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Old 02-04-2012
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Default Where have the young drivers gone?

Hello to all.

Let me clarify for you what I mean by this.


We were at the Robin Hood Racing event this Sunday and well myself and a couple of people got chatting about young drivers and how there is a lack of them.


One of the people there has 2 sons but only had 1 there on the day. I had to ask where the other one was because they normally always in a 3 pack group at our club. (father and 2 sons)


He pointed out that his other son is a bit younger then the son racing that day and that because he still brakes things allot with club lvl he wants to keep the costs down, he also pointed out that because none of the younger drivers where his age he felt that other drivers in his class (some adults) will just get angry with him racing slower and might say something to upset the younger boy and make him not want to race again.


He also pointed out that at his age he just wants to race but wants to really just have fun with the car and at completion lvl well it is completion and most fathers become over spenders to give their kids the best kit to get them to win races.


I think here lies the problem. The kit they use.


On the day there where I think I counted only 4 kids under 13, and the rest where well adults with toy cars and we had 1 woman driver.


What if we had a series like the clio cup?


RTR cheap series where kids up to a set age can race each other but the only thing is that itís down to driver skill and not the car.


The car will be a brushed rtr car and no modifications are allowed. I think one exception would be tires due to surface changes. This will mean that itís really down to the individual driver and the fact that someone has beaten you is just down to practice and time behind the wheel so to speak.


Now im not saying RTR TA or lossi cars but more the £100 - £150 mark where the cars are cheap to run and even cheaper to fix. It means the costs are down and well fathers that already come there to race their cars might actually bring their sons and daughters (We need more woman drivers) with to actually try it out.


What you think am I just the only one that has noticed this or are there others and if you have any good suggestions please inform me.


Thanks Vince
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Old 02-04-2012
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At Surrey and Hants on Sunday we have a heat for the Novice/Junior's and there were 6 of them, ranging from 6 years to 11 years of age.

Mixture of cars used from Vega, B4.1 RTR, Losi 22... so now real lack of kit. I think we've all gone on the fact that a quality car does have less issues, and when your running two kids AND yourself at a meeting you do not want to be repairing cars!!!

As a father myself and back after a 20 year break I was shocked at the lack of kids, that's why we always run a kids race as a stand alone.

They have zero pressure and crash and bash about like no business. As far as I can recall, only two cars had minor breakages over 4 rounds and 3 legged finals. Most of the cars top end is tweaked down though which helps.

Good luck with trying to get the kids racin'
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Old 02-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VincentVisser View Post
What if we had a series like the clio cup?


RTR cheap series where kids up to a set age can race each other but the only thing is that itís down to driver skill and not the car.


The car will be a brushed rtr car and no modifications are allowed. I think one exception would be tires due to surface changes. This will mean that itís really down to the individual driver and the fact that someone has beaten you is just down to practice and time behind the wheel so to speak.
makes a lot of sense, and is something I've often banged on about when I was more active at club level.

one of most amazing things about the tamiya eurocup (especially the m-chassis and tl-01 chassis classes) was how close the competition was. those were the days!
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Old 02-04-2012
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we only have 1 under 16 at our club. its a real shame since we hold the club nights at the local high school and no one goes to that school

When I was 11-16 I think there were 8 or so from the school racing.
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Old 02-04-2012
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Clubs need to invest a bit to get more younger drivers there...

If you have a club buy 4 cheap cars and get people to bring there kids with to give it a go. yes they will break something but its a quick fix. Plus if you have a fathers and kids day you can have the dads vs the kids with the same kit and you might find that dad and son go and buy the same car to have fun and join the club.

I mean yes it might be a bit expensive for the club but have a open day where people can come try the car for a 5min heat for like a £5 or £10 and you cover your cost for the cars plus you get people to actually see that it is not that expensive to buy and run a £100 RTR car.

I also blame sponsors and Car manufacturers for the same reason. I mean someone like annsman that has a car for £100 should donate cars to the clubs and get them to have a annsman cup or something like that... I mean if you have driven with the car you will want the same car when you go buy one so not only are they making there money back they actually investing in the future racers.
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Old 02-04-2012
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What you'll find is that a lot of the dad's don't have time to take their kids to a track. And consider the cost of everything its cheaper to buy them GT5 or Forza for the console they already have than to buy couple of hundred pounds worth of rc stuff and spend £5 a week to go racing.

Also we see it in the shop a lot that they don't want to invest too much in it as a lot of kids nowadays seem very fickle and loose interest in something at the drop of a hat!!

Yes rtr kits have come a long way but its the use it now mentality that has ruined a lot of it as the passion to build something and use it has gone. So when it breaks chuck it in the cupboard and move on rather than fix it themselves.
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Old 02-04-2012
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I think Stu's comments above are quite valid about games consoles being what kids are really into, they can play on line, chat to their friends, do whatever with out the parents having to leave the house and actually take them anywhere.

