U4RC Racing – The RCNetwork at Cherry Valley

U4RC Racing – What is it?

I’ve been a huge scale, crawler and rock racing fan since my first Axial SCX10 and Wraith a few years ago. Recently, I was invited via a FaceBook friend to participate in a local U4RC race – and with just a few weeks to prepare, I thought…..what a great way to meet people and see what this U4RC thing is all about. At quick glance, U4RC is based on an outdoor track, typically 1/8th scale in size with jumps and of course some obstacles like rock gardens and logs throughout the course. What really stands out in U4RC is the main objective – being a Scale looking vehicle over just performance. It’s still based on a driver stand/vehicle within driver’s sight, but it’s tough! The obstacles were my biggest question going into the race. So here’s a look into my weeks coming up to my first U4RC race and the preparation.

Preparing for my first U4RC race

First off, I wanted to be prepared, so I reviewed the rules for U4RC along with the class requirements. I originally thought all tire size (1.9” and 2.2”) classes raced together, but that was not the case. There were multiple classes for each tire size and, these classes will vary from venue to venue depending on participation. Here’s a quick look*, but you can check out www.u4rc.com/rules/ for a full list:

1.9” Trail
(Axial SCX10/ii, Vaterra Ascender)

This class is for 1.9” tire and wheel clad trail type vehicles that are stock through highly modified. Vehicles must have (2) solid axles. Truggy type vehicles require a minimum of a molded hood and cab, while full tube chassis require a molded hood minimum. This is an entry level 1.9 class, but will likely have faster, yet similar vehicles competing. Vehicle should resemble something you would see on a 1:1 trail, or at a 1:1 rock race in an entry level class. This is not for full blown race vehicles.

Class Specs:
1.9” Wheel Diameter
Solid Axles Only
Max Wheelbase: 13”
Max Width: 10.5”

1.9 Comp
(1.9 Wraith, Bomber, Vaterra Twin Hammers)

This class is for 1.9” tire clad rigs, that are highly modified, and resemble full size race vehicles. Vehicle must be scale in appearance for rock-race style racing. The vehicle must have a driver figure or insert installed.

Class Specs:
1.9” Wheel Diameter
IFS with solid rear axle Only
Max Wheelbase: 13”
Max Width: 11”

1.9 Trophy
(Full Custom)

This class is for 1.9” tire clad Ultra4 style rigs that are highly modified and highly resemble full size rock race vehicles. The emphasis in this class is appearance first and performance second. IFS and IFS/IRS cars are required to have a metal cage attached to a custom metal skid/pan. Skid/pan is defined as a partial pa

n chassis, attached to a solid rear axle. Rail style chassis are allowed when welded to the tube portion of the chassis. All upper shock mounts must be part of the metal chassis structure for all chassis types. A center differential is allowed in solid axle vehicles ONLY. Center differentials are not legal in IFS or IFS/IRS configurations.

Class Specs:

1.9” Wheel Diameter
IFS, Solid Axle, IFS/IRS
Metal Cage Only
Scale Driver with Helmet
Max wheelbase: 13”
Max Width: 11
Min Weight: 7 lbs
Center Differential Allowed: Solid Axle Vehicles Only

2.2 Comp
(Axial Bomber, Wraith)

This class is for 2.2” tire clad vehicles that are moderately to heavily modified. Vehicle must be scale in appearance for rock racing. This class includes vehicles running plastic chassis, metal chassis and roll cages or a combination thereof. Either a molded driver interior, or driver figures are required. Driver and/or passenger must both have helmets and and be an upper torso minimum.

Class Specs:
2.2” Wheel Diameter
Solid Axle Only
Max wheelbase: 15”
Max width: 13″

2.2 Indy
(Axial Yeti, Losi Rock Rey)

This class is for 2.2” tire clad vehicles that are moderately to heavily modified. Vehicle must be scale in appearance for rock racing. This class includes vehicles running plastic chassis, metal chassis and roll cages or a combination thereof. Either a molded driver interior, or driver figures are required. Driver and/or passenger must both have helmets and and be an upper torso minimum.

Class Specs:
2.2″ Wheel Diameter
IFS with solid rear axle Only
Max Wheelbase: 15”
Max Width: 13”

2.2 Trophy
(Full Custom)

This class is for 2.2” tire clad Ultra4 style rigs that are highly modified and highly resemble full size rock race vehicles. The emphasis in this class is appearance first and performance second. IFS and IFS/IRS cars are required to have a metal cage attached to a custom metal skid/pan. Skid/pan is defined as a partial pan chassis, attached to a solid rear axle. Rail style chassis are allowed when welded to the tube portion of the chassis. All upper shock mounts must be part of the metal chassis structure for all chassis types. A center differential is allowed in solid axle vehicles ONLY. Center differentials are not legal in IFS or IFS/IRS configurations.

Class Specs:
2.2” Wheel Diameter
IFS, Solid Axle, IFS/IRS
Metal Cage Only
Scale Driver with Helmet
Max wheelbase: 14.50”
Max Width: 12.75”
Min Weight: 8 lbs
Center Differential Allowed: Solid Axle Vehicles Only

The RC Cars

Having a practically brand new Axial Bomber and a Yeti SCORE truck to race, I thought what a great challenge for my custom builds. Of course, the SCORE truck is not a legal class, so I would need to convert it to an Axial Yeti – which is pretty easy to do (cage, bumper wheels/tires). I set out to compete in the 2.2” Comp with my Bomber and the 2.2” Indy with my Yeti. Looking more into U4RC, these are the most popular classes as many people can grab an RTR Bomber, Yeti or the new Rock Rey and head out to the race being pretty much legal to start (the Losi Rock Rey needs a couple of mods to be legal)

What did I need to compete?

