Pro-Prepped Motors in Spec Racing

I recently wrote an article called 7 Ways to Cheat at MudBoss Racing. Little bit of a spoiler, but if you haven’t read it, the article isn’t really a how-to guide on cheating. It’s meant to expose some ways people may cheat at one of the most popular spec classes in RC and to remind all of us that while cheating does happen, it probably happens a lot less than we think. But to back up a bit, if you don’t know, the Salvas Sportsman MUDboss class is a dirt oval class that uses the Traxxas Slash with the stock Titan 12T motor. There is some variety, but the bulk of Mudboss racing is done with these sealed endball 550 12-turn motors. When the article made the social media rounds, the topic of pro-prepped motors came up as an example of cheating. It wasn’t in the original article and it still isn’t . . . because it’s not cheating.

A little bit of my background: I’ve raced RC cars since the mid eighties and during this time period I’ve done a lot of spec racing. For years, I raced Street Spec on paved and carpet ovals. I raced Bolink Legends. I raced SK cars when that was more of a spec class. When the Traxxas Slash was first released, I raced that in the box-stock class found at many tracks. I now race a Sportsman Mudboss and I also race in a street stock class that requires the use of a specific motor. I always wanted to race in the Tamiya Championship Series, but never had the chance. Bottom line is I love spec racing. Some racers look down on spec racing, but in reality, NASCAR, Indy and even F1 are all a lot like spec racing. If you think NASCAR, for example, is “open class” racing, you’re not watching. For me, RC spec racing usually simplifies things and allows me to enjoy close, competitive racing while spending a lot less time and money compared to other classes.

While spec racing differs from class to class, one commonality is everyone in the class runs the same motor. Often, even in these brushless days, the spec motor is a sealed-can brushed motor. And, unlike brushless motors, brushed motors definitely benefit from a break-in procedure. And, that break-in procedure can greatly influence peak performance. This is where the black magic comes in. This can be in the form of the water method or special drops or any combination of secret tricks and techniques. When it comes to making these motors fast, some people know how and some people don’t. If you don’t know how to make a fast motor, you can buy a fast motor–for roughly twice the price of new-in-the-bag motor. The pro-prepped motor is 100% legal, but you didn’t do the work. While there are no rules, at least that I’m aware of, that say this is illegal, some people still say this is cheating. Is it? As I said before, it’s not. We can really get in the weeds on a “spirit of the rules” debate. I’ll dip my toe in this toxic pool of opinions presented as facts with a somewhat hypothetical example. If I do all the real prep on my son’s car (he’s 12) and he wins, did he cheat? Of course not. But, he didn’t do the work. If some guy buys a prepped motor and he wins, did he cheat? All of a sudden some people say yes.

I’ve never bought a pro-prepped motor for spec racing (I’ve bought more than a few for stock class oval racing), but here’s why I’m in favor of pro-prepped motors: first, when someone is faster, we naturally think it’s because they have more motor. While top speed by itself wins few, if any, races, getting a pro-prepped motor will at least give you peace of mind. It eliminates the is-it-my-motor factor. The downside is if you install a pro-prepped motor and still get smoked by two laps, it’s not the motor that’s the problem–it’s probably the dumb side of the transmitter. Second, I like keeping racing cheap–especially spec racing. So, why would I be in favor of spending twice as much for a motor if I want to keep costs low? Because buying one pro-prepped motor is a lot less money than buying a three or four or more motors trying to find the one. The one that stands out from the pack. Contrary to popular opinion, I’ve found motors such as the Traxxas Titan 12T to be pretty consistent from motor to motor, but every once in a while I’ll get one that is a step quicker. In reality, it’s probably one in six that are better. The odds may be worse. Like I said, overall, the motors are pretty consistent. Point is one pro-prepped at $50 is a lot cheaper than six motors at $25 each.

So, what’s your take on pro-prepped motors? Cheating? Legal but bad for spec racing? Or, all good in the hood? Do you run one? Was it money well spent?

If you absolutely hate the idea of pro-prepped motors, here are five things you can do:

  1. Hand-out motor class. I raced in a Bolink Legends class that used hand-out motors and it was great.
  2. Claim rule. Some guys hate claim rules, but they work. I’ll cover the pros and cons of this highly debatable topic soon in another article.
  3. Petition to have pro-prepped motors declared illegal at your track . . . and hope everyone follows the rules. Good luck.
  4. Race in an open class. Here you can listen to guy’s complaining about getting beat by stock motors in the mod class instead of guy’s complaining about pro-prepped spec motors.
  5. Suck it up, spend the $50 or so and get one (see below). If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Pro-Prepped Motor Sources:

AK-47 Power and Design

BLT Motors

KHD Speedlab

RC Speed Shop/Putnam Propulsion

 

 

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Matt Higgins About the Author: Matt has over 30 years of experience in RC and has worked professionally in media for two decades. Matt enjoys everything from racing to rock crawling to bashing, and he believes RC should be all about having fun. Matt is as at home covering a world championship in an exotic country as he is showing a new hobbyist how to set gear mesh. His desire to share the hobby with as many people as possible inspired him to create RC Truck Stop and RCTruckStop.com.

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  1. jim says:

    how are they breaking in the 12t motor and what comm drops are they useing

    • Matt Higgins Matt Higgins says:

      I can’t speak for the pros, but I use a D-cell and an old RPM motor stand with a press on fan. I run it until the battery dies and add comm drops occasionally as I go. As far as comm drops, try these: https://www.teamtrinity.com/trinity-black-death-power-comm-drops-4052.html

      Clean it all completely and add one drop of bushing oil to each bushing.

      That’s pretty standard break in.

      Another trick is to hold the motor and, using a towel, carefully, apply some pressure the output shaft while the motor is spinning. Do this once or twice fairly quickly. I have no idea if this trick helps with the Traxxas Titan motors. It’s just an old school trick.

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