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Scale Comp Alternatives You Have To Try

alternatives opener

Pop music sucks. It sucks for many reasons, but one of the big ones is the fact that the same songs—often awful songs—get played ad nauseam. We all know hearing or doing the same thing over and over gets old. Scale comps are no different. Take a gander at some of these alternative comp ideas that are both easy to pull off and guaranteed to break up the monotony of comp after comp. Most event directors, club officials, etc. are no different than RC race directors in that their bag of tricks to keep people interested and attendance steady is limited to point series and occasional trophy events. I love these and always look forward to them, but even these tried and true conventions eventually lose their power. So, if you’re one of the folks calling the shots in your club (i.e., doing all the work), give some (or all) of these ideas a shot to help combat attendance slumps. If you’re a club member, offer to help organize and run some of these alternative comps. You’ll get more involved and everyone will have a great time.


Trailers are a popular and very cool scale accessory, but they usually get shown off once or twice and then don’t see all that much use. Well, this alternative put those wheeled wonders to good use. The comp can consist of just running the course with a trailer attached, but adding a few other trials will add to the fun. Start with a typical course on the agenda, but for a real test of driving skill add a short course that requires the driver to pack up into a coned off area and then drive back off. Another course can include a payload of numerous small objects. No nets or covered trailers allowed and the driver gets points added as a penalty for each of the payload items lost during the run. Another challenge requires a series of small metal weights. Mark off a ten foot straight and fairly flat area (gradual uphill is fine) and see how much weight each rig can haul in its trailer.

night crawl

Many scale trucks have working lights (and if they don’t, adding them is pretty easy). Using glow sticks as gates, set up some courses to be run at night. Don’t worry about traditional penalties like reverse or even hitting gates (unless a gate is knocked down) and focus more on time as a determining factor in who wins. Rollover touches, touches and knocked over gates can all be assigned a time penalty. Keep safety in mind when selecting an area and make the courses technical (tight and twisty) enough that drivers aren’t temped to run. I will never forget the first night crawl I attended and how cool the long line of headlights looked as the trucks staged at the first gate. Oh, and check dollar stores for glow sticks.


If you are a motorcycle or powerboat enthusiast, you may already know all about poker runs. At its simplest, a poker run consists of typically five or seven stages. This requires a lot of space to work with as a really long course is essential for this being fun. At each stage, a driver is issued a card. The easiest way to do this is to do this is take one or two decks of cards and split them among the different stages. If you have 10 drivers, a standard deck will work. Two decks are needed for up to 20 drivers. When a driver reaches a stage, he or she draws a card out of a bucket or from a helper. At the end, an official determines who has the best hand. This event requires a working knowledge of poker, but I’ve made it easy by including a ranking of the hands. Ties are possible and are especially likely as more decks get used to cope with larger numbers. I suggest removing the Jokers and using them for first-come-first served bonus gates such as a big mud pit.

Poker Hands In Order

  • Straight Flush (cards in order and all of the same suit)
  • Four of a kind
  • Full House (three of a kind and two of a kind)
  • Flush (all of the same suit)
  • Straight (cards in order)
  • Three of a kind
  • Two pair
  • One pair
  • High card


The team crawl alternative is one of my favorites. You can make team randomly or let them pick ahead of time. You can also make the team consist of trucks from different classes. Two truck teams are the most common setup, but three truck teams work too. Set up one typical course and have the drivers run separately in normal fashion, but add their scores together as a single team score. For the second course, the team will run simultaneously and have at least one mandatory assist points for each member of the team. The third course should be more difficult than usual and all team members will run at the same time. Winch, pushing and pulling are all legal and not penalized. Time starts when the first truck starts the course and ends when the last truck finishes. As you can see, there are a lot of possible variations for a team crawl.


This is a coaching contest of sorts. Club members/active participants have to bring a non-RC friend to the comp who will drive on their behalf. On the first course, the regular driver coaches his novice friend through the course. The only instructions and advice the driver receives should be from their more-experienced coach. On the second course, each member of the two-person team gets a turn to drive a course blindfolded using only the guidance of their team member. In the end, three courses are run and tabulated for a final total score for each team. Besides being a lot of fun, this comp exposes RC to new people.

Night crawling photo by Jeremy Levesque 

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One Comment

  1. growimg up in a wheelimg family, we had an event called sand fleas but will work just about anywhere. there were wooden fleas hid at various checkpoints and bonus points were awarded for finding the hidden object.

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