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Meet The Members Of SCI ....Alan Smith

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  • Meet The Members Of SCI ....Alan Smith

    Good morning folks. This will become a new section unto its' own in the future. Until then, I'll use this thread to get started.

    This is how this will work: each week on Monday and Thursday, I will pick a member of SCI and ask them basic questions. If I pick you, you only have to answer those questions you want to address. Then I'll ask other members to ask you questions.

    A lot of you know each other well from clubs, groups, stores, etc, however, this will be a way for ALL OF US to get to know each other better.

    The first 4 members I will "pick on" is the admins and moderators of SCI. First up? ALAN SMITH!!!!!

    Alan, question 1) At what age did you start racing slot cars?

    2) Have you had any experience racing 1:1 cars, trucks, or motorcycles?

    3) What have you learned from 1:1 racing that you apply to your business?

    4) What keeps you going in this business?

    5) What driver do you admire the most?

    6) What slot car driver do you admire the most?

    7) What is your most memorable experience in slot car racing?

    The clock is running Alan! Let's have the answers.

    KIITS,
    Lawrence
    Last edited by Scaleracing; 12-08-2007, 11:56 PM.

  • #2
    Actually, Alan would love to answer these and other questions at Chicago for those members who plan to attend the races and IHobby show. He has promised me that he will post his answers following the event next weekend.

    KIITS,
    Lawrence

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello my name is Alan

      Alan, question 1) At what age did you start racing slot cars?

      I started racing slot cars ( Scalextric ) in 1960 at my Cousins home on a family visit.

      2) Have you had any experience racing 1:1 cars, trucks, or motorcycles?

      I started racing Motorcycles in 1972 after a few brushes with the long arm of the Law!

      A good friend of mine convinced me I could do well and the lack of Speeding Tickets was certainly a bonus.

      I raced 2 stroke GP bikes to a National Level in England till 1982. Then carried on racing in America and Canada.

      I formed my own Endurance Team which won the West Coast Endurance Championship in 1986.

      I won several Championships on the West Coast and competed in Club and National Events.

      I won a fair amount of Club Races but the highlight was winning a Suzuki National Cup Race at Willow Springs taking the lead exiting the last corner on the last lap.

      I also raced Karts in 1995 and 1996.

      3) What have you learned from 1:1 racing that you apply to your business?

      Never give up.

      4) What keeps you going in this business?

      My love of Motorsports, the rush when racing, but most of all trying to rebirth this Hobby in America for the Next Generation.

      5) What driver do you admire the most?

      Barry Sheene

      6) What slot car driver do you admire the most?

      Mr Blobby the Scalextric Driver

      7) What is your most memorable experience in slot car racing?

      Running a race at Lime Rock with 3 able bodied drivers and one young man who had physical problems.
      The other drivers without showing it let this young man win it was a very happy day for him and showed me there are Good People out there.

      Also running races with Brian Redman and having him play with the kids.

      And possibly the 24 hour Race at Daytona in 1999 in the infield of Daytona International Speedway.

      With about an hour to go the wind and rain got up, first there were rivers of water running across the floor, I had to scramble to get the electrical supply up off the floor. Then as the wind gathered we ( about 20 people inside the tent ) had to hold on to the tent to stop it blowing away. We finished the race but it was touch and go for a while.

      Lots of other memories but those come to mind first.
      Alan Smith
      SCI Owner.
      www.scaleracing.com
      www.slotcarillustrated.com
      www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
      www.132slotcar.us

      1-253-255-1807

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the answers Alan. And now for the real test: Folks the floor is open to allow you to ask Alan any questions you would like!!

        Coming Monday 10-29-07: Wet Coast Racer

        Coming Thursday 11-1-07: LSIntegra94

        GET READY GUYS!!!

        KIITS,
        Lawrence

        Comment


        • #5
          ...

          Question: Is there a difference in how the slot car hobby currently exists between Canada and the USA? Any basic differences you see based on the users of the website, 1:1 interactions, availability, etc?

          Thanks!
          Mike

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Mike.

