08 Mar Does Slow & Steady Always Win the Race?
“Long-term consistency trumps short term intensity.” – Bruce Lee
Thursday Nights are fast becoming the most popular night of the week with our regular racegoers, and last nights race event left me pondering two questions in particular. After watching Tristram Young-Blakelock racing Hot Rod’s… Does clean always equal fast? And, why are people enjoying Thursday Nights more than – for example – Fridays?
So… Thursday Nights…
We’re seeing two groups of Hot Rods and two groups of Mini’s each Thursday Night now, and…. something fabulous is happening.
We’re seeing cleaner driving. My beloved circuit complete with Greggs bouncy curves is fairing well on Thursday nights. I’m also see some fantastic examples of driver etiquette from experienced drivers as well as novice youths like Joby Auty, and Matthew Bailey. Drivers are coming off the rostrum buzzing, and are talking about how much they enjoyed their race. The atmosphere is great, and people are enjoying the spectacle of the event too, with friends and family, and even fellow racers taking a few minutes out to watch the sessions.
The reason? I think this is down to fact drivers are racing with others of the same skill level.
Hot Rods and Minis have taken off at FORCE and because of that, we’re able to split the field into groups. The new championships sort out the drivers on the night, into groups based on their performance the previous week. This means our best drivers are racing with people of a similar skill level, and they’re enjoying their racing more as a result. Our novices are growing in confidence as they’re also racing with other novices, and don’t need to worry about affecting the race of someone else. And our intermediates are seeing progression too. They’re able to develop skills and improve because they’re racing competitively, in a group that suits their skill level.
Why am I making a point about this? I want to appeal to drivers of other formulas who are maybe sat in the wings waiting for the best or right time to join us on race night. Or maybe someone following our Facebook page who would like to give it a try but just haven’t – for whatever reason – taken the plunge yet.
While a certain level of competency is required to set your car on the grid in that first race, theres most definitely some truth in what racers say about there being no better experience gained, than in a race itself.
Like I said, it’s incredible what the steep increase in numbers on Thursday night has done for those formulas. I have my fingers crossed that with an influx of novice Touring Car drivers – which I know we have waiting in the wings -, we’ll see something similar happen on Friday Nights, and on our Tamiya Sundays.
There is no friendlier raceway than FORCE. We welcome new racers, and the amount of help and advice you pick up in just one race evening here is phenomenal. So trust me, now may actually be the perfect time for you to make your race debut.
Now then, back to the second thing I’ve been chewing over since last night…
What makes for a race win? Flat out speed and full throttle? Or driving clean and consistently? Mario Andretti said ‘If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.’ While I love Mario, Im inclined to disagree. We have a number of really experienced super skilled racers who can combine speed with clean consistent driving, and you’ll see them winning races. What you won’t see, is the guy pin balling the circuit limits at full throttle taking home any trophies. The key to progression for novices is understanding that speed is not what wins the race. Clean and consistent driving forms a great foundation on which to build your speed. Ask me how you can monitor and review your consistency through our race timing system.
My advice, if you’re new to indoor circuit racing and you’re finding yourself frustrated with barrier collisions or you’re not really making any progress is… Turn down the car. If your ESC and/or Radio allow you to do so, start your development on the circuit at maybe 50%, and when your consistency in good, turn it up a little in stages.
Tristram Young-Blakelock, racing Hot Rods last night is proof that clean and consistent driving leads to race wins. He looked smooth all night, but he also didn’t look particularly fast. Odd eh? An optical illusion. The difference was in his control. He wasn’t going for speed. That came as a result of what he was focused on… good, tidy, clean lines.
I started this blog asking if slow and steady really wins the race. I think in the majority of cases, it does. What do you think?
Its time now for me to prepare for Friday Night Touring Car racing. I hope I’ll see you there, if not this week, maybe next? Bye for now, and remember… Theres more to life than RC Racing, but it’s a good place to start. 🙂