Hacky Racers - From Shed to Track (Which Was Also A Shed) and Beyond
Hacky Racers is a DIY electric racing series, inspired by the Powerwheels Racing Series in the USA, where competitors get together to race their creations built with a budget limit of £500 and their imaginations. So far some of the vehicles we've seen range from three to six wheels, though the latter ended the first race with five. Each one has it's own character, something we highly encourage!
There is a long list of rules but the basics are that you have up to 1440W to play with, the current limit varies by voltage but power is a limit, a £500 budget which excludes safety items, and a size limit of 900x1500mm. There is a height limit due to an incident with The Banana Car in the US series but details of that one elude me... Odd creations are actively encouraged and are used as a method of allowing slower vehicles to compete for points by way of Moxie. Moxie allows racers to compete for the attention of the audience and the more points they score counts towards their standings overall, this can include a performance for the crowd or simply bribing them with sweets.
It started with a question on the Facebook group for PRS, "Anyone here from the UK and fancy a race?", thankfully there was a critical mass of people who were and with EMF Camp coming up later in the year it seemed a good target to set ourselves to get things up and running. One of which was Mark Mellors who had been thinking about this for a long while and thankfully knew what needed to be done to get this up and running. He placed a request to run a race and it was accepted!
The PRS league in the USA has been running for many years now and is a well established part of a number of the flagship Maker Faire events, they tend to run on tarmac. Our first race was to be in a field so we thought it best to have a dry run, that turned out to be somewhat misnamed...
The Scrumpy Cup
One of our racers and fellow organiser, Rory Mangles, volunteered to run our first race at his farm. Plenty of space for a decent sized track and a good place to test off-road capabilities too. The weather was against us from the start but we had a good turn out of racers and a lot of lessons were learned, namely the need for mudguards...
Photo courtesy of Craig Croucher
Photos courtesy of Rory Mangles
The first race was a night race and featured a cattle grid hazard just after the fifth corner and an indoor section with a ramp that took a few by surprise. A gloriously daft selection of vehicles ready to battle!
I say battle but really have a laugh and hope not to fall over which is the same thing in my book and in that regard it was a great success, though there was a spot of falling...
Photo courtesy of Craig Croucher
With The Scrumpy Cup won by all in attendance, we set our sights on EMF. We've secured support from RS Components who have kindly donated a great deal of products to allow us to run the race safer and more efficiently, for EMF and beyond, and we've also support of EMF themselves who have helped with materials to setup our track as well as hosting the event itself. We've also had interest from a few teams from abroad so we look forward to welcoming our maker cousins from Europe and taking the race international!
We’re also looking for other venues to race at, ideally events similar to EMF and Maker Faire, but we’re open to ideas so if you have an event you’d like us to attend or one that you can suggest please get in touch by the methods below.
It's early days for Hacky Racers and though we lacked blue skies for our first race, the future is certainly looking bright.
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