            Well this is a tricky question but here goes.

            We have a good amount of Canadian Readers here on SCI and they seem to be very active in both organized racing and the Proxy Format of running Slots.

            The West Coast Racers I have met personally are very competitive and very supportive of the Hobby.

            There are some real differences in types of cars that drive the US and Canadian Markets with Canada having more of a European understanding to the cars they race.

            Rally and F1 are better understood in Canada and more of those models sell there.

            Both Markets face a spread out user base, which makes organised racing difficult, yet I know of quite a few well organised Store and Club Events in both Countries.

            Currency exchange and local taxes have hurt the Canadian Market on brands that have no Canadian Importer. But now the Canadian $ is strong this may change a little.

            Probably the biggest problem for Canadian Slot Racers is shipping and delivery times especially from Stores in the USA.

            As far as size of the markets Canada is about 10% of the size of the US Market.

            Both however are very small in comparison to England, Spain or Germany.

            Growth is needed in both the USA and Canada to built up the Hobby and Racer base. Maybe the Border States could develop Can/Am Races to stimulate growth.

            I hope this helps answer your question.
            Last edited by Scaleracing; 10-27-2007, 09:53 AM.
            Alan Smith
            SCI Owner.
            www.scaleracing.com
            www.slotcarillustrated.com
            www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
            www.132slotcar.us

            1-253-255-1807

            Comment


            • #7
              Another question...

              Alan,

              Which slot car release do you think has had the biggest impact on 1:32 scale model racing? And why has this particular release had such an impact?

              KIITS,
              Lawrence

              Comment


              • #8
                ...

                Many thanks. Being a true Can/Am person myself, I find it very strange thinking about the Cdn dollar being at par with the US...My advice to Canadians: buy US (slot) cars now, not later.

                And yes, I do wonder about the "scale" of the hobby in Europe compared to here...must be sheer nirvana to see the level of acceptability/enthusiasm over there compared to here...I can't tell you how many guy friends come over and kind of roll their eyes at my layout...but then one or two "get it" from the outset and it makes all the difference...just like those two roads that diverge in a wood.

                Cheers and thanks!
                Mike

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hard question to answer as there have been a lot of good cars but....

                  Originally posted by rolltidevet View Post
                  Alan,

                  Which slot car release do you think has had the biggest impact on 1:32 scale model racing? And why has this particular release had such an impact?

                  KIITS,
                  Lawrence
                  In my involvement in Growing the Retail Slot Car Market in North America since 1995 I would have to say the Fly Viper.

                  It was/is a Great Model at the Right time.

                  The use of a strong magnet improved the play value of Slot Cars in this Market when it was very hard to sell the Game.

                  I remember doing Shows with Scalextric, NINCO and MRRC at the time and having to constantly explain to the Public at large that the idea was: "They had to keep the car on the Track".

                  This was a hard sell and the Fly Viper once tweaked a little could zip around the track at a very high rate, much faster than the other cars out there at the time.

                  It did not hurt that it was an American Car and that it started winning in the Real World as well.

                  It was/is also a stunning model but it was the performance that most affected the market for me.

                  I remember showing Scalextric cars at iHobby ( Then called The Chicago Hobby Show ) in 1997 as the Importer for Scalextric and Fly and other brands.

                  One customer on one of the Retail Days came up to me and said why didn't Scalextric build cars that "Handled" like Fly cars.

                  I said to him it really is not the car it's the magnet, but his belief was it's the car.

                  I showed him a Scalextric Opel Vectra that had just been released, drove it around the Track at a good clip, then handed him the controller.

                  He crashed at every turn, then said to me see Scalextric Cars do not handle. I said that you could drive them fine but had to slow a little for the corners, but that was not what he ( the public ) wanted.

                  I then showed him another Scalextric Opel Vectra ( with a pre production Slot.it magnet that Maurizio had designed for me to fit the Scalextric Cars, SIC N01 )

                  Now he zipped around the Track smiling, and turned to me and said is this the latest Fly Car.

                  No Sir it is a Scalextric Car with a Slot.it magnet, he seemed unsure saying this car handles.

