Category Archives: rant

Driving Better

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This past week end I went to Arizona for some testing at fear farm. The layout they have is really fast with long sweeping corners. The track is very rough and the surface quite uneven and edgy everywhere. A really great track to test both equipment and driving skill.

So I get there and I’m 1.5 seconds off the pace, the pace being Ryan Maifield. And that’s per lap folks, on a track with a 31.5 second fast lap. Not good, not good. I sleep on it and head back to the track. Still off the pace, now by “only” 1 second. That famous second. I go to harder swaybars, less downtravel, shocks are already stood up more to add support, I go to thicker diff oils, and it all helps, but I’m still a second off. I determine it’s me, because my car now feels good. I sleep on it.

I go back and I promise myself I’m not driving home unless I do a 31 second lap time. And if you know me, you will know that I keep my word, even to myself. The pressure is on. It’s not looking good. After extensive practice I am down to 32.2, which I have at this point done about 28 times. The sun begins to go down. My car really needs some rebuilding. But I know it’s me, it’s not the car.

I focus on my driving, where am I losing time, why am I too slow? I slow down entering corners, making sure to keep the car stable and the speed up through the corners, and speed up everywhere else. I don’t land and settle, then go, I’m on the gas as I land, I make sure to hit the right lines. I get a good rhythm going, I do a good lap, 31.8. I can go home. But I’m still mad at myself it took so long to do.

Talented drivers do all the above except sleeping on it in a few runs. I hate them.

When You Are An Idiot – You Don’t See The Obvious

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I was going to write about Reedy Race 3rd-6th today, but then something happend. It happens so rarely that I just have to document this moment. In times of mental weakness, I will be able to look back at this post, and stop feeling sorry for myself.

I’m out here in Phoenix Arizona for some testing, pre-DNC, and of course, you guessed, it Supercross. I’m in my shitty Motel 6 room, working on my car, and I’m almost done, so I stand up, I do what all RC racers do, I work the shocks, and for a fraction of a second I remember how when I first discovered RC cars, I was so amazed at the suspension. I immediately think:

“Wait a minute, back then it was a Kyosho Mp6, this is my car. WTF? Wait a minute, I made this car, this is MY car. How did I manage to make my own car? I’m a fucking village idiot from Finland? Oh man, I need to focus, this is kind of cool, I have my own RC car.”

I swear that’s what went through my mind in a fraction of a second. I had an epiphany I guess. Hey I did this! Somehow when you live it, you don’t even realise what’s going on. It happens so gradually. I wish I could feel special all the time, but I don’t, I feel like just another idiot, trying to do something cool. Last time it happened it was when I was staring at Cody King’s paint job on a Kyosho box, and caught myself thinking “That’s pretty cool, he got his paint job on the box.”, until I realised, so did I, and it’s my car!

It’s moments like these that help motivate me. I have worked so hard, for so many years, and most of the time I just feel like I’m not getting anywhere. But these brief moments, I get a glimpse of success, and it just fills those batteries up with 1000amps. I’m going to make it, no matter what the haters say. One day the JQ car will win.

If you didn’t know it before, now you now, I’m unfortunately completely nuts. Well, we can’t have everything I guess 🙂

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Being Competitive – Blessing & a Curse

TQ to 4th. Really?

TQ to 4th. Really?

I am extremely competitive. I always have been and probably always will be. I remember as a child I would be so mad at myself , and sometimes cry if I didn’t win at whatever I was doing. Almost all the games I played were some sort of competition where you could win or lose. This is how insane I am:

We used to live in the sticks, so there weren’t many friends around, which meant that I spent a lot of time alone. I would play alone, competing against myself at something, pretending to be multiple different people, usually 3 people. So there were 3 competitors and I would ride my bike, play with some toy or whatever, and compete against myself. Acceptable level of insanity at this point, BUT, I would have a favourite split personality, and if that one didn’t win, I would get mad at myself. So I would be racing something, and then get mad at myself because my favourite’s attempt wasn’t the best. I’m nuts.

Anyway, my point is, that for whatever reason, being competitive can lead to positive or negative outcomes, and I don’t quite know what it is that determines which outcome it will be. Losing is a terrible feeling, for me it only really feels bad when I know in my heart I can win, and then I don’t, and specially if I don’t because of my own mistake. It’s such a terrible feeling it makes me want to quit racing at first. And this is where it gets mysterious. Some competitive people will actually quit after some hardships. Others, like me, will somehow get over the worst disappointment, and turn that into motivation, and fuel the fire and decide to try even harder, in order to never feel that bad again.

Losing is a terrible feeling, for me it only really feels bad when I know in my heart I can win

The last 6 years have been a mental beat down and destruction of my confidence and competitive spirit. It’s not that I stopped being competitive, it’s that in my heart I have known that I can’t win. That meant that I wasn’t willing to put in the work as a driver, yes I tried, but I didn’t DO. The difference of “I’ll do my best”, and “I’ll win.” It’s almost like I had to accept defeat mentally, or I would surely have gone completely insane, and most likely quit. With too much on my plate, designing producing, marketing, selling a car, running a company, I just couldn’t improve as a racer at the same time. I had to put my competitiveness on hold in order to survive. And it made me hate life.