When I was younger I got into cars because my mates brother had them, loads of us were into them at school, what do they talk about in the playground now though ? Xbox and how to complet a level on a game...

If shops or clubs could go to schools and get the kids interests with demo's that would help. I think the manufacturers need to take note though, I've got back into this now because I can afford it but if I hadn't done it when I was younger I probably wouldn't be doing it now. Everything is SO expensive now though.

The clio cup series idea is a good one. One make series, cheap speedo ( what's the cheapest brushless set up ? ) and a basic chassis, I'd like to do that myself just for the cheapness. I've been looking around and a lot of people you ask advice from seem to just bang on about how much they've spent as opposed to telling you how you can start cheaply.
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Old 02-04-2012
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Same problem went I went to Kidderminster event the other weekend, only a couple of kids, think 9 and 12 were the youngest.

I'm not sure rtr is that good long term, unless they have a decent model shop or get to know people at a local track who can help quickly. If you build it your self (or with the help of dad ) you will have some idea on how to fix it. There are probably lots of people who buy rtr, have a breakage, then they just sit in a box, never to be used again. I do like the idea of a one make series, makes good sense.

Maybe a motor limit to keep it a bit more consistent, but to be honest if i put a 6.5t in my sons car he would be slower round the track than with a 17.5t. Not sure how many weeks most clubs run leagues over, but 5 or 6 tops for juniors would be good, with certificates for all, and small medals etc for top 3.

My lads only six and another problem he has is non of the clubs run weekends, and finishing at 10 on week nights is too late. Going to take him to a few over the summer months to get him some practice.
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Old 02-04-2012
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getting demonstrations in primary schools would help. promote it as accessible father son activity.
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Old 02-04-2012
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I think in quite a few areas the lack of model shops selling race quality (even cheaper RTRs that are race worthy like the Ansman stuff) is also a deciding factor. How would most of the potential young racers even know RC racing exists?

Again, I feel this is down to a lot of model shops realising that so many people buy abroad for reduced costs that there is little to no point in stocking stuff for racers.
For that reason all you tend to see is the cheaper (£50ish) RTR cars you can't really get spares for on the shelves and maybe the odd Tamiya kit.

Very very sad, when I started racing at Alcester Buggy Club in the mid 80s about 1/3rd of the drivers were in the junior classes.

Promotion would certainly help and it is relatively easy for a club to run a demonstration event at school open days, local carnivals etc. but that rarely seems to happen.

Shame, how long will it be until the lack of younger interest breaks clubs and we all have to head to Hong Kong / China to race as well as buy the parts?

grumble over ...
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Old 02-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeayen View Post
I've got back into this now because I can afford it but if I hadn't done it when I was younger I probably wouldn't be doing it now. Everything is SO expensive now though.
Sorry totally disagree with costs. I think it has got CHEAP in terms of cost and inflation.

Kits have remind fairly low, you can run a meeting on one lipo (£30 to £90 new) instead of old Nimh's (£45 min and you'd need 5 sets at least. Spares are VERY low as well. So cost IMHO is NOT the issue.

Technology is the issue and also lazy parents. As said above, consul generation (although we had them in 1990 ).

I'd be very interested to see some costs of purchases in 1990 as I cant remember what race fees and kits truely cost.
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Old 02-04-2012
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Another thing that would help is a bit of TV advertising but the only time it is on TV is Motors TV at about 11pm! apart from the odd time MK Racing appeared on Top Gear!
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Old 02-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudders View Post
Sorry totally disagree with costs. I think it has got CHEAP in terms of cost and inflation.

Kits have remind fairly low, you can run a meeting on one lipo (£30 to £90 new) instead of old Nimh's (£45 min and you'd need 5 sets at least. Spares are VERY low as well. So cost IMHO is NOT the issue
Yes I see your point but as I said when I've asked people have often said to me about getting certain ESC's and when home from the track and checking prices they're phenomenal money. ESC's seem to be the most expensive thing these days. If you imagine that in the eyes of a dad who is getting his child into RC and doesn't want to go down the RTR route you would add up all the costs and the little electronic box is generally over £100. When I used to run brushed with NiMh's fair enough I had 3 sets of batteries but the speedo was only £20, so although your saving money with Lipo's your spending more on ESC's. For the first timer that is an expensive outlay. And as was mentioned before kids are quite fickle these days and if they're going to loose interest that's a lot to waste along with the rest of the outlay. I just think it would be nice to see a budget class, there aren't any budget speedo's now are there unless you get from China / Hong Kong ?
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Old 02-04-2012
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The Tiverton club has a junior touring car class and championship, and seem to always have at least 7-8 drivers
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Old 02-04-2012
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well i got 2 sons one 14 and one 12 the 14yr old not interested in any thing but xbox but the 12yr old loves racing and actually beats me most of the time, he races micro,tc and now going to do 10th buggys allthough it can be pricey he only has one new car an MI1 tc as a christmas present the others are all my old cars, as most will know we all want the newest car out so instead of selling them cheap just give them to your kids, also trccc dont charge a race fee for juniors so if they brake something every other meeting it dont matter as you saved on race fees so maybe more clubs should do free entry for juniors it might help
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Old 02-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeayen View Post
Yes I see your point but as I said when I've asked people have often said to me about getting certain ESC's and when home from the track and checking prices they're phenomenal money. ESC's seem to be the most expensive thing these days. If you imagine that in the eyes of a dad who is getting his child into RC and doesn't want to go down the RTR route you would add up all the costs and the little electronic box is generally over £100. When I used to run brushed with NiMh's fair enough I had 3 sets of batteries but the speedo was only £20, so although your saving money with Lipo's your spending more on ESC's. For the first timer that is an expensive outlay. And as was mentioned before kids are quite fickle these days and if they're going to loose interest that's a lot to waste along with the rest of the outlay. I just think it would be nice to see a budget class, there aren't any budget speedo's now are there unless you get from China / Hong Kong ?
Taken onboard, how I miss my condom cover speedo!. The fun we had when we dumped and the servo stuck!.

