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Thread: Fun at the Track, Homestead, Florida, July 23, 2011

  1. #1

    Fun at the Track, Homestead, Florida, July 23, 2011

    I was expecting to have a lazy day this Saturday, not doing much of anything. Art Carbonell called me - wanted to go down to the Homestead R/C track and try a few things out. This is the same track where the IFMAR Worlds were held just a few months ago. It's big - about the size of Texas, and this time of year Florida is so hot you can cook your eggs right on the asphalt if you want. It also rains enough every afternoon to wash the southern part of Florida right into the ocean, but once in a while someone forgets to turn on the faucet. Anyway, I met up with Art, and we headed down to the track.

    Most people living in Florida are smart enough to wait for the heat to leave - this happens around December or so. I guess we were as nuts as the other people who showed up to get in some practice time. We unloaded the car, and put Art's stuff inside one of the large tents, noticing on the way there that everyone else was pitting right in front of the driver's stand where the temperature was climbing off the scale. Gee, why are they being so foolish? We soon found out why - inside the tent for about two minutes, and it felt like every mosquito for miles around had gathered there for their noon feeding. The stupid things were so small you couldn't really see or hear them - but they were nasty!!! So much for pitting inside.

    We were probably there for only two or three hours. About four or five others were there, getting in some laps in 1/10th scale cars. Art had brought his 1/8 scale Mugen. As for me, when I took out my camera to take a few photos, I forgot about the heat and skeeters, but the rest of the time I headed for anyplace with shade, a breeze, and a no-skeeters-sign. There weren't many.

    Here's a photo of the whole track - actually, it's five photos, but with the wonders of modern software, I could glue them all together...

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    Here's a few photos of Art, Junior, and a few of the others...

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    My photo taking plans came to an abrupt end when Art asked me if I wanted to drive his car. Did I want to - SURE! Was I going to - Nope! He'd kill me if I broke it, right? ...and I haven't driven a 1/8 on-road car since about 2003 or so, when I still had a Serpent V-Tech and a Picco Integra. Anyway, I followed Art up to the driver's stand, thinking I should get a shot of him up there. Did that, then shot one of Junior. With flash. Neither of them yelled at me, which was good - but without the flash, the photos would have not been very good.... Then Art stops, and asks again if I want to drive. Well, what's the worst that can happen? Hmm, it's a long walk back from Homestead to Miami, if I busted up his car.

    So, Art goes down to fill the tank, I hold the radio, wondering if I still know what to do. Art puts the car down, and I start off at about the same speed as the skeeters were flying at. Hmm, not all that bad. For the rest of that tankful, I just concentrated on staying in the middle of the wide black groove going 'round the track, and staying equal distance from the inside and outside boards. The car felt... hmm, twitchy - it responded too much to what I was doing. Art told me that going a bit faster would get the car to respond more predictably, and that since he had drag brake set, I should try to keep the throttle at more or less the same setting as I drove. Wow, this worked wonders. Art's car smoothed out, and almost all the time went where I wanted it to go. The imaginary 1/18th scale Tyco toy cars that weren't out there with us were probably faster than me, but as time went on, at least the Mugen started to sound like a "real" car. Driving in traffic went back to being lots of fun, once I trusted the car and myself to not swat one of the smaller cars off the track. Eventually they all wisened up to the fact that we were all roasting to death, and they stopped driving, leaving just me up there. Gee, now I can hear what my engine is doing! Lap after lap the lap times being spoken by the scoring system came down. Eventually they got to an even 25 seconds. That's probably good for the grandmother class of ladies chosen from a spelling bee, but not very decent for a race car - but at least nothing was broken, and I was having fun. After two tanksfulls, I figured it was a good time to stop and drink a gallon or two of ice water.

    I'm not going to say much about the track, as I'm not good enough to really say anything someone with the least amount of experience would understand. If I was talking to people who had their very first r/c car, I'd say a lot more. To them, I'd say that the track is a lot of fun to drive, that the driver's stand offers great visibility, that there's lots of room to pass or be passed, and that overall, the fun factor is at the top of the fun scale. If I still had a 1/8 scale car, and if the track had a "novice class" (or a class for people who've forgotten everything), I could easily see myself getting right back into this hobby... but then I might not be able to do photos too.......

    Oh yeah, one last thing. When we left the track, after a YUMMY dinner at Sonny's Bar-B-Que, we went to Ray Shneider's home. Ray has a decent camera, and knows how to get the best from it. The photos he takes of full-size cars and motorcycles are at least as good, and usually far better, than anything I see in magazines. Anyway, Ray wasn't at the recent IFMAR World Championships in Homestead as any kind of "official photographer", but did manage to get some really nice photos. He gave me a set tonight, which I'll get posted tomorrow if possible. I think you guys are going to like them!!

  2. #2
    Wow love the top picture of the track Mike! Great job putting your pictures together to create that. Sounds like you guys had a great time with everything coming home in one piece at the end of the day. Have to say I have never been to a track that is even close in comparison, looks like a good time. Come to think of it I have never been to a permanent track at all. Really enjoy reading your posts and thanks for sharing.

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