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Big Track Thread

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  • #61
    I don't agree with the generalization that all permanent tracks are paperclips or bobbypins (i.e. back and forth). There are some interesting designs out there. I think you also have to consider the type of cars being runs. I don't thing T-Jets would be very enjoyable on a very large track. They're not that fast.


    • #62
      I don't agree with the generalization that all permanent tracks are paperclips or bobbypins (i.e. back and forth)
      Neither do I - but I didn't see anyone say that.


      • #63
        Not to diss on T-Jets because I love the pancake cars, but they are just as slow on small tracks as they would be on a big one.

        I've been involved with HO slot cars in various degrees since I was 8 years old. In that 50 years, technology has changed quite a bit with computerized timing, super cars, digital controllers, etc. But sectional track design hasn't changed much at all.

        Back in 1967, when I was 8 years old, I was happy with my little two lane figure 8 and red Ford Fairlane and tan Jaguar T-Jets. When I became a young adult, I had the typically American 4 lane table track in my basement, and loved it. Me and my friends raced every weekend. Then when I discovered the UK big tracks, there was no going back. It took MY slot car racing experience to a completely different level.

        I'm actually surprised (and disappointed) that big track racing hasn't caught on at all at the national level in the USA. Big tracks are a natural for the super cars that groups such as HOPRA race. But I digress...

        When it comes to sectional track, it has been around long enough that anything that can be done on a 4x16 table HAS been done, and done a long time ago. The space constraints are what they are. Many people (me included) cram as much track as they can in the space available, which, like it or not, leads to a lot of back and forth designs.

        Of course custom routed layouts are a different thing altogether. You have more freedom of design, but are still limited by space constraints, and thus they seem as if they are cookie cutter (Unless you commission a super track like DHORC Le Mans, Fastlap's F.I.R., or a Katzspa Ring).

        My attraction to big tracks isn't because I thumb my nose at table tracks, but because (IMHO) they are better suited to the technology that the peripheral areas of the hobby have evolved into, the main one being the cars themselves. It ain't 1967 anymore.


        • #64
          True, T-Jets are the slowest type of car out there, but generally they are raced on smaller tracks so you still need to have good reaction time and car control. Driving them is a different style than the inline cars.

          At the HOPRA Nats, there are generally several classes being run at the same time. I think it would be problematic to have 4 or more large tracks setup in a venue. Plus venues such as Lucky Bob's and LenJet have tracks.

          If I had the space in my house I wouldn't increase the size of my track, I would get a second track. Most likely an oval so I could have a road course and an oval.


          • #65
            I'm quite familiar with T-Jets, and get what you are saying completely. Still, I think that a T-Jet that's built to race would perform just fine on a big track. Magna Tractions are a blast on big tracks.

            As for HOPRA, problematic in what way? I honestly think the problem lies more in the realm of "We have always done it this way, and that's that." Don't get me wrong, I respect what HOPRA does, they are the big boys so to speak in the American HO world, I'm just of the opinion that super cars are better suited to super tracks.


            • #66
              Great thread, a long time since I have been on here but this thread is so interesting.

              While we love our big tracks, the biggest one we have ever run a full Club Night on is a four-lane 567 foot track to celebrate our 550th Club Night (we calculated the length slightly wrong ) we love all track sizes It was certainly a one off but great fun.

              We tend to differentiate between long and short tracks with short being under 120 feet. Our largest annual track is our 260 foot 8-Lane Rockingham Oval/Infield track.

              We will also be running two double Club Nights in 2019 for the first time with two sub 70’ tracks on each night.

              Saying that we also love to see all of the basement tracks in the USA. As with every hobby different folk run things in different ways. Every way is the right way so long as you and your friends enjoy it. Let’s continue to do our own thing and share our enjoyment with everyone. Happy slotters are fun to be with, we have fun and race Slot cars at the same time.

              Last edited by Derby HO Racing Club; 02-09-2019, 07:55 AM.


