20 September, 2008

A tale of two competitors

You may have noticed last months race was moved back a week to the 4th Sunday. That's because on the 3rd Sunday a contingent of AIGRF's finest racers went to the mecca of Australian wheeled racing – Mount Panorama – for the billycart race to end all billycart races.
They blitzed the opposition of course and in true AIGRF style, made a movie about it. It's in two parts, it's awesome and you had better go and watch it.

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

Go, now. Quick!

18 September, 2008

Rules/guidelines for the AIGRF (borrowed from SFVISBF)

Testing on official hills is forbidden.
You test on a course; you raise awareness of what we are doing. This allows angry homeowners to have time to prepare an attack. By testing you’re saying, “hello I’m here” we don’t want that. Some people as you all know have nothing better to do with their time but spoil other peoples fun, these kind of people are everywhere, we race in their neighborhoods.

This has nothing to do with power, we want to keep doing this, the rules are in place to create longevity, and by testing on official hills you jeopardize that. This is not about just you and your fun; it is about everyone’s fun.

If you figure out where the course is, just keep it to yourself. Don't e-mail this information or post it on a website. You can of course invite your friends to come watch or film. The more footage we get the better.

Car Construction
Car construction rules are important for safety reasons and ease of play. Although the AIGRF has a few mandatory rules (listed below), we leave the ins and outs of car construction up to you, as finding out what works best is part of the fun. There are no exact weight or size restrictions, however, keep in mind that the cars we race are built at home not at NASA. This is street racing and we do have some sharp corners so when building your cart please keep that in mind.

Car Construction Rules:

1. All cars must have 4 or more wheels.
Your car must have 4 or more wheels that actually are used in the stability of the car. Things like bicycles that have training wheels or faux wheels are not allowed. Skate boards, luge boards and their wheels are not allowed as well. Trikes simply don’t work well; they have been ran with poor results. Trikes are unstable, prone to washing out, flipping and do not fare well in collisions and friendly bumping that occurs in every race, thus no trikes.

2. Cars cannot have a motor or drive train of any kind.
No gas motors, no electrical, no solar powered, no shifting counterweights, pedals, etc. Nothing. Get it? Gravity is the only source of power and speed attainment that is allowed. Do not get any clever ideas; you can’t be clever because you’re in the AIGRF.

3. All cars must have a braking system of some kind.
You have to have the ability to stop your car at the finish line at least. Braking systems are up to you, simple scrub brakes to 4 wheel disc brakes have been employed, budget and ingenuity will determine what works best for you.

Braking systems must be on a minimum of two wheels. Single wheel brakes are not acceptable.

Types of acceptable braking systems: You must have at least one of these on your car.
  • Scrub (a plate or pad applied directly to the wheel)
  • Drum (a drum with a set of shoes that grab the drum)
  • Disc (a caliper and rotor set up much like a car)
  • Band (similar to a drum brake, utilizing a band around a braking surface)
  • Bicycle (drum, disc, V, U, Y, center pull, caliper, coaster)

Types of unacceptable braking systems: You will not be allowed to run with these systems.
  • Drag (utilizing the ground as the braking surface)
  • Feet (no Barney Rubble, stay home)
  • Anchor (a heavy object cast from the car to create drag)

4. Vehicle weaponry of any kind is forbidden.
No spikes, no Ben-Hur chariot style spinners, nothing that shoots or drops stuff, no oil slicks, flour tossers, Paintball guns, ketchup shooters etc. Nothing. You may have bumpers on your car, nerf bars around the wheels etc. It’s just you, your car and the road, that is all that is allowed and all that you will need.

5. Cars can be excluded because they are grossly too big, heavy, have spikes or other weapons, or are obviously unsafe.
The Tech inspector’s job is to make sure that everyone’s car is safe, they check for sharp objects, braking systems, and other unsafe things. If the tech inspector wants to look at your car, you need to pull it out and show him/her. If the tech inspector deems your car unsafe, you can’t race. Refusal to let the tech inspector check your car, you don’t race. Other things that you should not have: Sharp edges or other protrusions that could potentially gash or impale other drivers in a wreck. A driver should be able to load their car unassisted into a truck or van, if you can’t it’s too heavy. Cars should not be excluded just because they are markedly faster, tougher, or cooler than your car. Nor should a car be excluded just because you don’t like the driver, we’re big kids: child-like, not childish. When in doubt, a group vote determines the eligibility of a given car.

6. No deliberate weighting of one’s car is allowed.
You can no longer add weight to your car; it must be run at its natural weight. No ballast. This means, no lead weights, no weight-lifter weights, jugs of water, no sandbags, sacks of potatoes, no pregnant women tied or nailed onto your cart etc. A car with low rolling resistance and a good areo package will carry the day; you do not need a 500 lb behemoth to get to the cones first. This is a safety issue. In a crash little objects can fly this way and that, those objects are often times weights that have been ejected from the car. A ten-pound weight going 40+ mph can pack a wallop. Also, heavier cars will not be able to manage turns well nor will they be able to stop. Do you want 400, 500, or 600 lbs of car and driver plowing into you if they can’t stop? No you don’t.

