Fast Lap: 2:00.61 by SLO_COPE
Garage Settings: 1700 med tires/soft suspension
BowtieBandit’s “Rep Fan’s Garage” is a product of a friendship that exists between two MTMers, and in a sense the same can be said for HotShoe’s “Replica Fan’s Gallery
. For the most part, however, the latter was made as a tribute in light of the “beyond the call of duty” gesture he made to our team. As the story goes, I approached RF in the winter of ’02 and asked if he would make trucks for a couple of our newcomers since our truck maker (SLO_SS) was temporarily sidelined. He agreed, but to my surprise he extended the offer to make new trucks for the entire team! On top of that he remade several of the trucks for whatever reasons the original didn’t quite meet the needs of the individual, and tweaked the handling characteristics of others. Oh yeah, he definitely hooked us up, which is a gross understatement in retrospect. It's weird though - it's like the guy had absolutely nothing better to do with is life at the time except crank out awesome trucks for us lol.
I know I’ve poked fun at him on occasion (ok maybe a lot lol), but we’re actually good buds, so rest assured there’s no covert-like maliciousness going on. The truth is Rep Fan is one of the nicest guys around. SLO_HotShoe, appreciating all the work RF put into an exact replica of his real truck
, as well as the generosity he extended to our team, decided to make “Replica Fan’s Gallery” as a way of saying “thanks”. To begin with, we had to determine what kind of track the loser…I mean, what "our friend" liked lol. There’s a track by the name of “Stage Fright” he's partial to, which is sort of what this track is modeled after. Descriptively speaking, RFG has enclosed corridors that are somewhat narrow with several 90° rights & lefts. It exits to a blacktop road that quickly turns to dirt, forming an elongated loop back to the corridors. The main visual attractions in the loop consist of a farmhouse, a barn, and golden fields of corn. By the way the corn is symbolic of RF’s place of residence (Nebraska), which happens to be well-known for that particular vegetable. Shoe accentuated the atmosphere with some of his premium cut trees. He’s a tree nut, but people (teammates mostly) often leave out the “tree” part when referring to Shoe lol. Personally I find remarks of that sort distasteful and completely out of line…mostly because I'm never around to join in on the fun at Shoe’s expense lol. Getting back to RFG, after completing the loop you’re routed back into the building down a long corridor before making another 90° right turn to the start/finish line.
The “gallery” part of the name stems from the pictures on the walls as you drive down the corridors. Every picture is a truck/car made by the man himself, and that also goes for the checkpoint markers in the open field. The idea to have pictures on display, although a very good one, became a source of frustration for Shoe during beta testing due to lag issues. Phin came to the rescue with a few handy-dandy tips, however, so things quickly got back on track and Shoe was able to complete his work. For those with low-end systems there may be traces of lag and chug in the corridors, but overall the track should perform well. I have 1.2 gig AMD with a cheesy 16 meg Riva TnT (lol I know, I know) and by today’s standards that very much qualifies as a “low-end” machine, yet the track runs just fine. I'd like to point out that I spent several hours shooting action & static shots of RF’s miserable jalopies…and not one of them are featured in this track!! Sorry - just needed to get that off my chest lol
Racing wise…well, first of all, the layout is extremely basic. You won’t find a thing about this track that will prompt “ooohs and ahhhhs”, but as with all of Shoe's tracks, it's very
well put together, and the craftmanship is topnotch. But as simplistic as the layout is, rest assured it’s a heck of a lot of fun to race, especially thru the corridors. For the most part it boils down to a test of attrition as opposed to individual racing prowess whereby the fastest, most skillful racer wins. The 90° lefts, rights, and left-right-left combinations (like this one
) are tailor-made for high-speed collisions, and that’s because few racers ever concede ground; most try to win the race during the first lap, which isn’t very smart, but it’s what you typically see on the tracks. If you’re fortunate enough to break free of the crowd, execution plays a big part in whether or not you can maintain or build on your lead. Dropping your speed and effectively using your accelerator are key factors in making the turns without scraping the sides of the walls. If you can pull it off, and mind you, it’s not as easy as it sounds, you should fair pretty well overall. Bare in mind breaking free of the crowd could also mean you’re behind, which isn’t such a bad thing…mostly for safety reasons lol. Execution is still a big factor because if you’re taking the turns smoothly, cleanly…all you’ll need is for some overeager racer with “happy tires” trying an ill-advised maneuver at one of those 90° junctures, and shazzam! - you’re back in the race. I’ve always wanted to say that, the “shazzam!” thing lol. At any rate, spectacular crashes will forever be a part of RFG due to it’s design characteristics, but in large part that’s what makes it so much fun to race.
The Copey Rating is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, for as I mentioned in the second paragraph, this track was a gift presented to Rep Fan as a token of our immense appreciation of his time and finely honed truck making skills/talent. But if I were to rate this baby, I’d give it a “3
” out of 10 possible points simply because Shoe had me take all those freakin pictures and didn’t use one of em lol. Can ya tell I’m still kinda ticked off about that? LOL regardless, excellent job, Shoe!! On behalf of all of SLO I'd like to thank you for taking the time to put together an excellent track so that it could presented to RF. Lastly, my apologies for letting this one slip by last year without a review. I can't say for sure how it happened, but I'd lay money on it that my wife had something to do with it lol.
RF, what more can I say man – you’re the best, bud - thanks a million for all you’ve done, and continue to do.