It'll keep you engine nice and toasty...
I guess most off-road nitro racers in the UK will have heard of, and probably seen, the RC Sure Start by now. I've had one since the early days... in fact I think mine is probably one of the first production items, I'll admit now that I'm friends with Mr Sure Start, but this is a totally unbiased review. Truth told up until recently it had sat in my pit box and only seen limited use, I could see the point but I just wasn't organised enough to get round to using it. Lame excuse I know, but anyone who's seen my (dis)organised approach to race days will know where I'm coming from! Anyway, with winter coming on and temperatures plummeting to low single digits I decided it was time to give the RC Sure Start a chance, and see if it does what it claims.
For those that haven't seen the Sure Start yet, where have you been? I'd suggest a visit to their website (rcsurestart.co.uk) to get the full story. Basically the Sure Start is an engine warmer created by John 'Lambchops' Bennett that uses a 12v power source to drive a car bulb and small fan. These are fitted into a cylinder that fit's snuggly over the head causing a steady flow of warm or hot air to be directed over these parts. There are two versions of the device available, the standard and deluxe. With the standard model two heat settings are available, controlled by wiring in one or both of the bulbs elements. The deluxe model offers the convenience of a multi-position switch. The deluxe model also has a thermal cut out giving the user an extra level of convenience, drop the heater on the engine and you can wonder off safe in the knowledge that the device will get you engine nice and warm and then switch off. I don't recommend doing that with the basic model as it can get pretty hot if left for a prolonged period of time, especially if both elements are running!
I've used my basic model at the last two race meetings to get my Alpha Plus engines warm before qualifying and finals and it's worked flawlessly. With both elements switched on between five to eight minutes before I need the car the motor is nice and warm when I fire it up. It's noticeably easier to start the car with none of the usual issues that can be encountered, and the engine drops straight into a nice idle just as it would if it had been used for a few laps to warm it up. Plus no standing around revving a stone cold engine to get it warm. To me that has to save wear and tear on the engine, and at least makes me feel like I have some level of mechanical sympathy... at least until I get out on the track and start crashing into everything in site! If your pitting for a buddy in the heat ahead of you this is a real bonus. Switch on the Sure Start as he goes out, and as you pull him off the track your engine is already warmed up and ready to go. For the average club racer this can help take a lot of the stress out of the typically crazy turn-arounds in a crowded pit-lane.
I can also see this device coming into it's own when used during break-in of a new engine... no more faffing around with heatguns/hairdryers, and the Sure Start is also easy to use track-side, which the two previously mentioned devices most certainly aren't!
So then, the RC Sure Start - put simply it does exactly what it claims to do, no more, no less. There are other similar devices on the market and I'm sure they work too, but having watch a pair of competitors products smoking(!) away at Slough whilst connected to a fully charged leisure I know I'll be sticking with my Sure Start. I'm not the only one, with several big name drivers announced for the Sure Start team in the last couple of weeks and more signing up every day, including Lee Martin and pretty much the whole of the international Durango team.
RC Sure Start keeps going from strength to strength, and is a product I'm happy to recommend to anyone racing a nitro-engined model.