My buddy and I both raced as scouts years ago and are pretty competent regarding the rules, and areas they can be bent. The Committee Chair selected the rules for this years event, and she selected a pretty strict set.
Basic points of importance:
~Must use axles and wheels supplied in the kit
~Must use existing axle slots in block, and keep axles exposed
~“Wheels may be lightly sanded on exterior only to remove mold marks”
~No camber allowed
~Dry lubricant only
I was a bit shocked by the no camber rule. There is no such thing as perfectly horizontal with BSA axles and slots. I interpreted it to read no 'excessive' camber. In questioning the committee chair she did not seem to fully understand the rule.
Check in was Friday night or Saturday morning before the race. I went and helped set up the track Friday night, and also helped check in some cars. The Committee Chair and Cub master were checking in cars, and my other Tiger Cub leader volunteered to help them. About half of the cars checked in Friday night, and we added weight to all cars to get them at least to 4.9ozs. We went through a bunch of weight!
Saturday morning more cars were checked in before I got there. Neither I or my buddy paid much attention to that, as we were busy helping stragglers add weight.
They raced on a six lane 40’ and Best Track with a digital timer. Each car would run six times (once each lane) and the cumulative time was used for overall standings. My sons car and one other Tiger car were very fast in the Tiger Den, with total scores of 17.832 and 17.840 (2.972 avg). The closest after them all the way through Webelos was a 17.934. THe rest were all over 18 seconds.
When the second year Webelos ran their den one car was blistering fast. It turned out to be the Cub Masters son’s car. The total time for that car was 17.363. Knowing we had done most of the usual stuff to our car, and the fact that of the 40+ cars none other than that car were anywhere near that fast, a red flag went up in my mind. I asked my buddy if he checked in the car. He said it was checked in before he arrived this morning by the Cub Master or Committee Chair.
I originally approached the Cub Master jokingly and said “2.8’s huh, WOW!”. She replied that “ I have no idea what was done, he goes and builds the car with his uncle every year”. Another red flag. I went over and looked at the car. The tread seemed narrow so I asked to pick the car up. She looked very shocked, and annoyed but obliged. I looked at the inside of the wheels and sure enough no BSA logo, hollow cavity, and paper-thin treads. I would say they were 1 to 1.5 gram wheels. I was shocked. I told her “These wheels are extensively lightened and illegal”. She did not seem to understand the issue. I told her I would not tell anyone, that the car had already raced so the damage was done, but the wheels were a significant advantage. She thanked me, and put the car away. I found out shortly after that my buddy had noticed the same thing as he checked the car over closely after returning it to the table (he was in charge of placing cars on the track to race). He made the issue clear to the Cub master, and a few of the other leaders helping with the track.
My wife sitting in the audience heard a parent mention that the same scout "was clearly the fastest every year". I am crushed as a responsible leader. Leadership has failed to fairly administer the race this year, and possibly for several in the past. A new Tiger should have won the overall pack (it was not my son) but instead was second. I am not sure if the Cub Master was truly oblivious to the out of spec wheels, but I do question why the car was checked in when nobody else was present. Next year my buddy and I will be chairing the races so rules will be clearly defined, and check in will be conducted by the same individual on 100% of the cars. However I cannot shake the disappointment I have in the leadership of my Pack, and I really am not sure that there is anything I can do about it. I have always been passionate about Derby racing, and wondered why some were completely turned off by it. Now I guess I know…
I'm sorry to hear what happened at your race. Fortunately, with you in charge I doubt it will happen again. Hopefully the illegal car will be stopped at the District level. Best of Luck in all your teams future races.
Is run it better yourself next year and inspect well. That's what I did (without the crushing story)
Interestingly I checked the Mid-America results that were run on the same track type as ours (Ours was a 42' Best track, I was told 40' which does not exist) and the best stock car graphite lube times from last year was a 2.945.
Mid America rules are actually less strict than our as extended wheel bases and after market axles are allowed at Mid-America. We have to run box axles (not even Revell's are allowed in my interpretation) and existing axle slots.
That makes our third place average of 2.974 and the second place average of 2.972 pretty good by comparison in my opinion.
It also makes the car in questions time at our Pack of 2.894 a pretty obvious red flag. Heck those times are significantly faster than even the Pro Stock division at Mid America.
Now there is rumor there may not be a district race, and the Cub Master is who was helping organize it.
If nothing else I am going to encourage my son and the winning Tiger to proxy their cars to Mid-America.
If there is a district race I would be sure the CM knows that her son's car won't be able to compete as-is if the same rules are used. It is one thing to act naive but now that it was brought up to her at the pack race it would be pretty brazen to keep ignoring it when other packs are involved.
I know...I was one of them 30 years ago, well I was the scout that got called a cheater for winning district and council. We just put in the work, and back then a digital timer and a home built test track gave you enough advantage to look like a cheater. There was no internet to hand out legal secrets for free:)
I applaud the second place car that beat us. They did there homework and had a very fast legal car which is what I like to see.
This reminded me of one our earliest experiences with PWD racing, which happened before the advent of inexpensive electronic pocket scales.race#67 wrote:Bending the rules is never acceptable, but to be done by the highest ranking leader has me totally befuddled.
Each year the Cubmaster (who was also the Trackmaster) had borrowed a very precise scale from a local laboratory for our derby -- until one of the Cubs knocked it off a table after the races! Not wanting our Pack to continue risking something our unit didn't own, I convinced our chartered organization (a church group) to purchase a comparable scale, precise to 0.005 ounces and relatively expensive at the time. The Cubmaster took possession weeks before the derby and AFAIK he and his sons were the only racers who had access to the official scale in advance of the race.
Just before our first check-in with the new scale, the Cubmaster stood up and announced a curious rule change: if any car weighed in at 5.050 ounces, it would still pass inspection. I thought the ruling was quite odd (as it seemed to defeat the purpose of having a precise scale), until of course, his own son's car weighed in at exactly 5.050 ounces. Later he admitted to an Assistant Cubmaster that the finished car had been overweight and they spent a lot of effort removing wood from underneath the already-painted body; once it was within 0.050 ounces of the limit, it was so thin in places that they did not want to risk removing any more material. (Did I mention they won the race that year?)