NorCal Retro Racing
Where the heckfire did this come from?
The NCRRA was born from a consensus of regular Nor Cal retro racers that were looking to refocus on a back to basics program with scale bodies, cheap motors, and more emphasis on driving and fun than on speed.
Who is in charge?
This is a co-operative effort involving raceway management, and several involved racers. The director and ultimate punching bag is Jim Fowler.
What are the rules and what is the direction of the program?
The rules are derived from the So-Cal D3 rules and they follow the So-Cal rule set more closely than others programs may have. The direction is to follow the more scale oriented program of So-Cal D3 and reverse the trend of “faster and faster”. The goal of retro racing was originally to get guys inventing and building chassis within a firm set of guidelines and to take the worry about motors out of the equation. The best and closest racing comes from evenly matched cars and that requires evenly matched motors. I ran in a total of eight races in So-Cal this past summer and the racing there is closer as far as car speed than any I have ever seen. There is just so little difference between the motors and no clear advantage to any body they use that it is really all about driving and car set up.
Why follow the So-Cal program so closely rather than the IRRA for example?
First, the S0-Cal program is the most successful in the country and it is worth emulating. Second, there is more chance that a Nor Cal racer might visit and race in So-Cal (and vice versa) than in an IRRA event, which is mostly an East/Midwest program. Third, a Can Am car under these rules would be legal in an IRRA event anyway.
Are the JK and Warmack chassis kits legal?
Yes they are. These kits as they are offered at this time (9-1-08) are legal and are an easy way to get into building your own car. Further developments of these kits and any future kits will be evaluated as they come out.
I notice that NCRRA rules for F-1 specify 1 3/8″ max width for F-1. What if you have an existing F-1 built to 1 ½”?
I will grandfather in any existing 1 ½” wide F-1 chassis. (I know what´s out there b/c I built most of them) However, it is worth noting that my personal F-1´s have always been built to 1 3/8″ and I can´t tell the difference in handling. My feeling is that the extra width doesn´t matter.
Why offer a choice of the Falcon or D3 (TSR) motors?.
My experience has been (to date) that the TSR-D3 motor is the more closely matched motor. I personally think that due to its lower timing, it tends to run cooler and longer than the F-7. However, inertia and availability being what it is, I think that Falcons and TSR motors need to both be legal. Eventually, the TSR-D3 motor could and probably should become the exclusive motor for our program. For sure, I will be running the TSR-D3 motor almost exclusively in the upcoming season.
Are the D3 and Falcon any different? And which is faster?
There are some differences. While the motor wind and the can/magnets are the same, the D3 motor has lower timing and does not turn as many RPM´s. The D3 motor also runs counterclockwise which is the opposite direction of the Falcons. That means that you have to have the crown gear on the right side (looking back from the nose) on an inline car. This also means that it can´t be used in a typical flexi chassis unless you want to run it in the slow direction. I think that the Falcon, on average, might be marginally faster. However, the difference is very small and I also think the D3 motors runs somewhat cooler. I usually gear a D3 motor about 8-27 for a typical track and a Falcon about 8-28 or 8-29.
Are these going to blow up like they did at first?
For several reasons, I expect them to last longer.
  1. We are asking all tracks to run on their lower power setting or with the charger off for a battery track.
  2. I think we all know more about how to take care of these motors now.
There probably will be a few that go bad but I have raced in So-Cal enough over the summer and seen probably close to 200 racers run with maybe 1 or 2 motor issues.
How do you take care of them?
The first time around racers were running Falcons with 9t and even 10t pinions. They were breaking them in for quite a while, sometimes under water like we do with C and D can motors. Also, I think we were running them to death. Too many hundreds of practice laps before we even got to a race. Finally, most tracks were running hotter power at this time last year. All this was conspiring to wear the motor brushes down. Then when we got into a race, especially on hot power, the Falcons got hot and some of them slowed, lost brakes or just plain went down. These motors will have a shorter life span than a C or D can motor, but we can manage that better if we follow these general ideas. These are mostly just common sense.
  • Do not break the motors in more than a few minutes and never in water
  • Generally, gear in the 8-27 to 8-29 range even on big tracks. Avoid 9t and 10t pinions.
