Comments on EFRA Euros – July 2023

Comments on EFRA Euros – July 2023

When a group of highly respected competitors in the sport that you love, return from a premium, high profile event, with a catalogue of complaints of poor event management, you sit up and take notice.

RC Racing is a sport, like many sports, that exists almost entirely because of the enthusiasm of it’s participants. While there are a great number of businesses that are instrinsically linked with the sport, none of them hold such sway on the sport that causes financial or organisational corruption in the way that has happened in Soccer, the Olympics or Cycling. Hence, we find ourselves in the enviable position of having a sport and community that rolls on for decades, that is happy, essentially fair to an incredible level of detail, and most importantly, retains existing participants faithfully while continually attracting new ones.

I think the majority of our community is aware how fortunate we are to be in this position. We have the background level of grumbling and gossip, but that just happens when you have humans in groups that are larger than two in number. The complaints that came back from the Euros, strike me as more serious than that, because they strike at the heart of what’s good about RC Racing. Namely, it’s level playing field and inate sense of fairness, and the attractiveness of progressing up its competitive structure to the ‘prestige’ level. To the casual onlooker, some of the problems might seem relatively small potatoes. But I think, while that is the case, we need to stop that rot before it infects the wider community, and becomes more difficult to fix.

So I’m going to comment on this for one important reason. Neil Cragg posted a summation of the complaints on Facebook, and I want to emphasise that it’s not just the attendees of the event who are concerned and upset at what has happened. I want to express that people from all levels of the sport are worried that if the pinnacle of the sport is not attractive because it isn’t well organised, accessible and fair, then we are going to start to fail at all levels to retain our community, let alone grow it.

Neil wrote:

So, the Euro’s finished on Saturday with 4wd finals. Again, same as 2wd, I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be but was relatively content with 14th overall. I gave it my all and that’s the result I got. Big congratulations to both champions, both fully deserved winners.
I’ve got a few things I need to get off my chest about this event so bear with me, and please don’t comment I’m only complaining because I did sht. You guys know I call it as I see it regardless of my result, I don’t go in for bullsht.
I’ve attended EFRA Euro events for 26 years and this was quite clearly the worst one I’ve ever attended. The track was awful, simple as that. I spoke to A, B, C through to H, I, J racers and not one driver had a good thing to say about it. Why do we continue to run EFRA’s biggest 1/10th race of the year on 1/8th scale tracks? I’m tired of it. I think 70-80% of the last 15 years have been on the wrong sized tracks? This needs to be addressed, are clubs just not willing to put in for a Euros? Is it not worth their time financially? Is this the reason why racers are just not attending Euros? These are questions that need asked and answered.
The facility was not up to scratch for a European Championship, it looked like we were racing at a club meeting. How can a racer turn up to an international event and have to go to IKEA to buy their own chair for their pit table? This was a disgrace in my books. That’s international racing 101, provide adequate pitting for everybody.
At no point in this entire meeting was the schedule actually used correctly. I’m not sure who’s fault this was but we were constantly running IN FRONT of it, this simply cannot happen. What if someone misses their race because they’re looking at the official schedule? Also made harder to follow by an online timing system that only worked every now and then.
Why do we have controlled tyres that don’t work in the wet? Watching some of the best drivers in the world struggle to physically get the car around the track was frankly embarrassing. I don’t know the reason behind this but it’s such an easy fix, just have a controlled wet tyre? It doesn’t have to be this hard! And also why did we not have to run the controlled tyre in the CONTROLLED practice at this event? The clues in the title 🤷🏼‍♂️ when it was wet in 2WD CP, what was stopping people just putting wet tyres on? (I have it on good authority that this did happen)
A top driver had a lap missed in one of the qualifiers and rightly had it reinstated. When this happened to a ‘lower driver’, he was told they were only doing this for the top three heats! This is ridiculous and wrong, we all paid the same to attend this meeting, treat us the same.
No cheering in the finals as apparently this is a rule now 🤷🏼‍♂️ it’s not much of a spectacle to watch racers drive round in silence. I don’t know about other racers but I love a cheering crowd in the finals, it improves the thing we’re trying to promote immeasurably.
They’re just some of things that were wrong with the meeting that I can think of off the top of my head but there’s more.
I feel terrible having to write this but some things need to be said. My Euro’s wins are some of my greatest achievements and I’m still passionate about this event being the pinnacle of European racing, but there’s a reason why racers would rather do the EOS series or one off big event like MKGP etc.. this isn’t what I want for the Euros.
This isn’t about slating governing bodies or anyone individually, I just want this event to get back to where it used to be. Like and share if you agree or just call me a washed up cry baby in the comments, it’s up to you. These are my views and mine alone so I’m not finishing with my usual list of sponsors.

Neil Cragg, Facebook, 23/7/23

To hopefully add weight to what Neil has said:

  • 1/8th Tracks are designed for much bigger cars with Fuel Engines. Let’s say a competitive 2wd car is £400 for the chassis and that again for electrics etc, £500+ for a 4wd. Who in their right mind wants to travel half way across Europe to wreck their equipment on a track designed to challenge an entirely differnent class of vehicle?
  • Yesterday, the same day the complaints were circulating, I attended a UK BRCA sanctioned, south west regional event. For the whole series, both wet and dry specification control tyre were sanctioned before the series had started. This was not in any way unusual. Its been a commonplace, easily implemented, easily understood regulation for many years. Why is an international event making such a pigs ear of such a funadamental part of what they are there to organise? Have they not driven an RC car in wet conditions?!
  • Its a European Championship. Imagine you’re coming from Portugal, Italy or any one of the countless locations that are over a thousand miles or literally overseas. You aren’t going to cram into your Fiat Punto and go on National Lampoon’s RC road trip, you’re going to fly. There are going to be enough challenges getting your RC kit, clothes and personal effects to come with you. It is plainly obvious to anyone who cared to give it a moment’s forethought that a Pit table, Chair and Electrical Supply for each racer (and for many an accompanying other) is the bare minimum requirement.
  • At Mendip RC Raceway, we have fits of anxeity if we have mis-counted laps. Not to rectify a problem that may well be a technical fault of organisation or preperation for the event isn’t really on at a non-championship clubbie meeting. At an International meeting, I would go as far as to say that’s open contempt for the competitors.
  • And as for no cheering from the spectators? I can’t think of a better way to kill a sport that to make it a sterile, passion free, poe faced non-event. This rule needs to get back in the sea quick smart.

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