Racing two classes (2.2 Comp and 2.2 Indy) can be tough, especially when it comes to electronics, tires, shocks, etc. I wanted to run many of the same items to keep the cost down if something were to break down, or if I needed replacement parts. I could simply borrow items from one rig to the other in a pinch.

I turned to HOBBYWING for all the electronics for the two rigs running the Xerun XR8 SCT combo with 3660 (550 can size) 3200kv motors. Fully programmable with the HOBBYWING Wifi Express, I could easily do in field changes with my iPhone on both classes. Check them out here: HOBBYWING XR8 SCT Unboxing and Wifi Express.

Next, I wanted identical suspension and tires for the two rigs. Pro-Line Racing has easily become the go-to place for these two categories especially for U4RC rigs. The Powerstroke shocks are legendary, and I opted for the XT rears for both rigs and the Slash rears for the fronts on both classes. Tune-ability was easy as Pro-Line offered the Spring tuning kit as an option for the Slash Rears.  See the video on the Pro-Line XT Rear Shocks here.

Tires are a tough item, but I could not help but get drawn to the brand new Pro-Line Hyrax 2.2” tire. It’s one of the tallest tires in its class and has some of the best tread design I have seen with its G8 compound rubber being extra grippy. The dual stage inserts from Pro-Line also added to the “go fast” ability of my two rigs giving them crawl-ability with the open cell foam on the ends but with the closed cell foams to keep things together at speed.

Race Day – March 18th, 2017

Race day came all too quick. The first race of the summer season for SoCal U4RC was held at the Cherry Valley U4 Raceway in Banning, CA. Traveling from Orange County to Banning (with the 91 freeway down to 1 lane) took a couple of hours, so I opted for a 5:30am start for an 8am – 5pm race day.

With all my gear, I arrived and was one of the first to walk the new larger track layout. Chris Pickering, Jason Fletcher and others out did themselves with a great track layout. It was very 1/8th scale buggy in size, but the added rock gardens and hills gave it that U4RC feel.

Setting up Camp

I brought enough gear to set up for days! But some of the necessary items I needed were:

10×10 EZ up canopy – it was easily 80 degrees in SoCal that weekend so keeping the heat off of you and the rigs are important.

Chairs and Table – you have to have a comfortable place to work and set up. I worked more intensely on my rigs here than ever before. I had a feeling of NHRA to get my rigs ready for the next heat. A good pit mat will help keep thing clean

Power – Many people opted for generators, but the track owner was nice enough to supply an area to run extension cords to to grab power for your chargers, dremels and soldering stations.

Food/Drink – I brought an entire cooler of the appropriate beverages and of course some food to keep me going. Word to the wise – eat before you get hungry!

Spare Parts – I brought enough spare parts for my rigs and others. It’s just part of the camaraderie I found there. Everyone was willing to lend a hand, part, etc. to keep everyone going. I lent out tools, parts and knowledge every chance I got.

Race Time

U4RC races are like others where you get qualifying heats to gain you track position for the mains. The one thing different is that everyone qualifies for the mains which adds to the fun of the event. No packing up and going home early…it’s 8+ hours of fun. After every heat/main you race in, you get to help out as turn marshal for the next heat/main. I found this time crucial because it gets you time down on the track and learn other racer’s lines, track grooves, etc. for your next heat/main. Heats are 5 minutes and mains are 8 minutes.

How did I do?

I started out with a goal to just finish the race. Having two almost brand new rigs, I had no idea how they would do in this harsh U4RC environment. That goal was easily crushed with my Heat 1 (2.2 comp and 2.2 indy) resulting in DNF’s on the first lap. My Bomber had an electrical issue that was as simple as a loosely plugged-in receiver lead. My Yeti lost steering with a faulty steering link (link pulled out of the stock rod end.) Heat 2 was much better and I finished both heats – but I quickly noticed I had the wrong shock package on the Bomber, and the Yeti had some steering issues (the larger steering link was getting caught on the top plate resulting in very little steering angle.)

2.2 Comp Race

My Axial Bomber still didn’t feel right – I adjusted the spring rate in the front, but the oil was the problem. I was running 40wt in the front and it was way too much. I had no forgiveness on the jumps with the stiffness on the front solid axle, so slow going it was. I ended up finishing 4th out of about 10 participants, which wasn’t too bad considering this was my least favorite class.

2.2 Indy Race

With about 20 participants, the officials split the group into two mains, and with my just mediocre performance in the heats, I started 4th in the B Main. I seemed to work out my steering issues and quickly led the first lap and ended up winning the B Main which earned me a spot in the A Main just a few races later. As I grabbed my Yeti for the A Main, I noticed an issue with my sway bar in the rear…..the officials do allow 5 minute fixes for the mains (but not for the heats.) A quick fix got me on the stand and ready for the A Main. The 8 minute mains seem to last forever, but with that, I got out to a 3rd place lead quite quickly and 4th was nowhere in sight. I laid low and just tried to hit my jumps and cruise through the gardens to try and secure that podium finish. Eight minutes went by and I just had my first podium finish in U4RC – 3rd in 2.2 Indy. Not too bad for a first timer!

Overall, I had a great time racing U4RC. It’s a mix of great people, great venues and great times racing your RC’s. I highly recommend getting out there and see if there’s a U4RC track near you. Grab that RTR Yeti, Bomber, Wraith, Rock Rey, SCX10 and go have a blast!

Have you considered U4RC as your next step in racing? Do you have a track near you? What’s your favorite U4RC rig?

*Reference: www.u4rc.com/rules/

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