Oxenford Circuit / Al's Paceway (relocated)

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Oxenford Circuit / Al's Paceway (relocated)

Postby wixwacing » Tue 15 Jul, 2008 11:00 pm

Some time ago (early 2004 to be exact), a grand project was put into action at the home of one time South East Queensland slot racer and ‘Albion’ slotcar racer Paul Chapman at Oxenford near the Gold Coast. Paul had previously lived at Eagle Heights at Mount Tamborine where he had a splendid four lane Scalextric circuit and used to host race days spread throughout the year. It was a good day out too! A drive to Paul’s where we would indulge in the best of hospitality, a barbeque on the verandah and good company.



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Paul, who was (and I assume still is) an architect was recently married and had set up his spectacular home, clinging to the edge of the mountain, with views down to Surfers and more! The time came for him to start a family and with it came the necessity to be located more central to all the services a young family needs, so he sold up his beautiful mountain residence and moved to Oxenford, almost at the foot of the mountain.

His new home was also one of his own creations and it went without saying that there was to be a purpose built ‘race room’ in said ‘des. res.’ And he called upon Queensland’s (if not Australia’s) foremost prolific 1/32 slotcar track builder, Lindsay Smith. By now, Lindsay had several good tracks under his belt. Tracks designed to maximise the space available. Some excellent sprint tracks where speed and guile are the essence. Other tracks that technical, that more than several so called ‘top slotters’ had to contend with mid field placings because their talent wasn’t up to the tracks. But the icing on the cake was to be the Oxenford circuit.



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Hatched one evening at an Albion slot car meeting, Paul started to put together ideas for a track a cut above the rest. It had to have something to give it appeal and meaning. I had been experimenting at home with a working single lane pit lane and Paul was taken by this idea. The track support frame was constructed and the boards were starting to go on. The circuit was designed and a pit lane was incorporated in it. The only thing left was to turn theory into practice and get the darn thing operational.

Paul and Lindsay fashioned the track and when the time came I was summoned to convert and wire the pit lane which had been routed into the boards. No small task. I had estimated a day to do it and a full day it took. Hundreds of soldered terminals. Metres of wire and a bank of relays and switches to configure!! But we did it!



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The finished track was extensively tested and the joys and pleasures of racing were great. Club racing would never be the same and the track was to become the talking point. We had an inaugural opening race meeting. A trophy event and the creme of S.E. Queensland’s 1/32 RTR racers was there. A preliminary race saw us get used to the features and eventually the main event arrived, complete with pitstop technology. Full details escape me but the event took up a good part of the afternoon until the race management system spat out the final results.

Amid great controversy Glen Perrin was declared winner but the race management system had a glitch in it we were just becoming aware of. Unable to rectify this and with no adverse detraction from the track itself, we let the results stand. The Oxenford Trophy went home with Glen and I assume he still has it. Not long after that, it was announced that the track was to go. The room was needed for family matters and besides, Paul’s new love was his 1:1 Subaru WRX and weekends putting it through its paces at Willowbank Raceway. Paul dropped out of the group sadly and the track then had a couple of ignominious locations ‘sans pitlane operation’ until finally it was stored away from those who loved it.



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With the arrival of Red Racer hobbies and a new following in that area, the track was taken up by fellow racer Alan Page. Alan took the track to his large shed on the Redcliffe peninsula and for a while was not sure exactly what he wanted to do. An early incarnation saw the track used a support for a Ninco circuit which promptly oxidise in the heavy salt atmosphere and with Alan cultivating a likeness for board track racing it was not long before he approached Lindsay and myself with a view to restoring it to its former glory.

With pointers from us both, Alan has repainted the track and with my and Lindsay’s help, re-laid fresh tape. Also, I have debugged the race management hardware for him and now the track is restored to running order without the pit lane operation. Hopefully with Alan’s blessing we will have some club racing on it soon and probably towards the end of the year after we have had good use from it, we might even restore the pitlane operation!



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The track is about two and half by five metres and every effort was made originally to get as many drivable features as possible into it without crowding. Because the track is made of 12mm MDF it wasn’t possible to create a three dimensional circuit and indeed back then it wasn’t even in our minds. The closest we got was to build the track with one end of the track about 300 mm higher than the other. This gave us a good downhill main straight, and some uphill technical sections.

The track IS a technical track. It has to be driven almost in its entirety. No pocket rockets win on this track. Full attention has to be paid to model preparation and a good driving session is required to familiarise yourself with every twist and turn. The one concession to a lack of three dimensions was the addition of a hump along the back straight. This was extra MDF added during the construction stage.