              • #67
                Good to hear from you Nick!

                Holy cats! It must have taken more than a few laps to master that 567 foot monster. I'm certain you have a few pics??? Congrats on 550 meets!

                Absolutely agree that every way is the right way as long as everyone is having fun. I'm only advocating my preference.


                • #68
                  Thank Mike, and you

                  That was a couple of years ago, DHORC 588 is on Tuesday night, looking forward to cracking 600 Club Nights this year.

                  With Members from 4 to 70 years old if we donít have fun they ainít coming back. We have only averaged 28 racers to each of our Club Nights to date since 1992 as each and every racer has been made to feel special. Many of our members are not even Slot car fans, the only involvement they have is when they come to DHORC.

                  There was a lovely comment from one our senior Members who only joined last year. He said while he loved the racing he loved the atmosphere and comradeship at DHORC even more. Each Club Night was an event in itself and no matter how well he did he went home feeling better than when he arrived!

                  Keep it fun no matter what and then they will come



                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Backmarker View Post
                    As for HOPRA, problematic in what way? I honestly think the problem lies more in the realm of "We have always done it this way, and that's that." Don't get me wrong, I respect what HOPRA does, they are the big boys so to speak in the American HO world, I'm just of the opinion that super cars are better suited to super tracks.
                    The issue I see is that at the Nats there is typically at least 2 classes being raced and practice going on for other classes. To support the schedule you need at least 4 tracks. At LenJet last year we used 7 tracks. I don't see the feasibility of finding a location big enough for 100+ people and 4 large temporary tracks. Additionally, the people attending the Nats seem to mostly prefer routed tracks. I think it's a case of "this is what we enjoy so we this is the way we are going to do it".


                    • #70
                      I'm not saying that anyone needs to ditch the current way of doing things in one fell swoop. Why not setup a single big track as a demo and see how people like it? Perhaps consider a "Big Track" National Championship race, using whatever level chassis the powers that be deem appropriate? As I said before, I've never heard anyone complain after racing on a big track about the racing style and experience. You just might find that you can enjoy that style of racing too.

                      As for routed tracks, no argument from me that most prefer them over "toy" track. But we have options in that area as well when it comes to big track racing. Its just that with a few very notable exceptions, people have mostly confined themselves to routed tracks that are just fancy versions of the same old same old.


                      • #71
                        Tomy design: Barber Motorsports Park

                        Maybe a separate 'Track Design' thread needed, but here is my Tomy/AFX design based on Barber Motorsports Park. It's a 'representation' for HO racing 'flow' vs a more stringent recreation.
                        BarberMS05b by Mike87 Anon87, on Flickr

                        I hope to (temporarily) build & host one of our WHOSCAR races on this one; possibly in May timeframe; maybe next fall.

                        I need to 'Frankentrack' a number of 22.5 degree 15/18" & one 22.5 deg 9/12" radius curve sets to make it. I already have the 22.5 deg 48" radius BSTS 'sweeper' in hand for this/other designs. Plus we need to secure an inexpensive large enough full day venue for track & pit space. Given its 29.3 x 10.6 ft footprint, I figure the area needed is roughly 1/4 of a basketball court. Bigger than my garage or basement would accomodate.

                        We race Fray-style T-Jets and weighted inline Viper/G3/Thunderstorm "X-Jets". (Both are restricted to slip on tires only.)
                        Shortest connecting straight is 3' and there are no 6" radius curves in it. This design is not very twisty/technical like most T-Jet (Fray-style) tracks. It may be overemphasizing sheer speed for those. It's really more suitable for X-Jet / faster inline cars. But ... we'll see.

                        See you at the races!


                        • #72
                          And to think this whole thing got started with a question about 22.5 degree curves.

                          How about some photos of these BSTS sections and how they adapt to AFX track?


