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The Elephant in the room?
This is not new, but recent developments in the quality and design of chassis available for 'classic' racing is causing some concern.
Not only 'Spring Steel Laser cut' but also the latest plastic Hi-Tech designs.
Are we all comfortable with this cutting edge design and build quality chassis as the way forward, or is it time to re-think what CSCRA is about?
The most important thing to remember here is...we are a very small group!
Discuss.
Bill.
 

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Dave Capelen
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Hmmm, that's a tough one Bill...!

I haven't gone high-tech with any of my chassis as yet, but if I want to avoid dropping to the bottom of the pile, maybe I will need to!

I've tried cars with laser-cut chassis and they handle superbly. I couldn't build anything that approaches them for handling, but some guys can.

It's an easy option to obtain a competitive car, if you can afford it.

Is it legal under CSCRA rules? As far as I can see, yes.

Is it within the spirit of CSCRA rules? I'm not sure - those who devised them will need to comment.

Is it the way the CSCRA should go? Maybe, but there's danger we could have a two-tier completion - the haves and the have-nots.

Cheers
Dave
 

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John Roche
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Personally I'm happy to have these laser-cut chassis allowed. It makes it easier for anyone to build a competitive car. This should make our side of the hobby more accessible. If one goes back through the heyday of our hobby there was always a mixture of commercially available and scratchbuilt chassis available.

As you know, slot racing has taken a back seat in my life and is going to do more so from next year when I start a full time popular music degree.

I have been able to build cars that should have been reasonably competitive for both Oaklands and Netley, easily without spending too much (precious) time on them. Unfortunately events conspired to keep me away on the day.

I also think that if they were to have been banned it should have been a year or so ago when their use first became common, to do so now is unfair on those who have already gone to the expense of buying them.

Just my opinion, others will vary


Cheers

John
 

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What are you actually saying? That historic type slot cars must be slow? I've seen plenty of full-size historic racing and slow it ain't.... What is Hi-tech anyway?;to some people,an anglewinder is Hi-tech;alloy wheels are Hi-tech. You could say any car that is not completely "off the shelf" or uses any replacement parts is Hi-tech.I don't have a answer to this one-I've got a feeling there isn't a fully satisfactory answer, anyway..........
TED.......
 

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QUOTE Is it within the spirit of CSCRA rules?
This often crops up when discussing any set of rules.
In my view there is no such thing.
There is a set of technical regulations.
There is a set of sporting regulations - the CSCRA leave this part entirely up to the club running the meeting as we have no wish to dictate to anyone how they run their own event.
If a car, it's driver and all his/her equipment comply with the letter of the technical and sporting regulations then anything else is irrelevant.

You can, however, say that there is an 'intention' on the part of the rule writers behind the rules.
So what was the 'intention' behind the CSCRA Car Standards?
Put simply.
1. To come up with a standard, and easily accessible, set of rules that encourage the building and racing of reasonably accurate scale models of historically interesting racing cars.
2. To group those cars into historically accurate 'eras' and types related to real motor racing history.
3. To ensure that the rules are as inclusive as possible so as to encourage participation by the widest possible range of slot racers.
There are two other principals on which the rules are based.
a. 'Rubber' tyres (no sponge or silicon) to limit the ultimate performance.
b. 'Hard' bodies - injection molded plastic, resin castings, fibre glass, wood, etc - to ensure the best scale accuracy (no Vac forms).

For anyone who is proposing a major change to the CSCRA Car Standards such as applying restrictions on the design and construction of a chassis you face two challenges.
1. Does what you propose conflict with any of the above 'intentions'?
2. Can you write the proposed rules in such a way that they can be clearly understood by any slot racer?

I look forward to everyone's input on this.
Cheers.
Mick.
 

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Jon Grainger
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Hi Bill,
Interesting topic, one I have thought about a lot recently, the drive home from Early Birds '14 kicked it all off.

I personally think these 'off the peg' chassis are both very good, and potentially, bad.

Firstly, they do allow a wider range of chassis to fit the cars, as do the other popular offerings from PP and the like. However the sudden performance gain and influx of BRSCA style steel chassis means that now everyone can have access to potentially a race winning car. This on the whole is good. If the whole field uses these 'new' style chassis, then the competition level will still very high and performance closer than previous.

