Canadian Nationals 2018 – 1/5th Scale Offroad RC Racing

How can a weekend of camping and racing be so disappointing and wonderful at the same time? Here’s how…

I’m a total newbie when it comes to RC cars. I’ve owned a couple toy ones as a kid but earlier this year, I saw some friends driving their 1/5th scale, gas powered RC cars, and took a liking to it big time. Before I knew it, I found myself owning a used and hugely beat up HPI Baja 5B SS 2WD buggy with a bunch of spare parts.

The outdoor, off road, racing community is pretty well established but needs some serious organization. There aren’t a lot of venues to race at and running an event takes a huge amount of work and lots of volunteers. Even just practice days takes a lot of effort by the land owner to make sure the track is in race ready condition.

A couple months ago, RC Acres finally opened for a practice day so off I went. Up until then, I was only running my buggy in the parking lot at my work trying to get down some basic driving skills. 2WD cars are the hardest to drive but that’s what I had and if I can get good with that, I can drive anything. The practice day at RC Acres was my first time driving at a purpose built off road track. I crashed a lot, broke some stuff, fixed the car and learned a lot. My next time out was the Canadian Nationals at Walton Raceway. I knew I was going to be way out of my league but hey…it will be fun. My goal was to just learn the track, work on technique and stay out of people’s way who have had years of experience doing this.

My HPI Baja 5B SS Buggy ready to race.
My HPI Baja 5B SS Buggy ready to race.

Friday was practice day and at first things went as expected…I crashed a lot and broke stuff. Easy repairs but there seemed to be an underlying issue with my buggy…It wouldn’t turn much. After some trouble shooting, it seemed that my steering servo was pretty worn out and it was time for a new one. Thanks to some help from Andrew at SkyCraft Hobbies, I bought a new servo and installed it. Then a new problem popped up. My receiver kept browning out. Tried different servos, checked the wiring, tried different receivers. Some of the most experienced drivers around were helping me find the problem and we were all left scratching our heads. In the end, it turned out the battery I was using couldn’t keep up with the load of my new set up. Once again SkyCraft came to the rescue and provided me a new battery. It looks the exact same but was made by a different company and problem solved…after 5hrs of troubleshooting. My Friday of practice was a write off and I only got 15min of track time.

Got hit by a Losi 5b Buggy and waiting for the ambulance.
Got hit by a Losi 5b Buggy and waiting for the ambulance.

Bring on Saturday. Time for practice, qualifying and some racing…but not for me. Since I hadn’t done any marshalling on Friday, I figured I would spend as much time doing so in the morning that I could. So when the first practice session started I went out on the track to marshall and I was the only one out there with about four cars were on track. That’s when things went wrong for me. A driver made a big mistake on a jump that I was standing near and his 5B Buggy came flying at me at well over 40km/hr. I had about half a second to react and tried to protect my ribs from the impact. My right arm and hip took the hit and it was a whopper.

I was helped off the track and the pain was intense in my arm. A huge thanks to everyone who came to my aid and tended to me and my injuries but it wasn’t long before they realized that I needed some proper medical attention and called an ambulance.

It wasn’t long before the paramedics showed up and they took me to a local hospital convinced that my arm and wrist were broken. The paramedics were great and so was the staff at the local community hospital 10min away. I spent half the day there waiting for x-rays and a final verdict from the doctor. The x-rays didn’t show any obvious brakes but they weren’t sure about my wrist. The choice was made to splint my arm & wrist and release me. The owner of Walton Raceway was nice enough to drive to the hospital to pick me up and bring me back to the track.

From here on out I was just a spectator, although I did still go out and do some marshalling, even though it wasn’t a smart idea considering the condition I was in.

The rest of the weekend was amazing…as a spectator. I couldn’t race and I couldn’t safely marshall, so I sat on the sidelines and watched. Buggys, trucks and…what the hell is a Horrman? Well it looked kinda funny but it won the 2WD class and the driver came all the way from Germany to do it.

We had drivers from all over Ontario, Quebec, several from Germany as well as the USA come to compete this weekend. Although I didn’t get to do any racing, I’m glad I stayed after I got hurt. It was a great weekend of camping, making new friends and watching some cool racing. I’ll make sure I’m ready for next year.

Beating a World Record #3

Well…he DID IT! Matt broke the Guinness World Record for longest distance covered in an indoor gokart! In the end and under the excited eyes of the media, Matt completed 772.48km breaking the previous record of 733.6km. Although it’s not official he did it. Once it’s official, then a new official distance will be established by Guinness.

To say this was taxing on everyone involved would be a huge understatement. But obviously, Matt suffered the greatest toll, both mentally and physically. Heck his finger prints even changed!

The record was broken with 1.5hrs to spare and that was his goal. He did press on but by this point his body needed a long break. It was also time to talk to the media and share a few thoughts. Thanks to the amazing efforts of Dulce Barbosa who handled all the promotions, the media was there in force to cover this momentous event and in the end over $5000 was raised for Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. This was a huge success in that a Guinness World Record was broken and a large some of money was raised for a charity close to Matthew’s heart.


Media Coverage:

2018-01-23 BreakFast TV (click here)

2018-01-23 Global News (click here)

2018-01-23 Brampton Guardian: Brampton’s Matthew Hayley breaks karting world record (click here)

2018-01-23 CTV News: Ontario go-kart driver surpasses Guinness World Record distance 2nd video (click here)

2018-01-22 CBC The National

2018-01-22 640 Toronto Morning Show – radio (click radio)

2018-01-22 CTV News: Ontario man races to break 24-hour go-kart Guinness World Record (click here)

2017-12-13 Brampton Guardian: “Underdog Matthew Hayley attempting Guinness World go karting record” (click here)

Going for a World Record #2

Going for a Guinness World Record is never easy, especially a Marathon/Endurance record over the span of 24hrs. It takes a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice, training, dedication and an unparalleled drive to succeed. Under my guidance as his coach/instructor and with a personal friend, Andrew Jordan, providing the professional medical supervision, Matthew Hayley is going for such a record. Specifically the longest distance set for indoor gokarting in 24hrs (individual). Currently the record is 733.6km and we’re aiming to smash it.

On Dec.4th, we did another 4hr test. We will have to do several of these shorter tests to find the failure points so that they can be addressed before the big day.

Some of the broken parts

Our last test was 5hrs and everything was fine. During this 4hr test…things broke. It’s to be expected though considering how fast Matt’s kart has been tuned to for these tests (the speeds he’s reaching are NOT normal and regular customers would never drive this fast). Knowing the failure points now will allow us to upgrade components that prove to be troublesome at these abnormally high speeds and higher G-Forces, as well as ensuring that certain components are brand new before we start the attempt. We will also need to be ready to repair the gokart during the record attempt. Time will not be on our side, so repairs will have to be done very quickly. Although Matt can use that time as an ‘unscheduled break’, too many mechanical failures will mean failing at getting the Record.

Damage for the day: Failed transponder, broken spindle, bent axle, broken rear sprocket, broken bumper bracket, and a blown bearing.

Giving some words of wisdom

As for Matthew…he just laughed it all off. He really is doing amazing and his stamina is remarkable. For our last test, we taped over a pound of weights to his helmet to condition and strengthen his neck. Turns out we will be adding more weight for next time because it didn’t faze him at all. I guess we will just have to push him even harder!

Matt continues to train five days a week at the track and our next big test day will be on Dec. 18th. We still need lots of volunteers to help Matt bring the record to Canada. If you’re interested in being part of this historic event, please contact me.

*Pictures of Matt provided by Rob Beintema, Courtesy of The Brampton Guardian