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An observation on Retro racing


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#1 raisin27

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 02:56 PM

After reading a few of the recent topics about Retro racing I think the time is right to bring up an interesting observation I have made in my two years of competing. Don't take this as trying to start a war. I know not everyone will agree and that's fine, this is just my opinion.

 

It is my understanding that the idea behind Retro was to take the motor out of the equation making it a "chassis builders class." It seems to me that just the oposite has happened.

 

Because of the relatively high downforce of the Ti22 body and the low horsepower of the FK or Retro Hawk motors most any chassis design will work if built properly. The diversity of chassis designs that show up on the podiums is testament to this. That in turn has made the motor all the more important. When you go to a major event most of the top racers settle in on the car they will use pretty quickly then concentrate on going through dozens of motors (and tires, but thats a whole 'nuther' story) to find the one with the slight edge.

 

I am not advocating getting away from the sealed motors at all. I like the concept. Frankly if I had to put the effort into building motors that I did when I raced 25 years ago I would not be racing today. 

 

I think maybe its time to look into using less downforce on Retro cars. I feel that would put more emphasis on the chassis, which was the original idea.

 

Just my opinion,

 

Raisin


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#2 tonyp

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 02:58 PM

"Frankly if I had to put the effort into building motors that I did when I raced 25 years ago I would not be racing today."

Ditto!


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#3 Half Fast

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:15 PM

Ditto x 2.

 

Cheers,


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#4 jimht

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:18 PM

Right on!
 
Glancing at the IRRA® body list it's obvious that eliminating anything that has a semblance of a wraparound rear spoiler would be the easy thing to do.

 

Set a date, run the stocks down and move on.
 
Everyone that's into Retro just so they can run a Ti22 will have to lobby for a separate Ti22 class... shouldn't be difficult, it's already established and if the votes are there it will happen.  :laugh2: 


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#5 MSwiss

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:25 PM

I got a party of 15 four-year-olds to officiate, but I'll add quickly.

 

I agree Can-Am cars are too easy to drive, especially on any track, sort of banked.

 

But... in your case, Raisin, you don't race F1.

 

Those will give you a bit more of challenge... or race on the Fiedler Flat, at Sano 10.


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#6 raisin27

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:28 PM

Point taken, Mike. I have put together a couple of F1s to throw my hat in the ring.
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#7 Noose

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:38 PM

Drive a Stock Car and then see why frames make a big difference.


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#8 raisin27

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:45 PM

That just makes my point. Less aerodynamics make the chassis more important. But perhaps I should have included Can-Am in the title of the topic.
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#9 Tim Neja

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:58 PM

Well, a simple solution would be to eliminate the Ti22 from Can-Am. Make it a Can-Am Plus body only!! That way people can still use them, but the Can-Am class would become even more of a builders and tuners class than it is now!


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#10 Noose

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:58 PM

Retro is not all about Can-Am. Also, not all Can-Am races are held on Kings either.

We have had a successful series for nine years and the biggest growth has been since the Hawk Retro came out. We average 30 racers per class for all classes.

I can tell you that half the field in every race is going to have a problem just from teching their cars. I've done over 10,000 tech inspections and it still amazes me how many just don't get the basics right.


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#11 James Grandi

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 04:08 PM

Raisin, I'm unfamiliar with your region and the tracks that you race on, could you elaborate a bit on that subject? The reason I ask is by no means a disagreement to your thoughts - my personal experience has been that track style changes my perception/opinion rather heavily. I tend to think much differently about racing Can-Am on a flatter, less stuck King like we raced on yesterday versus the high banks and wonder rubber of Port Jeff for example
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#12 Samiam

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 04:39 PM

My Jersey John chassis,Ti-22 Can-Am was like a wing car on Port Jeff's King. Just a blip and hammered on most lanes. So I save my fast motors that pop up during weekly racing for those races.

 

On other Kings it is still more of a drivers class. As long as the bodies stay the way they are I don't see a negative trend. If we have to start chasing the "chassis of the month" things could go south pretty quick.  


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#13 Wizard16

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 04:49 PM

Noose,

 

Obviously you can't detail all of the flubs people make that you have seen in tech. Can you give the top three in order of importance?

 

Thanks.


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#14 Noose

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 04:57 PM

Top three I see:

1. Guide not set right / too much lead wire
2. Front track width not as wide as allowed
3. Bodies mounted flimsily.

And of course gears way too tight.


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The only thing bad about Retro is admitting that you remember doing it originally.


