District Invitational

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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Rukkian
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District Invitational

Post by Rukkian » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:18 pm

I apologize for the long post, but would like some guidance from the gurus here.

Our pack has purchased a new track, and with it, we are looking (with my suggestion) to get some sort of district race for the area. At this point, the District is not sponsoring the event, nor promoting it, but I have their approval to go forward. I have been around the forum for quite some time, and have ran several races with very few issues ever reported. I have also helped out in Districts for a few years in our old council.

I have read most of the comments, but would like some help grasping all of the little details I need. The event is 4.5 months out at this point, and I am already starting to get overwhelmed at the sheer volume of details swirling around in my head.
- I have the new scout shop rented (tis free) for an entire day, which has ample room and the A/V equipment that seems to be needed.
- I have our BS troop planning to provide some sort of refreshments for sale during the event
- I will have some time at the next Round table to announce it, and ask for volunteers
- I am thinking about trying to limit the entries (maybe 3-5 per rank per pack)
- Track is a brand new 42' Besttrack with automatic start gate, lift kit, and K2 timer with computer interface
- Software - Have GPRM, RR, and Race Effects
- Planning one run down each lane, and probably running by times (usually do position for pack)
- I am thinking that we stagger (tigers first, then wolves checkin while Tigers race, etc), not planning a grand finals

Since this is the first one, I really have no idea what to expect, so here are some Questions I have:
1. How much time should I plan for each rank? I am thinking 1 hour for checkin ~1 hour for racing
2. Any idea what kind of turnout to plan for?
3. How many volunteers should I shoot for?
4. Any big gotcyas to be concerned with?
5. What am I not yet thinking about?



I pulled the potential rules from our old districts, and have used them the last 2 years for our pack. The goal is to allow creativity, and learning, while trying to keep some expensive parts out:

Overall: All cars must be built for the current Pinewood Derby Racing Season. NO REPEATS or REPAINTS. Cars must be tuned or aligned by the racer, adult supervision is encouraged. Cars may not be sent to third party facilities for tuning or other performance enhancements.
Body: The main body structure must be made of wood. Cars that were purchased completed may not be used. If the builder lacks the resources to cut out a car from a stock block of wood, attendance at a workshop is strongly encouraged. Alternately, a pre-shaped block may be purchased to be used with the stock BSA Wheels and approved Axles.

Car Specs:
A. Width - Not to exceed 2 3/4 inches
B. Length - Not to exceed 7 inches
C. Weight - Not to exceed 5.0 ounces on scale accurate to 1/10 ounce.
D. Height - Not to exceed 4 inches
E. Clearances:
1. Center Rail Width: Must clear center guide rails, typically no less than 1-3/4 inches minimum.
2. Bottom: No less than 3/8 inches from track surface between center rails. Weights are preferred to be inset in the body or on top of the car to aid in a safe stop at the end of the track and avoid scraping the center rail down the curved section.
3. Other: No part of the car or attachment to any car, which is metal, pointed, sharp, and/or jagged, may be capable of contacting any part of the track. No part of the car body, wheels or attachments may protrude in front of the starting peg.
F: Aesthetics: The car design may be enhanced by the addition of other stable materials such as plastic or metal. Any additions must be firmly attached and meet Car Size Requirements.
G: Prohibited Items: The following items are PROHIBITED: Springs, Starting devices or propellants, Electronic or lighting devices that interfere with the race electronics, Liquids (other than axle lubrication), wet paint, oil, sticky substance, or powders of any kind (other than axle lubrication), Glass or excessively fragile parts, Bearings, bushings, washers, sleeves, hubcaps or inserts attached to or in contact with the axle, body or wheels, Loose objects on car, Magnets
Wheels:
A. Use only Official Scout Grand Prix wheels - Outer wheel surface may be lightly sanded, shaved, or polished to remove surface imperfections and mold casting burrs, but must not be reshaped in any way in an attempt to lighten the wheel, minimize tread contact or alter aerodynamics You may add material such as glue, fingernail polish, or tape, to the inside of the wheel to aid in balancing of the wheel, but no material may be removed from the inside surfaces..
B. Wheel Bore treatment is allowed including polishing and/or tapping. Wheel bores may not be filled and re-drilled to alter bore diameter or to achieve better fit with the axle.
C: There must be at least four wheels on the car, however, it is not required that all four wheels make contact with the track surface. Each wheel must be mounted on an axle, on the outside of the car, in the vertical position. Each wheel must be attached directly to the wood car body by an axle and spin freely.
D: Please note: There are after market modified wheels that are LIGHTENED. This is usually done by turning the wheels on a lathe and removing material from the inside of the wheel. These wheels are NOT allowed and EASILY RECOGNIZED at inspection. Cars with these wheels will not be permitted to race.
Axels:
A: BSA Nail type axels are required. Axles must not be connected to any device that mechanically alters rotation and spin. Axles must be mounted into the wood sections of car.
B: Drilled holes or slots can be used. Over-application of lubricant which results in excessive shedding onto the track is not allowed.
C: Approved lubricants include (but are not limited to) Graphite, Teflon, Nyoil, and Krytox. Please note – NO GRAPHITE IS TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE RACE LOCATION, due to the mess it makes. Please use graphite before hand, and shake off any excess. We encourage the use of oil for lubrication, due to it being cleaner, easier and potentially faster.
INSPECTION: Each car must pass inspection by the Official Inspection Committee before it may compete. The Inspectors will disqualify any car not meeting these rules. Any adult or scout may appeal the findings of the Inspectors to the Race Committee Chair-person, whose decision is final. After acceptance only race officials will handle the cars. Cars may be reclassified or disqualified if they are determined by the race officials to not meet these requirements.
REPAIRS: Race officials may authorize repairs, usually when damage is caused by collision with another vehicle or object. The Cub Scout is in charge of all car repairs. Guidance is allowed and encouraged. Ideally repairs can be done before the next heat that the car is in starts. After the car is repaired Officials will run the race again.
BEHAVIOR: GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP AND BEHAVIOR IS EXPECTED. Race Officials may ask anyone not following this rule to leave.



