Would you believe it has been close to 40 years since I took part in parking lot racing and I thought I had it out of my system but the more I research this thing called Nitro RC Racing...The track was open early on Friday so by noon the parking lot adjacent to the track was filled with tents, motor homes and driver pit tables everywhere.
A scene right out of Riverside Raceway east of
Los Angeles, but in reality it is the ProLine Maxx Challenge last June
near Banning, CA, just outside of Palm Springs.
The description, "The Pro-Line Nitro Maxx Challenge was an awesome racing
spectacle. The action during the qualifiers and mains was intense in all
of the racing classes and the track was as big and challenging as they
come. The facility was filled with friendly people who all share the same
passion for RC racing and the weather was nearly perfect; yup a good time
was had by all."
by the editor of "Radio Control Car Action" the
leading magazine of this intense hobby.
This was my intro to nitro racing.
Radio Controlled racers powered by Nitro
(nitro-methane) have blasted past radar guns pushing 200 miles per hour.
This incredible speed is in a 1/8th or 1/10th scale racer equipped
with a glow-fuel engine
The nitro gas runs about 25 cents a gallon.
Methanol is its main ingredient, and provides most of the power. Nitro
is added to assist the idle and acceleration, as well as increase power.
The oil that's in the fuel is the source of lubricant for the engine.
Methanol is used for two main reasons: 1) It can be ignited with a
platinum-element glow plug, and 2) It releases more energy per pound of
air than gasoline. It's also very easy to obtain, and is inexpensive.
One of the amazing things you will find when
you start to explore Nitros is the intense amount of interest these
radio-controlled models are getting worldwide.
For instance, the Internet Forum run by the editors of Radio Control
Car Action draws over 30,000 posters and when I visited, over 7,500 were
also visiting at the same time. Most hobby forums are in the range
of 500 online and 15,000 posts.
To reach speeds in excess of 200 mph, these
racers run on circular tether lines.
The engines burn a mixture
of eighty percent methanol with twenty percent castor oil, and all the
cars are very narrow bullet shaped vehicles no wider than the mounting
lugs of their engines. These races
draw contenders from all over the world.
Legendary Italian engine
G.A. Picco (left) reached a speed of 201.4mph with his Nitro model.
This particular event was held in
Wantagh, (Long Island) NY.
There are three tether car race tracks in America. In addition to Wantagh,
there is a track in Anderson, Indiana, and another in Whittier Narrows,
California. Across the big pond, there are 20 tracks divided between
Italy, France, Germany, England and Sweden. Every two years, international
race meets are held at the track in Wantagh, N.Y. These contests attract
racers from all of the above countries. World wide, there are about three
hundred tether car racers still trying to push the speeds up.
I'm going to try to get to Long Island for the next races. They are held every two years and this year
promises to see the 205 mph Wantagh record beaten again.
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