2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by stickboy007 »

I will also be going. I have to say, though, the fanfare for VONATS seems to have waned in recent years. No official post from Erich to this board in the last two years for the event, if I remember correctly. Mostly relegated to Facebook announcements, which is fine if you can catch it in time. But I just don't get the impression that there is as much committed interest as in prior years. I hope I'm wrong, though.

I do look forward to the split between 4wd buggy and Classic 4wd buggy, although it seems the announcement came rather late and somewhat under the radar. I do worry a bit as to how many people will have something ready for either class. I plan on doing both...hopefully enough people show up? Last thing I want to do is win by default.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by jwscab »

Last year there was a nice collection of racers. 4wd did only have a few entries.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by scr8p »

stickboy007 wrote: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:33 pm I will also be going. I have to say, though, the fanfare for VONATS seems to have waned in recent years. No official post from Erich to this board in the last two years for the event, if I remember correctly. Mostly relegated to Facebook announcements, which is fine if you can catch it in time. But I just don't get the impression that there is as much committed interest as in prior years. I hope I'm wrong, though.
It would be nice to see a little more interest for the event from members on the board like there used to be. It would also be nice to have a lot of the guys back that have left for the ease of FB. But..... it is what it is.

The turnout was pretty good last year even with the venue change. I'm hoping some of the childish BS I heard about recently doesn't change that for this year.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by R/Cat »

scr8p wrote: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:32 pm It would be nice to see a little more interest for the event from members on the board like there used to be. It would also be nice to have a lot of the guys back that have left for the ease of FB. But..... it is what it is.

The turnout was pretty good last year even with the venue change. I'm hoping some of the childish BS I heard about recently doesn't change that for this year.

I will probably be going again this year and I always come here for the race information. I have a facebook account but am hardly ever on there. I've been attending the event for the last 4-5 years and have had mostly trouble with my cars when I go that I chalk up to me being a novice racer and never racing before attending this event for the first time. I'm almost certain I'll never win a race or even come close because I don't have the time or desire needed to practice regularly during the year but I still go to have fun and race some vintage rc cars.

I can only speak for myself regarding things that could and probably will eventually turn me off to continuing the trip to NE for this event but if I had to guess I can imagine the following are probably issues for many would-be attendees. First of all, entry fees are not cheap and add up quickly if entering multiple classes. A racer can expect to shell out $140-$200 just to enter 3-4 classes. Gas and tolls for anybody driving north or east to get to RCE are now more expensive due to the change in state/venue and flying is even more expensive. My 3 1/2 hour drive to CT turned into a 5 1/2 hour drive to MA so between lodging, food, travel, entry fees, rc cars/spare parts and gear this can easily be a high-three and more likely four-figure event for a lot of people. Meeting sponsored guys like Kinwald, Ruona. etc is cool but racing against world champion pro drivers who you have no chance against when a weekend warrior paid a lot of money to attend is not exactly appealing to some people. Pro drivers who attend should race against each other in an exhibition race and leave the weekend warriors to race against each other.

Having to partially dismantle and then reassemble your car to install the hand-out motor for classic class immediately before the race EVERY YEAR is annoying for obvious reasons not to mention it's the most expensive class to enter. Also, a slower driver is expected to give up and allow faster drivers to pass which means being lapped and essentially giving up what small chance there is to come back which is total BS. As long as everybody is paying the same entry fee to race, they should be allowed to race everybody else hard from start to finish regardless of position. Let the guys at the front of the pack earn it by having to work to pass slower cars instead of slower cars simply moving out of the way for them.

There also seems to be a clique among the same small core of racers every year and nobody likes that type of atmosphere. Along those lines, at the CT track seats would be reserved for certain racers while it was first come first serve for everybody else who had to fend for themselves which seems unfair. I was one of the first ones to arrive most years (and I mean like a day earlier) and even when I got there seats in the pits were already marked as reserved. My biggest complaint is that there is absolutely NO tech inspection whatsoever so there is almost certainly rampant cheating going on particularly considering the high dollar prizes at stake. To claim it's an even playing field based on the honor system is more than a little naive. I know the race is supposed to be "just for fun" but it's very obvious that a lot of racers take it very seriously and some too seriously as evidenced by the occasional mid-race snide remark that has been directed my way in the past if I didn't automatically roll over and move out of somebody's way. God for bid they should actually work to get around me. :? :roll:

Therefore, since the 2017 race I have considered picking up a short course truck and getting my fill of racing at my local track for a lot less time and money. I'll give the VONATs one more try and then may be taking a long term hiatus from the event. Just my two cents.
















