By Allan Shillitto

It's a good question and it is one that is not necessarily easy to answer. You might say that you have to have all the latest gear - not so. I have seen races won by people with 'last years model' of everything. So where do you start?

How about the 6 P's ….Proper Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance - Short- To the Point and Accurate!

Someone once said to me "to win - first you have to finish" sounds simple but it's not. How many people have you seen turn up at a meeting, throw their boat in the water only for it not to work? The first step then has to be to get the boat from the start to the finish - then you are in with a chance. What this means is that you have to service the @*&! thing! After you finish and before storing, strip the boat clean and oil the drive line, check the radio for contamination (clean, dry, test, and replace as and where necessary). Lubricate all linkages. Service the motor especially make sure that the bearings still work and oil them. If you can get at the brushes check them and replace as necessary - Make sure that they move in their guides freely. Check the com and clean it skim it as necessary. Check the hull and repair as necessary. Check the rudder and prop(s) repair, replace and lubricate. Finished? Then you can store the boat.

Don't forget your cells - look after them - they need it. Go through a charge discharge cycle before storing and before use. Store as the manufacturer suggests. If you don't then don't expect them to perform. This includes race packs receiver packs and transmitter packs.

Range problems with the radio must be the most popular fault. Most manufacturers sell the equipment for use with dry cells - often stating that Nicads may be used. Nicads have 0.3 volts a cell less than dry cells. That means that for every 4 dry cells you can use 5 nicads - so use them. The effect on range and interference problems is dramatic.

A couple of good products worth a mention are BSG racing oil and Loctite superlube teflon laden light silicon grease. The former is available from UK suppliers the latter from hardware store/ YO-YO shops!

Before you race (the day before at least) do it all again. When you do this the first time make yourself a checklist - use it next time and if you have missed anything add to it. There is a site with a pre-race checklist on but I cannot think where it is. I don't propose to tell you how to do all these things because I am no expert in some of the areas - another lesson - look, listen and learn.

Ready for the races - wrong! Before you go racing go do some practice - the more you practice the easier it gets. Chuck some buoys in the lake (whatever) preferably retrievable ones - I use Toilet cistern floats with a loop on the bottom with weights attached - continue the line from the bottom weight so that it reaches the shore. Now drive round them you don't need a full course you can use your imagination for most of it but get used to coming round the buoys from different angles in different conditions - learn how your boat handles and responds. Once you have done this you might like to get 2 or 3 others with you. The worst thing is having a quick boat - coming up to a buoy with 6 slow ones round it. What do you do?

Now you are ready to race, or are you - if it's your first meeting, a new venue or a new meeting do yourself a favour and check where it is, get directions, check access and facilities. If you need something special speak to the organisers first don't expect them to read your mind. In the UK we expect all racers to do a race duty - marshalling, timing, race control, OOD etc. Check what will be expected of you and be prepared to do it.

Before you leave home check that you have everything you will need - and spares where that is reasonable. E.G. a spare prop, brushes etc. is reasonable.

So Your at the meeting your first race is 5th on the order and you have nothing to do - wrong. You may have race duties to do so check them out and arrange your charging and servicing around that. Find out who you are up against - If they are in other races - go watch see how they handle their boat - the start etc. etc. If this is your first meeting don't expect to win straight off use it as a learning experience - keep out of the way of the fast guys coming up to lap - YOU ARE NOT RACING AGAINST THEM. There are no blue flags in model racing - but there ought to be. If you are experienced then watch out for the inexperienced! The more info you can collect the better. Use this to modify your tactics. If they drive tight around the corners don't expect to overtake on the inside of a bend. You have to make it stick on the straight by getting the inside line.

There is more than one way in to a corner - be careful more accidents happen here than anywhere else.

If you have done all this and kept out of trouble then you are in the points. Now start improving your hardware!

Have fun racing - enjoy yourself - tomorrow is Monday and WORK! I have purposely kept away from detail as each of the subjects touched on above is worth a book. Look at the articles in the archive if you don't find what you need or you can fill one of the gaps then ask - or write the article - we all benefit in the end.

Now I sharpen my props by……. But that's another story that someone else can tell!


This Article was written by Allan Shillitto Exclusively for Rum Runner Racing. Use of this article is prohibited without written permission from Rum Runner Racing.


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