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!


Race Report from Geilenkirchen

This Sunday the NRW Offroad Series  took place in Geilenkirchen on another Astro-Turf track.

The very hard track (and some opponents) tortured the Gambler a lot, but everything went flawlessly. Nothing broke, despite other cars having a lot of problems with parts breakage.

Came home 4th after holding the 3rd spot all day but losing it by 3 secs in the last run.

Ran Proline Bow Tie M3 tires all round on Proline-Wheels.

Shocks were filled with 40WT front and 60WT rear. Orange Losi springs all round.

I was again using the modified Blitz front arms and 1.5° aluminium rear hub.

I will miss the next race due to a well earned holiday break, but I'll be back racing at an international race in Holland.at 17th of July.


The Real Deal?

Found this one on Venom's Facebook-site:

Venom's been sponsoring Jonathan Elkins #32 Pro Lite truck. Check out his truck in all new Venom Gambler graphics!


2nd Race of the season with the Gambler

This weekends race-meeting took me to the Duisburg Track, which I know for many years now. Starting with some slight rain in the morning but drying out very quickly and becoming extremely dusty.

I stayed with the mid-motor-setup and the 17.5T Speedpassion motor. Shock-oils were 40WT front and 50WT rear with orange Losi-springs all round.

I did not have a single technical issue the whole day. The Gambler was running flawlessly. Despite that I only reached 8th place, having some very bad racing luck.

As the rear end is nearly perfect now, I will do some more tests on the front-end to gain more stability. I'll keep you posted on that.


More updates

Updated my gambler before the upcoming race on sunday.

First of all I filled the diff with 1000WT oil. No more weight, because I don't want to sacrifice too much steering. Then I installed the 1,5° aluminium rear uprights, which should give more straight line traction on a slippery track (which is expected for the weekend)

Most important and most substantial change are new front-arms from the HPI Blitz, as new Gambler front-arms are not available at the moment. Modified shock mounting position slightly.

These arms are 5mm narrower than the stock parts. I got back 2 millimeters with wider hex-mounts from my scratchbox.

I also use orange Losi springs now, which are a little stiffer than the original springs.

Did I mention that the Gambler has the coolest mudflaps by far..? ;-)


Video from the weekend's racing.


Video by Pascal Huntjens

First race with the Gambler

Easter-Sunday was the first race-meeting and season-opener of NRW Offroad-Cup 2011 on the very nice and demanding Panik-Raceway in Troisdorf, Germany

My class is the Short-Course stock-class, which is the biggest class with the closest with the hardest and most exiting race-action.

A Speedpassion 17,5T spec motor with a fixed gear ratio had to be used there to make racing even closer.

In this series we only have one qualifier and 5 finals with the best 4 to count. So you have to be fast in every run to be up there.

I didn't had the chance to use the trainings-session on friday and saturday, so I had to work out the setuo in the first runs - based on what I found out at an earlier training-day there.

With a certain ammount of experience it was no problem, finding the right setup quickly.

The track-surface is artificial turf as used on tennis-courts. Additional sand made it quite slippery.

I changed the rear oil to 50WT (2 hole pistons) and stayed with 60WT (2 hole) up front. Tire-combination may look unusual, but worked very well. I used the stock-tires up front and Pro-Line Bow-ties M3 at the rear.

I would have used some harder springs or maybe stabilizer-bars to reduce the chassis-roll a bit, but missing these I used white Traxxas-Slash springs again as the stock-springs are too soft for this kind of track.

Those jumps are quite tricky there.

I had some very close fights with racing-mate Pascal Huntjens from the Netherlands - as in nearly every race in the last two years before.

Pascal and me fighting

I sadly missed the podium because of a broken front-arm in the decisive run, but had a great race anyway. Came home in 4th place, which is not too bad.

The next race will be on a very slippery clay-track in Duisburg on which I always had good results. Looking forward to that one very much. 

More on that race-series can be found here: www.NRW-Offroad-Cup.den be downloaded HERE


New Gambler pic

Trimmed the shape of the 'face' a little bit to give a sleeker look

The dark side of the Force


Pro Line Pro Trac Wheels

Just wanted to show Pro Line's ProTrac Renegade Wheels (2727-03) that I am using on my Gambler. They fit very well under the Gambler-body.

Tires used in these pic are LRP VTEC Short Course Tires.


Further Setup Changes

I changed some settings on the Gambler now and I will explain my thinking behind that.

To enhance front end grip in slow and medium speed corners I changed the inner pivot point of the upper front wishbone to the outer hole (inner hole is stock setting). This gives more camber increase, when the frontend is compressed and therefore gives a more constant steering while cornering.

I also increased front camber to two degrees to stay below 0° camber unter hard cornering (stock setting gives positive camber during hard cornering)

Front toe: As the steering has a lot of Ackerman, I decided to run no toe at all. Normally I run a little toe out to have a more direct turn in. But you have to sacrifice straightaway-speed for that.

With this car I am able to run neutral toe and gain more speed on the straight, which is very important when you only run 17,5T Motors.

Of course with neutral toe you also have a better turning angle on the outer wheel, which should increase steering even more.