#15 James Grandi

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 05:03 PM

And of course gears way too tight


Or too loose. I reset four gear meshes during Mains yesterday because the spurs were going to blow the teeth off if someone didn't.
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#16 tonyp

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 05:38 PM

Bodies dragging
Guide with massive wobble
Wrong guide offset
Body dragging
And the biggest - A 120 gram driver with a 100 gram car.
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#17 Wizard16

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 05:38 PM

Whoops, got me on all three.

Gear mesh also until you showed me how to do it at Sano.

I really want to thank all all of you posters and those that PM with information. It is really appreciated.

Amazingly very little of it is contradictory. When it is contradictory though, I choose the method provided by the "old" masters - the Obe-Wans.
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#18 Noose

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 05:47 PM

That's the one thing we do nowadays - help the other racers.
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Joe "Noose" Neumeister
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The only thing bad about Retro is admitting that you remember doing it originally.


#19 Dennis David

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 05:53 PM

Interesting. I was thinking and seeing the same thing.

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#20 Samiam

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 06:20 PM

I'm no Obi Wan but I have seen too many interiors taped in way too stiff.
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#21 tonyp

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 06:24 PM

Duct tape doesn't quite work.


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"And if my thought-dreams could be seen they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only." - Dylan

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#22 Brian Cochrane

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 06:32 PM

If you take away the spoiler or a good downforce body in Can Am it would be a reck fest.  You can't just make it for the elite drivers, you use the rules given and you build and race using all the combinations of parts and motors that you wish to use that are within those set rules.  The main thing is that the good racers share info with the all others.I never cared for cooky cutter race cars in any scale.I love hand built home grown race cars,just like the old days......


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#23 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 06:33 PM

When the objective/intent of Retro changes it will replicate the path of Mid School flexi racing. 

 

Retro East and most of the Ohio based groups have survived and flourished due to the fact that they have remained true to their founding principals and most importantly have been consistent with staying true to their founding ruleset and intent.

 

Whether in my real profession or hobbies I always find it funny when someone wants to ride coattails and then gain praise when they use a modified version of your success. The IRRA and even the D3/SCRRA should feel honored that so many want to modify what they have made and in my opinion perfected. 

 

Raisin is correct in that the chassis are getting similar in performance, but I relate that to almost a decade of Retro R&D even though the masters will tell you we are building a prettier version of what was already being done in the 60's & 70's. It does not matter what the motors we run, the debate will never change. Knowing that I like the path the IRRA has created for us. We can argue every damn detail of the car, but at some point fellas you have to choose a safe and fair ruleset and stick to it. Retro has grown! Why? Consistency within a rule set, period! 

 

As far as the bodies, while I agree I would like it to be more of a drivers/builders class, that would not stop tracks that are capable of producing 3.6 sec. CanAms from doing things different in my opinion. Some tracks just have a different objective than the intent of the class. In the end when the changing of the guard happens within the next decade you will see Retro change for the worse in my opinion as the original intent and recipe for the current success will have passed or moved on. 


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#24 John Streisguth

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 08:48 PM

Just a personal opinion on the different chassis, I feel that the different chassis designs all work well but it really comes down to what works best for a particular person. I have tried many of the popular designs, and I have pretty much settled on one basic design, so from this point I will probably build and run minor variations of it.


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"Whatever..."

#25 Tim Neja

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 03:30 PM

If you take away the spoiler or a good downforce body in Can Am it would be a reck fest.  You can't just make it for the elite drivers, you use the rules given and you build and race using all the combinations of parts and motors that you wish to use that are within those set rules.  The main thing is that the good racers share info with the all others.I never cared for cooky cutter race cars in any scale.I love hand built home grown race cars,just like the old days......

 

Retro was not intended to be "wing racing"!! It's about building chassis/tuning  and making them work! If you really can't drive, then go to flexi racing or wing racing. We've got a lot of classes available, they don't all have to be about pulling the trigger all the way down and watching it go around!   :)


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#26 Samiam

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 04:55 PM

It is my understanding that the idea behind Retro was to take the motor out of the equation making it a "chassis builders class". It seems to me that just the oposite has happened.

 

My take on the "Retro Mission Statement" is that their intention was to take motor building out of the equation, not the motor. There is no possible way to nullify motor performance in any form of motor sports. In any scale. Under any set of rules. 
 
I wonder what the hot topic is on the Pinewood Derby forums?


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#27 James Grandi

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 05:06 PM

Probably how to make carbon fiber look like wood.


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#28 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 04:14 PM

 Maybe just taking those Ti22 bodies away from the 'pro' class drivers... just to slow them down to what the rest of us can do.


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#29 Bill from NH

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 05:08 PM

I wonder what the hot topic is on the Pinewood Derby forums?

