Our track is built from sections of the excellent Spanish brand, Ninco, and supplied at an excellent price by Pendle Slot Racing. These are slightly wider than Scalextric, the guide slot is slightly deeper, the surface is more grippy and the integrity of the electrical connections is superior too. Additionally, the guide rails are insulated by two plastic rails which means braids and screws falling into the slot will not cause electrical shorts.
After several options were discussed we eventually ended up with a layout that has clear echoes of our previous circuit, although this one is not as fast to drive; being more technical at the kitchen end with less of an obvious flow from corner to corner. As you can see, the circuit has a nice long back straight to get some speed up, some twisty bits and a good mix of curves, including some of variable radius. The trackside banners, which really add to the atmosphere and are best seen on our photos page, were sourced from Robbies Hobbies.
All in all it took five months to complete, meeting every Tuesday night for two hours work (and one hour of natter!).
We use the expensive but feature-packed Slotmaster system to control lane allocation, timing, and for some races, fuel management - making a good pitstop strategy a must. Sensors in the slot feed back to the PC and allow times to be recorded down to hundreths of a second and also monitor jump starts - offenders then have the power to their lane cut for whilst the innocent get a rightful head start.
Power comes from four of the old style blue Scalextric power supplies - one dedicated to each lane so there are no power surges if a car de-slots. Each has a capacitor wired across the terminals to smooth out the power.
The transformers are wired to allow dynamic braking. This means that when a driver comes fully off the power there is a definite braking effect, as opposed to the free wheeling of the old standard Scalextric controllers. Racers are therefore able to stay on the throttle for longer up to a corner and this introduces a more realistic element to the racing as everyone tries to see who can be 'the last of the late-brakers'.
Drivers are free to use any brand of hand throttle they wish, provided it does not use capacitors. Parma 'Economy' and 'Plus' controllers with anything from 25 to 45 ohms resistors are the most popular brand. Connection to the power box is via small three pin 2 amp plugs of the type used for lighting circuits - these being almost a standard with British clubs.
There are several spare controllers available for newcomers to try out on a race night and regulars will nearly always allow newcomers to trial their own if asked nicely.
If you have ever dreamt of running on a really big circuit, if you have never raced four abreast, then you should come down one Tuesday evening and try this out. The first visit is free.