Next I now use 2 hole shock-pistons (the ones that came with the car) instead of the stock 3 and 4 hole pistons. They have to be sanded quite a lot to make them fit perfectly. Because the first race of the season is on a high grip artificial turf track I tried 65WT oil front and rear, which is a quite stiff setting. 45-50WT should be a normal setting for this truck.

But I want to try out how the car behaves with a lot of dampening. The goal is to decrease body and chassis movement in the fast chicanes and to get more predictable jumping. The results of this I can only tell after the next testing session (which might take a while this time)

I kept the white Traxxas Slash springs, which seem to give very good results. All in all these changes should make the car even better for upcoming race.


Track testing the Gambler, Pt. II

Had a great day track-testing with the Gambler on an outdoor high-grip artificial turf track. Did some Setup-work and tire testing.

I used the 17,5T Speedpassion Spec-Motor and Cirtix Stock Sport Club Speedo. 30T pinion/81 Spur. Yuntong 5000mah 40C battery.

LRP 50WT/2 hole rear, 60WT 3 hole front. Still too soft for the track there. Will try 1-hole pistons all round next time. Used white Traxxas Slash stock-springs f+r, which worked well.

Tried stock-tires/rims, LRP SC tires and Holeshot M3 on Proline wheels. LRP-tires seem to work well, but the foam-insert does not. I will use Proline-inserts next time.

I kept the stock-radio, because it does everything I need. I never user expo and other electronic helpers. I also kept the stock servo.

I have to look after a wobbly steering and two bent rods after that day. But these are only minor issues. Car is working great. Thumbs up, Venom!


Track testing the Gambler

The Gambler is ready for track-test day tomorrow.

The truck is fitted with Speedpassion 17,5T Spec-Motor (that one has to be used in the race-series I am taking part in) and SP Citrix Club Sport Speedo. Just have to glue the tires (glueing SC tires/foams is a pain!) :-( and I am ready to go.

I wonder if you guys use diff oil.
If so, which one did you use successfully?


Venom Gambler - Rollout!

Last weekend I finally was able to do the first real rollout of my Venom Truck at some kind of BMX-track near my home. (Didn't find the time to make it to the next racetrack). So all the Lipos charged and off we go!

Before that I changed the shock-oil to 50WT all around, because I found the stock oil too much on the soft side. 50WT felt just right and it later proved that it was spot on. I did not change anything else, because I wanted to see how the truck handled in stock form.

Normally I only drive on racetracks, so I wasn't sure what to expect there. What can I say - it was nearly perfect. It handled loose dirt, small and big jumps and the banked curves great. Slow- and high speed steering was surprisingly good with the stock tires and no sign of a loose rear end.

I suspected that, because I never had a mid-motor 2WD car before. But I was absolutely convinced about this setup.

You can see how much fun it was on the pictures.

I hope at the next weekend I can make it to the track where the season-opener takes part later in April. That track has an artificial turf surface with lots of jumps and bumps. This is going to be a good challenge for the Gambler and surely I will meet some other SCTs out there

I will report on that later.



This blog is all about the new R/C Short Course Truck from Venom, called the Gambler.

The goal is to get in touch with other Gambler-owners and to exchange and share infos, setups tips and tricks all about the Gambler!


The Gambler arrives

Is it Christmas again? Noo - it's just the postman, bringing two huge boxes full of goodies from Venom. One containing the Venom Gambler Brushless and some spare parts. The other containing an unpainted body, because I want to paint it with my own trademark-paintjob later.

As far as I know it is the first Gambler in Germany. This is a big honour for me.

Brushless 3300kv and waterproof says it on the biiig box. I think it is an absolute bonus to have waterproof electronics in a car. Nearly all the offroad-tracks are outdoor here and the weather in Germany is not the same as in California :-)

Venom also included a 2.4ghz radio, which is simple but does everything you need from a radio. So I will keep that in my car.

The first impression of quaility and all around building is excellent. The Chassis comes with everything expected from a good racecar. Countless possibilities for adjusting everything you need to setup your car perfectly for every racetrack.

The most unique feature is the option to set up the chassis as mid-motor or rear motor. As I had a rear motored truck before (Traxxas Slash) and a lot of our tracks now switching to artificial turf I was happy to have a mid-motor car now, because I am sure that this should be an advantage on high grip tracks.


This is the chassis with the waterproof receiver-box in the front. I exchanged the stock 7-cell battery for a Lipo-battery. The 7-cell-pack surely gives a good performance, but as I want to use the Gambler on the racetrack I use Lipos.

I like the graphics on the gambler a lot. Makes the car unique and is waaay cooler than flames/manga/airbrush-style paintjobs.

What a great feature: an assortment of extremely cool special mudflaps. I am sure, my racing buddies will envy these :-)

The mid-motor and the very rigid shock-tower-support.

The 3-part Beadlox-wheels not only look good but they also hold the tires without glue.

The layout of the Venom Gambler

I already love my Venom Gambler. Still a very exotic car at the moment. But this will surely change soon.

I report on the first rollout and the racing soon.

Keep watching!