Now, for something completely different.
On Saturday April 28th I went to SSI Raceway in Burbank, a raceway I have visited many times as part of the On The Hill Gang 32nd scale racing club, but this time I visited to race HO cars on Rene’s fantastic routed HO track. This was the first time I have raced HO cars in a competitive setting ever. I did spend one night racing in NorCal a few years ago on Paul Gawronskis home HO track with Paul, Brian Saunders and Fred Hood, but that is about it for my HO experience.
We were to race 2 classes, G-Plus without magnets and then what they call Club Stock, which are faster that the G-Plus cars and have traction magnets. As usual Rene had prepared some excellent loaner cars, with them being so good everyone decided to race his loaner cars in an "IROC" style G-Plus race. There were 10 racers for the G-Plus class so we ran two round robin semis and a main. I was a little worried as I thought my lack of experience with these cars would count against me in the races, but I managed to get through the semi finals in 2nd place. The main got a little ugly, so it was time to stay on and make laps, which I managed to do, taking the win in my first HO race.
For the 2nd class, the Club Stock cars, the power on the track was turned up to 18 volts. Talk about out of control! Driving the tiny cars now took a whole lot of skill and concentration, as they could barely be seen as they zipped around the track. Fortunately the tricky straights with corners were able to be taken at constant speed with these magnet bound faster cars, making the track a whole lot easier. Into the first heat, and chaos reigned. The little pocket rockets were flying every which way, but I used the fully optioned HO controllers the best way I could, and turned the knob marked "Power" down as far as I could, and set about circulating and avoiding accidents, which was still not easy. In the end I managed to rack up more laps than anyone else, and so was declared the winner. Not bad for my first attempt at taming these little out of control cars.
The whole day was really enjoyable. As it is with the On the Hill Gang races, the host put on a great spread of food, sodas and of course some beer. Nothing better than racing some slotcars with a fun and relaxed group of people over a few beers. The guys form the club were all very friendly, and really enjoy their racing. It was interesting for me to see some of the equipment some of them bought to the races with them, the same as stuff I take to races, but just everything is smaller!
Who knows, I might just be back next time the HO club visits Rene and his SSI Raceway.