Speedster
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Re: District Invitational

Post by Speedster » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:03 am

I would stay conservative on how many racers you invite.
I'll tell you what our District does and it might give you some idea.

We have a 4 lane Best track and a 4 lane Freedom track.
The 1st and 2nd place winners from each Pack go to District.
There are 15 Packs in the District which gives 30 racers in each grade group or 150 racers.
30 racers go down the Best track once in each lane giving them each 4 times down the track.
The 8 fastest cars move to the Freedom track and go down each lane twice.
The 3 fastest cars receive a trophy and the rest receive a "Thank you".
Both tracks are in use at the same time throughout the day.
Racers for 5th grade start inspection at 8AM and the races are over around 3 to 4PM.

Good Luck to you.



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birddog
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Re: District Invitational

Post by birddog » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:31 pm

5. What am I not yet thinking about?
Budget. How many trophies do you need to purchase and how much will they cost?

For our district race, we charge $40 per pack. For that, each pack can enter 6 cars (3 in the racing division and 3 in best of show division). We have trophies for each.

We collect the $ ahead of time so we know how many attendees we will have and can purchase trophies consistent with the number of entries. We do not run by rank, the top fastest 5 cars get trophies and the top 5 best of show get trophies, with our usual ~100 total entries.

This year, I'm going to see if I can get a custom patch made and ensure every participant gets a patch, but that may stretch my budget too thin.

Birddog



Speedster
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Re: District Invitational

Post by Speedster » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:45 pm

Birddog, am I reading this correctly? A Pack can enter only 3 cars in the racing division. If 1st Place winners were chosen to go to District that would mean 2 First Place winners would not get to race the District. Is that correct?



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FatSebastian
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Re: District Invitational

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:58 pm

Speedster wrote:If 1st Place winners were chosen to go to District that would mean 2 First Place winners would not get to race the District.
Implicitly I think Speedster's comment about 3 +2 winners presumes that a Pack awards 1st place for each rank / grade level. birddog's approach seemingly presumes that a Pack awards 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for the entire Pack. We have participated in units that do it both ways.



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birddog
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Re: District Invitational

Post by birddog » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:01 pm

FS has it right. Each pack sends their top 3 fastest cars, regardless of rank. We do not separate trophies by rank at our District races.

Birddog



Speedster
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Re: District Invitational

Post by Speedster » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:32 pm

Thank you FS and birddog for clarifying that for me. That type system is new to me.



Rukkian
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Re: District Invitational

Post by Rukkian » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:58 am

I had not heard of that either. I assumed you would not want ranks racing against each other. I know that in districts (and council) that my boys particpated in in our old council, My son (tiger at the time) got 2nd in districts and 9th in council, but would have been 9th in district and 35th in council for the Web 1 that my older son was in.

Maybe that makes them strive for more in the future, but it may be disheartening to get beat that bad by older kids imo.

I was thinking along the lines of 5 per rank per pack, allowing many boys to race, but also being a somewhat selective. For price, I was thinking about trying to keep it small, and go from there, maybe $5 - $7 per racer.

I would like to have everybody sign up in advance, but I know some will not. I would like to not turn people away, as the point is for the boys to have some fun. I would like to get some sort of trophies (maybe some ratio - 1 trophy for every 5 entries?) and then get either a ribbon or a medal for each participant.

I know when my boys made it to council their last year in the old council, my older son (web1) got 12th place (just out of the 10 trophies), but they gave everybody a medal, and he actually cherishes that medal more than all of the trophies he has received, since the event was so much fun. I want every boy to go home with something as a souvenier (on top of their car) and to have some fun, and want to come back the next year.

Since the facility is only costing us $25 (charge for the bulbs and usage of A/V), and the track is already paid for, the only expenses that I can think of would be the trophies/awards. I would like it if the pack made a small amount (or at least broke even).

Math in my head -

$3/person for medals
$2/person for trophies ($10 each/5 due to 5:1 ratio)
$1/person for miscellaneous expenses

In my head, if I charge $7 per scout, it should be close. I could bump it up to $10 per entry and give us some extra, but I dont want make it too much, as I want to make it so everybody can do it.



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Stan Pope
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Re: District Invitational

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:38 am

I like separating the racers by rank, too. It allows more boys to race and gives a better appearance of fairness.

From an old survey, I found that 3 or 4 racers (per rank) per pack maximized participation. I like to have fewer racers per pack than trophies to award to avoid a pack from "sweeping".

Our rule is 4 racers per rank per pack are invited. Participation is around 50% of those who could come actually do come. So, if you have 40 packs and invite 4 per rank per pack, you could have 160 racers in each rank. I would expect about 80 per rank to actually come to race. Why not all? I suspect that most of those who finish 3rd or 4th in their category see little hope of doing well in the district races and, so, decide to do something else on that day. On the other hand, some of the slower racers will do significant rework on their cars and want to race at district in anticipation of doing better than they did in their pack races. With this in mind, we encourage packs to fill vacancies of those who qualify but opt out with others who want to race.


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birddog
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Re: District Invitational

Post by birddog » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:43 am

I agree, I think separating by rank (like we do for our Pack races) is better than not.

Now that I'm in charge of our District races, I may change this in the future.

Birddog



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