Finally, this past year, as I started this blog, I made the decision to get back at it, and focus on my driving, and practice so I can go to a race with the mental approach of “I’ll win”, instead of “I’ll do my best.”. I decided to do that because THECar was now good enough to win any race. I knew that with another year of development it would be right up there with the very best, and that I needed to work on my driving to match that. Slow progress is hard to see, so now racing 10th scale in America I can see the progress more clearly. I am now racing and beating drivers who were lapping me in 5 minutes just a year ago.

I am now racing and beating drivers who were lapping me in 5 minutes just a year ago.

So after tonight’s Wednesday Night Worlds at OCRC, where I TQed over really fast guys like Hartson, Schreffler, Beyett, Thayer, Miller in 2wd, and then went into the main and stuffed it into a pipe on the first lap, going to dead last, fighting back to 4th, but feeling like I just lost a potential win, I got that terrible feeling again. It’s just a club race, but to me when I can win and I don’t, it almost doesn’t matter, it always feels so bad. And this time I realised that this is a good thing. I care again, and I’m so motivated to work harder and win something important one day.

Plan It, Then Wing It – Is That Oxymoronic?

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One thing I have heard from a few people recently, is how there is this notion among some people in the industry, people in the know, that it’s completely amazing that JQRacing is still around. They expected me to fail a long time ago, can’t believe I am still here, and now think that this definitely has to be my last year.

I can see where they are coming from. Far larger companies than mine, with deeper pockets, more experience, probably more sense, and definitely more staff have come and gone. My public persona is something of a village idiot, some crazy guy from Finland running around the world like a headless chicken pissing half the world off, and creating passionate followers of the other half. Well, some part of it anyway :-). I get where they are coming from. It doesn’t look like there is any way I could run a business, at least not for very long, or successfully in any way.

But there is method to my madness. I think that there are very few people in the world who truly know me. It’s like I live in this box and I don’t like letting anyone in, but once in a while someone buys some scissors, cuts a hole and punches me in the kidney, and says “What’s up fool?”. I mean I had already had a girlfriend for a few years when some of my what I would class as real world friends (not facebook) didn’t even know, and when hearing about it could not believe it. They thought I was for sure too messed up to ever have a girlfriend, or that I was gay. Then when I said, yes, I live with her, she has two kids, they pretty much just had a brain meltdown. WTFaaahhhhh? YOU are a step dad?

So what I am saying is, that I know it looks crazy, but JQRacing isn’t here because of luck, or chance. It’s actually not bigger than it is, because of some very bad luck, and a couple bad choices. What I am saying is, that JQRacing is here because I think about what I do, from all angles I can, I speak with some others about it, I make a plan, and then at some point I got “fuck it”, and I just wing it. I do whatever it is that needs to be done, and I do it until it is done. I’m not afraid to get up at 7:30 and go to bet at 2:30 because I need to get something done. I don’t blog about updating the web shop or doing price lists, or working with vendors or customers, or about book keeping or paying bills, because that’s boring, but it’s not like I don’t do it. This has to do with something I wrote about before, the grass is always greener on the other side.

It looks like I just go to the RC track and mess around, I never work and I don’t have a “real job”, and that’s fine that people think that. But if I only did that, I wouldn’t be here anymore, and that’s what these industry people are missing. They go home to their families. I go home to work, because they have made it in their minds, and I have not. One day I will have made it too, and that’s when I will go home to my family.

Being Liked vs. Being Right

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One thing that I think is quite obvious, is that I’m never going to be one to step in line, put on a suit and tie, and play the game. I look at the world, and I see a lot of greatness, but also a lot of utter human produced shit. Unfortunately, we have reached the point, where simply existing in this world almost automatically makes you a part of the problem, because of the society we have ended up with. What I have thought about, is how to balance the scales so the positive trumps the negative, when you are done with your life.

My opinion is that in this world, if you want to be successful the standard approach is to put financially motivated blinkers on, proceed to be a homogeneous cog of society, specifically of the tribe you were born into. Work on accepting the problems of the world without question, be a good person, but don’t worry about being or becoming part of the problem. Don’t think that far.

Child labour is a problem, it would be better if kids could go to school, but this is such a great deal! I’m gonna buy this one. We all do that, it’s impossible to know everything about what you consume. Next step, as a company, this vendor is a bit dodgy, but it’s such a great deal, I’ll go for it, I can just turn a blind eye. It’s easier to do this, however, even if you try to do the right thing, you can still end up being part of the problem. It’s difficult to be responsible.

Business is business. IBM sold punch card technology to the Nazies, they were used to organise the holocaust. You know Hugo Boss began by supplying the Nazies their uniforms? Do you think the people in charge were worried about being good, or worried about making money? I think we all know the answer.

Since we are on the subject, how was it possible that the holocaust even took place? I mean what were regular good Germans doing? What was the rest of the world doing? How was it possible to have segregation in America? You know why it was possible? Because good people didn’t dare risk being labeled as a “jew sympathiser”, or as a “nigger lover”. There were real world implications to that! Best just play along!