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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by stickboy007 »

Qualifying and racing rules are simple. Move fast or get out of the way. They do the same in full scale racing, and R/C racing reflects that. Normally, it's not a problem for to get around lapped traffic, as most drivers are courteous enough and understand the rules. If you're that slow, then moving aside for the leaders won't impact your race much anyway. Also, if you're being lapped, then you are not racing with the car that's lapping you anyway. So move aside. If you don't want your race "spoiled," then drive faster. I'm usually competitive, but if there are faster people than me there, then I move aside when I need to and then get on with my race. It's really not a problem.

As for the reserved seating, my observation is that this has more to do with who knows the track owner or track manager (I'll bet you'd see this at most tracks). It could also have to do with who is sponsoring the event, or at least traveling far to attend, and so it is courteous to accommodate them. I don't usually ask for reserved seating, so I just try to show up early enough either the day of, or the day before, and claim a spot.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by scr8p »

The extra 2hrs of travel does suck, but I think it's worse that it's further north. 2hrs SW of CT would have been nice. Could have shaved some travel time off the trip for guys in the mid west that want to go and would be driving. But, you have to go where there is a track willing to host it.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by R/Cat »

stickboy007 wrote: Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:34 pm Qualifying and racing rules are simple. Move fast or get out of the way. They do the same in full scale racing, and R/C racing reflects that. Normally, it's not a problem for to get around lapped traffic, as most drivers are courteous enough and understand the rules. If you're that slow, then moving aside for the leaders won't impact your race much anyway. Also, if you're being lapped, then you are not racing with the car that's lapping you anyway. So move aside. If you don't want your race "spoiled," then drive faster. I'm usually competitive, but if there are faster people than me there, then I move aside when I need to and then get on with my race. It's really not a problem.

As for the reserved seating, my observation is that this has more to do with who knows the track owner or track manager (I'll bet you'd see this at most tracks). It could also have to do with who is sponsoring the event, or at least traveling far to attend, and so it is courteous to accommodate them. I don't usually ask for reserved seating, so I just try to show up early enough either the day of, or the day before, and claim a spot.
I think you inadvertently hit on the big problem of selective rule enforcement at the VONATs. You cite qualifying and racing "rules" for a supposed casual, "fun" vintage race and equate it to full-scale racing when, unlike every type of full scale-racing, there is NO tech inspection whatsover at the VONATs which encourages cheating so why are certain rules being followed while others are not? I can certainly make an argument against the "move fast or get out of the way" idea but if that is going to be enforced then shouldn't fair racing verified through tech inspection be enforced also? That's a standard at any legit rc race so there is no reason for it to not be a part of the VONATs since racers are paying into the collective pot to enter. Otherwise, having rules for each class that are not enforced is useless.

As far as reserved seating, it seems like you are confirming that track owners and/or track managers play favorites with who they know. The sponsors get enough mention and accolades without having them commandeer the pit area also and distance traveled should not be a reason to exclude certain racers from a particular pit area. Is my 5 1/2 hour drive less important/grueling than Kinwald's or anybody elses 4-5 hour plan ride? I think not.

The most surprising thing is that I have never seen the issue of no tech inspection at the VONATs discussed in a VONATs thread and have never heard it discussed at any of the VONAT races I've attended even though everybody knows that racers are almost certainly cheating and I'm not sure why that is. I included an interesting article from LiveRC.com below that discusses an example of what actually goes on at these races.



CAUGHT IN THE ACT: Hot Rod Hobbies Shootout cracks down on spec class cheaters
7/22/2014
By Aaron Waldron
LiveRC.com
Brushless motors have done wonders for the world of racing, but one area that has been particularly strained is that of “stock” racing - you know, the supposed-spec divisions that are often the most popular at any given racing event, and are aimed at providing a stepping stone between “beginner” and “modified.” When the original rules package that governed stock motors (cost-controlled, highly regulated motors with limited tuning options) in the brushed era were sent out to pasture as the brushless revolution turned racing on its head, it wasn’t clear how much the change in technology would change everything.

