How do I start? For anyone reading this, I can't express how grateful I am to have received your entries in the past. I have learned SO MUCH and super appreciate this diecast community.
Today, I want to help builders understand what will help your performance on Shavano Mountain Raceway.
Here are 3 important tips:
1. Clearance. From the start gate to the Shavano Creek jump is standard orange Hot Wheels track. Why? Because cars would jump cockeyed and crash on landing if not. It's an 8 inch jump (43 feet actual scale). The important thing to remember is bumper or scoop clearance with the track from the steep downgrade to the ramp. The rule of thumb is to allow 2mm of clearance for every 10mm from the wheel centerline. See pictures.
Nick Edmondson from Tiny Track Cars has 3D printed a simple jig you can use to quickly determine if you have a clearance issue. Contact Nick on his RLD handle (TinyTrackCars) if you're interested in having one shipped to you.
2. Drifting. We all love a great drift! The science behind drifting isn't magic, but it does take A LOT of experimentation to get the car to drift consistently. The biggest factor is entry speed, believe it or not. That's my job as the builder of the track. Some diecast models are inherently better than others.
So, what about wagons? Until last night, I was convinced the Datsun 510 Wagon was one of the best. I discovered that the long body Ford and Chevy station wagons with tucked wheels actually do better! And the tucked wheels work all the way down my homemade track. Tucked wheels have slightly narrower axles, so the possibility of them going off the jump cockeyed is higher. They tend to flip over on The Scrambler more, but they still cross the finish line because they don't flip over until 2/3rds down The Scrambler. What I'm saying is, don't be afraid to enter one of these. Yours just might win!
3. Adding weight. Under 60g has been proven to be ideal. The rule of thumb with weight distribution is 50% on the front axle and 50% on the rear axle. The problem is it's nearly impossible to get there with a wagon. My advice is to put your added weight as far forward as practical and don't stress too much over this detail. I have over 80 wagon entries at the moment. If 60% of them overdrift (or spin out all the time), I will modify my drift pad to make for competitive racing. This means tilt angle adjustments and possibly guide barriers on the drift pad to increase consistency.
Braggin' Wagon entries are due November 21. You have time! I am excited to send every wagon down the track during the Time Trials. In fact, our commentary will focus on providing instant feedback on what we see, so hopefully, you the builder can benefit from this experience whether you win it all or have an early exit (like I did in the last 3 tournaments that I entered).