                          • #73
                            Nice looking circuit Mike. It looks like you have considered most of the important aspects of big track building. Allow me to point out a couple of issues I see:

                            First, table placement. I would draw in your tables on your plan so that you know how many tables you need, and how to setup your tables before you lay a single section of track. It will save you time and headache during the setup process.

                            Another issue I see (which is common when trying to reproduce actual racetracks) is that turns 3 and 4 are right in front of the drivers stations. This will be an issue for marshaling. You will either have drivers trying to marshal their own cars by reaching over the track, or you will have marshals obstructing the view of the drivers during the race. Neither of which is a good thing in a competitive race. I would modify the design to bring turn 3 in closer to turn 9.


                            • #74
                              BSTS info

                              These are actually custom pieces, but Brad made them equivalent to the 1-1/2" lane spacing & width of his BSTS sections, so I'm just going to call it "BSTS".

                              The curve section is the equivalent of a 22.5 deg, 48" radius curve, shown in a partial piece of a design I've worked out (based on the Monticello Motor Club circuit). At each end of the curve is a 2' BSTS to Tomy adapter. Brad graduated the BSTS 1-1/2" lane spacing to the Tomy lane spacing and grafted on a 3" piece of Tomy track. BTW, to put in perspective, this "small" section is covering about 14' of my 4'x18' track cover.

                              M-BAMRt1-4 by Mike87 Anon87, on Flickr

                              Closer view of the BSTS-Tomy adapter:
                              M-BSTS-Adapter by Mike87 Anon87, on Flickr

                              As mentioned earlier, now I need to "Frankentrack" some Tomy/AFX 22.5 deg curves so I can tie in this BSTS 'sweeper'. I'll cut a 22.5 deg section out of some Tomy/AFX curves then graft the two end sections back together. Then reinstall (& glue) rails to result in the 22.5 deg curves needed. I'm going to work with a skilled fellow racer to come up with a jig(s) that will work with 9" through 18" radius Tomy curves, because I'll need a selection of various radii & curves to use in different layouts.

                              The Barber-based design will require 3x 15"/18", 1x 12"/15", and 1x 9"/12" x 22.5 deg 4-lane curves. That's 10 individual pieces to be "Frankentrack'ed".

                              See you at the races!
                              Mike L

                              Good comments Mike (Backmarker).
                              Not shown: all Tomy curves & exit straights will have (MDF) aprons & (lexan) barriers. I didn't include them simply to minimize diagram clutter.

                              Tables: I didn't include table plan b/c I wanted to focus on the layout design & not clutter up the diagram. As I do designs, I consider table set up, marshall accessibility, and driver location & visibility. For "Barber" I've already envisioned the table setup needed and will work the details out in advance of the event. I've envisioned a generally (albeit 'lumpy') V-shaped table set up, allowing marshall access inside the "V" for turns 3 & 4.

                              Turns 3 & Turn 4(a-c): Keep in mind that direction of travel is clockwise.
                              Cars 'offing' Turn 3 are likely to end up at or after the turn 3 exit either on track or along the turn/exit barrier, which means they'll be within relatively easy reach of a marshall stationed between the drivers. The driver stations will be separated, one pair each left & right of the marshall position. If necessary there will be space for a crouching/seated marshall inside turn 3. Another crouching/seated marshall postion will have to be along Turns 4a-4c.

                              We try to discourage drivers from marshalling their own cars. (We used to have a rule where if a driver picked up their own car, they just kept it the remainder of that heat. Not as fun as having them in the race however so now we just 'shame' them for doing so.) And where I can in these larger designs, I try to locate them where likely crash areas are out of their reach anyway.

                              See you at the races!
                              Mike L
                              Last edited by theroad87; 02-13-2019, 10:34 AM. Reason: add table size note


                              • #75
                                Speaking of Monticello, here is my original design for the circuit, complete with tables and bridges. I'm pretty sure the guys at SHORS eliminated the infield and made other adjustments before all was said and done for marshaling reasons. Still, it shows that adding tables doesn't clutter things up too much.
                                Attached Files