7. No bullshit.
The no bullshit rule is left to be vague for the guy that is looking for a loophole in the rules to gain an unfair advantage. Just because every possibility was not covered does not mean you should go on and do it. We reserve the right to DQ your car for any reason. We will be fair, Veteran drivers keep in mind your long tenure does not confer any special treatment, everyone is subject to the rules, please follow them.

Race Rules:

1. There shall be no entrance fee to race.
You may pool and or collect money to pay for promotional materials (i.e., flyers, posters, videos, etc.) but no one will pay to simply enter a car and race.

2. Car set up at starting line
Cars will be lined up (can be a few inches apart and still have a clean take off) at the given starting line evenly in a row that will accommodate the most cars. If we have a high number of cars that one row will not suffice, we’ll have to make two or more rows. A pack of ordinary playing cards (handed out at meeting place) will be used to decide pole positions. When we get to the track every body needs to get their carts ready to be lined up asap so that when your number is called you can get your cart in position and ready to roll. Some tracks we race have light traffic and we don't want to sit around any longer than we have to. The quicker we can get unloaded and lined up the more runs we will get.

If everybody is lined up ready to go and you are not there the race will start without you.

After the trophy run (first run) cars can line up however they wish, best to let the guys in the back get up front, it’s only fair, give everyone a chance to get out there. Cars must be lined up straight and the driver must keep their car in place by holding down their brake. You cannot have an outside holder as a holder can easily become a pusher, and pushing is forbidden. You should not have your feet out at the start, as you may get hurt.

3. You cannot have a pusher, nor can you do a “wheelchair start”.
There are no push starts in the AIGRF. No one may assist your car by pushing, nor are you allowed to roll your wheels wheel chair style to gain speed. Gravity and gravity alone is your only source or speed. Each racer must apply their own brake at the starting line and release it upon the completion of the 3-2-1 go count down.

4. All cars shall race at the same time.
There are no time trials, no elimination heats etc. If you broke things up into heats and the police came and broke it up you’d have half the drivers not being able to race, no fun. Everyone races all at once, all together. Racing a stopwatch is boring, too much time is taken up in elimination heats, all the action at once, the most intense experience you may ever have, did I mention it was more fun this way?

5. Starting the race and releasing the brake.
Once your cars are in line the call to race will be given. Everyone should have their brake applied and ready to race. The count is 3,2,1 go letting go of your brake upon the utterance of “go”.

6. Rubbing is Racing.
During the course of the race the adage “rubbing is racing” does apply. It is legal to hit other cars. You engage in this rough trade at your own level. Higher speed courses will spread the group out quickly, but keep your contact with other cars to a minimum unless you want bad accidents, just a suggestion. Lower speed courses contact is less likely to create bad accidents, not saying it has not happened though, be warned.

If a car is passing you, it is the best policy to let them pass. Deliberately cutting off faster cars can cause wrecks and tempers will flare, best not to do it. If someone is faster than you just let them pass, they earned it.

7. The first heat is the trophy heat.
The first race of the morning is the trophy heat. It is this first race that determines the 1st place winner, 2nd place, 3rd place, etc. All proceeding heats are “for fun” heats and trophies are not exchanged. After the first race of the given session, line up and placement for proceeding races are less important as the trophy has been won, so go have some fun and mix things up a bit.

8. Winner is first car to pass the traffic cones.
You must pass in between or over the cones to finish the race. The first car to cross the finish line (traffic cones) shall be declared the winner. last place is given to the last car across the line. If a car doesn't finish then that car is given last place, if there is more than one car that doesn't finish then the car furthest from the cones is awarded last place. If something happens to your cart and you can't roll to the finish line it's ok to drag, kick, throw, carry or push it there to get a place and race completion sticker.

The important thing to remember here is that this is for fun. If you are in this just to win then you are in it for all the wrong reasons.

9. Awarding of trophies.
1st place winner shall keep the winning trophy until the next month’s race where they present it to the next winner. The last place car gets the skunk trophy. The skunk trophy is passed along just like the winner trophy. Each winner and loser is welcome to put some decorations on the trophies.

10. Awarding of Race Completed stickers and AIGRF t-shirts.
Drivers that get their car past the finish line (that means in between the cones) in the first heat get a race-completed sticker. Stickers go to the car, not the driver, one sticker per car per session. If you crash, you have to drag your car to the end if you want a sticker. You cannot truck it down to the end, you crashed, and you push it. A driver that completes two separate sessions, not two races but two different trophy dashes in different months gets an AIGRF DRIVER t-shirt. The reasoning for this is if you race once you’re a fool, if you come back after a month and race again, then you know, thus you’re a driver.

