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  • #31
    There has been a discussion of this matter via e-mail among my fellow club members. I personally have only run on a couple of HO tracks that were considerably longer than usual. One was a 180 foot Tomy track set up on the floor of someone's family room. The track itself had good power, a group of local people would meet at least once a week to run on it, but I do not believe that formal races were ever held there. The other larger than average track is the Purple Mile track at LenJet Raceway. I did not think that running on either of those offered a better experience than on the typical 4X16 foot HO track, but of course that would only be my personal opinion.
    The theory was put forward that more people would be attracted to the hobby if more tracks were located in public places. I do have some limited experience with the concept. A local raceway had a nice 4X12 foot Bucktrax that was taken to a car show, my 1/32nd scale club did a race in a VFW hall, LenJet Raceway shares space with Modelville Hobby which is a commercial 1/24th scale establishment and finally the famous Dave Kennedy once set up a track in the lobby of a local movie theater. As far as I know none of those efforts resulted in any new recruits.
    One might argue that having longer tracks would have been a greater attraction. I believe that the "if you build it they will come" is a concept that is limited to fantasy movies like "Field of Dreams". I may be wrong about that, but it would take a much greater effort than I am willing to expend to prove or disapprove the theory.

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    • #32
      I used to bring my routed 4 x 12 foot, 4-lane high-banked oval to Bob Beer's SuperBowl Sunday slot shows on Long Island. I did that for a number of years, along with a few other shows in New Jersey and Essex Maryland.

      I let anybody run on it, for free. Mostly it was kids, who had a blast. The kids were my best advertising. They kept up the action, which attracted attention. Ultimately some adults tried a run on it, and enjoyed it. A few of those adults got interested.

      Now the folks who attended those shows were already slotters to some degree -- although there were more collectors than anything else. But I did manage to sell a few tracks as a result of my exhibits.

      Over the years I have sold a couple of dozen tracks. And every so often I hear about one that has been raced on, or sold to a new owner. I have even sold some expansion track sections for existing tracks.

      So I think I have done my bit for promoting slot racing, with a modest-sized track. Sufficient spectacle without much cost or effort.

      What I really enjoy is hearing that someone has followed my lead on routing their own tracks. Being able to build your own tracks liberates you from so much of the restrictive standards of set-track.

      Just today I packed up some magnetic braid to ship to a customer. One more permanent track is in the works.

      Ed Bianchi

      PS - My oval was designed as a portable track. It comes apart into three 4 x 4 foot sections, that I can lift and carry easily (I even attached handles to them, for just that purpose.) I could carry the whole track, and all of the accessories, plus items I sell, in the back of my mini-van. Set up and tear down could be done in an hour, single-handed. Oh, and I have never been charged more than the standard vendor's fee, despite the extra space I required. Organizers realized I was adding value to their shows, and welcomed my participation. I have a mini-van again. Just bought it this year. I might visit more shows in future.
      Last edited by HO RacePro; 01-28-2019, 09:29 AM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Backmarker View Post
        Overwhelmed is not the word I would use. Once the initial preparation work was done, putting the race courses together and taking them apart on race night was easy, and could be done in about an hour or so by two people - of course we went into a race night with a plan, nothing was put together on the fly.

        Losing our venue, and not attracting enough racers to justify race night expenses were much bigger factors in THORN not hosting more public events.

        As a general comment not aimed at anyone, I find it amusing that folks who have never experienced big track racing are so quick to dismiss it. I'm not a snob, I will race on a "conventional" 4x16 and have a great time, but if given a choice, would rather race on a big track.

        In my own humble opinion, outside of spending a little extra time building the race course for the evening, hosting a big track event is no more difficult than hosting any other kind of slot car event. Routines for the racers remain the same.
        I stand corrected. To clarify, I see no problem with the concept. What makes it a nonstarter for me is:
        1. Finding a venue and paying for it
        2. Setting up and taking down the layout. I see the same few people getting there early and staying late to do so.
        3. Advertising, etc. to get enough people to cover the cost.

        And lastly, I have a track in my basement. I have 10 other venues including LenJet within 2 hours of my house. The clubs are very happy with those venues. We do one race at a racing museum. We bring in our 3' X 8' oval that takes 15 mins. to set up and 15 mins. to take down. Everyone that attends has a blast. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I don't see any motivation to rent a hall and setup a track.