So on my journey through life, I have made sure of one thing, I will not knowingly be part of the problem. I’m not going to wear blinkers, and I will knock yours off your face if I’m given a chance. You can pick them up and put them back on, or you can learn, but I won’t just walk by. I know that it’s harder to be successful this way, I know that if you have an opinion you automatically divide people, and that it will reduce your potential customer base. But instead of turning vanilla, I think it is a lot better to work on improving the methods of communication and define the message better. That will mean more people will understand what I am trying to say, and less people will draw the wrong conclusions, such as for example that I hate America, which obviously is against everything I believe in. Speaking out is one thing, and actually doing something is another, and in my life I want to cover both. Just getting the hang of part one here first!

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Small Changes To Get It Right

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One thing I have written about before, and I even mention in the manual, is that the right way to set up a car is to make a few small changes, and not to make huge ones. With a good, balanced car, like the White Edition LV, you can go from a loose, hard to drive car, to a stable easy one by only changing a swaybar 0.1mm, camber 1 degree, and a change in rear arm height of 0.5mm. That’s not a lot of changes at all. You might say, isn’t that a bad thing? Well, yes and no. The good cars out there are like that. Ever wonder why the Kyosho guys always run almost the same setup? The changes aren’t significant that they do, but sometimes they are dialed, and sometimes they are off the pace. And looking at their setups, it’s almost like nothing changes, only minor changes to camber, rideheight, downtravel, swaybars, springs. That’s because the car is good, and  that’s where the White Edition LV is now.

Most people would go overboard, changing links, diff oils, shock springs, tyres, 3 deg camber, adding weight, different wing….Take it easy. If you start from a setup that I have posted, to make it suit you, all you need to do is make small changes. Trust me. If you don’t know what to do, ask me.

Today I was at Revelation and my car was a bit nervous and loose for my liking, so I lowered the rear arm 0.5mm, I put a 2.6 rear swaybar on from a 2.5, and I reduced rear camber buy maybe 0.5 deg. The car was suddenly a lot better and really good for me. If I wanted to calm it down even more, I would have done some more minor changes like that, I would not have made it a whole different car!

It’s not the money – It’s the choices you make!

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Today I was supposed to write a blog post about the “pussification” of RC (and society in general), but turns out that topic will take more than 5 minutes to cover, so as I zip tied a shop towel around my cooling head for break in, I thought of something else.

One thing I get a lot is “I don’t have enough money to do well” or “I don’t have the money to race, I need to get a free car so I can race”. Let me just put this as politely as I can for you:

FUCK YOU! YES YOU DO!

There, now that you are paying (no pun intended) attention, let me explain. For most people who have RC Car Racing as a hobby, assuming they are young, and don’t have a family to support, there is no excuse. There really isn’t. If you want to race RC cars, you can, so stop saying you can’t afford it. Families and responsibilities complicate things, but that’s your own fault :-). This post is mainly for the young racer that decides to blame lack of money instead of lack of dedication.

First of all money, if you don’t have it, you need to make it, get a job. Simple. I know successful RC car drivers who have gone to school, worked, practiced and raced, and made it work. It’s possible. When you get good enough you can skip the job and get paid as a racer. There are no short cuts, unless your parents have $$$.

Second, be smart with your money. When I first spent time in America, I made a deal with SoCal RC Raceway where I would clean the tables and empty the trash at the end of the day so I could race for free. Why? To save money so I could practice more! Be smart.

You also don’t need a couple of OGIO bags, the latest bling, those new titanium turnbuckles, and that engine heater. Focus on the basics, buy a new engine and new servos, try and get everything else 2nd hand. Buy two 2nd hand cars from the best driver you can at the end of the season for example, and prepare them for the next season. Buy one run tyres. Think a few times before spending money, do I really need this? People tend to focus on the wrong things. Do you want to look good in the pits, or look good on the podium? Let me tell you what you need, you need a well maintained car, you need a good engine, you need a good clutch, and good tyres. You don’t need an engine heater. Use a shop towel and a zip tie. Apply this thinking to everything except what I mentioned above. When it comes to RC racing, the key to success is not the amount of money you have, weather your parents support you or not, weather you are sponsored or not, they key to success is that thing between your ears, and the part of it that controls your attitude. #againsttheodds

Interviews – Because no one else does it (right)

Doing some Interviews of people. Question is:

Who in the RC industry would you like to see interviewed, JQ style?

Back to America – Feeling Thankful

thanksgivingHere’s to hoping that more people discover that the only way forward is to expand our empathy range to “Earth Level”.

-Happy Thanksgiving

Being too Polite

You know what I hate? Overly polite people. Because no one is so polite, it becomes disingenuous. You know the sort of over the top humble, excuse my existence sort of behaviour and mannerisms. Let me hand you your room key with who hands, because I am so worthless in your godly presence, that sort of bullshit. It just gets to me. I always get the urge to slap people like that, and tell them that behaving like that isn’t going to get them anywhere.

Then again I should probably learn from them.