However, the other side of the coin is that the fabulous Scratchbuilt chassis that we have all admired over the years, could become obsolete, or at the very least, rarer, because rather than spend hours painstakingly drawing, cutting, filing and assembling a chassis, we can by an off the peg chassis, and have a complete running car in less than an hour.

This won't put off the true craftsmen, but perhaps our friends who give it a go (and I include myself in this) with varying levels of success, could be put off. If a meeting has 20 entrants, let's say five craftsmen (Mick Kerr springs to mind), 5 Penelope Pitlane/PCS and more conventional chassis'd runners, leaving half the field to battle it out with the latest Beardog or Mack chassis. This on the whole will lower also the standard of concours, as the majority tend to prefer a beautiful car with a scratch made chassis, over a beautiful car with a purchased chassis.

Also the CSCRA/Wolves, has always had a very competitive atmosphere, but at the same time, a real laugh. If we become to fixed on running stock chassis which we can all buy, it could potentially lower the enjoyment factor.

Now, it is very difficult to excersise this. If the rule read "no laser cut chassis", Mick Kerr for example would have to throw away his chassis from the last few years at least. Discouraging. I'm dipping my toes in with a Laser or a CNC machine, which if this regulation came in, would mean the time and money invested has been wasted.

If the rule read, "no stock chassis", then there would be no Penelope Pitlane chassis, or PCS chassis on the grid. Not fair on Steve Ward for example who has been a stalwart of Classic racing for all the time I have been involved (7 years now!!!!). As well as those who can make a PP chassis go well.

Or you would have to restrict items made my different companies/people. Purely using a Richard Mack as an example, I doubt he and the community would be happy to suddenly have their items banned from CSCRA or Wolves meetings.

The only way I could see a rule being enforced, would be a handicap of say one lap per heat for these purchased chassis, to encourage scratchbuilds. But then this would cause others to up arms!

So as a chap that enjoys scratchbuilding, and is by no stretch of the imagination, a front runner, this would be the only solution I can think of. I'll enjoy watching this thread develop!
 

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Phil Smith
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QUOTE Interesting topic, one I have thought about a lot recently, the drive home from Early Birds '14 kicked it all off.

I personally think these 'off the peg' chassis are both very good, and potentially, bad.

Firstly, they do allow a wider range of chassis to fit the cars, as do the other popular offerings from PP and the like. However the sudden performance gain and influx of BRSCA style steel chassis means that now everyone can have access to potentially a race winning car. This on the whole is good. If the whole field uses these 'new' style chassis, then the competition level will still very high and performance closer than previous.

However, the other side of the coin is that the fabulous Scratchbuilt chassis that we have all admired over the years, could become obsolete, or at the very least, rarer, because rather than spend hours painstakingly drawing, cutting, filing and assembling a chassis, we can by an off the peg chassis, and have a complete running car in less than an hour.

This won't put off the true craftsmen, but perhaps our friends who give it a go (and I include myself in this) with varying levels of success, could be put off. If a meeting has 20 entrants, let's say five craftsmen (Mick Kerr springs to mind), 5 Penelope Pitlane/PCS and more conventional chassis'd runners, leaving half the field to battle it out with the latest Beardog or Mack chassis. This on the whole will lower also the standard of concours, as the majority tend to prefer a beautiful car with a scratch made chassis, over a beautiful car with a purchased chassis.

Also the CSCRA/Wolves, has always had a very competitive atmosphere, but at the same time, a real laugh. If we become to fixed on running stock chassis which we can all buy, it could potentially lower the enjoyment factor.

Jon, that's exactley what I would have said.

Surely a simple ban on laser cut steel chassis would be easy to write into the rules?
 

