DRIVER ETIQUETTE – A concise guide from a man who knows

Driver etiquette and sportsmanship was a contentious issue for us in the UKSCN last year and it ultimately led to the loss of a number of quality drivers from our series over situations that simply would not have occurred had there been a bit more of this about at the time, that and more decisive penalties for any wrong doing. Theres a lot of really great points that he makes in this write up, and its really not rocket science, and to coin a phrase I posted on FB last week, “IF YOU HACK, GIVE IT BACK” simples.

My thoughts on cars being lapped are that the slower cars should be made aware of an approaching car about to lap them so they can plan their moves and come off the line voluntarily to allow the faster car through with minimum hassle, this could be the faster driver making a polite callout on the rostrum “car X lapping” or by the rostrum referee.

Below I have copy and pasted a Facebook post from a chap called Matt “The MurfDogg” Murphy, Matt is a long time RC racer in the states with years and years of on track experience, and he has kindly given us permission to post his writings here for all to see. it’s a little long, but I urge you to read through it all, I learned from it and so can you!!

His post in full below ——-

I’m going to step onto the soap box that is social media, in an effort to address something that I feel has become a major issue in our sport of RC Racing. Now this problem is something that I have noticed across the board, at the local, regional, and national level. Now what could possibly be so bad that I feel the need to step up and be the one to address it? Driver Etiquette or the lack thereof. You could also call it courtesy, class, sportsmanship or numerous other things. You might wonder what I am getting at… well read on.

Driver Etiquette – This describes HOW you race with others. Etiquette isn’t talent based. You can be less talented than other racers, yet exhibit driver etiquette. Etiquette is more directly related to your racing IQ, as well as your attitude.

Respect – This is earned, not given. How you race others will ultimately figure into the respect you have earned, and the respect you are shown on and off of the track. Respect from your peers is one of the greatest accomplishments you can achieve in any part of life, especially in racing.

Courtesy – Some days, you are the fast guy. Other days, you are in the way. Courtesy in racing is when you race according to your potential performance on any given day. Courtesy is when you race your fellow racers the way you would like to be raced.

Sportsmanship – Competing to the best of your ability, while racing clean and handling both victory and defeat with grace, style, and dignity.

What I have seen is a complete lack of Sportsmanship. Racers who blast through a competitor on the track without passing clean. And then you hear the obligatory “Sorry Man!” while they keep on racing around the track with zero consequence for their poor sportsmanship. Well, frankly, I call bullshit! If you were sorry, you would pull your car over out of the race line, and wait for the driver you just took out to get going. Whether that ends up being a self imposed 2 second or 20 second penalty… if you are truly sorry, and have any bit of class, PULL OVER. This is part of driver etiquette. Etiquette or the lack theoreof however isn’t exactly the fault of today’s racer. Etiquette is not taught the way it used to be. Track owners simply do not teach etiquette like they did in the old days. Why? Track owners are now afraid of running customers off, so they do not make rough driving calls. (at our club this actually is hammered home to all drivers and the standards of sportsmanship there are proper!! And this year at the SC Nationals the committee will be pushing this message home in driver briefings)

Racers who have earned and race with respect know that when it’s not their day to be the fast guy out front, that you give up the preferred line when faster cars approach. That courtesy goes a long way to earn the respect of the top racers. That respect will then be repaid on a day in which you are the fast guy passing slower cars. A little bit of give and take goes a long way for everyone.

If you are faster than another racer, give them a few corners to have a reasonable opportunity to give up the preferred line. If they don’t make an effort to move, you now have a choice to make. Pass clean, or move them out of the way. I’m old school, I will make you earn a pass for position. However if I am getting lapped, especially if it’s not the first time in a particular race, I will move. I have spent the last 19 years trying to earn the respect of the fastest racers in the country. I take pride in my ability to give and take while losing the least amount of time possible. It is becoming a lost art in my opinion. Knowing when, where, and how to pull over with minimal loss of time is an invaluable skill.

So what do I propose to fix this problem? Simple….. I call out the veteran racers. I ask you to take 2 newer racers under your wing, and teach them how to race with etiquette. Teach them how to earn respect. Teach them how to race with Sportsmanship.

Lastly, I call out all of you reading this. Next time you run someone over on the race track, pull over and wait for them. Show them that your apology is real. Show them you want to race with class, and that winning is less important than competing with good sportsmanship. Changing the RC racing culture starts with each and every one of us admitting that there is a problem, and making an effort to correct the problem.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and I hope that together we can make a difference in the quality of rc racing.

Matt “The MurfDogg” Murphy

One thought on “DRIVER ETIQUETTE – A concise guide from a man who knows

  1. I have raced full size go karts, and the etiquette you are talking about is in Karting, if you take someone out you are penalised for it, so what you are saying is spot on!! It’s not banger racing it’s good clean racing with sportsmanship, or should be. Maybe introduce a flag system like in Karting, black and white for a warning, and a black flag if you persist in bad behaviour. Maybe a pre race announcement to remind racers of good behaviour and good etiquette.

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