                  We went on to sell 10,000 of Slot.it magnets to fit Scalextric Cars and the rest is History.

                  Now Scalextric cars are some of the fastest out of the box cars but in 1996 it was Fly who started it all with the Viper.
                  Last edited by Scaleracing; 10-27-2007, 01:13 PM.
                  Alan Smith
                  SCI Owner.
                  www.scaleracing.com
                  www.slotcarillustrated.com
                  www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
                  www.132slotcar.us

                  1-253-255-1807

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Alan,

                    So I get that you have a personal or even a business initiative to grow the retail slot car market in America. But given the fact that as an American in this hobby of slot cars, we, in some way, shape or form, should have a responsibility in encouraging and helping that aspect along too. My attitude of this stems from my days in R/C when I was of the same attitude and wanting to grow it from the grass roots movement concept of even when we race in a race, we are still helpful and extend the helpful hand to our fellow racers instead of getting aggrevated at the newbies - as we say it, this was our future to maintain and keep the hobby strong and alive for the future.

                    So moving over into the slot car world, if you had either one thing or a list of things that we, as the hobbiest and people who want to see slot car racing grow, get stronger and have longevity, what would you tell us that we should be doing or could be doing to help in the growing the market and hobby effort?

                    Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions - very educational!

                    PD2

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ideas for growth of this Hobby.

                      Very interesting question.

                      As this Hobby has at least 4 strong groups there are probably a lot of answers.

                      Groups:

                      Toy.

                      Hobby.

                      Real Racing in miniature.

                      Collecting.

                      We have a fairly developed Collector market in the USA, probably as many as in Europe.

                      The exception to this is NASCAR where I feel sales have never been created in the NASCAR collecting community. This is a potential enormous growth area for Sales.
                      Which would also bring more Racers into the Hobby and Real Racing in Miniature areas.

                      Hobby is also fairly developed in North America especially in 1/32 scale. It has built over the last 12 years with the placement of Model Racing Sets in Hobby Stores. The problem is the majority of consumers do not shop in these types of Stores any more, so potentially this is an area that has little growth.
                      Stores with an active Race Program help stimulate sales and growth in their area, but most do not do this.

                      To get people to move beyond a casual purchase we need structured Racing programs with National Rules.

                      I can not understand why Slot Manufacturers do not place Rules of the Road ( Game ) in their Sets.

                      We need to develop more Players. We can all help here, Regional Events building towards National Finals are a goal I would like to see.

                      RC is way more organised than Slot's we need organisation.

                      By posting Regional Results and Programs on SCI we can build a National Community which can birth better organised Races.

                      Real Racing in Miniature.

                      This is a big area for development, I feel we need to build a National Racing Scene with clear rules then get support from Manufacturers.

                      We need to keep this Racing separate from Manufacturer influence other than Financial Support to prevent any believe that they ( Manufacturers ) affect the Rules and in doing so which cars win ( and Sell ).

                      This is long overdue, it needs to start with a Crash and Learn format that rewards good driving and keeps our Plastic Cars mostly intact.
                      Pit Stops at Crashes work for longer races penalising those who get involved in a Racing incident, these cars are not designed to be smashed into each other ( just like most real race cars ) and destroyed cars drives the Collector racers and the Model Builder racers away.

                      Toy.

                      This is the least developed area of Sales in the USA ( Sales = Racers in the end )
                      But with Carrera GO and the SCX 1/43 in the Mass Market we may final start to change that.
                      I hope Carrera and SCX think about putting "Rules of the Game" into every Set. Think about it Monopoly has rules Chess has rules Worldwide but our Game does not. We need a new generation of players (Racers) who understand playing by the Rules.

                      Simple games like pursuit ( Start cars on opposite sides of the track, first to pass the other wins. Fall off you lose )
                      How to run a race, Laps or Time etc.

                      One big difference between Europe and North America is their tremendous base of Toy buyers who get Races Sets as gifts, this feeds into and grows the Racer, Collector and Hobby type user.

