31/08/23: Club Cars – More Lube Needed

More Lube Needed.

Some hobbies are enjoyed quietly: origami, painting, stalking, for example. Others aren’t: singing, shooting, flatulence. Slotcar racing falls into the latter category, its noise a mixture of cars whizzing around and club members chatting and joking, none more so than Molesey’s less-than-silent Simon and Terry. With those two absent this week, the atmosphere in the clubroom was uncharacteristically peaceful. Or would have been, were it not for Alex.

Yes, Alex. The RevoSlot club cars returned this week, and the way they’re raced has evolved since the beginning of the year. For the first event, drivers were allowed just a handful of warm up laps before lining up on the startline, where the cars’ tyres were cleaned by the startline marshal. That routine didn’t last long and has quickly copied the typical Molesey thing; endless practice laps, drivers cleaning their own tyres and roundly ignoring the start marshal’s repeated pleas for them to line up and race, the delaying tactics presumably employed in the hope that by doing so they’ll confer a tiny performance advantage to each driver. So far, so normal.

So to the first heat, Group 1 comprising Julian, David, Chris and Alex. Plenty of pre-race lappery and plenty of tyre cleaning, but this time the cleaning was accompanied by an unusual squeak, probably only audible because Terry and Simon were elsewhere. Squeak squeak squeak it went, then a pause, then a few more squeaks. Odd.

Still, the heat finished without any undue drama, Julian ahead of Alex, then David and Chris. Next, Group 2 raced their first heat, Neil winning that one, followed home by Graham, Vince, Mario and visitor Gary Hobden from Larkfield slot car club in Kent.

Heat 2, Group 1, and the squeaking was back. Squeak squeak. Squeak squeak. Definitely odd. Julian extended his lead, Alex remained second, David third. Group 2’s next heat was unremarkable other than Vince dropping to the bottom of the field, struggling to tame the evil-handling yellow-lane car.

And so it continued, heat after heat, Group 1 with its squeak, Group 2 without. Julian won comfortably, David beat Alex to second after a race-long squabble, Mario won two of his group’s heats, and Chris’s recent run of good results came to a crashing end.

It wasn’t until well into the race that the cause of the strange squeaking was identified. It was Alex. Recently single and so perhaps now more reliant on the self-administered rhythmic rubbing and stroking of his mechanical and other parts than he had been a few weeks ago, he’d developed a curious tyre cleaning technique. As he cleaned them with his roll of sticky tape, they or it or he would squeak. Given his newfound singledom, nobody was in any mood to take a closer look at his hands, but the way he was holding his tape was the culprit. Odd. Very odd indeed.

A tip, Alex. Use more lube.

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