The Whump

redlinederby Tuesday, 3/24/2020
Site manager

Back during the Rookie Rally in January, Mattman talked about how one his cars wavered when it hit "the whump" at the transition of my track. I loved that term, The Whump. It describes that transition perfectly. I always had a dislike for The Whump but once it got a name, I started to like it. I started to like that it made my track a little unique. Just like real world tracks, every one has their quirks and The Whump was mine.

This is the story of The Whump

In my opinion, downhill transitions are one of the most difficult parts of the track to get right...or at least get fair. Unless you're using a Drag Track system or something that has a prefab support structure, you were on your own to get that transition right. And "right" meaning it was sturdy and fair.

I had used all sorts of engineering solutions, from Velcro, to tape, to bungie cords, to a hook & latch rig. It was always a mess and I was never happy with anything I came up with (no surprise there). Nothing ever stopped me from racing but I always new the track could be better.

Then in 2015, long-time RLD member Smitty, who had been a fabricator for GM back in the day (or maybe Ford, not sure), reached out and gave me a hand. Using his veteran metalworking skills, he made what he called The Sloppy Transfer (all his stuff got a "sloppy" moniker). It was 4-lane a steel track connector. He sent it to me and I took the flat metal and angled it as I needed. It was then screwed down to the base boards and the orange track slid over top like any other connector. 

It was awesome! It was sturdy and held my downhill down as well. I thought all my problems were solved...and they were, largely speaking. But that metal underneath the track is what turned my track into The Whump. And the fact that the angle of my downhill was pretty steep (about 40 degrees, I think). So a car going down got good speed, hit that solid metal at the transition and could get whumped if their weight was in the wrong spot.

Smitty left the limelight of Redline Derby several years ago. I haven't communicated with him since but I hope he's doing okay. He was retired and gave a lot to diecast racing and to Redline Derby in the early days. And without Smitty, there would be no Whump. Thanks, Smitty, wherever you are.

I'm not sure if The Whump will return when I rebuild my home track. I'm thinking I'll try a different technique this time, just to change things up. But The Whump will be sitting proudly on my shelf, as a tribute to Smitty and what really was my first competitive race track. 


May I suggest using the old black hotwheels jump... not the open landing... the other part.

  • Yeah...thing is finding one. But I'm also considering doing a more sloped track the next time, just to be a little different. — redlinederby
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Mattman213 3/24/20

Im betting if you routed out the wood where the two strips that screw to the boards are so that the 4 lanes were closer to laying flat on the boards it would tame the "Whump" and make it a "SWOOOSH".  When I was securing my orange track to the boards using 3Dbotmakers hold downs cars would bounce and skip down the track when they hit those hold downs.  I routed the areas around the hold downs so they could sit in the recesses and now my track is butter smooth in those sections.  Just something to consider on the Grand Rebuild!


  • Indeed. I hope to take some more time with whatever I build next and consider all those types of things (and acquire the tools). — redlinederby
  • I snagged a little POS router bit setup for my dremel and made it work. Did the trick! — Mattman213
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WorpeX 3/24/20

I miss Smitty, hope hes doing well. He helped me out a lot when I first started! Sent me a sloppy starting gate and some jalopys!

Anyway, the Slump has been a trouble spot for me too of late. i've had some really ghetto solutoins in philly. I've been hoping that some of the 3D Printer guys would start manufacturing a solution....

  • I hope Smitty is well too. His gear wasn't the most elegant but damn it worked well. — redlinederby

Truly nothing better IMO 

  • These should be able to be 3D printed — LeagueofSpeed
  • Agreed...I started working one :) Although my only hang up with it is it dictates the angle but if I can design one to print, can make various sizes — redlinederby

Made this Transition out of the Fat Track connector for Tail of the Dragon and it works for a 3 lane track.

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ChiefWopahoo 3/25/20
2020 Rated Rookie

Whump history in Central Ohio - the term "Whump" is a shortened version of the original "Buckeye Whump" located in one of the Ohio State University parking lots. This lot, located off Carmack Drive and visible from State Route 315, was an extremely popular site for local amateur motorsports enthusiasts to practice their performance driving hobby know as autocross. The time/speed competitions involved high speed maneuvers through a course marked with roadway safety devices commonly known as "pylons" or "cones". The parking lot features a crowned access road that transitioned through the middle of the lot and if the course design allowed, powerful, heavily modified, and f'n fast vehicles (called "race cars") would become gently airborne as they passed over the middle of the access road. The vehicles would usually land with a loud whumping sound sometimes followed by a scream, flying car parts, and occasional accidental urination by unsuspecting passengers. Thus, the OSU parking lot became both loved and feared nationwide by amateur racers and their mechanics as the home of the "Buckeye Whump". The lot is no longer used by wannabe racers and is currently in service as a testing site for the COVID 19 virus (for reals) and the term has now passed to the Redline Derby Raceway.

Attached are few pics of a couple cars with parts off the pavement that should be firmly stuck to the pavement, along with an example of the sometimes not so cool results from a rough landing.

  • Thats very cool and NOT cool on the Fox. Bet yall had it sorted quick tho! — Mattman213
  • I didn't know any of that! Safe to say our Whumps are quite a bit different but both a lot of fun. I remember seeing all that racing on the Ackerman Lots way back now knowing that you were probably there racing. — redlinederby
  • Matt - you’re right. A cheap floor jack was placed under what remained of the left front suspension and driven into a trailer. It was rebuilt and racing again the next weekend. That car is currently being rebuilt into a wide-bodied autocrosser. The white RX7 has body damage as well from earlier hard landings. That car is still with us as well, but it’s been rebuilt from a V8-powered wide-bodied autocross car into a stock bodied, stockish rotary engine endurance track car. Both cars have had a very long racing history and both are pretty awesome. — ChiefWopahoo
  • Brian - yessir, if you were at any OSU autocross event on any of their lots there’s a very good chance we crossed paths. I was heavily involved as a competitor and/or organizer for most of those years. — ChiefWopahoo
  • Thats awesome. Im a BIG Foxbody fan so the ole 4 eye does it for me! — Mattman213
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