                      I guess what I am say is:

                      Tell people about this Hobby, this Site, this game, and with Grass Roots support this will grow.

                      It's your Hobby too Start a Trend Race with a Friend.
                      Alan Smith
                      SCI Owner.
                      www.scaleracing.com
                      www.slotcarillustrated.com
                      www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
                      www.132slotcar.us

                      1-253-255-1807

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Alan for that GREAT reply! I personally appreciate it! I definitely like some of your ideas and thoughts here. As I stated, being from the RC world I know what you mean - its a bit more organized, but yet, you have different "bodies" even in that world that have different rules - ROAR, IFMAR, RC Pro, etc.

                        I think encouraging slot car manufacturers to come to an agreed, common set of rules would be awesome! At a minimum, we can rule on the size of the car - must be scale 1/32. Next, you could probably have the motor limitation set to anything up to, but not including 16D size motors. And on and on. But the idea is that it would not take much to set some rules in place.

                        As for organizing the racing body, what about if it was something like a remote sanctioning. Think of it this way - instead of sending drivers and cars to different tracks, the drivers and cars race at their local tracks following the sanctioned body rules. The sanctioned body tracks the progress of each racer at their track, in their region and on a national scale via a points system. At the end of the year, you have a final series race and if drivers/cars want to travel, you decide where to hold the race in a finals style format that has sponsorship from ALL slot car manufacturers. I think it would bring the national slot car community together, achieve the organization you were talking about, and promote ALL slot car manufacturers. And yes, you would want to format the cars into the various styles - GT1, GT2, LeMans, F1, A1GP, NASCAR, American Muscle, DTM, etc. How difficult would something like that be to organize? Thoughts?

                        Thanks again Alan! I really appreciate your views and your feedback!

                        PD2

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the Info-

                          Alan,

                          My comment and question-

                          I really think you made a GREAT point about the "rule of the game" comment you made. This is exactly what I feel is missing and creates a void or problem for me and I'm sure many track owners. I invite friends over and some understand staying on the track while others seem to be set on "why wont the car stay on the track the entire circuit with the throttle held wide open?" If there were some "rules" with the system it would address some of these issues for me.

                          I would like to read comments from the SCI community on what sort of "rules" people are using at their home tracks as well as public tracks. I have done a bit of "pursuit" (I forget what you called it) where I am half way around the track from an opponent and try to see who is gaining on the other. We didn't realize that we were following a "rule" but we recognized that it added a great deal of interest to the "game". We also like racing door-to-door and almost always, if a driver gets out front very far, usually due to an off, he will wait for the other to come around so we can all stay close.

                          Cat and Mouse could be a name for the Pursuit Racing Game.

                          The biggest Rule I believe in is "Crash and Learn" which means you crash your out.

                          We run big races with this Rule even 24 Hour Races. In the 24 Hour race if you crash you must stop next lap on a certain section of Track ( Called the Pit Box ) then walk around a pick up your car go to the Pit Room and Change Drivers.

                          This rewards skillful drivers and also helps prevent cars getting smashed to pieces.

                          Are you in Canada? Are you a retailer?

                          I am in Tacoma WA. I own Slot Car Illustrated and an Events Company and Distributor called www.scaleracing.com plus I own a Store www.132slotcar.us


                          Thanks for your help!

                          JimD
                          __________________
                          Cheers

                          Alan
                          Last edited by Scaleracing; 12-19-2007, 01:10 PM. Reason: I need to use spell checker more often!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not quite a question...

                            ... but rather a big thank you for that you have done and are doing for this hobby!!!

                            Of course, one has to live on something, so it's also your business. But the way you treat the people involved and deal with your customers is just great: I am perfectly aware that we, here at the Warehouse Track, wouldn't have made it was it not for you and the SCI Gang!

                            Congratulations, dear chap: you're doing a helluva job as far as stimulating this awesome hobby goes!!!

                            Cheers!
                            Fernão

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              racing digital or analog

                              i have been playing with digital carrera for the last 2 years, and am interested in starting to race, should i stay digital or go analog

                              Comment

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