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Ask Debbie: Club Track Lane Etiquette

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  • Ask Debbie: Club Track Lane Etiquette

    Dear Debbie,

    What is considered "Best Practice" by established successful slot racing clubs with respect to ensuring that no individual(s) are allowed to "squat" on preferred track lanes for unreasonably lengthy periods of time?

    The most desirable track at my club has five lanes; of these, the inner three are favoured and typically contribute to lower lap times.

    To this newcomer, there do not appear to be any rules or social norms regarding lane access, other than "first come, first serve" and "last man standing." Once someone hooks their controller to the terminals of a given lane, it is theirs in perpetuity. Bathroom break, extended pit session, idle socializing elsewhere in the facility - doesn`t matter.

    Now while I recognize the value of putting in laps amongst the marbles on the undesirable outer lanes to learn the quirks of these lanes and adjust technique/set-up accordingly, I would like to spend time on the center lanes, too.

    Is lane squatting a common problem at club tracks? Do I just have to learn to confront people, demand my turn on preferred lanes, take to unhooking/setting aside abandoned controllers preventing me from making use of an otherwise empty lane and be prepared to step outside in the eventuality that someone takes exception to this behavior?

    Or have other clubs developed a better, more civilized way of ensuring that members get reasonable time on ALL the lanes?

    Please help

    Piqued in Ponoka
    Last edited by Slalom4me; March 1, 2020, 01:41 PM.

  • #2
    Buy a kitchen timer, set if for 15 minutes...... When it goes off everybody moves to the adjacent lane.......
    Matt B
    So. In


    • #3
      I have a dark room timer. Set it and it turns the power off.


      • #4
        What about something like when playing pool at a bar and the next guy up puts his quarters on the side of the table to indicate the next game is his. Or from when I used to play pickup basketball games - someone yells "next" indicating when the current game ends his team gets on the court.

        You can't be alone in feeling frozen out so you should be able to get others to agree on a system to create fair access. Maybe a marker board of some sort where the next person who wants to use a lane writes down their name and the time, and X minutes later the lane is theirs.

        Timers on the power sound like great ideas too. When the lane or track powers down that means it's time to rotate.


        • #5
          Sounds like a bunch of jerks if you ask me. Where is common courtesy? Especially the ones who leave the track and expect to have the lane as theirs upon return. Question you mentioned club track. Is this track a commercial raceway or someones home? Do you pay for track time?
          Arrold Martin
          Nashville TN


          • #6
            If you have race management software you can have timed practice sessions. If there is a lane that you prefer to run in that is probably the last one that you need to practice in, you should practice the most in your worse lane.


            • #7
              Usually people see other people waiting to use the track or understand to switch to different lanes so you can see how your car handles on lanes with different degrees of difficulty.

              A timer sounds good for people like that.



              • #8
                Go Digital...
                Saginaw Valley Raceway
                Only Rule: Just enjoy who you are racing with.


                • 32lbking
                  32lbking commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's to easy Dave... Lol

              • #9
                Get a cricket bat and hang it on the wall behind the driver's stations. Paint "Courtesy Reminder" on it. See if they take the hint.


                • #10
                  Dear Debbie,

                  I think it is a matter of being unaware about the squatting. These people aren't jerks, chances are good that you'd enjoy being in the same room. Considering the thought, money and perspiration invested in the facility, maybe this is just a case of reaping the rewards of the risk and effort they`ve put in without realizing this is a club track they
                  created for the use of all the club members, not their own private raceway.

                  A characteristic I HAVE experienced of some is "hard of listening", where a deficiency is pointed out and then remains unaddressed.

                  I've lived long enough to know that sometimes things are the way they are for reasons that are not necessarily clear to me and they should stay the way they are. Also to know that I don't always have the best or even the correct solutions for things that really need to change. Hence this post looking for answers that have been proven to work elsewhere. While hearing about this directly from ME might not register in a meaningful way, it is entirely possible that the issue and discussion in this thread could come to the attention of those concerned and lead to some positive change. (Or in me being tossed out of the club on my ear.)

                  About the setting: it is neither commercial nor residential.

                  This is a club in the traditional British Empire sense: dedicated facility in a leased space, access to members and guests only. Although originally envisioned as a 24/7 proposition, that proved to be unworkable very early on. So, annual dues give general members the run of the place for several hours twice a week (race nights and weekend tuning sessions.) Executive members retain the right to 24/7 access - they can and presumably do come to the facility outside the hours open to general members and run as long as they want on whatever lanes they choose.

                  What exists now is based on something founded several years ago by a core group of enthusiasts and nurtured through lean times and a few relocations. Following a recent phase of change and growth, newcomers such as myself are entering the scene. Some have past experience in the hobby, others are just getting started.

                  While the club aspires to further growth, organizational structure to support/adapt to present & future growth lags behind. Understandable, this is a learning process.

                  The kitchen timer seems like an appropriate solution. In time it might become necessary to institute something more regimented like power chops or configuring Race Control for timed practice sessions.

                  Where there is a will, there is a way. Is there a will ?

                  Thank you for the advice.

                  Piqued in Ponoka
                  Last edited by Slalom4me; March 2, 2020, 12:09 PM.


                  • #11
                    A touchy and all-too-human situation that has no simple answer.

                    But this thread raises a far, far greater issue: there is a dedicated slot car club with what sounds like more than one track... in Ponoka? Ponoka, Alberta? A town with <7,500 residents? And there is enough slot car action that lane availability is a concern?

                    I am HUGELY impressed: kudos to you guys!


                    PS: "take to unhooking/setting aside abandoned controllers preventing me from making use of an otherwise empty lane " sounds reasonable to me.


                    • #12
                      Leave an anonymous letter about people squatting on lanes and not giving equal time to everybody else, ,,,,or else a few of you that are like minded just bring the topic up for discussion........Bring forth the idea about a time for 15-20 minutes and then guys all move to the next lane and if you have driver waiting, they gt in line to move to the first pane and roatate thru......What you don't want is to start a war and splinter your group.
                      Matt B
                      So. In


                      • #13
                        So I think I know of the facility and if I'm correct, I know this history behind what you speak...and have met most of the regulars/founders.

                        Regardless, it sounds like the "club" setting is still somewhat new, and I'd say for the most part people are just unaware. The first question I'd ask yourself, is when you are talking about equal and open access to all lanes during practice or general open tuning. Are you just trying to set a lap record with your car, is it prep for a club race, just getting used to the lane? Once you can answer that, I would politely bring it up with the founders and talk about how best to navigate people getting onto all the lanes and what's the proper etiquette.

                        I'm sure once people understand the "why" they'll be like everyone else here and come up with a solution, as us "guys" tend to be good at! If there's push back, I would probe them as to their thinking behind that. As this is a club set up with annual dues, it's good to understand what "dues" entitle everyone to.

                        Ultimately only you can determine if the dues justify what you get.

                        Happy slotting!
                        Founding member of Rocky Mountain Racers, a 1/32 club based in Calgary, Alberta Canada:
                        Canada’s Tourist Trophy Event Founder and Organizer:


                        • #14
                          Yes, our HO club tracks have the practice sessions set at two minutes each. This allows everyone to rotate in through the lanes, make some adjustments while they're off the track, and get right back on when it's their turn again. No problems, no complaints. Works for us here on Long Island.