  • Separate your race motors vs practice motors.
  • Keep rough track of how many races and how much practice you have on your race motors
  • When you get to 2 or 3 races on a motor, retire the motor to practice status.
How long (will) they last?
You never know for sure and these are cheap motors. But!! I bought four TSR D3 motors in April and ran 12 races put some out as loaners, and ran a lot of testing laps between N-Cal and So-Cal with them. They all have at least two races on them and one has four. None blew and only one is noticeably slower now than at the beginning. For 40 bucks, that´s good value. I just bought four more to drop in as race motors and I expect to get all the way to next spring with my eight motor program at a total cost of about $80.
Why minimize the importance of the Pro Slot Big Dog motor?
It is my opinion and the overwhelming consensus of racers that I have consulted with that the BD was a flawed solution to the issues that had been raised Re: the Falcon motors in the past. The BD needs very low (close to 5:1) gearing in order to not run excessively hot and that gearing is very hard to come by with inline cars. Also, the torque generated by the BD is quite a handful in an inline car. Finally, all the “blueprinting” that was perceived as necessary with this motor simply turned off too many racers. By the time you were done with just one fully worked over Big Dog, it would cost close to what I´ve spent on my whole motor program for 6-8 months of racing.
So why have a class for the BD at all. Why not just dump it as a bad idea?
A number of Nor Cal racers have these motors and I think there should be a venue for them to race them if they want to. If the racers want to cut bait on the BD, that´s fine but it should be their choice. If a racer wants to race his existing inline Can Am car in the “Pro Coupe” category, he certainly can. A Coupe body is all that is necessary. He can use the BD motor or any of the Falcon types specified. I have found that in an anglewinder car, low gearing is easy to come by and the anglewinder chassis works with the low gearing to make the BD motor much more driveable.
Why did my Dogs run so dang hot anyway? they turned black within 5 minutes.
Not all BD´s ran super hot but I agree that a lot of them did. (all mine ran scorching hot). I think there were several factors at play. I think that they suffered from weak magnets, poor bushings, poor alignment in general and worst of all, we could never gear them low enough with the inline gears we have readily available. So far, I have tested quite a bit with an anglewinder car at FTH and they run decidedly cooler with gearing in the 4.6:1-.5:1 range. I think they are going to be much better in the Pro Coupe class.
Why the changes in the body list?
I eliminated the O/S Ti-22 (long version), three True Scale bodies, and also, specifically outlawed the JK Ti-22. The JK Ti-22 and the O/S long version of the Ti-22 are too far out of scale and offer too much of an advantage over other bodies. The True Scale brand Ferrari 312, Kirby 312, and Porsche 917-10 are from a later era than is specified in the original concept and also are a little too “aero enhanced”. There are actually some JK bodies that are fairly scale looking but they don’t handle as well as the others on the list so I left them off. The goal here is to have a body list where there is no clear “winner”. There are small differences between (for example), the True Scale Lola T-160, Electric Dreams Ferrari 312, Champion McLaren M8, Red Fox Porsche 908 Spyder and the O/S Ti-22 (short). However, one is not really any better than the others. This will improve diversity within the fields and also help out when a particular body is in short supply.
It has always been easy to get JK bodies and now they are not legal, how do we get the bodies that are legal?
Fast Track Hobbies has agreed to make an extra effort to stock as many of the True Scale, Red Fox and Outisight bodies as they can reasonably get. They will have them in the store and online. The O/S bodies, Red Fox bodies and also the Champion McLaren are available from distributors on an ongoing basis so the other tracks should be able to stock those without trouble. As an alternative, the True Scale bodies are available direct (online) and so are the Electric Dreams bodies.
Will there be a “grace period” if racers show up with illegal bodies or chassis?
The problem with “run it this time but fix it before next time” is that the same guys show up with the same stuff that they were warned about before and they never fix it. This program is easy enough to follow and I have a fair idea of who has been warned in the past and about what. In most cases, the guys who do this know better but are just trying to slide by (again). So for those that have already been warned….no more slack. For those that have not yet been warned… maybe.
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