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Slot Car Sunday

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”

Bob Tasca Sr.

Today we’re off to race some slot cars at Soses Hobby & Toys in Tinseltown. After breakfast at Yolk’s – where we have some delicious but very expensive Fraser Valley Duck Confit Benedicts – we head to the mall only to discover the hobby shop isn’t open for another hour or so. We manage to waste a good amount of time wandering around Yokoyaya 123 and T&T Supermarket, laughing at the engrish and poking at the foreign food like the ignorant whiteys we sometimes are.

_EPH9530But yes, back to the slot cars. It seems slot cars, which are model cars that you drive around a track using hand held controllers, were a pretty cool toy for young boys back in the sixties and seventies; and some of those said boys (now grown men) get more than a little nostalgic at the sight of them. It was a few weeks ago that I first started to notice signs of Emrys’ emerging interest, as I noted his computer screen often filled with these little cars as he scoured the internet for the best deals. It was only last week, after a trip to Chilliwack that he proudly brought home his slot car set, complete with 16 feet of track and two cars, which at 1:32 are larger than the 1:87 scale slot cars I recall my brother’s friends having.

_EPH9526We set up a bit of track in the living room and take the cars for a few rounds. Unfortunately the cars are a bit slow as they’re designed for use in the UK at 230 volts vs. the 120 volts that our outlets provide, causing the cars to move at half speed. While Emrys figures out the particulars of a conversion to make the course go faster, we’re off to Soses to check out a larger, faster track (with miniature scenery!)

We arrive and take a quick meander around the store, checking out the model cars, planes and puzzles that line the walls around the large track set up in the middle of the room. There are a variety of cars for purchase, some meant for racing, others with more detail (like little people inside!), intended for collecting.

But it’s time to get down to business. At $2 per 2.5 minute race we decide to go three races. The owner’s son gives us a quick lesson in using the gun controller to adjust the speed, to brake and to switch tracks as we make our way around the course. We start off with the two easiest cars, which have a low centre of gravity, preventing them from coming off the track as easily when you take the corners.

_EPH9523I start off going full throttle and my car is soon flying across the hobby shop. Luckily this race comes complete with a pit crew (the shop owner’s kids) who retrieve our cars and place them back on the track and even replace a loose tire. I take my speed down a bit and manage to stay on course. Tracking my car as it makes its way around the course, under bridges and around corners is mesmerizing and it’s kind of exciting when Emrys and I end up racing neck in neck for a few moments. Nonetheless, Emrys easily wins the first two rounds.

For the third race we switch out to more advanced cars, which are noticeably faster but harder to keep on track if you don’t take the corners just right. I’m starting to see where the skill comes in. Emrys stops to take some photos and the owner’s son runs over to take over driving Emrys’ car, giving me the opportunity I need to pull into the lead and win my first race! Exciting times. Seriously, it was pretty fun.

And just think, soon I’ll have a fully functional track in my own home! Boys, you’ll have to contact Emrys for race details. Ladies, please try not to be too jealous.

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