxx josh_smaxx is offline
  4. Old
    Nicely put suggestions in the article. I felt very much like all the b's when i gave up racing a while back. Then, after twn years of racing bikes i went to my local club and found oople and am hooked again!! Club racing is soo much fun, just gives you a laugh. Nice break from seriousness once in a while. Give just that a go for a few months woody.
    One point says what do you think when your alarm goes off at 5.30am, I just think DAMN i'm an hour and a half late. LOL
    Good luck with whatever you decide!!
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 01:28 PM by GRIFF55 GRIFF55 is offline
  5. Old
    albertobdq's Avatar
    From my personal experience:
    Once I retired from racing scene and I missed it too much, now I'm back. Many things have change but the feelings when you're braking at the end of the main straight fighting with the rear end to gain a position still is the same.

    You can go now, but you'll be back, for sure.
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 05:30 PM by albertobdq albertobdq is offline
  6. Old
    JBL's Avatar
    From my personal experience, when I hung up my controller in 1992 and ventured into other sports with alot more danger. I found the rush between Model car racing and to a degree grass track racing/banger racing fairly similar. At least with Model car racing you can't hurt yourself! I have found model car racing now much more advanced and rather than qualifying in the A , I'm struggling to make the B finals (but who cares).

    I say continue, but perhaps don't race every weekend and take time out with your family. I would only race at Nationals/regionals/invitation meetings or when you want too.
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 06:16 PM by JBL JBL is offline
  7. Old
    darryl's Avatar
    i have flitted in and out of the rc scene for the last 3 yrs,but been in the sport 13 yrs only raced outdoors once in the last 3 yrs time, my enthusiasm hasnt wained its just that regionals etc seem to be long days for what seems like 25 mins racing thats why i prefer just club racing now a days, i never quite reached the highest level, and as i get older (veteran now)the young blood soon catch you up and then over take you, not that that bothers me at all as i still like to test my old hands against fresh blood lol, but i think my future lies in club racing but maybe tempted when NE indoor regionals come round ,you just never know ,so if i were you just take a complete breather and see how you feel in a week/month, but it is one of those sports that i find you cant turn your back on it
    Posted 19-06-2008 at 06:40 PM by darryl darryl is offline
  8. Old
    Fiddybux's Avatar
    Have you thought about a different r/c discipline, e.g. electric bikes or helicopter stunt flying? Maybe even consider a different motor sport, e.g. I've always wanted to get into Banger racing. It is more dangerous and expensive, but this is the price of the thrills.
    Posted 23-06-2008 at 01:38 PM by Fiddybux Fiddybux is offline
  9. Old
    YoungChazz's Avatar

    Maybe It's You That Needs To Change

    I might have an idea of interest here, as I am 63 years old and X Factory has deliberately recruited two of the “most experienced” drivers in R/C. Both of our “top” drivers, Ellis Stafford and Brian Kinwald, (The entire Team is “tops” to us) are considered by some to be “over the hill,” but neither of them is anything of the sort.

    All three of us – myself, Ellis, and Brian – have found new challenges in R/C, and that’s the key. The moment I stop waking up at 5:30 without any alarm because I’m excited about all the new things on my plate for today, that’s the moment I’ll be looking to move into assisted living.

    The best example I know, unfortunate because this is a U.K. site, is from baseball. A young shortstop comes up to the big leagues. (Shortstop is the busiest infield position, and you’ve got to be able to range far to the right or left to catch the ball, then make a long accurate throw to first, and do the whole thing quickly enough to get the runner out.)

    Our boy has much natural talent: quick reactions, great speed, and a cannon for an arm. So for the first 10 years, he’s an all-star shortstop, moving at blinding speed getting to balls that most men can’t catch, then making impossible off-balance throws that nail the runner by an inch. His youthful exuberance, marvelous talent, and simple grace in action are a joy to watch. In U.K. R/C, Lee Martin comes to mind, here in the States, Ryan Maifield. They make the impossible look routine.

    Then he turns 30, and as with all of us he begins to slow down. He simply no longer can reach those hot shots deep in the hole and when he does, the off-balance throw has a bit of an arc to it and the runner is safe by an inch.

    So now he enters a new phase in his career. He begins to study the opposing hitters, committing to memory the tendencies of each one. With men on base, the count 1 & 2, if the pitcher throws a curve ball, this hitter tends to hit it to the right. Or that hitter to the left. So now our shortstop watches the catcher and pitcher intently, picking up the signs, and he’ll move two step to his right if a fast ball, then three to the left for a curve. Now he’s getting to those hot shots again, with time to set up and make a good throw.

    He’s still an all-star shortstop, but now it’s because he’s working at it, thinking hard, and enjoying himself in a whole new way.

    Trust me, late in a race you don’t want to be just ahead of Ellis or Brian. They’ve been watching you for the last 4:30, and they know exactly where they are going to pass you.

    In fact, Ellis and Brian were watching you in practice, and they figured out then where they would pass you and set up their cars perfectly for that corner. You’re toast and they are smiling!

    So, WoOdy, stop whining. Find new ways to get better at the sport you’ve loved so long. It’s still out there with new challenges every day if you want to find them, but it’s up to you to make this wonderful sport exciting again. Don’t ask the sport to become exciting – the only one you can change is you. If you’re disenchanted, you’re not trying…
    Posted 24-06-2008 at 04:47 PM by YoungChazz YoungChazz is offline
  10. Old
    Thomas P's Avatar
    Great article and interesting! .

    can just speak for my self, im mid 30 and have been doing this since 82. have a few years with a break, but never stop thinking on rc-car´s...now when im back since 3-4 years and racing active the last year and a half.., im just doing it for one reason... fun, if i cant find any joy in it, why should i keep going? bad days will always come,days when i want to sell everything, but after a day like that, there will be a good one..
    Posted 29-06-2008 at 01:22 PM by Thomas P Thomas P is offline
  11. Old
    All good advice given so far so heres my story;
    I'm now and OAP been racing at club level for 4 years mainly for fun.
    Then someone said you entering for the Muchmore UKGP and I did, got first in the F final wow did I feel good.
    Entered the following year, even though the arthritus was playing up and guess what I won the E final.
    OK its TC racing but I also race for fun Buggies on sundays with some of the clubs guys who do the offroad nationals, who knows I might even venture out to one one of these days, watch out for the olduns guys cos we're watching you.
    If your really pxxxed off with it give it a rest but watch it and learn new ways to enjoy it,***********you'll be back you know it, its in the blood M8
    Enjoy what ever you decide; Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Posted 10-08-2008 at 08:13 AM by scotoap scotoap is offline
  12. Old
    James's Avatar
    Woody, your very knowledgeable about setup and what adjustment does what, why dont you put a quick reference pocket type guide together for racers to tune their cars ...
    Posted 10-08-2008 at 09:35 PM by James James is offline

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