Garden Canyon Run

Managed by AlleyCatRaceClub

About this track

I emerged from the rabbit hole inspired by so many of your tracks and videos back in the fall of 2019 when 3Dbotmaker first came across my youtube feed. During the pandemic I decided to put some elbow grease and imagination together and came up with Garden Canyon Run. I don't have a lot of space in my rental in the Central District of Seattle, so I knew I needed to make something portable, and something point-to-point fit the bill best.

After researching materials, thanks to many of you for your posts, I decided on BluTrack for its portability. It has its drawbacks, but after using it for almost a year now I really appreciate how easily I can stowe it away in a box not much bigger than a lunchpail. But I wanted more than a two-lane dragstrip, so after more research I found the Crash Racers Figure 8 Circuit. It's pretty inexpensive, and with a bit of fiddling and finagling and duct tape it goes together well. To transition between the two, I first came up with a separate transition ramp made of a styrene sheet carved and sanded to fit. After running my first set of races I've discovered, as usual, that simpler is better and I'm going to just carve, trim, and sand down the open lane section from the Crash Racer track where it lays down upon the BluTrack. I'll get as close to a feather edge as I can muster, adn hold it down with painter's and duct tape. I need to keep it portable, so I can't adhere them more permanently.

Once I had these two sections of track so cars ran smoothly over them and through the curves, it was time to quit procrastinating about a start gate. I don't know enough about electronics to scratch build what I would really want, so i knew it was going to be mechanical, with a string pulled trigger. My first attempt was pretty funny, it was more or less a back-weighted cylinder laying down like a beer can on its side, with a little wheel chuck blocking it from rolling backward, until I pulled it away with the string. Didn't work so well. I finally found a more simple idea, a see-saw type approach with the trailing side of the gate weighed down with a few weights glued to the styrene frame. The actual gate is a thin strip of styrene as well, at an angle to try to allow the most free movement of cars. Some cars with uneven grills, or very low front ends are a bit harder to make sit at the gate, but they are all doable so far.

For the same reason I don't have an actual finish gate or timer. So I decided on a third type of track altogether, and to use this drawback as an opportunity. After the cars leave the Blutrack, then race through the open lane Crash Racer curves, they empty onto a plank of vinyl flooring turned upside down. The surface is great for racing little cars. This section of track has no barriers or sides of any kind, so it rewards cars who can maintain a straight line by offering bonus points to drivers who can cross the 2 check point lines after the finish on this open section. It feels like leaving the pavement and heading onto the gravel finish in the open mossy green where fans can park and congregate.

I didn't go into the build thinking of making a rally style course, but the circumstances suggested it, and so I run races that work on points rather than times. Our first tournament is going on now as I write this on 10/4/20, the Garden Canyon Run Fall Classsic, with qualifying on youtube on the Alley Cat Race Club channel.