Fast forward a few years, and “stock racing” is anything but controlled. Technology has driven the “stock” class to speeds that make modified horsepower negligible, and even a hindrance depending on track conditions. A class once propelled by motors that could cost only $35 is now fueled by mills that cost three times as much. And perhaps the worst yet - cheating is just as, if not more, common than ever. Alarmingly, many mainstream motor manufacturers offer illegal motors straight from the shelf.

At last weekend’s Hot Rod Hobbies Off-Road Shootout, as many as three drivers were served infractions for violating the “blinky” mode rules enforced in the 17.5 and 13.5 classes. That pales in comparison, however, to the nine drivers that were disqualified for running motors that were not ROAR-legal.
Seven drivers in 17.5 divisions, and two more in 13.5 classes, were DQ’d for various motor rule violations.
Three drivers were caught with illegal motors that were purchased from the hobby shop without being tempered with. One of them was marked as “ROAR-legal” but contained an illegal rotor.
Two drivers were caught with 13.5-turn stators installed in 17.5-turn cans. One driver insisted he had purchased his motor this way.
At least one driver installed a non-ROAR legal stator into a ROAR-legal motor
At least one driver installed a ROAR-legal modified-class rotor into a ROAR-legal spec motor
At least one driver installed a larger-than-legal rotor into a spec motor.
One driver that was called to tech inspection had a motor that had been glued together and could not be torn down for inspection. After being told that his run would be disqualified, the racer cut off the can with a Dremel - and the internals were found to be legal.
Unfortunately, enforcing these rules required diligent tech inspection that including complete motor tear-down by someone that knew what he was doing - and more than one instance instigated a heated argument. The “old days” of illegal motors being labeled by different color cans, armature tags, and other visible markings are over. Kudos to the crew at Hot Rod Hobbies for taking the initiative to enforce the rules and take steps to keep the competition fair and cost-effective
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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by stickboy007 »

What is there to tech inspect? Dynamic timing is allowed in all classes with a 17.5, 13.5, or 10.5 motor at VONATS and so there's really no point in tech inspecting the cars. If you're worried about somebody running an "illegal" motor, it really doesn't matter if boost is allowed anyway. So, I really don't understand this fixation with cheating at an event like VONATS, where the rules are intentionally left open. Better to save time and run more classes that people can enjoy.

VONATS is a fun race, but it's still a race (i.e., a competition), and races have rules. Move fast or get out of the way. If you're going to intentionally block leaders from lapping you for the fifth time, because you want to be able to "race" them, then you should be fast enough in the first place to keep up with them. I agree with you that a good/fast driver should be able to get around a slow driver without issue, but if you've already been lapped then you're fighting with them over nothing and you'll just look like you're being obtuse on the track for no good reason.

I would not say that track owners/managers play favorites. It is more like the regulars at that track who know them are more likely to be able to contact them in advance. Is it fair? Well, maybe not, but it's life and there's still more than enough room at the facility for everyone. If you didn't proactively contact the track owner/manager ahead of time to even find out if they accept reservations, or take the time to get there early, then it's on you. I accept the same responsibility myself. I've attended races at "local" tracks where I was a regular attendee, and still could not reserve a space in time for a large event and ended up pitting in a dark hole somewhere. But I still had room for my equipment and still managed to race and have a good time.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by scr8p »

Saving pit spaces shouldn't be that big of an issue.... especially at the new place. Everyone is in the same room with the same size pit areas. I don't think a spot is any better than another. Unlike the CT track where there was like 2 different sections.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by R/Cat »

stickboy007 wrote: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:00 am What is there to tech inspect? Dynamic timing is allowed in all classes with a 17.5, 13.5, or 10.5 motor at VONATS and so there's really no point in tech inspecting the cars. If you're worried about somebody running an "illegal" motor, it really doesn't matter if boost is allowed anyway. So, I really don't understand this fixation with cheating at an event like VONATS, where the rules are intentionally left open. Better to save time and run more classes that people can enjoy.

VONATS is a fun race, but it's still a race (i.e., a competition), and races have rules. Move fast or get out of the way. If you're going to intentionally block leaders from lapping you for the fifth time, because you want to be able to "race" them, then you should be fast enough in the first place to keep up with them. I agree with you that a good/fast driver should be able to get around a slow driver without issue, but if you've already been lapped then you're fighting with them over nothing and you'll just look like you're being obtuse on the track for no good reason.

