Venom Gambler final call!

I have not written any reports on the Gambler for some time now. But I want to show you some pix from the last race I did with the Gambler on the very hard Langenfeld-track.

Not only the track was very 'selective' but the opponents driving was extremely hard and recklessly this time...so there were a lot of casualties. So that's why I do not look very happy here. :)

First I broke my front damper stay in a crash. Luckily I had some spare parts to fix it.

In the next run the Gambler suffered a broken chassis. As I had no spare, I decided that this was it for the Gambler.

Two years racing that car now and always having a lot of fun with it. But I knew Venom has discontinued the car and given up support for their drivers (I later contacted two or three times, but not any usable answer, which was a pity, really)

I was able to finish that race day with a Traxxas Slash which I borrowed from a race-mate.

I later bought a new chassis from Ebay and decided to re-do the Gambler at some time and probably sell it.

Should be a good deal, because it has every aluminium tuning-part you could probably get for it. Well let's see.

The next race-meeting I was testing an Associated Factory Team car, but decided after that, that I will go for a Losi 22 SCT


Gambler frontend changes

I never was a 100% satisfied with the Gambler's stability in fast corners on the high-bite tracks we have here in Germany. The rear end always looks planted, but the front end needed my attention on nearly every track. I tried different oils, all possible setup-options, the Gambler aluminium steering-rack, different steering-setups, springs...everything - it didn't do the trick as good as I wanted.

The idea came while watching a video about full size racing cars of the 60's and 70's where one of the constructors mentioned the fact that the shocks must be mounted as close to the wheel as possible to work to their full effect and giving the best possible reaction to setup changes etc.

I remembered that we did this to our offroad buggys in the 90's, when we mounted very long shocks (rear shocks in fact) at the front c-hubs. The most outward point possible.

So I constructed a plate which mounts to the original shock-holes on the lower arm. The plate has 5 holes to mount the shocks. This not only gives more variations to mount the front shocks, but it also brings the lower mount nearer to the outside of the front-arm. It also requires to use a shorter front-shock. But I did use the shorter Traxxas Big-bore shocks anyway, so it fits perfectly.

The plate is made of silver carbon fibre. Not very elegant looking, but for the moment I want to focus on functionality.

The changes felt great on the working bench and I am sure it will work out fine on the track.

B.t.w.: I am running the latest 70C Venom Lipo-Packs now for some extra punch! Thanks to Clint of Venom USA!

I will report on the effect of these modifications after the tests in Troisdorf.

Season opener in Lünen

My Gambler cornering hard (pic by Anja Fuhrmann)
This years racing-season kicked off on the MMW-Lünen indoor facality on a rather small but well layed out carpet track.

To be honest - I never liked indoor-carpet offroad racing and I probably never will. So I came there with no training and only little preparation. I did not drive very well, ending up 14th overall was not great, but securing me some points, which will come handy at the end of the season.

Looking very much forward now to the first outdoor-race on my favourite club-circuit in Troisdorf on the 8th of April.


Another last race

Last weekends race took me to the nearby Duisburg track for the last outdoor-race of the season and also for the last ever race on this track. The RCRT Duisburg club-track has to close down after over 25 years because a youth-hostel will be built on this place. I raced there since the very beginning and I was there on the last event. Quite a sad occasion, but a very nice one as well.

Weather was perfect and so was the track. Competition was very close and to qualify 3 seconds slower meant you find yourself 5 or 6 places down the leaderboard.

I was missing some speed the whole day, cause my 17.5T Speedpassion was not able to keep up with some of the more tunable 17,5 out there.

The Gambler was doing fine but I missed the A-final and only showed a very average performance in the B.

@ Venom: The interest in my Truck was very good once again. If only it was available over here...could be a winner. *hint...hint* ;-)

So that was it for outdoor racing this year. I was never to keen on indoor-gym-tracks, which are quite common over here. So I am not sure when the Gambler will hit the track again.

In the meantime - take care and keep on racing!


Last Race of NRW Offroad Cup Series

On the Weekend of 17th/18th of September the final race of the NRW Offroad Cup-series took part on the grippy and very demanding track in Langenfeld in the west of Germany.

YESS - it has a new Venom-bodyshell, which is sporting my trademark Gulf-Racing design...at least a bit of it. ;-)

My Gambler got a complete overhaul before the race. Not only the modified bumper and the Venom aluminium steering upgrade. It also got a new Savöx low-profile Servo. I also tried a new set of Traxxas big-bore aluminum shocks. These worked extremely well. The front-shocks are 8mm shorter than the original Gambler shocks. The rears are 3mm shorter, which reduced droop significantly and gave the car a much sharper turn in. The Traxxas supplied 30WT oil was a bit on the firm side. But as it was a high grip track I left it this way and was very happy with it.

The Truck was working extremely well and gave me very quick laptimes and rocket-like starts every time. Sadly the receiver let me down a couple of times. The fail-save stopped the truck in 3 of the 5 runs, which cost me 2 to 3 laps on each occasion. I was not able to solve that because I had no spare receiver, so I had to take it like it is.

So at the end it was only a bad 16th place. But I was not unhappy, because I knew the Truck was great and it could have done much better.

I hope I am able to do another outdoor-race before the outdoor-season closes for this season. I would love to take the Gambler on the podium at least once this year.


Gambler bumper mod

Stock Gambler bumper
Another significant change I wanted to do for a long time was the front-bumper.

The bumper of the original Gambler faces downward, This gives the front part of the chassis very high stress when landing on the nose after a jump or so. And when you get the landing completely wrong, the bumper nearly digs into the ground which unsettles the truck a lot.

I wanted to modify the bumper in a way that it helps the chassis over obstacles and guides it into the right direction when landing after a jump. So the bumper should face upwards.

This is very easy to do with the Gambler. I was wondering why this mod hasn't been done by more Gambler owners.

1. unscrew the bumper from the chassis and seperate it from the guide-plate (which can stay attached to the chassis)
2. turn around the bumper a 180 degrees and bolt it onto the front shock-tower as it was before.
3. drill two holes in the bumper just where the holes in the guide-plate has them and screw in two self-tapping screws. (golden in that pic above for better visibility)
4. ready to rumble!

This is how it looks like after the mod.
Of course you have to modify the body a little bit at the front to clear the new bumper. I think this sleek look even enhances the look and makes it more aggressive.

Cost of this bumper-mod:
2 screws, 10 minutes of your time and just a tiny little bit of brain-power.

Edit: After the first race with the new bumper, I can say that it worked very well and it didn't let me down in any way. So I can really recommend it.

Gambler steering update

Finally I got the latest edition front- and rear-arms for the Gambler, together with the great aluminium steering set, which should remove whe steering-wobble I was fighting with from the beginning.

I can say, that aluminium-set did the job. Fantastic!

But I am just as happy to have original Venom Gambler front arms installed again. I was running with HPI Blitz front arms because my old generation arms were broken and the new ones were not available. It did work ok, but not as good as the Gambler-arms, because the geometry was changed slightly and I was missing the cornering-stability I had before. Especially on the high grip astro-turf tracks we have out here in Germany. Now everything is fine as it should be and the new front arms feel much more rigid than the old ones. Looks great - feels great - perfect!

Thanks a lot to Rick and Clint from Venom!