LMP12 Who can I ask for help?

Photo Credit: Martin Bollenbacher

1/12th Circuit

Racing at a national event can be a daunting prospect for some. If it’s your first time then you might have found that going from the relative comfort of your local club to somewhere entirely new has thrown up a few surprises.

Perhaps suddenly the setup you’ve been running at your local track is no good; the grip at a national event is much higher, the track is faster and often more technical, and in many ways you feel like a fish out of water. You could do with some help to get in the groove.

Very few of the faces in the pits are familiar, except the few that you regularly see plastered all over the magazines and the RC news websites. But they’re the superstars; you can’t ask them for help! What if you make yourself look silly in front of them?

Think again!

1/12th scale drivers come in many shapes and sizes, but at the end of the day they’re all people. Just because a guy can qualify in the A final seemingly without trying, doesn’t mean they’re a robot who can’t engage with someone socially and help them out. Quite the opposite in fact. There are no secrets in 1/12 scale, only questions with the right answers. The trick is in asking lots of questions of the people you know can give the good answers. The top drivers might appear to have super human ability, but they aren’t telepathic. They can only help someone if they know that help is needed.

So who are the right people? Well a good place to start is with someone who runs the same car as you. Whilst all 1/12 cars are of the same or a similar basic design, there are details and intricacies that only someone with experience of a specific car will have knowledge of. More often than not an experienced high level driver will be able to pick up any car and assess it, but it’ll usually be better for you if you ask someone who runs the car or equipment in question.

As a general rule of thumb if someone looks as if they know what they’re doing, then they probably do. If you’re not sure, watch them drive their car on the track. Does it handle well? Are their lines consistent? Does their car look neat and tidy? Lots of people can talk a good race but don’t always live up to it. You’ll very quickly work out who’s worth trying to learn something from. Similarly, there are some experienced hands out there who can offer some great advice, but simply don’t possess the driving ability to race at the very sharp end. Don’t discount those people; many of them have helped the very best on their way to the top over the years.

So who runs what? The list below is by no means exhaustive and there are plenty of other folk willing and able to help, but it should give an indication of who you might want to introduce yourself to in order to get some help or advice. (Info correct as of December 2014);

Team Associated - Keith Robertson & Nigel Hale

Corally - Andy Sawyer

CRC - Mick Farrell & Kevin Creaser

Serpent - Tim Wood

VBC - Adrian Thorpe

Xray - Olly Jefferies & Andy Murray

Yokomo - Mark Stiles & Matt Varah

Zen Racing - David Spashett & Chris Kerswell

 

“When I first came to a 1/12 national in 2004, the only person at the event I knew was Steve; the guy from my local club who suggested I give it a go and gave me a lift to the race. During that first weekend I kept myself to myself and I ended up doing reasonably well. Whilst there I studied some of the other drivers – the ones I’d seen in the magazines and heard people talking about. I was impressed, and I realised that to be as good as them would take me some time and dedication. I was ‘the man to beat’ at my local club, but in this arena I was just like the other average Joe’s. I drove myself to the next national I did. Steve didn’t come, so now I knew nobody except the couple of guys I’d met at the first one. Upon entering the hall on that Saturday morning I made a decision that at the time was seemingly insignificant, but turned out to shape my RC Racing experiences for the next decade. I looked around the pits and spotted a couple of empty pit spaces. As luck would have it they were directly opposite a couple of the driver’s I’d seen at my first national and been impressed by. I asked them if they’d mind me sitting opposite them to which they happily obliged. That’s where it all started, and after getting to know them both that weekend I ended up spending every national I raced at to the present day learning things from them. They have become two of my closest friends and are a big part of why I go 1/12 racing. Their names? Mick and Nigel…So don’t be afraid to ask a question or pit near some of the experienced hands – who knows, you might end up learning a thing or two and making some new friends!”Mark Stiles BRCA 1/12th Section Chairman

 

Download the article here: Who Can I Ask For Help

Photo Credit: Martin Bollenbacher

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