This article was originally published in RC Driver’s April 2015 issue.
Years ago, ok, many years ago, when I first started racing, we had a number of different classes for the same style of vehicle to help separate not only levels of products being used to race, but to help the participating racers to run in a class fit for their abilities. When I started I ran in what my club called the Production Class. The Production Class basically meant you were an entry level driver running entry level cars in production form or straight out of the box. The next level up was the Stock Class. Those cars were more race oriented and the level of racer behind them a bit better than the drivers in Production. Then there was the Modified Class. Now those were the fast guys, the guys with the powerful motors, batteries, perfect setups and those who could drive. All three of these “Classes” were just for the 2WD category. The classes did translate over to 4WD and the truck classes were run on their own.
With the hierarchy of classes, people knew where they stood on the track and they knew that there would be achievement with work, being able to bump up to the next class and compete with better drivers. I worked pretty hard practicing, I really wanted to run stock and someday in the modified class. But before I graduated to the next class, I knew I’d have to hone my skills. When I did bump up finally, Stock was a lot faster than our 540 Mabuchi powered motors in Production. Guys were coming up to lap me fast during my first few races. But I kept my composure and went wide to let the fast guys fly by. Over the big jumps, I didn’t go for the wild, bonsai fly-over passes that could possibly take out another driver. I didn’t try to race everyone down the straight only to wad both cars up at the end. Each racer I met on the track was given respect and I hoped that respect would be given back then and in future races.
So fast forward to today’s racing realm, a lot of racers have come into the hobby or have come back into the hobby after some time off and have done so through the short course class. The SC class has always had a stigma of being a bit more of a relaxed class. It was ok to rub fenders and push through the jam cars, racers just having fun. But as with most things, drivers look for change and new driving experiences and I’ve seen and heard about many drivers moving on from the SC class to other classes like 2WD and 4WD buggy. Today’s buggy classes are not always broken down into different segments like I was talking about in the good ol’ days. Those with little experience can run in the same heat as seasoned racers. So if you are one of those who just moved into a new class watch and use the driving etiquette that many others use. Just because you could sky a jump with your SC truck, land into a pack of other trucks and everyone would drive away just fine doesn’t mean it will happen with a 4WD buggy. Buggies are more likely to break; more likely to get tweaked in an accident and the driver behind that car may be less forgiving than your buddies in another class. Strive for trying a new class, strive for being a better driver, but do it the right way so you will not only continue your fun streak but gain the respect of everyone else that’s on the track running with you.