Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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msurebel
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Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by msurebel » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:55 am

Our district uses time racing where the top times at each Pack make it to district, so I'm limited somewhat in how we identify the winners, but!

We have a large Pack, 120 or so, and last year's event had over 100 cars with only 70 Scouts in our Pack. Even with the lower number last year, the racing of the cars lost everyone's interest after a while since you had Tigers racing with Webelos and using timed racing doesn't have the excitement of seeing your car cross the finish line first. We are using GPRM with 4 lane aluminum track. What I would like to do is group by Rank, but not run all the Tigers first, then Wolves. etc. but alternate groups, but run against your own rank. I would hope this would result in some of the younger kids actually winning a heat, even if they don't win their division. ANY IDEAS?

Our rules also dictate that after check-in, the Scouts can't touch the cars, so having the Scouts take their cars to the starting gate is out. What other things can be done to keep them involved?

I plan on having an MC, kid and dad interviews, some props and maybe have some actually race cars at the event for the boys to see.



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Re: Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by gpraceman » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:00 pm

If you have a more recent version of GPRM, check out the Master Scheduling feature. It is a way to alternate racing amongst the different race groups, yet keep racers competing only within their race group.


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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by Darin McGrew » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:05 pm

We have adults staging the cars too. The owners of the currently racing cars sit in four "seats of honor" at the finish end of the track. After the race, they return their cars to the pit area at the start end of the track.

If your kids aren't allowed to touch their cars, then they couldn't return their cars to the pit area. But they could sit in "seats of honor" to watch their cars cross the finish line.



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Stan Pope
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Re: Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:26 am

Tell me if I'm misunderstanding ... Your district has some rules about how the district races are conducted ... and your pack applies ALL of those rules in it's races. You are trying to add excitement to your pack's races. Right?

If so, then consider loosening the "who touches cars" rule for the pack races. For the pack races let the boys stage their own cars. (They ought to get to do it sometime!) The main "gotcha" is that the starter must watch the staging carefully to assure that no one nudges a car that is already staged. This is most easily done by staging the lanes in order, starting with the lane nearest to the starter. A set of eyes on each side of the track is needed if a car is bumped and its driver is called back to check and/or restage. The second "gotcha" is that the younger racers need a safe platform to stand on while staging their cars. About 18" is a good height for the smallest, so one or two steps leading up to the platform are needed.

You may also recognize and reward results in more categories than is done by in the district races. Just because the district recognized only "fastest overall" doesn't mean that your pack can't recognize fastest Tigers, fastest Wolves, ...

Consider "stagger starting" the groups. Webelos early, then Bear, then Wolf, ... This creates better seating for each of the groups of parents and higher frequency of racing for each participant. It also makes it feasible to run more heats for each participant.

Even though you are scoring by time, use a method that spreads out the competition so that each racer competes against as many other racers as possible. The PPN schedule in GPRM (and others) does this really well. The head-to-head results should correlate well to the timed results, though not always exactly. This gives more chances for everyone to win a heat. (If as many as possible winning a heat is an important goal, then you need to change methods entirely.)


Stan
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Re: Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by rpcarpe » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:23 pm

That's a lot of cars, kids and parents. Lot's of good ideas already on this post..

If you're using a race method where Tigers, Wolves, Bear etc... race then you can add other activities for the Cubs.
Face-painting
Magnetic Fishing
Bean Bag Toss
Any kind of REAL race cars are always a big hit...
Interviews with winning racers are good too.
I would also add Den vs. Den competition. Compare the total results from each Den, award the Biggest Trophy to the fastest Den. Make it a unique kind of thing... large wrench, hammer, golden nail etc... Buy it once, award it each year. Helps the racers share speed secrets and resources.
But I'm on a soapbox again...

KISMIF, especially the Make It Fun...
Once cars are eliminated, hold a demolition derby on a separate track w/ head-on collisions....

Anyone? Other ideas?

How 'bout a photo booth for build teams and their cars?
And of course, sell FOOD! Easiest fund-raiser of the year.


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

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Stan Pope
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Re: Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:04 pm

rpcarpe wrote:...

Once cars are eliminated, hold a demolition derby on a separate track w/ head-on collisions

...
Approach this one with some thought ...

When I was helping my son to build his first few derby cars, I wished that I had some of my cars from my youth to share with him. (Of course, this is silly, since PWD wasn't yet a gleam in Don's eye when I was a Cub Scout.)

It may seem attractive to a youngster that age, but if the car is destroyed at the end of the race, there is no opportunity for him to share it with his own son.

On a more practical side, one of the tests for this year's build is how it fares against last year's build during the "test and tune" session. Did we get faster? Are we losing ground? More work needed? DD removes that opportunity!


Stan
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Re: Timed Racing, but how can I make it more fun?

Post by msurebel » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:41 pm

We lived one place where we had the race at the local racetrack, but if it had been bad weather, we wouldn't have had a good race. Too bad we don't have a national dragstrip or speedway close by. LOL

I have access to a plotter where I can make backgrounds for pictures and their licenses, so I just need to find some good pictures for that. Of course, if we have some real cars there, we will use that for photos.

I may try and get a wireless video to have a roaming reporter that can be instantly put on the screen for others to see.



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