November 8, 2013

On the Grapevine – Hrotovice

On the Grapevine – Hrotovice

‘As they say, time flies when your having fun!!!’, that was how I ended my Facebook status update as I boarded my flight for a trip that would bring my travelings this year to just shy of 186,000Kms. The reason for this statement was because somehow I was on my way to the Czech Republic for the start of the seventh season of the Euro Touring Series despite the first stand alone ETS race being still as fresh a memory as if it had only taken place earlier this year. It is hard to believe that since that race in Vejle, Denmark, the International Speed Weekend in Kastellaun having counted as the opening round of the inaugural season, I have reported on another 32 ETS events!! With the biggest challenge for racers last time we visited Hrotovice being just getting there after snow forced the closure of Vienna Airport causing travel chaos, with yours truly getting stranded in a very cold Paris for a night with no jacket cause it was in my check in bag, thankfully this year things where much more straight forward.

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November 5, 2013

History Lessons

History Lessons

Through the past few months, one thing in the RC community that I’ve noticed is the emergence of ‘historical’ photos and anecdotes.  There really seems to be a buzz at the moment in looking back to old times and finding pictures and results from classic RC meetings.  It seems to have sparked those people who were racing RC cars back in the times before transponders  to start digging through their attic or garage to find their treasure troves of photographs back from the first meetings they entered, or the first major event they attended (or, in some cases, even won!).

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October 25, 2013

On the Grapevine – Poznan

Grapevine Poznan

After the 10-hour plus flights involved in my previous two trips to the 1:10 Offroad and 1:8 Onroad World Championships, getting to the destination of my fifth consecutive weekend on the road was a far less bum numbing experience.  Taking a short flight from Dublin to Berlin, where I hooked up with my partner in crime for the weekend Ricky Acciari, a three hour drive had us at our destination.  Hard to believe a full 12-months had passed, I was back in Poznan, Poland, for the opening round of the third season of the Euro Offroad Series. While the majority of my working weekend’s are spent at venues where racers easily out number spectators, thanks to a small in size but big in his vision Polish man, that is not the case when Niko Triandafilidis puts on a race.

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October 23, 2013

Testing Times

Testing Times

When I started racing, I’d turn up at a meeting and, if I’d got there early enough, maybe have time for a quick practice run before we got started with the qualifying rounds. As I then started attending bigger events, we got to the point where you’d also go to the track the day before the meeting for a day of open practice, often queuing or jostling for position on the drivers stand in order to get as many runs as you could through the day.

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October 18, 2013

On the Grapevine – Ichihara

Grapevine Ichihara

Of all the traveling I do last week saw the combination of two elements that had me excited the minute I arrived in Dublin Airport for my latest trip – 1:8 Onroad and Japan.  I had only been to Japan once before when I traveled to the world famous Yatabe Arena 2-years ago. On that trip I got to spend a day sightseeing in Tokyo city and my biggest lasting impression was how friendly a nation the people were. Returning for the 1:8 Onroad World Championships at KeiTune Racing Speedway in Chiba once again the friendly reception was immediate.  Picked up from Narita Airport by our good friend Terutaka Hanaumi, who the JMRCA had enlisted as an interpreter for the week, when we arrived at the event it was like a whose who of the Japanese RC industry and not because they were there to race!

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October 8, 2013

Tyred of Rule Changes?

Tyred of Rule Changes?

It’s that time of year again – most of the major summer events have now finished, drivers are contemplating their results from the season and many looking forward to a winter championship – perhaps indoors or still outside braving the cold. The end of the year also means the end of the current rule set. This also means that this is the time for rule proposals, discussions and AGMs. Many clubs across the world will sit down and decide what direction they want to take the club in for the following season – are any rule tweaks needed? Are the classes we support still the right ones? Do we need to change our race format? It’s also the time that national and international federations announce their rule change proposals and a few select people attend the AGMs to vote on those proposals.

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October 4, 2013

On the Grapevine – Chico

On the Grapevine - Chico

During my return journey from the 1:10 Electric Buggy World Championships in Chico, California, I was trying to gather together my thoughts for my latest column and I have to admit it was a struggle.  One would think that having just attended a World Championships the difficulty would be deciding what to leave out rather than what could I include that might make for somewhat interesting reading.  While the event was like the Frankfurt International Motor Show in terms of new buggy releases and appearances of prototypes, photos of which got quickly dissected by racers as they circled the globe via the interweb, there was actually very little else of interest coming out of the pits.  Perhaps it was the fact that the daily schedule left little time for chatting between runs, highlighted perfectly by Lee Martin eating a hamburger as though he was doing a challenge for the TV show ‘Man Versus Food’. Maybe it had something to do with many of the drivers appearing to have spent the week prior in Vegas perfecting their Poker Faces.  While the event ended with 5-minutes of racing that even Hollywood’s best script writers might have struggled to come up with in terms of drama and the final outcome, overall for me the event was missing that World Championship factor and it wasn’t for the lack of effort.

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September 24, 2013

Worth the hype?

Worth the hype?

This week saw two pretty major events.  The first, the release of new software for a well-known mobile phone.  The second, the continued build up to the 2013 Electric Off-Road Worlds. OK, so those are somewhat different events, and the first likely one attracted slightly more world-wide interest than the second.  But, I believe there are actually a number of very strong comparisons we can make.  One of the big elements of the build up for the Worlds are the rumours surrounding the new 4-wheel drive cars from HB and TLR.  In a similar way to Apple’s latest Software release, all we’ve seen so far have been a few ‘teaser’ pictures, and some results from one of the cars in the hands of their expert driver.

Continue reading Oli’s column here