BUT take an AE B4.1 RTR, 2.4ghz, Brushless, just add Battery and charger for just under £250 all in. That's bloody good value to get racing.

Yes, it wont win you the World's (oh it did! lol) but for entry its not 'that' bad compared to other hobbies.
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Old 02-04-2012
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We've got plenty of kids racing at Bury - I know because all the adult drivers (who's kids aren't racing that is) never stop complaining!
I suspect that's part of the problem. The vast majority of our younger drivers are the sons/daughters of those who raced as kids themselves. Father and son now both race, which is great for the family but does mean that Dad can't get that serious.
Clubs with tight rules, where people get super competitive and arguments happen after racing incidents are not the place to take your child. Bury isn't like that, so we tend to attract them, but at the cost of our more hardcore racers going elsewhere.

I'm not convinced you need a spec class - in fact it might be counter productive because many new drivers turn up with a car they already have. They don't want to buy new stuff. What we do is much simpler, we run a 'Fun' class. 2wd, 4wd, Short course or Stadium - doesn't matter. The only rule is that if you get too good we bump you up to the relevant adult class.

We've also got a few club cars available to rent. Currently I think its a Master Smacker and a couple of old Academy's all with basic 540's and NiMH's. To date they've not seen much use but we don't really publicise them so that might be why.
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Old 02-04-2012
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I haven't been racing for 24 years but as a kid I went racing with my grandad. This Sunday me and my grandson went racing at bury buggy club, there were a few kids there and it was a really friendly place, he is now hooked and this is partly due to the warm welcome we received we are now planing on going ever week
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Old 02-04-2012
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The local onroad clubs all seem to have a good amount of young drivers. However they do focus on skill not balls out speed so there is a more gentle introduction to rc racing. Most importantly it depends on the clubs attitude. Kids need to come first, anyone that doesn't like it needs to put up with it and make do or leave, you only need a couple of arseholes mouthing off to marshals to put most kids off.
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Old 03-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeayen View Post
Yes I see your point but as I said when I've asked people have often said to me about getting certain ESC's and when home from the track and checking prices they're phenomenal money. ESC's seem to be the most expensive thing these days.
From my experience racers will usually tell you that you need this high spec ESC and that it's better than anything else. You never seem to see a racer pointing out they are running with the cheapest equipment. For beginners the racers should be recommending the Fusion Xceed or Etronix Fusion combos when in reality the racers suggest whatever they use, and how many new buggy racers are recommended a 7.5T or 8.5T motor when they would be faster with a 10.5T or even a 13.5T.
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Originally Posted by eyeayen View Post
The clio cup series idea is a good one. One make series, cheap speedo ( what's the cheapest brushless set up ? ) and a basic chassis, I'd like to do that myself just for the cheapness.
Nothing wrong with setting up your own 'Clio cup', if your local shop sells a cheap RTR buggy then make that the car to use, it doesn't matter how basic it is as long as it's relatively cheap and everyone in the class uses it.
Why does it need to be brushless? For beginners there's nothing wrong with the kit 540 motors when the intention is to get round the track rather than the typical buggy setup which appears to be as much power as possible that can only be used on the main straight and then try and control it round the rest of the track.

Quote:
I've been looking around and a lot of people you ask advice from seem to just bang on about how much they've spent as opposed to telling you how you can start cheaply.
I've got a good example of this. Some newbie racers came to my club, they had 20 year old Tamiya TA02 tourers with the kit motors in them. They first visited Phoenix Raceway, only to be told by the racers there they needed the latest spec cars and top spec motors, ESCs and batteries and had to spend £800 on their top spec cars before they started. They didn't go back there and Phoenix eventually closed due to older members moving on and no new racers coming in to replace them.
They came to Stockport and were told what they already had was good enough to get them going. The next week they turned up with what they had, and as they didn't have a fast charger the other racers charged their batteries for them. They ran in with other novices with their basic cars and kept on coming racing after that.
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