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Couple of things, there's a bit more to it than just fitting a Mack chassis into the flavor of the month resin body to be competitive!
At a lot of meetings I have been to I have seen [mostly the same] people struggling with what looks like decent kit, wrong gearing, bad gear mesh, badly set up guide's [ main reason!], wrong Ohm-age controllers, twisted/broken chassis Etc Etc. A lot of this is because they can't be bothered to sort there gear out before hand then complain on the day that there's a problem with the track, power, grip Etc Etc they become mobile chicane's causing grief to other competitor's! No expert here but you could probably get any car/chassis to work if the basics are covered.
The other thing is to have a weight penalty [mounted high in the body] if you must penalize the "technology"!
[oneofwos]
 

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Gary Skipp
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Hi everyone

I haven't raced CSCRA in a few years now but I have been following it, and I have of course been very busy writing my own sets of rule sand standards for my digital Le Mans race and new body, DiSCA. It is from the position of a technical author that I wish to join the discussion


For me, the fundamental reason for writing any rule is that there must be some justification as to why that rule exists. To put another way - it is my personal belief that no rule should exist just for the sake of there being a rule!

What would (the CSCRA) hope to achieve by the banning of laser cut steel chassis (or others - I presume the MrSlotCar McLaren has put the willies up you
), and why?

Do they cost too much? I would argue no, and the price may be considered small when compared to the overall 'investment' of time and money toward building a CSRCA race car and buying a capable throttle to drive it with. I don't think the scratch classes of the CSCRA has ever been the cheapest way to go racing, and of course the sporting regs fully support the use of RTR cars for those who do not want this level of investment.

Do they offer an unfair advantage? Not for me to answer having never used one, but I'd find it difficult to imagine they offer significant gains over anything one of the skilled chassis builders already produce. John Secci's post above elaborates on this pretty well.

Is there a fundamental technical reason why they can't be used? They seem to be fully compliant with the tech regs to me.

Mick's post above is totally logical and I myself do not see a reason to outlaw certain types of chassis design from one of the only avenues in (analogue) hard body slot racing that facilitates the use of scratch built (or even modified) cars.

Outside of the letter of the law;

Jon Grainger's post regarding the level of 'care' that goes into a scratch car rather than any old body plonked on top of an off-the-shelf chassis is, I suspect, the real reason why this has arisen. I do not dispute that it may be a problem, and although it is a tricky matter to handle, I must emplore that the way to fix this is not by banning the chassis. Think about it. The (potential) issue is with ugly bodies, so what on earth does banning a chassis do to fix that??? That's madness, you have to agree


I am speculating beyond the stated scope of this thread, but if (the CSCRA) wanted to address the issue of carelessly built cars, the way to do it may be with concours-biased competitions or other rules specific to the appearance of the body. While it is important to be inclusive, and I certainly respect the fact that every competitor is NOT interested in the concours, you must be careful about understanding and addressing the route cause of your issue.

QUOTE If we become to fixed on running stock chassis which we can all buy, it could potentially lower the enjoyment factor.

Although I appreciate that viewing other peoples creations can be half of the fun, I would respectfully argue that the enjoyment of your day is in your own hands, and you may build whatever you wish
 

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its hard work and takes some planning, but you can approximate a lazer cut spring steel chassis with a hacksaw and pillar drill. this would be a totally scratchbuilt chassis that only a few people would have the patience or skill to achieve. so where would a chassis like this stand in the scheme of things if you banned the mack type chassis. John
 

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QUOTE (Hobby @ 12 Aug 2014, 13:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just a point about modern spring steel laser cut chassis. We have had them around in 'Classic' racing for some time now. I think the first volume offering was the 'Monoposto' Chassis designed by Ralph Parker and made and sold by Andy Brown-Searle This was soon followed by Ralph's 'Can Am' GT chassis from the same outlet.
Both of these were first available well over 10years ago!
Good point.
Banning laser cut chassis would prohibit a lot of the cars out there - is that good for attracting competitors to meetings?
 

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Phil Smith
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QUOTE Surely a simple ban on laser cut steel chassis would be easy to write into the rules?

Can I take that back, after reading the postings here I've changed my mind, I don't like them but banning them would be silly.
You can't stop the march of tecnology, things can't be un-invented, we have them so we will have to live with them.
This is my last comment on the subject.
 