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        • #34
          Without responding to any specific points, can I just say that most of us HO racers in the UK simply enjoy racing HO cars on HO tracks. True, most of the clubs race on temporary tracks, which might as well be big. Public halls are easy to hire and very few of us have homes that are big enough for even a decent 4 x 12 foot track to invite people over to race on. My 5 x 2 bullring, plus twelve happy T-jet racers, is the limit for my house.



          I was lucky enough to visit the Maryland Slot Car Show in October last year. Apart from being super-excited being in room full of HO slot cars and HO slot car enthusiasts, I was humbled to realise what a tiny backwater the UK HO scene really is. That's not to say that an UK event - the Derby 24 hour race - is not internationally significant (which is most certainly is), plus we have a couple of guys doing excellent HO resin casting and one very talented racer who has made an impression at the Fray, the Quarrel and the HOPRA Nats in recent years. However, we will always draw our strength and inspiration from the hobby in North America. So thank you all

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          • #35
            Shake and Bake my friend.

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            • #36
              Andy, well said. I too, believe in the notion that it's best to race what you like. With the exception of one bloke, I haven't seen one poster/enthusiast say one format, in totality, is better than the other form.


              Although I prefer the routed track I have now, my older plastic track made me just as happy when testing or racing. Even though I run in-line arm cars 100%, I bet it would be a hoot to run the slide-guides on Ed's creations. Not that I didn't admire Brad's previous tracks, I took the plunge with a Bowman track just because of the short video I saw about Greg Katz and his KSR. The decorated track really pulled at my emotional strings. I decorated my old plastic track, but not even close to being in the same ballpark of the KSR. Anyhow, I like the bigger tracks, but I had just as much fun this past fall running on Speedhoppy's track . That was tons of fun.


              Now back on the subject of Big Track's. Depending on who you ask, is my 117' Bowman considered a big track? By US standards, the answer is yes. By UK standards, I would ask Andy, Doug, Gareth or someone from that region to judge that. However, compared to UK big tracks, I would say the F.I.R. is not a big track. I think KSR is 171' if I remember correctly. That would be 46% longer than my 117' track. What is HOLM, like 232'? That track is 36% longer than KSR. Now that is a big track!!!!


              How about the downside of having a track like mine? I can hear the ribbing now , but believe it or not, I'm actually struggling with the exact placement of the track in a 3500sq. ft. basement!!! It's due to existing walls, support beams, furnaces, and the table size of 9x26. Again, I will not be offended by the jokes and ribbing, but when the wife and I were looking at our next house, my #1 item I needed was room for the track in the basement. Doesn't Brad house the KSR in his garage? I mean....the entire garage? My point is that the bigger tracks can be a pain too. Especially if they are to be permanent tracks.


              .

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              • #37
                I dunno, if it's a slot car track I like it. Crazy short or crazy long, however one wishes to define that, would be problematic but it's still a slot car track.

                Home racing and public venues each have their upsides and downsides. I would love to have a space that I didn't personally have to clean just to have a little racing. ;-)

                There are usually free meeting spaces, at least in our part of the US, that would allow a non-profit hobby event. In the Pacific Northwest they tend to be libraries, public utility districts, fire departments and even sewer districts, depending on location. Some charge refundable deposits, others are in weird spaces that wouldn't work (like government council chambers.) That would be a hoot, eh, running a track all around the dais? ;-)

                But some are just regular old rooms, often with some amount of folding tables available.

                Personally I don't have enough extra track to set up somewhere else, and I'm not inclined to do that kind of set up due to some knee issues. So last weekend I vacuumed the garage and downstairs, cleaned the downstairs bathroom and had some folks over for pizza and slot cars. You can still have quite a bit of fun with seven people racing. As always, kind regards to all!

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                • #38
                  Almost 20 years ago I built my "dream" slot layout. 85 foot, 4 lane roadcourse with 6 lane 1/4 mile oval in the infield. Never got far on scenery, only raced with friends a couple of times, mostly sons and grandkids, but still not much. Was still busy chasing the bucks, not a lot of time. When we moved to our present, much smaller home (7 years ago), I struggled to fit it in, took about two years of planning and deciding, had to lose a wing of the roadcourse, which shortened the lap to about 65 feet. No one, other than grandkids 3 or 4 times, raced with me here. Not much fun racing on such a big track alone, fetching the de-slots a long hike, maintenance a constant headache, sooo....it's gone, tore it out, will build something much smaller, 4x8 or 5x10 max. More grandkids coming up, retirement coming soon so for me, at least, smaller is better. Nothing more impressive than fast cars on a huge track, but without help and people to race with, not much fun. I enjoy building and detailing cars, get my competitive kicks on the real race track, and will concentrate on T-jets and AFX mostly, maybe a few old G-plus Can-Am cars. All that said, if I ever got invited to race on a BIG track, I'd be there! Bottom line is, practicality and enjoyment are my priorities this time around.

