Dale Grove shows his slot car race track. He will be bringing the activity to the Barry’s Bay area sometime this month.
For his 10th birthday, Dale Grove was given a small slot car set. Ever since, they have never ceased to give him a thrill and now he is going to share that feeling with the people of Barry’s Bay and area. Zippity Slot Cars will be opening in July.
Grove has built the two tracks that will be available in the store, a large six laner and a smaller two laner. He expects most of his clientele will be children and teens, but he adds, “When I lived in Mattawa, there was an adult slot car club in North Bay that I used to go to. The adults had just as much fun as the kids.”
For those who have never seen them, slot cars are miniature reproductions of racing cars, connecting through the slot in their lane to an electric current varied by the car’s controller through his or her hand-held device. The greater the current, the faster the speed of the car. The curves and “hills” built into the track add to the challenge, and a “champion” develops a level of skill that brings his car in constantly ahead of the others.
Slot cars are usually models of actual automobiles, though some have bodies purpose-designed for miniature racing. Most enthusiasts use commercially-available slot cars (often modified for better performance), others motorize static models, and some “scratch-build,” creating their own mechanisms and bodies from basic parts and materials.
HO slot cars work on a similar principle, but the current is carried by thin metal rails that project barely above the track surface and are set farther out from the slot. The car’s electrical contacts, called “pickup shoes”, are generally fixed directly to the chassis, and a round guide pin is often used instead of a swiveling flag.