Dual track racing

Discussions on buying, building or rehabbing a race track. Topics like plans, materials, tools, construction, finishing, commercially available tracks, and so on.
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SirStorm
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Dual track racing

Post by SirStorm » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:13 am

Our scouting group is church based and called Pathfinders. Last year we hosted an area wide Pinecar Derby meet that netted 198 entries and 11 clubs. We used a 6 lane Bestrack with a Fasttrack timer- vintage early 2000s. (not my track so not sure exactly of age) Race turned out great and we maxed out our time at 6 hours.

I thought 6 lanes was great! Any more would make the race to long, and less would be to short. Must be the kid in me!

Does anyone have experience with dual track races? I would like to increase capacity while keeping the race time about the same time.

I was thinking of running two different classes, one on each track, alternating back and forth. What I have found is my adult and teen races are not well attended as they come at the end of the day. By running the juniors on one track and the teens and adult races on the other, the teens and adults will get the same attention as the juniors. I am trying to spark more interest in these classes, it is hard to get teens to continue to participate in scouting with high school stuff pulling them away.



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pack529holycross
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Re: Dual track racing

Post by pack529holycross » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:42 am

The length of the racing time within your event is determined by the number of cars you have x average time between heats.200 racers x 1 minute per race = 200 minutes of racing, or jsut over 3.25 hrs. Increasing or decreasing lanes doesn't change the number of races. It does require a significant amount of efficiency in the pits and staging area. If you have 200 racers and you are running 6 hours, 6x60=360%200=1.8 min per heat. I believe you can cut that time in half to about 45 seconds per heat through increasing the efficiency of your staging process. The cumulative effect is also that cars are on the track twice as often, keeping the attention of the spectators. A few recommendations:

1. COLOR CODE YOUR TRACK - colors are far easier to recognize than numerals, and you can color code the data on the screen to match

2. Build 4 "staging" trays, color coded to the lanes on your track. These will be used to place the cars for the upcoming heats. You will need two people working the pits staging cars into the trays, and one person taking each tray to the starting line for the starter to move them to their respective lanes. Having the trays color coded here also helps to keep things on track, so to speak :)

3. Interweave your Heats --- this is the biggest timesaver. You will be running heats that are NOT consecutively in the same group. Why does this help? you don't have to wait for cars to come back from the finish line to stage up the next race. Additionally, Tigers see their cars every (number of groups)th race, rather than having to wait. YOu can have 2 or 3 heats prestaged in the trays, ready to be handed to the starter. If you do a all out finals with all ranks combined, you will encounter slower "per heat" times simply because you will only be working with 12-16 finalists. This is unavoidable, but does not destract from the suspense of the "grand finals"

This "workflow" is how we can get down to 30-40 seconds per heat, dramatically increasing the fan experience and decreasing the running time of the event.



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Re: Dual track racing

Post by goldrush » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:40 am

SirStorm wrote: Does anyone have experience with dual track races? I would like to increase capacity while keeping the race time about the same time.
We used 2 timed tracks for the finals at our rally last year.

One track was staging and racing the Kub Kars, and the other was staging and racing the Open class, Sponsor cars, and Scout Trucks. Other than human errors on one of the tracks (not familiar with the software), it worked well. the crowd saw racing, not waiting and getting bored.

For the morning of our rally, we did a "bubble sort", running 5 3 lane old school wooden tracks (from leaders hand book). Many of the wooden tracks have been around for years with individual groups.



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gpraceman
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Re: Dual track racing

Post by gpraceman » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:07 am

My stomach turns in knots when thinking about running an event with multiple tracks. You greatly increase the amount of equipment, people and logistics required to run the race. That increases the likelihood of something going wrong. Many have successfully run such a race, but it is not something that I wouldn't personally would want to do. We've run large district races with a single 4 lane track and it has worked out well for us. We stagger the times for the age groups. As one is racing the other is checking in. This leads to a longer day for the race crew, but makes the event far more manageable IMO.


Randy Lisano
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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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SirStorm
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Re: Dual track racing

Post by SirStorm » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:45 pm

Randy, thank you for making this a new topic. I am a little bit rusty on forum protocols.

I really did not expect so quick a response, much less such extensive info. Thanks guys!

Interleaving was definitely what I was thinking. I have no illusions it will shorten the race by half, but I will be racing during down time. This will be our 2nd hosted race. I am very proud of my club staff staff for pulling off our first race taking on 200 entries. Our Track Master (he owns the track) is a veteran and was a wealth of information. He was amazed we also pulled off the Derby DMV for those kids as the take home souvenir, laminated and on lanyards.

The wasted time I have not been able to get around is the fact that we must wait for the runner to bring back cars that are included in the next heat. Interleaving would help utilize this time, I am not going to rush my runners. Dropped cars are a evil to be avoided.



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Re: Dual track racing

Post by gpraceman » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:27 am

When using dual tracks it is best to run some groups on only one track and the remaining groups on the other track. No two tracks run the exact same, even if it is the same brand of track and timer, so it would be unfair to split any of the race group's heats between the two tracks.

With GPRM you can use master scheduling, which interleaves the heats from the different race groups, so you will reduce the chance of racers running in back to back heats. You will need two computers, one for each track, running GPRM. Run half your groups on the one track and the other half on the 2nd track. GPRM has a merge feature, if you wish to combine the data from the two data files into a single data file.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

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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