I would not say that track owners/managers play favorites. It is more like the regulars at that track who know them are more likely to be able to contact them in advance. Is it fair? Well, maybe not, but it's life and there's still more than enough room at the facility for everyone. If you didn't proactively contact the track owner/manager ahead of time to even find out if they accept reservations, or take the time to get there early, then it's on you. I accept the same responsibility myself. I've attended races at "local" tracks where I was a regular attendee, and still could not reserve a space in time for a large event and ended up pitting in a dark hole somewhere. But I still had room for my equipment and still managed to race and have a good time.
So because dynamic timing is allowed there's no real point in checking motors, rotors, stators, and the myriad of other internal things that can be illegally changed or modified??? Every honest racer should want a tech inspection and every honest organizer should require it. A fun race is still a race, as you said. I'm an honest racer so an inspector could tear my car apart and find absolutely nothing illegal. Not sure some of the other participants could say the same thing. The guys who are cheating of course would rather ignore the issue and continue to enjoy the selective "open" rules. "Let me cheat and move fast or get out of my way" seems to be the mantra for the VONATs that I'm sensing. This is the first time I have ever mentioned/discussed the potential for cheating at the VONATS and I've been attending for 5 years so I hardly consider it a fixation. The fact that you are immediately labeling it as that is odd.
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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by R/Cat »

scr8p wrote: Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:37 pm The extra 2hrs of travel does suck, but I think it's worse that it's further north. 2hrs SW of CT would have been nice. Could have shaved some travel time off the trip for guys in the mid west that want to go and would be driving. But, you have to go where there is a track willing to host it.
Absolutely, I have to believe that most participants are not coming north to south so moving the event south where most of the racers are coming from would be a wise move. I wonder if one of the tracks in eastern PA would host it?
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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by stickboy007 »

R/Cat wrote: Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:22 pm
stickboy007 wrote: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:00 am What is there to tech inspect? Dynamic timing is allowed in all classes with a 17.5, 13.5, or 10.5 motor at VONATS and so there's really no point in tech inspecting the cars. If you're worried about somebody running an "illegal" motor, it really doesn't matter if boost is allowed anyway. So, I really don't understand this fixation with cheating at an event like VONATS, where the rules are intentionally left open. Better to save time and run more classes that people can enjoy.

VONATS is a fun race, but it's still a race (i.e., a competition), and races have rules. Move fast or get out of the way. If you're going to intentionally block leaders from lapping you for the fifth time, because you want to be able to "race" them, then you should be fast enough in the first place to keep up with them. I agree with you that a good/fast driver should be able to get around a slow driver without issue, but if you've already been lapped then you're fighting with them over nothing and you'll just look like you're being obtuse on the track for no good reason.

I would not say that track owners/managers play favorites. It is more like the regulars at that track who know them are more likely to be able to contact them in advance. Is it fair? Well, maybe not, but it's life and there's still more than enough room at the facility for everyone. If you didn't proactively contact the track owner/manager ahead of time to even find out if they accept reservations, or take the time to get there early, then it's on you. I accept the same responsibility myself. I've attended races at "local" tracks where I was a regular attendee, and still could not reserve a space in time for a large event and ended up pitting in a dark hole somewhere. But I still had room for my equipment and still managed to race and have a good time.
So because dynamic timing is allowed there's no real point in checking motors, rotors, stators, and the myriad of other internal things that can be illegally changed or modified??? Every honest racer should want a tech inspection and every honest organizer should require it. A fun race is still a race, as you said. I'm an honest racer so an inspector could tear my car apart and find absolutely nothing illegal. Not sure some of the other participants could say the same thing. The guys who are cheating of course would rather ignore the issue and continue to enjoy the selective "open" rules. "Let me cheat and move fast or get out of my way" seems to be the mantra for the VONATs that I'm sensing. This is the first time I have ever mentioned/discussed the potential for cheating at the VONATS and I've been attending for 5 years so I hardly consider it a fixation. The fact that you are immediately labeling it as that is odd.
I think you're overstating the issue. Just look at how much you've been emphasizing it throughout this thread. You also talk about selective "open" rules, but I don't know what you mean by that. Can you cite an example of how those rules have been enforced "selectively" and specifically to the benefit of one driver over another? Have you been personally burned by some kind of enforcement of a rule that was not equally enforced on other drivers? Maybe bring the issue up directly with the event organizer, so that he understands where you're coming from. For the time being, though, you're just arguing with a guy who loves the event as much as anyone else here, is competitive but doesn't always win and is perfectly okay with that, even if other cars in the field are doing shady stuff (which I seriously doubt at this specific event), and gets annoyed when lapped traffic doesn't abide by the qualifying and racing format that has been set forth because they feel entitled to a racing battle that they're not fast enough to partake in.

