Wednesday, 23 February 2011

March 2000, driving the SV-10 Alcyon

So the next day i drove my new car at a badminton court, and called my friend Hawn Cheong, who had Yokomo YR-4 M2 Type J to join me. From the first time i placed the car on the track, i felt completely amazed, going from a TA03F with some hop ups, a few things were very apparent.
The car was whisper quiet ! it was so quiet, that i only heard the sound of the motor ! Not only that, but it zipped out of corners wayyyy faster, and handled wayyy better ! I also got much longer runtimes, becuase of the open design that allows air to flow all over the motor. After the batteries dumped, i also noticed that the motor cooled down much faster, at under 10 minutes ! my TA03 took 25 minutes to cool the motor down ! i made chassis protectors for the chassis under surface, cause i wanted to keep this car for a long long time.

From the lack of sound of the belt drive, i had no idea how efficient this car was, until i raced it a year later. I also brought the car and ran it at the Summit USJ carpet track, and i met another guy who owned a TA03, he was very amazed that my car was sooo quiet. He wanted to know what car i drove.
it was at the time, that i discovered a new track coming up, at USJ, owned by hobby haven, i frequented that track a lot at the time, with a 12T double yokomo motor. Also at the time, Ong Chee Yong introduced to me a new brand of tyre that had more grip than a tamiya Type A slick, cheaper and lasted longer, it was the SOREX. since then i have always been buying sorex. I was at HH alot, and with my 12T motor zipped quite fast and stable around the track, i never been that fast and smooth before with my TA03.
I did join a open race, which doesnt have much restrictions, and ended up in the C main, which wasnt bad out of 60 racers. I am always on a tight budget and my equipment is always of much less caliber than my competition, even today. In those days all the serious guys were running Sanwa M8 FM,LRP V7.1s, matched 3000 cells, CE Turbo chargers..while i only had a sanwa ace AM, a novak  Cyclone TC ESC, with a durtrax charge and a 3A power supply with Sanyo 2000mah cells !
In 2001, HH introduced a new type of low cost racing called cost control racing, the rules were to keep everyone on a level playing field.
First the motor, everyone had to use Yokomo 23T stock motor, with ratio of not less than 7.8. that ratio is a perfect match on the Yokomo MR4-TC at the time, and its not suprising since HH is the Yokomo dealer for malaysia. The next rule is no one ways at the layshaft or the front. Third rule, only 1 set of tyres.  Fourth rule wieght must be at least 1500g. Last rule, must use Yokomo 1500mah Ni Cd Batteries.
So i bought into eric chows sales pitch and bought the motor and battery package deal. In 2001, Thomas Tan and his team were already abandoning the Kawada SV-10 Alcyon, and pushing for a new car, the Xray T1. But i stuck with the Kawada, as thats just the way i am, if i am happy with something i will stick with it. And it was one of the best decisions of my life.
In the first race of the series, i used my HPI Firebird body, the car didnt handle well and was difficult to drive. For the next heat, my friend borrowed me his Andy's Stratus body, and immediately the car was PLANTED ! It was so fast that the local hotshot, TOM TAN who drove a Yokomo MR4TC SP, couldnt catch me at all ! The competition were HPI RS4 Pro3s, Pro2s, MR4TC of course and Tamiya Ta03s. I was so fast that i set the TQ that day, and i did that a few races after that too ! the best part was everyone trying to get a glimpse of my car , becuase i was the only one driving a Kawada , and it was fast ! Imagine going up against drivers with much better equipment, who charge their batteries at 5 amps, while i am only using AM radios and charge at 3A. Because they fixed the ratio and the batteries, i was able to shine with my driving skills, and the speed the Kawada took care of it. It was on that day i knew how efficient the SV-10s belt drive was.  but i was robbed of victory in the finals because the damn yokomo rim broke off at the hex area at the rear wheel. But it was a very promising day, because i set the TQ was the first time in my life, something i never was able to achieve with my TA02 and TA03.

The second round of the CC race came, and i was prepared. Again the results were the same, no one could touch me. What really made the top pros at the time miffed at me, was i was using cheap equipment (except the car) and i was beating the crap out of them. Every heat, i had to bring my car in for inspection and it passed. Tom Tan was very pissed and so were his Yokomo cohorts. This round i won the race easily and took 1st place all the way in all 3 heats and the finals.

In the 3 rd race (2 months later)1st heat, again i set the TQ. This time Tom Tan was very disturbed, so he openly voiced to the organiser to tear down my car and check the internal ratio. He surmised that Kawada advertised the internal ratio fraudulently, you see how he wans't trying to blame me. He asked the top sponsored driver of the time, Ong Chee Yong, to count my pulleys to see if the internal ratio was indeed (16T-36T) 2.25, with a 120 spur and 34T pnion, should give a ratio of 7.94. i removed the pulleys and the diffs and OCY took a pen and counted it in the shop. He mistakenly counted 17T layshaft pulley, that means by his calculation it was 2.11 internal ratio, he announced it and Tom Tan said in a releifed voice "So thats why he is so fast". With that calculation, my ratio was supposedly 7.45. I quickly protested and recounted the top pulley and the diff pulley in front of OCY, and i got 16-36, i stood there and counted together with OCY again, twice, and he agreed i was right. That means i wasnt cheating, my ratio was really 7.94, and it was legal becuase it wasnt below 7.8. This time OCY announced that i was right and my ratio was indeed spot on, tom tan was puzzled again, he couldnt understand why the Kawada could go so much faster than his yokomo eventhough his ratio is lower. He couldnt accept the hard and bitter truth, the Kawadas belt drive was light years more efficient than his MR-4TC SP. The MR4TC SP used a 15T-33T combination, as result, the belt must be adjusted tighter, also the belt system is closed, hence more chance for the belts to rub against the gearbox housing, whereas the Kawadas belt drive was open and free. lastly the pulley material on the Kawada was low friction P.O.M, i think the yokomo one was still old tech P.E.
so i placed those pulleys back again and raced the second and third heats. In the finals i won again. In the six races of the year, i won 4 1st places, 1 second place and 1 DNF (the first race). It was an extremely satisfying season.
the following year 2002, saw my kawadas advantage diminish, the winner of the year had to add 100g to his car, which made my car 1600g, the second place add 50g and third 30g.
By this time, all the advantage the kawada had was gone, the extra weight really slowed it down and i never regained my edge, eventhough i was still in the top 5 throughout the year, at this time HH introduced a super CC racing, still with the same motors and same batteries but with unlimited ratios. Alot of people were using 6.5. i decided to join this class too. The Xray T1 now came out in full force.
I started using one ways in the front. This time at higher speeds the car did not handle so well, eventhough it was the fastest car at the track, thats what Steven Tan said, a Xray T1 driver, he said my car was very fast but couldnt handle well. It was only 2 years later did i learn why.
At the controlled ratio of 7.8, the car was much slower, and a simple suspension setup was enough to give the car grip. when you start going faster, the cars suspension settings like camber and tweak made a huge difference. At the time i didnt know anything about tweak, so my car was probably tweaked, with uneven wheel loading, so it showed more prominently at higher speeds. no one tought me about it, and i was wondering why other people were so much faster than me in the corners. Everytime i took a croner the car wasnt very stable, and could slide out at the rear if cornered to aggresively. i continued like this up to 2004, joining race after race and dropping to the B main and C main at times. Other people were changing cars every year, like the Alex Racing Baracuda, the losi XXX-S, Yokomo SD, X Ray Evo 2...and they were doing better than me. I just went on like that wondering why. It was also at the time i bought a SV-10 Alcyon2 from Leonard Kee, but thats another story..

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