                  Brian

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                  • #39
                    Brian, where about's are you located?
                    .

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                    • #40
                      Middle of nowhere! About 20 miles north of Binghamton, NY.

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                      • #41
                        Rockin' the Katz Spa

                        Originally posted by fastlap View Post
                        I took the plunge with a Bowman track just because of the short video I saw about Greg Katz and his KSR. The decorated track really pulled at my emotional strings.
                        Great to be reminded of that amazing race track!

                        For those unfamiliar with the Katz Spa Ring, here you go ...

                        Thanks to all for your comments, you've made this thread really worthwhile.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by xltjet View Post
                          Middle of nowhere! About 20 miles north of Binghamton, NY.
                          Um...I'm in Oneonta, and the group runs out of the Rochester/Syracuse area has a track in Homer. Are you part of that group?

                          I've just started rebuilding my track (my basement is 850sqft; I wish I had Gary's 3500, but we don't have house that big out here).

                          Bob

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by SouthShoreRacing View Post
                            I stand corrected. To clarify, I see no problem with the concept. What makes it a nonstarter for me is:
                            1. Finding a venue and paying for it
                            2. Setting up and taking down the layout. I see the same few people getting there early and staying late to do so.
                            3. Advertising, etc. to get enough people to cover the cost.

                            And lastly, I have a track in my basement. I have 10 other venues including LenJet within 2 hours of my house. The clubs are very happy with those venues. We do one race at a racing museum. We bring in our 3' X 8' oval that takes 15 mins. to set up and 15 mins. to take down. Everyone that attends has a blast. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I don't see any motivation to rent a hall and setup a track.
                            Nothing personal. Numbers one and three applied to me. I didn't see number two as a problem, as we were able to setup and tear down fairly quickly. I actually enjoyed the process of bringing my creations (track plan) to life. Some worked better than others, but all of them were fun.

                            Now, generally speaking to add to the thread, not one single person ever said things such as:

                            1) I can't see my car!
                            2) The track is too big!
                            3) I hate being able to see my car fly down a 25 or 30 foot straight.
                            4) The big track ruined the racing experience.
                            5) You suck at hosting a race.

                            Comments were more like:

                            1) I LIKE big track racing!
                            2) Wow! Look at that thing!
                            3) Man that was fun!

                            The only real downfall was not having enough people. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I was certain I could get decent turnouts.

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                            • #44
                              I think that's the biggest challenge is getting enough people to cover the cost of the venue. When I host an event at my house it doesn't matter if I get 5 guys or 20. I still have to pay my mortgage either way. Once of the clubs I race with has put on a couple events. One was a race day combined with a swap meet. We brought in a couple of tracks and then had tables available for people to rent. Another we took our portable oval to a swap meet at Thompson Speedway. And then we had taken one member's 4 X 8 road course to Lime Rock a couple of time. The highlight of one of the Lime Rock events is that Sir Sterling Moss signed the track. In all cases, we lost money, but saw it as an opportunity to promote the hobby. But, in the end, the club decided the amount of work and money was more then anyone was willing to put in again.

                              Regarding the track size, I have raced on the Katz Spa Ring. Seeing and following the cars was never an issue. To some degree, the bigger track almost slows the cars down, because the distance being traveled makes them appear to be traveling slower. I hope to attend the 24 hour race in the UK at some point in the future and would attend a big track event if my schedule allowed.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Backmarker View Post

                                Comments were more like:

                                1) I LIKE big track racing!
                                2) Wow! Look at that thing!
                                3) Man that was fun!

                                .


                                Yeah, I try not to sound too self serving, but this is what I say to myself every time I'm on my track. In fact, I'm feeling a slow death in this interim of not having the track running.


                                This thread is turning out to be cool with all the input coming in.

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJAy...Elp7Xf9k1lePmA


                                .
                                Last edited by fastlap; 01-29-2019, 08:55 AM.

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