11. No bullshit.
Again, the no bullshit rule is left to be vague for the guy that is looking for a loophole in the rules to gain an unfair advantage. Just because every possibility was not covered does not mean you should go on and do it. Just stop being a pussy and race.

Safety Gear
Drivers must wear a full-skull helmet, gloves, and any other protection they deem necessary. You cannot race without a helmet. More protection can’t hurt; it has been the difference between severe injury and walking away from a wreck. Any part of the car you’re driving that can come in contact with your body in a collision should be padded or you should wear some padding. Leather Jackets, welding jackets, riding leathers, sports pads, Sumo suits, chin guards, all used to useful effect. Only a fool would race without a helmet, there are dumber ways to die but not much. Protect yourself; you’ll be better for it as you can race again.

Race 12, Skippy's Revenge

So, there we were, at set to take on our longest, fastest race ever as the season closer. Three kilometres of mountain road from the highest point in our fair city. Brakes had been tested, wind cheating bodywork refined and applied, helmets ready, courage mustered.
But. There is a fine line between brave and stupid and racing 'Baker's Delight' after it had been raining the night before falls into the later category. We are of the opinion that it is better to be also able to race again next month, so we decided our super season closer would become our super season opener instead and we hightailed our motley convey over to 'Skippy's Revenge', a somewhat more sedate course, to get our monthly fix of gravity assisted fun.
We had three debuts and a host of mods. First up was Obsession. This cart has been engineered by an engineer. It's wheels run true. It has brakes that work really well. I bet there are drawings of it that were drawn before it was built. It's been measured with a ruler. It's fast. So fast that it sat on the line for a little while, causing a bit of a jam, then flew down to take the win.* Awesome.
Dogmatic seems to have a new nemesis. Dogmatic has a lot of nemesi. It places consistently in the top results, but seems to also get pipped by upstart first timers.
Debut two was Death Proof, sister cart to Death Ray and Death Machine. It will of course be fast when it's dialled in and has the benefit of three other development builds before it. A better grid position would have also helped.
Death Machine got a new boot that does nothing for aerodynamics or speed but looks really cool and opens with a gas strut. We all went 'ooh' and 'aah'.
Death Ray was really out of sorts and struggling to come to grips with new front wheels. It had some other unintentional mods when the bonnet flew off at speed while making the journey down from home base. If you see it, let us know.
White Lightning is sister cart to Kymbo and also made its AIGRF debut. Like Kymbo, it is very quick and looks unreal too. Neither of them made it through the cones, but that was a technicality. They got there plenty quick enough.
Agent Orange has been undergoing some major modifications and showed off extensive new body work and a striking yellow paint scheme. Wait till next time for the orange to return. It's paying off with a big climb up the ladder and a good result in the second race too.
Trouble Maker remained steady, but hasn't seen much improvement with all hands on deck to finish Agent Orange. Expect things to change soon.
Quicksilver stunned the field with a massive reversal of fortune. Work done to the brakes has helped capitalise on the new wheel setup, and the handling improved too. He finally got to use that rear view mirror.
Also with new rear view mirrors is Blue Bandit. They shake a bit though but there wasn't much to see in them anyway. A lift kit has helped handling and stops the bottom scrapping over the reflectors in the road.
Ton O' Fun has a new body! And while it may not yet look wind cheating, it certainly hasn't slowed it down any. Like some other fast carts it missed the corner, but it made up for that by treating us to an unreal power-slide through 180˚. Watch the improvements to this cart keep coming.
Fruit Loop needs some modifications to remain competitive in the field. Sleep deprivation makes that a bit difficult, but once the new baby is a bit bigger he can be put to good use as a test pilot.
Subrid got a bit stuck in the back of the pack in only its second race with us. It seems to have recovered well after that tree attacked it in race 10.
Trollywood again finished higher than a loner cart should. It's wobbly, but fast. Also fast was the Ice Cream Man but missing that last corner cost it bragging rights.
Bootylicious is the quiet achiever of the field. Always fast, always at the pointy end, even with no major mods since the body was put on. This is a well put together, fast cart, skillfully piloted.
Official Results:
  1. Obsession
  2. Dogmatic
  3. Trollywood
  4. Bootylicious
  5. Death Machine
  6. Quicksilver
  7. Agent Orange
  8. Subrid
  9. Trouble Maker
  10. Blue Bandit
  11. Death Proof
  12. Fruit Loop
  13. Death Ray
*OK, so there was some controversy with these results. There were some carts that got down the hill faster than the winner, but they didn't take the final corner and go between the cones. It's not just speed that we hold dear, it's handling, control and the ability to listen to directions. DNF (ie didn't make it around the corner through the cones to officially finish):
  • Ice Cream Man
  • White Lightning
  • Kymbo
  • Tun O' Fun
Go see the movie here. It's choice.