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Guide to Racing at an AMCC meeting.

Right, you have bought your car, put it together, painted the body shell, it’s looking good. After driving it around the garden a few times you want to get out there and do some racing, but where do you start.
Here at the Aldershot Model Car Club we always welcome beginners, so if you’re not sure of anything then please ask somebody, but to help your first race day go smoothly here is a racing guide.

Before you attend a meeting

Just like any sport there are some rules we have to follow – otherwise it would be a free-for-all. Your car (or bike) must conform to certain restrictions – mode of power, dimensions, tyres allowed etc. So before you come down take a look the “class rules page” on this website to get an idea of what is or is not allowed. However these rules are for those classes of racing we generally run (although some of them aren’t run at every meeting). If you want to run a car not in one of the classes described in the rules then we more than willing to accommodate other classes to be run (within limits – see the restrictions the class rules page).

Probably the best idea if you’re new to the hobby is to plan to come down to a club meeting beforehand and have  a chat with the people there. You can come down anytime during the day and have a wander around.

Crystals

Each car has to work on a different frequency, race control will publish a race lists that will tell you crystals you will be using, but it helps a lot if you have at least 3 frequencies to chose from, so pop down the model shop and buy a couple more sets. Make sure that you get ones suitable for  your transmitter/receiver. Both 27MHz and 40MHz are used for model cars. Also 2.4GHz systems can be used at Aldershot. These don’t require a crystal and so can be easier to use as you don’t have to worry about selecting the correct crystal.

Transponder

When you are racing you have a transponder fitted to your car for the timing computer. There are 2 types of transponder. “Hand-out” transponders are owned by the club and you simply collect the one allocated to you for your race from the race control hut just before your race. After your finish your race you simply hand it back at race control. There are 2 sets of “hand-out” transponders – a black set and a yellow set. The race director will tell you which to use for your race. “Hand-out” transponders have to be mounted in the front windscreen of your car, for which you will have to make an 8mm hole. You secure the transponder with a large body clip. Ask someone to show you how to fit it. The other type of transponders are “personal” transponders. These you have to buy yourself and are permanently  fixed somewhere in your car. Each “personal” transponder has a unique number printed on it’s casing and all you need to do is to let the race director know the number when you book in. Oh, and remember you don’t need to pick-up a “hand-out” transponder !.

Meeting Timetable
  • Track open for Electric practise : 8:15
  • Booking-in closes : 9:00
  • Driver briefing : 9:15
  • Heat 1 on the line ready to start : 9:30

So if you arrive at the circuit at about 8:00am this will give you enough time to set-up, get your batteries on charge and get some practice time. If you are a club member you can practice almost any day, but if you have not joined yet, the only time you can practice is on the morning of the race day.

Practice Session

During the free practice session you must take the peg on the frequency peg board relating to the frequency you’re using. This should avoid someone else switching on on the same frequency as you whilst you’re running your car. After you finish your practice please remember to replace the peg. If you’re using a 2.4GHz system then there is no need to use the peg board and you’re  free to just go and practice. Once the meeting has started there is no need to use the peg board when you’re racing.

Booking In

This consists of you telling the race controller your name, which class (or classes) you want to compete in, your frequencies and your personal transponder number (if you have one). The only other thing you’ve then got to do is to pay your entry fee. Once you’ve booked in for the first time at Aldershot, the computer will remember your details and so on your subsequent visits all the race director will need is your name and the class (or classes) you want to race in (and money for the race fees of course !). If any of your details change eg. new frequencies or new transponder number,  just let the race director know on your next visit.

First Qualifying session

After everybody has booked in then the racing can start. A list will be posted indicating what crystal frequency you should use, your heat number, and your car number. Check your crystals, and then wait until the heat before yours has started, then go to race control with your car, pick up the transponder that matches your car number (if you’re using a “hand-out” transponder) and fit it to your car. Remember, there are 2 sets of transponders – black and yellow, make sure you pick-up the correct one.
When it’s your race, place your car on the start line, and go up to the rostrum. The qualifying session starts by the race controller calling out the car numbers in sequence, you start when your number is called out.

The idea of the qualifying session is to see how many laps you can do in 5 minutes. After the race the results are posted you will see your name with a number like 12/313.45. This means you did 12 laps in 5 minutes 13.45 seconds (313.45 seconds).

Marshaling

After you have finished your race, put your car on one of the tables near the rostrum, return the transponder to it’s holder, and then go out and Marshall on the point corresponding to your car number. When you are placing a car back on the track, make sure you do not place it in front of an approaching car.

Other Qualifying Sessions

There are up to 4 – 5 qualifying sessions, depending on the amount of daylight. In each subsequent session the start sequence is different with the fastest driver going first and the slowest going last. The computer will announce the order before the race starts.

The Finals

Everybody gets to race in a final. The top ten qualifiers race the A-Final, the next ten do the B-Final ,etc.

The finals are similar to the qualifying session except that you start from the starting grid on the main straight, and all start together. Please take it carefully round that first corner !.

Don’t forget to Marshall after you have finished your race!

Happy Racing

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