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The pitlane was a single routed lane which started at the outside edge of the track and cut across the remaining lanes and into a trackside pit area. This lane ran the length of the pits and back out onto and across the race track. In the pits area there were four separate turn offs, one for each lane. These were the pit stops. In the slots we installed some modified doorstop material or ‘flippers’ on a small brass pivot. Directly beneath these were a battery of model railway points solenoids. Each one had a vertical wire passing into the centre area of the ‘flipper’. There was a flipper on each lane to take the model onto the pit lane. Once on the pit lane slot, the model was out of the racers control and its speed was determined by a separate wire wound pot for the lane. This was set before a race to ensure all the models behaved themselves once in the pits. On travelling into the pits there was another flipper placed at the entrance of the pit stops. This took respective models into their respective pits were the model would stop.



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The pit lane power would end one third of the way into the pit stop and the model would halt in its pit. The pitstop procedure was carried out. In the early days it was the retrieval of a correspondingly coloured peg from the opposite side of the track. On returning to your race station, trigger pressure on your controller would see the model move back onto the pit lane were it would pick up the pre set power and the model would exit the pit lane onto the main track once again. Once on the track it would be returned to its racing lane by a third flipper mounted in the slot.



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The flippers were controlled by a ‘momentary on’ thumb switch we had mounted into the back of the controllers and some deft finger (or thumb) work was required to minimise the risk of missing your turning. This was depressed and held while the model was going in and out of the pitlane. Failure to get into the pit stop would see the model drive the length of the pitlane and back onto the track.



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Once raced a few times it was possible to conduct a pit stop with ease and it soon became second nature avoiding other models which were hurtling by while you were entering or exiting the pits. Mind you, there were some spectacular deslots and crashes too! All part of the learning curve! So, the track has a new owner and the owner is keen to have the track in operation. I for one am glad this masterpiece is back in operation and I look forward to many invites to race!
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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Re: Oxenford Circuit / Al's Paceway

Postby wixwacing » Tue 22 Jun, 2010 10:51 pm

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Al's Paceway has ranked among the most popular tracks for local racing with it consistently getting good turn outs at race meetings and as with all frequently used tracks it had started to become maintenance intensive. Partly because of the construction, and partly because of its partial exposure to the elements.



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The track sits in an adequate building but being a shed it is subject to the rigours of changeable weather. The main problem was the continued breakage of the copper tap conductor strips. Al eventually decided enough was enough and bit the bullet. The track was to get a complete makeover!!



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Not only was the tape to be replaced, but the track would be repainted, and while he was at it, he would extend one end! With space at a premium once the family transports where in situ, he came up with a novel approach to the problem. He wasn't looking at having bits that plugged in or folded up. He was looking for a permanent extension. The solution turned out to be a 'Page's Peak' solution!



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The end of the track would be extended into the end of the adjoining car bay! with a steady gradient to take the track level up and over the family SUV. Al ran a dummy lane in place to establish the supports needed and where to fix them it was also necessary to make sure all lanes were visible from the drivers positions.



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Lastly, it was essential there were no fierce gradient changes or 'jinks' in the lanes. Finally it all took shape and slowly but surely lesser problems were solved as they arose until the day came to route the lanes. The track previously only had the guide slot as taped lanes do, this was all that was needed. This time Al was going with tinned copper braid. With a two step router bit employed he experimented on some off cuts until the depth left the tape just below the track surface. The new rebates were routed and the track then had to be painted. Al went for some unconventional acrylic paint and applied it with a roller.



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The slots were painted and when it was all dry, it was time to lay the braid. The braid was fixed in place with 3M double sided tape, surprisingly strong! The tape was laid and the braid followed. Once the track was braided it was time for some slotcar action. In the early stages the track was a bit slippery, but as it slowly rubbered up the grip returned. With the track proper completed, Al's imagination took over and the landscaping and scenery went in place. The pictures say it all!!



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The track had a few weeks social driving until last week, when it had its first race meeting. Buy the second class you would be forgiven for thinking we had been racing on it for years, and the grip level got better and better. So that was it. Money well spent on the upgrade and a hitherto unknown level of conductivity and inevitably, reliability.
Well done Al.



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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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Re: Oxenford Circuit / Al's Paceway

Postby Cyph » Wed 23 Jun, 2010 1:41 pm

Hey Phil,

Mate, if you could get some distance shots of that the next time you're there, it'd be awesome.

Looks impressive just from what I can see so far!
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Re: Oxenford Circuit / Al's Paceway

Postby PerryV » Wed 08 May, 2013 1:42 am

Is there still some racing on this Track?
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Re: Oxenford Circuit / Al's Paceway

Postby methomann6868 » Fri 10 May, 2013 6:22 pm

Unfortunately we have not been able to race at AL`s track for the last couple of years due to his family commitments.
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