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Hi guys
The reason I started to build some laser cut chassis was that at my first meeting there were only a handful of scratch built cars , the rest were pitlane or plastic chassis. I expected most to be of the brass and piano wire type , so I decided to encourage people by producing simple jigsaw puzzle type kits which they could assemble themselves, hoping it would lead to them scratchbuild cars in future , perhaps you could say a stepping stone .the performance of these is not greatly different from a well prepared plastic car , on some tracks it is slower. Now I have kept the chassis simple , I could develop them to the nth degree resulting in a chassis costing perhaps £135 , but this is not in the interest of anyone .I produce a simple bolt together solution for a range of hard body's that is robust enough to take a hard knock without getting bent .
However I have no problem if people vote to ban them , and I'm more than happy to make myself wire and brass chassis
Richard.
 

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I can't help but feel that the mild schizophrenia of the CSCRA regs and scene has come back to bite us (lightly) on the arse here.

On one hand we've always allowed whatever cutting edge chassis tech you can lay your hands on under bodyshells. It is after all 2014, my phone has more computing power than the entire grid at Le Mans 10 or 20 years ago (probably - and my 13 year old real car has more computing power than my first computer) and limiting ourselves to 1960s technology makes no sense.

On the other hand we then slap vintage-looking toy car bodies (often made in the past 12 months by robots in a Chinese factory following a process of CAD/CAM design aided by 3D rapid prototyping) on top of these laser cut chassis and kid ourselves that we are retro/vintage/classic racing in the spirit of the 1960s because the 2014 vintage chassis has a GT40 body hiding it rather than being the same car with a modern LMP on it.

(And often use electronic controllers to drive them as well).

Were the CSCRA regs being used for contemporary cars instead of "fake vintage" nobody would be getting their knickers in a twist about Richard Mack chassis.

This is not a rallying call to race modern cars under CSCRA rules (I've mentioned the possibility of doing this in the past, and the last Oaklands CSCRA meeting allowed for Group C(*) but I'm not sure the interest is there amongst the baby boomer demographic) just my thoughts that we have been having our cake and eating it. By accepting that the oily bits are not contemporary to the look of the cars, or to some glorified memories of people's youth we are always going to have the problem where the march of technology moves on.

We had this conversation about 5 years ago about Slot.It and NSR Classics and the motive behind that was the same - a worry that it would make traditional scratch-building skills obselete, a threat to vested interests of cars that were already being used, and/or that a scene of RTR-based racing would develop against the original intentions. We'll probably have it again in five years time.

Coop

(*) Only 21 years in the past...
 

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QUOTE (tedm @ 12 Aug 2014, 22:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What are you actually saying? That historic type slot cars must be slow? I've seen plenty of full-size historic racing and slow it ain't.... What is Hi-tech anyway?;to some people,an anglewinder is Hi-tech;alloy wheels are Hi-tech. You could say any car that is not completely "off the shelf" or uses any replacement parts is Hi-tech.I don't have a answer to this one-I've got a feeling there isn't a fully satisfactory answer, anyway..........
TED.......
The discussion seems to center at least as much around whether vintage slot racing parts and techniques should be mandatory.
There is a place for racing cars with just that, but it meetings like the Netley Classic seem to be full niece looking models of cars from the 1960s, many made from modern parts. Is there a problem in having races for both?
Slot cars with alloy wheels were around from the 1940s (maybe earlier?) and anglewinders were around in the 60s as were a few chassis cut from spring steel sheet - in slot car terms that's pretty genuinely vintage!
There is lots of encouragement for hand built stuff in retro racing. Quite a few of the racers are none too keen on "off the shelf" stuff. (and of course some modern "off the shelf" stuff is certainly high tech)
 

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David Collins
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The 1/32 CSCRA Car Standards have never been about "retro" technology - just about "building and racing slot cars representing classic periods in motor racing history". Yes, the idea is to encourage the scratch building that generally is not common in regular club racing, but it has also tried to be inclusive and accessible.

Modified BSCRA chassis such as 1/32 F1 sprung steel, JK pressed steel and Demon brass models have been used at CSCRA events for years, as of course have various plastic chassis such as Slot.It HRS. In fact it's one of the great things about these events that a wide range of approaches are seen, using classic brass and piano wire, PCB and carbon fibre, Slot.It motor pods and other approaches.

