Nats day four: Silver lining

Nats day four: Silver lining

We started day 4 where we left day 3…. waiting for the rain to end.

Jordan Cullis was still keen to strike a deal to get my silver HPI spring. He offered to trade a Reedy Sonic 4.5 mod motor for them (crazy!) but I declined as I’d probably never use it. I asked if he’d give me a TCXX gear diff, and he bit. … And then, with nothing better to do, he and Sandy offered to make my TCX weapon (that’s correct, “weapon” is now an adjective).

They tore it apart, checked my dampers (and adjusted the lengths), fixed where I’d over-tightened the damper mounting screws, removed my battery brace (instead using just lead weights to keep the battery in place), removed all my cable ties (including where I’d strapped cables to the top deck), removed the servo saver, removed the steering-assembly-to-top-deck brace, balanced the car left-to-right, set my wheel base, roll centers, ride heights, cambers, toes, de-tweaked the car, and chose HPI pink springs for the front and silvers for the rear (full setup sheet here). It’s rare to get a chance to rub elbows with the fastest dudes in the country, and to have them pimp-your-ride is totally unheard of.

Eventually the rain let up and the finals were back on. Even though it meant I would probably be disqualified, I couldn’t help but to run the TCX in the finals.

It struck me immediately that I’ve been setting my car up wrong all these years. Instead of a car that was easy to drive with scrubbing understeer, here was a car that was wickedly aggressive… one that could be steered into a spin at full speed… one that required more subtle steering and throttle input, and rewarded good driving with low lap times and big smiles.

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From left: Chas, Pete, Joe

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Hunting Mr yellow.

I set personal best lap times with the TCX, and improved my personal best race time, marginally, despite a pretty scrappy drive.

For the last final of the day, Jordan and Sandy dialed out a bit of aggression using softer blue springs all round (full setup TCX_Chas_Egan_2012_Nats_2). This was faster for me, although I know it would be slower for a top driver. I posted my fastest laps and was much faster over the race distance. I could hear the dudes cheering from under the driver’s stand as I caught and overtook people on the track… haha… wicked fun.

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Concentration

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The nats

I think the final setup today was a pretty good compromise between aggression and drivability. As my driving gets cleaner I can make the car faster by moving back to stiffer springs.

Sandy suggested a few improvements I could make (Tamiya double Cardans instead of the front universals, smokem decks, titanium turnbuckles, 3-hole pistons). He pointed me to Ryan Maker’s TCX setups on petitrc.

So what happened with the nationals? Well, I wasn’t disqualified. The day was a wash-out and not enough heats were run to draw an official result today. Organizers were divided about whether to continue the event tomorrow (a Monday), and as a result many contestants, including Jordan and Sandy, flew home. The event did carry on till Monday. I didn’t participate further because I was needed back at work. Only making the E-main (from A, B, C, D, E, F, G) meant I finished near the back of the class. Full results can be found at the LCRCCC website.

In any case, thanks to the cool lads (Joe, Pete, Jordan and Sandy) and one humble set of silver springs, I had one of the most memorable weekends of the year.

I can’t wait to unleash the weapon at the next club meet! Till then. C

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