Radio control (RC) crawling is a sport that involves a very slow, low geared RC truck with a high center of gravity and loads of torque. These crawlers are designed to climb rocks and rough terrain, they are also well balanced and light so that they can easily go up obstacles. If you really want to have fun Rock crawling, then you need to get into a RC crawling competition. You will agree with me that, just going to Rock crawl all by yourself or maybe with the company of few friends is boring, but if you are in the company of thousands, you will definitely find Rock crawling more interesting.
The camping experience during the competition is so much fun because you will meet people from different parts of the world and you will certainly find the cheering crowd very fascinating and helpful. You will need plenty of water during Rock crawling and make sure you dress appropriately for the weather. If you are interested in Rock crawling competitions, this article takes all the guesswork out of making the leap from just crawling to competing, then all I can say from here is “go to have fun”.
How it works
RC crawling competition can be intimidating for beginners, but it is definitely not as complicated as the racing scene. It is important to check the local club rules and see if there is anything you need to change on your rig before showing up to a Rock crawling event.
On getting to the event, it is mandatory to check in with the event organizers and register, then they will check your vehicle to make sure that your rig is within legal restrictions. After the registration and inspection process, there will be a brief driver’s meeting where judges go offer some basic rules and tell you how things are run that day.
Events are run in two common ways.
The first one is that a random starting order is picked for the course at a certain time. You need to pay attention to the order and make sure you are ready to go, but sometimes the running order is based on the scores from the first course. The system used will be explained by the event organizers and make sure you ask questions anytime you seem lost or confused.
The second way is called “free for all” course set up, it is mostly used by larger Rock crawling clubs. How it works is that three or four courses will be set up and you decide when you want to run each one, all you need do is show up to the course and sign in with the judge. You are expected to complete all the courses by a certain time restriction. If you do badly at one course, don’t press the panic button yet you can always make up for it on another course. At the end of the race the judges will tally up the scores and the person with the least amount of penalties will win.
Keys to success
Prepare your rig: The first step in having a successful and enjoyable outing is making sure your rig is ready. Test all rig functions before a competition. Make sure all of the electronics work properly. Look for any loose component and replace anything that is broken or looks to be excessively worn. Make sure the truck is thoroughly cleaned up, cleaning the truck will help reveal any potential problems.
Prepare yourself: It’s true that your truck needs to last the whole day, but so do you. RC crawling competitions are often held at more out of the way locations. If the event isn’t held at a hobby shop, you will need to prepare a little differently than you would for a typical race day or bash session. Don’t take proper attire for granted. Wear high quality, broken-in boots and dress in layers. Also, bring a hat to help protect your eyes and face from the sun.
The right attitude: In RC crawling competitions, attitude is everything. The first thing you should realize is that RC rock crawling is far more laidback compared to tradition RC racing. It is only as serious as you make it. Don’t confuse worry with concentration, you need to concentrate. If you worry about making mistakes, you will focus on the possible mistake and be highly likely to make it.
Charge your batteries: Leaving them at home is one thing, bringing them and realizing you forgot to charge them is another. You should bring about 500Mah per 5 kilometers depending on the surface. If there is a lot of snow or sand, bring more batteries.
Pre-run: pre-running a course is against the rules but studying your course ahead of time and picking out your line is very important. When pre-running look for alternative routes and optional lines, you might need them if things don’t go according to plan.
Don’t rush: When you rush you are more likely to make costly mistakes, good drivers drive slowly and are very focused. Take your time and plan out your line.
Thinking big is key: You should not attack each gate as individual obstacles. Think of Rock crawling as a game of chess where you have to think of multiple moves at a time, am sure you don’t want to clear a gate only to be left in an impossible position for the next.
Practice makes perfect: Knowing your truck’s abilities and limitations are very important and you can only achieve this if you practice. If you don’t know what your rig can and cannot do, you will always make mistakes. And practice will improve your driving skills and you can learn a new skill too when you practice.
Typical camp day
Smaller clubs will have small turnouts and the camping days are usually short, in turn, bigger clubs will have big turnouts and the camping days are usually long. Here is how a typical camp might go down at a large club.
9:00 AM Arrival of competitors and the registration process starts in which checks are performed and courses are being designed
9:30 AM Courses are being finished by the course designers
9:45 AM Driver’s meeting takes place where the event organizers will outline how the day will go and explain the basic rules
10:00 AM Drivers will start running the courses, in some cases multiple courses are run at once so, make sure you know where to be
1:00 The first will finish then, the second class is set up
1:30 Second class will start
4:30 PM Second class will finish
4:45 PM Scores are tallied
5:00 PM Awards are presented.
In RC crawling competitions points are added for penalties and just like golf, the lowest score wins. The most common penalty is for using reverse, but you can also get penalties for rolling your vehicle over and hitting gates. There are time limits for every course and exceeding the time limit will result in a Did Not Finish (DNF). Touching your vehicle (for a repair, by accident or to reposition it other than for a simple rollover) it is deemed a touch penalty and it will cost you 10points. Rollovers are only worth 5points, but you must only simply roll the vehicle back over to either side. You cannot pick it up and place it back on all four tires.
Vehicle Touch +10
Out of bounds +10
Rock crawling is a fun-filled sport, but in order to enjoy it better and not just risk your life or waste your time for nothing, you need to be well informed. For beginners, it is always difficult but with the right information and dedication, you will be a professional in no time.
Thanks for reading
Written Chrixtopher from fiverr.
Edited by Carlos Santos