 

What's the best way to polish nails. :)


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#30 Joexemm

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Posted 02 April 2016 - 10:51 AM

I have only run a few races. Built a few cars. Learned a lot. Motor is only 1/a quarter of the equation. Body is a lot. There are a few different variations of the Ti22 that do different things at different times. Seems to me there is a lot of tuning to do there. Basics win races. Tricks only work when basics are rock solid. Tires are a game i never had to play with flexi cars that was always straightforward. I dig it a lot. i feel there is more to be done to master these Retros than the body choice... way more.


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#31 Les Boyd

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 06:36 AM

The statement that there where several types of chassis showing up on the podiums (as to how true that is I make no claim) shows that the IRRA® rules are working and doing what was intended.

 

Although my observations is that different chassis work better at one type of track. So each specific track has only one or two types of chassis that will have the best performance.

 

That is what I like about IRRA® you can build a chassis suitable for the track you intend to race on.

 

We see different types of chassis, because there are different tracks, some flat, some banked, some high speed, and some more of a driver's tracks.


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#32 Racer36

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 07:45 AM

I dont have a lot to add from a technical perspective, but I will echo what Noose mentioned. I have just jumped into Retro after years of flexi racing and a short sabbatical.

 

I am hugely impressed and grateful for all of the offers of help from racers in the Penn-Ohio Retro series. I could not get out of my own way despite having a really good chassis, but with some help I got going fairly well. Now it is just a matter of getting more track time.

 

Thanks to all!


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#33 Arne Saknussem

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 08:44 AM

As a widely acclaimed poster of the obvious, I suspect that the chassis look a great deal alike simply because most of the main brass parts in use are sourced from a very few suppliers. I think we are all well aware that the specs and locations of all the bits that connect those brass parts are the determinants. 

 

Hence, the lap times attainable by one car assembled by Racer A may be very different from another assembled by Racer B (even assuming A and B are similarly skilled). The number of possible permutations is astronomical.

 

The differing chassis designs that are easily observed here on the Blog demonstrate the great variety shown among successful entries. West Coast designs have evolved quite differently to those on the East Coast, no doubt due at least partially to motor and allowable body differences.


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#34 Dennis David

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:24 AM

My money is on the fact that chassis have become less important vis a vis aero and as long as the chassis is flat, straight, and of a reasonable design that isolate vibration and has some flex it's down to the "response" it gives back to the driver.

Get rid of the "handling" bodies and the chassis design will become more important.

Well that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. ;-)


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#35 Noose

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 05:53 AM

Dennis,

 

I will tend to disagree with you. The frames are made and fine tuned for different tracks. Only a few frames in my stable, actually only one, has worked as I wanted it on flat tracks, Hillclimbs, and Kings. All with the same body.

 

The good news is a lot of frames have been around for longer than a week like in the old days. And remember back then we still always had a predominant body used.


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The only thing bad about Retro is admitting that you remember doing it originally.


#36 Dennis David

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:25 AM

Maybe to be more accurate what I was trying to say was they all work but react differently for each track and it's more of a driver choice which chassis works best for a given track. With less of a handling body the differences in chassis may be wider. Feel free to disagree and this is of course only a theory of mine.
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#37 Half Fast

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:13 AM

What amazes me is that chassis with completely different design philosophies can all work well.

 

For example: GVP chassis are very flexible. Bartos' are very stiff and Tony P's are in the middle. Yet they all work amazingly well.

 

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#38 Uncle Fred

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:52 PM

I feel that chassis flex, weight, and weight distribution are all important but tires (hardness, width, and wheel diameter) can offset these attributes.


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#39 Tim Wilkins

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 02:48 PM

 West Coast designs have evolved quite differently to those on the East Coast, no doubt due at least partially to motor and allowable body differences.

 

No minimum weight limit has led to many new West Coast designs.


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#40 bbr

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:40 PM

What amazes me is that chassis with completely different design philosophies can all work well.

 

For example: GVP chassis are very flexible. Bartos are very stiff and Tony P's are in the middle. Yet they all work amazingly well.

 

Yeah, I tried many chassis and you can get them to perform the same with set-up, what is different is how they respond (snappy, soft).

 

The chassis that suits me right now in F1 is the Kamo. I have a Kamo CA too, but haven't tried it yet. I'm pretty sure I will like it, too.


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#41 Arne Saknussem

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:21 PM

Beware overthink.


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#42 Dennis David

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:22 PM

I want a Kamo chassis!
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#43 Superbird

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 08:53 AM

Another out of the box thought about 'Retro' racing:

 

Weren't "Retro" cars supposed to be a fashionable imitation of an earlier style of racing, specifically 1967 in the Golden Era of slot car Pro racing? Isn't that why Retros are stuck using the horribly obsolete in-line motor format with all the devilish driving challenge of torque roll? 