From what I understand, the exact reason that boost is allowed at the event is precisely to avoid any controversy with motors and so forth (you don't have to run boost, but you are welcome to). I would love to know what are the "myriad" of other "internal things" which can be illegally changed or modified, especially at an event where vintage cars are modified in unconventional ways in order to bring something unique to the track. Do you want to tech cars for weight (or rather, mass)? I know for a fact that the NIX91 comes in under weight for a stock buggy, but I just don't care. The only person who ever had the balls to drive that car at VONATS is so goddamn good of a driver anyway, that it didn't matter. He would wheel anything, and he chose to have some fun with his NIX91. I thought it was great, even though he was faster than me and ultimately outqualified and beat me in the main. It was just cool to see a NIX91 out there in the hands of a great driver.

This is not to say that I think tech inspection is a bad idea or that I'm trying to hide something. I'm just saying that, with the way the rules are set up, and considering the spirit of the event, there's really no need, and all it really does is cost time in a program that is already quite full.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by jwscab »

I'm certainly no great driver, and I most certainly was in the way last year fighting traction due to a poor setup and driving. I know there were instances where there was grumbling that I(or others) didn't move 'fast enough' out of the way. At that point, I did my best to try and allow faster traffic through, but at the same time, I could care less if the leaders got held up. I was on the track having fun trying to race and TRYING to move to the side. it was made worse by the guy on the mic telling you to move over.

I most certainly was not intentionally holding people up. I think R/Cat is trying to convey that sense of attitude from guys if you happened to be in the way.....you tend to have all skill levels which is why there are qualifiers......so the really fast guys can run in the mains together, and the less skilled drivers run in the lower mains. I'm ok with that really, as I know my skills aren't at the peak.

I'm looking forward to the race this year as I have been practicing and dialing in my woin car, so I'm hopefully cranking out more laps than last year. Still undecided on what I'm running on Saturday but running out of time fast. I guess I will be running the gold pan with crappy rear tires and dealing with that mess.....I should buy a wheely and just enter that. with buying the handout motor, it's really only a few bucks more for a new kit.

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by jwscab »

Oh, also, I'm not really sure if there is a suitable track in PA anywhere that would be an ideal host site. as it is, Scr8p and I drive up to north jersey to run on a clay track, something closer to me would be awesome.....maybe there is? anyone know? even something like harrisburg or southern PA? or somewhere below that?

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Re: 2018 Vintage Off-Road Nationals - R/C Excitement Inc. Fitchburg, MA Sept. 14-16

Post by stickboy007 »

jwscab wrote: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:50 pm I'm certainly no great driver, and I most certainly was in the way last year fighting traction due to a poor setup and driving. I know there were instances where there was grumbling that I(or others) didn't move 'fast enough' out of the way. At that point, I did my best to try and allow faster traffic through, but at the same time, I could care less if the leaders got held up. I was on the track having fun trying to race and TRYING to move to the side. it was made worse by the guy on the mic telling you to move over.

I most certainly was not intentionally holding people up. I think R/Cat is trying to convey that sense of attitude from guys if you happened to be in the way.....you tend to have all skill levels which is why there are qualifiers......so the really fast guys can run in the mains together, and the less skilled drivers run in the lower mains. I'm ok with that really, as I know my skills aren't at the peak.

I'm looking forward to the race this year as I have been practicing and dialing in my woin car, so I'm hopefully cranking out more laps than last year. Still undecided on what I'm running on Saturday but running out of time fast. I guess I will be running the gold pan with crappy rear tires and dealing with that mess.....I should buy a wheely and just enter that. with buying the handout motor, it's really only a few bucks more for a new kit.
R/Cat was giving me the impression that he shouldn't have to move over at all. If that is the case, then I have a problem with that. If in fact you are a slower driver and making an honest attempt to move over for faster traffic, then that's fine. Believe me, I know what it's like to spend my entire race moving over for others. I've had bad days like that, and over time I just got better enough so that occurred less often. I haven't raced at all since my son was born 19 months ago, so it'll be interesting to see if I can shake all of the rust off within one race weekend. That will be my main challenge.

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