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Getting Started with RC Crawler Competition and the Different Classes

RC scale photos - vanquish vs410 pro 3

Rock crawling is an exciting hobby and thrilling sport. 

Nonetheless, RC crawler competitions are a different kind of fun. If you want to join the big leagues and have matchless fun, you must partake in RC crawler competitions. Indeed, you`ll find people who are equally or more fascinated by rock crawler racing, while the huge crowd will be particularly helpful and enticing. 

That said, if you`re a beginner and don’t know a lot about RC crawler competitions, here is my comprehensive guide on everything you need to know:

Identify Your Class 

Like their full-size equivalents, RC rock crawlers come in different shapes and sizes. Usually, most clubs follow the rules laid out by USRCCA and feature 2.2 and Super Classes. 

The crawlers within the 2.2 class feature similar-size rims and are not permitted to operate rear steer or a more than 12.5 inches wheelbase. This means they need to have a width of less than 12.5 inches. 

On the other hand, the supper class category comes with fewer restraints and allows for larger tires and bodies. Besides, some clubs have scale class whereby the objective is to copy full-size street rigs. 

The most common class is the 2.2, though the larger clubs include all the classes thanks to the significant turnouts. Usually, most comps offer one or more courses per category, so if you`re not good at one, you can try another. 

How it Works 

Fortunately, RC crawler competitions aren`t as complex as the actual racing experience. However, they can be intimidating if it’s your first time. 

Consequently, it would help if you understood a few rules and checked whether there`s something in your RC crawler that requires changing. Additionally, confirm whether there`s an entry fee. Once you arrive at the racing scene, you`ll have to register and talk to the event organizers. They will look at your vehicle to ensure it meets their guidelines. 

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As a beginner, you can’t be a judge; judges need to have attended several events. Besides, this is a voluntary role. After people sign up and have their vehicles checked, the event organizers talk to the drivers, and the judges brief you on the rules and give the schedule of events.

Typically, these events run in two ways. The first way involves picking a random beginning order for the classes; hence you need to be at a given course at a specific time. Be keen so that you’re ready to start racing once your course is called out. 

In the event there are two courses, the second course might be run in reverse, though most times, the running schedule depends on the scores of the initial course. Ultimately, the event organizers will elaborate their system. 

The second method, becoming common in larger clubs, is known as a “free for all” method. They set three or more courses, and the audience will decide when they want to race on each one. You`ll sign up with the judge and need to race all the courses within a specific time frame. 

When you`re done racing, the judges will total the scores, and the winner will be the individual with the least penalties. 

Basic Rules

As with all sports, RC crawling competitions usually have rules. Rock crawler racing is slightly different from traditional RC competition since it is judged. Also, the points are tallied for penalties. Similar to golf, the individual with the lowest score wins. 

Besides the finishing and starting gates, every gate cleared gives you a “-1” score. You can earn only 40 points per course and even get a negative score. Frequently, participants are penalized for utilizing reverse, though you can also be penalized for hitting gates or rolling your car over. Often, you’re required to complete each course within a specific timeframe, and surpassing it will lead to a DNF (Did Not Finish). 

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Again, you shouldn’t touch your vehicle; or you`ll be given a touch penalty worth a “-10” score. Plus, when it comes to a touch penalty, your vehicle needs to be positioned with its back axle at the gate you cleared previously. You`ll only get a “-5” score for rollovers, though this is if you merely roll over your rig back to either side. 

 You shouldn’t hold it up and position it back to a racing position. 


  • Out of bounds 10 points
  • Gate marker 10 points
  • Vehicle touch 10 points
  • Rollover 5 points 
  • Reverse 1 point

How to Win


I should probably mention that pre-running isn’t allowed. Nonetheless, it is vital to analyze the course before racing. Again, search for alternative paths and lines; they might be handy when things don’t go as planned.


Watch different competitions and see what happens; to know the dos and don’ts. Also, watch exactly where they position their rig`s tires. 

Don’t rush

If you rush, you`re more susceptible to making an error. The best drivers begin slowly and concentrate. Take some time to plan your line, study the terrain and look for positions that offer improved traction. Also, search for things to avoid, like obstacles that might throw your rig off-balance. 

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Look at the bigger picture. 

Don’t begin the course forcefully. You`re not looking to clear the first gate only to remain in a tough situation for the second. Alternatively, view the sport as a game of chess whereby you need to consider multiple moves simultaneously. 


Ensure to avoid careless mistakes like treading on a gate. 

Don’t overthink it

Whether you`re a beginner or experienced, it’s possible to make mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Concentrate on the race, but don’t forget to have some fun!


As with most things, practice makes perfect. Take time to practice different moves and understand the capabilities and restrictions of your vehicle. Understanding your rock crawler might prevent you from making mistakes or overworking it. 

Handy Tips

Participating in an RC crawler competition is mostly about having fun and a bit about winning. However, if you aren’t ready, your day of fun can swiftly turn into a frustrating experience. Here are some handy tips to make sure you enjoy yourself:

  • Carry a lot of water, regardless of the weather 
  • Pack lunch or a snack
  • Carry bug spray and sunscreen 
  • Wear hiking boots for adequate grip
  • Have registration funds
  • If you`re racing on the scale class, waterproof your rock crawler
  • For zero frequency interference, use 2.4 GHz radios
  • Pack a few basic tools like a 4-way wrench, small pliers, and hex wrenches
  • Bring cable ties and electrical tape
  • Make sure you have two or more pairs of fully charged batteries 

And don’t forget to have fun! 

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