 

I'm not alone in owning and driving vintage cars from that era and anybody will tell you that today's "Retro" racers are nothing like the challenge of driving back then. In those days, when motor power was exploding, chassis builders were making ever heavier designs to retain control of the cars running on rubber painted surfaces and layouts that included hills, vertical drops, and intentional lateral zig-zag esses. You might be able to reproduce the motor types of that time (although nobody does) and force the bodies and chassis to reflect actual cars from that time but you will not be able to race on tracks from 50 years ago.

 

"Retro racing" is an artificial modern category that ends up being just a tad slower than the equivalent Flexi-wedge offering. 


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#44 tonyp

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:21 AM

Retro racing started in California by a bunch of old guys that just wanted to build again and get together to run their cars.

There never was the intention to exactly recreate the cars of the '60s, more like what inlines would look like if anglewinders never came about. I am thinking inlines were chosen over anglewinders because they were easier to build.
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#45 slotcarone

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:29 AM

Hi Pete,

Am I correct in assuming you have not driven a modern Retro car? These horribly obsolete inlines handle real well!! You are welcome to try mine out any time you are in the New York area!!
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#46 Cheater

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:37 AM

Weren't "Retro" cars supposed to be a fashionable imitation of an earlier style of racing, specifically 1967 in the Golden Era of slot car Pro racing?


No, it wasn't. The idea with Retro was to get back to scratchbuilding and the craftsmanship and design that was a large part of that era. It was a paradigm flip, from custom motors (of ever-increasing power unintentionally generating lower participation) and standardized chassis to custom chassis and standardized motors.
 

"Retro racing" is an artificial modern category that ends up being just a tad slower than the equivalent Flexi-wedge offering.


OK, just what slot racing class isn't an "artificial category"?

And there's absolutely no evidence to support the assumption that "faster is better" in regards to slot racing. In fact, the historical evidence strongly supports the opposite viewpoint.


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#47 Brian Cochrane

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:18 AM

Retro racing is a blessing for the whole slot car industy. Retro racing and it's racers are like a big family. Just because some are better at it than others doesn't have anything to do with anyone switching to race a different class such as flexis because they might do better at those.

 

A point was made how Can-Am was to easy drive because of the downforce Ti22 and its spoiler. I personally find it my hardest class to be competitive in.

 

Retro racing will live a long life because it is fun, it has many loyal racers, and it runs like a finely oiled machine... Also, any racer can go and buy a competitive car from top name builders... so the rest is up to the driver.

 

The price we pay for motors is crazy low and they perform great.


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#48 John Streisguth

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:18 AM

The "Jail Door" class of cars was an attempt to scale back to something more like what was run in the 1967 timeframe, and it has very restrictive rules to keep modern concepts out.  

 

Tracks have been made smoother and faster, rubber for the tires have improved. Impossible to fully go back in time, but the Jail Door class is a pretty good approximation.


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#49 Samiam

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:56 AM

OK, this is about the tenth time I have posted this but here it is again:

 

IRRA® Mission Statement

The purpose of this organization is:

  • to promote a return to the spirit of slot car racing fun from the ‘60s, using scratchbuilt slot cars
  • to define slot cars that reflect the appearance of actual racing cars from the above time period
  • to provide a unified set of rules for regional, national, and international competition, and
  • to create a rules structure that is cost-effective for the racer as well as the raceways.

These rules were developed after a careful review of all regional Retro style rule sets, in a process begun at the first national Retro race held in Chicago in 2007.

 

Based upon the success of that event, a group of racers representing various regions agreed that a unified set of rules for major events could be established to ensure that all cars currently running under regional rules would be legal to run in national or international events with little, if any, modification. The primary goal was inclusiveness. Regions running Retro series are encouraged to adopt these rules for their regional events.

 

Though the result of careful consideration by a body of experienced slot racing participants, these rules will undergo revision if required and therefore may evolve over time. However, the intent of this organization is to revise these rules only when doing so is clearly necessary and beneficial for all parties concerned.

 

That is what it is. Nowhere is a specific date mentioned.

 

I just can't understand why so many people try to demean or diminish Retro's standing in the slot car hobby. Comparing its performance to a flexi car is moot. It just amazes me every time I read one of the "My toy race cars are better than your toy race car posts." Every class of slot cars has its fans and proponents. Are they all perfect? Of course not. Find one you like and race it. Or don't.


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#50 tonyp

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 12:21 PM

Retro for the most part have the closest finishes of any class of slot car racing I know of. Many races decided by number of feet instead of ten or more laps.


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