If we were going to try to focus purely on scratch-built chassis (if such a thing can even be defied), perhaps we should have done so before Steve Ward started making his Penelope Pitlane models. Results show that they can be made very competitive, but more interestingly, they have brought people into CSCRA event who would have been put off by having to start building a chassis from scratch from piano wire and brass.

Even race classes such as the 1/24 UKRRA "D3" which are consciously retro and promote scratch-building by forbidding technical developments such as laser-cut spring steel, centre pivots and anglewinder configurations have found that many, if not most, competitors favour starting from an easily-assembled kit. And even there, some people buy ready-made chassis from top builders - what is "scratch-built" about such an entry?

Really, I think we should be most concerned about making this aspect of our hobby open and accessible to all, and if Richard's beautiful laser-cut chassis help to do that, I'm all for it.

David
 

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OK.
Let's take a step back for a moment and ask; why it is being suggested that certain types of chassis should be excluded?

Are they too fast?
I've yet to see clear evidence that this is the case.
So Richard Mack won the Sports Car class at Netley last weekend with one of his spring steel chassis. That car happened to suit that track on that day and Richard drove it very well (please don't underestimate Richards' driving ability - he is World Class). The other two classes were won by cars having brass and wire chassis and Richard didn't even make the Saloon A Final with his lazer cut spring steel chassis car.
Mick Thomson has also won a couple of races with cars having lazer cut spring steel chassis in the past year.
So how does that compare with all the other types of chassis used at the various classic meetings over the past year?
A quick count up gives the following rough totals;
Plastic - 4
Penelope Pitlane - 4
Spring steel - 4
Brass & wire - 7
This hardly looks like the world domination that is feared.

Are they too expensive?
Again I guess we are talking about Richard Mack chassis and at £35 each ready assembled I don't think so.
I am often asked if I will make brass and wire chassis to sell. I always refuse because the reality is that I would have to charge a minimum of £200 each just to cover my time (not that I have the time anyway).
From my point of view they may actually be too cheap, because at that price why spend all the time needed to construct a brass and wire chassis when you can buy something just as good.
At that price they may also encourage a few 'plastic car racers' to try a metal chassis.
The reality of producing them inevitably means that there will never be a lazer cut spring steel chassis to fit every car in every class. Only the most popular cars and classes will be catered for.

Is the design too advanced therefore making all other designs obsolete?
The design principal that most of the Mack chassis are based upon was invented in the1980s so is hardly new.
Bear in mind that CSCRA cars have front wheels that have to touch the track, unlike BSCRA cars, and this significantly changes the way any chassis performs.
I must also point out that the chassis Richard used to win the Netley Sports Car Race last Sunday was a much simplified design. Basically a flat center plate joining the motor/rear axle assembly to the guide tab, then two spring wires connecting the motor mount to the front axle bracket and pans. It had no hinges at all and could easily be made from a few bits of brass plate and a couple of lengths of piano wire.

To conclude.
I personally see no reason to exclude any chassis that any slot car builder chooses to use provided that the CSCRA wheel & tyre sizes and ground clearance rules are adhered too.

Are we really going to tell someone who has bought a George Turner kit with a Mack chassis, spent time and effort putting it all together, that they can't come and race at our meeting?
Equally, when the promised new F1 cars arrive from Slot.It are we going to say, you can't race that here because it has a plastic chassis?

I really hope not.
Cheers.
Mick.
 

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Hi There,
Speaking as someone new to hard body racing, who has dabbled on the fringes of 'retro' racing this year, and who wishes to compete in the scene in future, the Richard Mack chassis are a great labour saving device when you are contemplating the 20 odd cars needed for a seasons racing !
It seems to me that the amount of power you can put down through rubber tyres is the limiting factor that evens out all the various chassis types, however from what I have read, the answer to this 'problem' already exists and is in place at some meetings.
The meeting is decided on a combination of concours points and racing points.
Concours marking should include a score for chassis build quality, and points are only awarded if the chassis is self constructed. Richard Mack should be the only person given points for using a Richard Mack chassis, Therefore no one is going to win the meeting using one (except Richard) but it still enables newcomers like me to have fun racing them.
 
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