Other leaders and race organizers often ask me why a boy would need to modify the parts that come with their kit. Other than to gain an unfair advantage, why would someone lathe their wheels, change the axle slot location, or buy replacement axles? Wouldn’t it be best if everyone were using the exact same kit? The thing is, forcing the use of stock, unmodified kits is the best way to create an unfair advantage. That’s because not everyone will be using the same kit.
The BSA kits are terrible. The wheels are out of round, unbalanced, have crooked axle holes, varying wheel bore diameters, and uneven surfaces. The blocks aren’t square, the axle slots are poorly cut, and they have different vibration dampening qualities. The axles are crooked, have different diameters, and the nail heads aren’t perpendicular to the shafts.
Some kits are better than others. If you restrict a boy to using a kit as-is, and allow no modifications from stock, you are reducing the race to chance. All fairness has been eliminated and the kid who happens to get a good set of wheels or a straight block suddenly has an unearned advantage. You might as well not hold the race and just flip a coin to determine the winners.
This is the third in a series of articles aimed at race officials. In the series you’ll learn why complicated rules hurt the kids and the integrity of the race.