As a kid I couldn’t wait for the end of the year to come around. Those last few hot June days where the heat would force the teacher to give up and go easy on us. With lights off in the classroom we’d phone it in that handful of end of the year days playing 7-Up and watching movies. I’d often dream about the summer, getting to stay at home all day and work on my RC cars, building a track in my parents backyard (sorry about that grass Dad) so that I could practice all day long and get my car super dialed in.
School, for this writer at least, was but a mere obstacle that I had to get through in order to do what I loved more than anything else, race RC cars. I spent many of those summer days doing my best to figure out what those other mounting holes on the shock tower were for and why my car would always point up to the sky when I went off jumps no matter what I did. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, kids have it too easy these days. When I saw the flyer posted for a clinic coming to RC Madness featuring 2010 IFMAR World Champion Cody King and his Father and Master Mechanic Paul King, I couldn’t believe it.
What a cool idea! Something us normal guys… the “Joe’s” of RC if you will… never get to do, pick the brains of a pro racer and gain the knowledge in a days time that took them years of testing and experimenting to learn. I showed up along with a few dozen of my fellow local racing buddies, pad, pen and Buggy in hand ready to study. Now this was a school curriculum I could get with!
Pulling into the parking lot at Madness I could see that owner Chris Marcy and event organizer Paul Quartuccio had pulled out all the stops. A huge tent in the parking lot shaded three rows of tables and folding chairs; think outdoor college classroom.
Up front a single table with Cody’s Kyosho MP9 TKI3 in full race livery sat on its car stand and setup board, a dry erase board behind, a table piled high with prizes from Kyosho, Reds, Pro-Line Racing, Byron Fuels, Absolutely Hobbyz and KO Propo (Cody’s sponsors) and large flat screen monitors to either side which were used to guide us through Paul’s talk on setup and chassis dynamics, and then another on engine tuning after lunch. Oh that’s right did I mention lunch? More on that later!
Things kicked off easy with maintenance and track conditions, all the things that Paul will do to prepare Cody’s Buggy for the coming race both at home and then when they arrive to a track. From there we tackled the ever elusive roll center, camber link positions, caster and kick-up and sway bars before moving on to shocks, differentials and arm mount positions and wheel angles. Sounds like a lot huh; it sure is! As I sat at my RC desk, I looked around to find some feverishly taking notes, others just listening and asking questions but one thing was on everyone’s mind for sure… lunch!
The smell of the smoker, cooking away, blew through our outdoor classroom and it became nearly impossible for so much pro racer info to overcome the sweet scent of pulled pork. RC Madness didn’t just grill up some burgers for lunch, they brought in the heavy hitters from Rub and Smoke. Everything from pulled pork and chicken wings to hot dogs, salads, beans and more, there was a TON of food! Finishing up lunch the electric racers that came to the workshop broke off for some one on one track time with Cody while Paul went into the second section of his program on nitro tuning. While he covered fuel choices and content, tuning, glow plugs, break in and a lot more, Cody helped drivers individually; taking their cars for a spin and then bringing them down to pit lane to talk about what they can do to improve the feel of their cars, what they want to look for in their setups and driving style for lines around the course. It’s not everyday you get some bench racing with your car AND a world champion! The day ended with a Q&A session which covered student choices of topics including tire gluing, tire compounds and many other topics. As the day ended and school let out, racers took to the track again for some testing and hot laps to get ready for a full day of racing the following morning.
Unless you live in Southern California, what most would consider the hotbed of this hobby, you may never get the opportunity to talk to a pro, much less sit down with them and go through what you’re doing in your own race program. RC Madness and the Kings gave local CT racers the opportunity to not only hear what they’ve learned along the way, but get inside their heads and find out from them first hand what they do that puts them on the podium. Keep an eye out for Paul and Cody at a track near you, their workshops aren’t just the ideal summer school, they’re a complete experience.
Some words from the teachers:
“First thing I want to do is thank Chris Marcy at RC Madness for putting a ton of effort into this workshop. I also want to thank all the guys who came out. Everyone was courteous and engaging, asking relevant questions and making the workshop fun. Of course I have to thank all Cody’s sponsors that stepped up and sent prizes. Kyosho sent the RT6 stadium truck kit, Reds a R5T TE2 top of the line engine, KO Propo sent a package including 2 RSx2 servos, Byron Fuels sent enough fuel to provide 3 quarts of fuel for every participant, Pro-Line provided a set of tires for every participant, glue and tire bags, and Absolute Hobbyz sent a box with heavy duty servo horns, more tires, fuel bottles and more. It was a great prize raffle and worth the price of admission for sure! I enjoyed our time in Connecticut and look forward to returning.”
“Thanks so much to everyone that came out, and especially Chris and everyone at RC Madness. I really enjoyed being in Connecticut, I like it out here. Whoever cooked the lunch should get a plaque or medal, it was awesome. I had a lot of fun meeting everyone and it was fun to drive all the different cars and give guys my feedback about how their cars felt. I enjoy helping the guys. It was fun to run with everyone and share information. Congratulations to Alex Kosciuszek (easy for you to say) for winning the Expert Buggy class. Also shout out to Kyle Rhodes who was quick but had radio trouble. I hope to be back out soon to race sometime.”