September 13, 2013

On the Grapevine – Flowood

On the Grapevine – Flowood

Last weekend I was back on board a Delta Airlines flight bound for the US, while it felt like only a few weeks since I last crossed the Atlantic Ocean I was little shocked when I discovered its actually been 5-months since we covered our last American event. On that occasion my trip was to Dallas, Texas, for the JConcepts Indoor Spring Nationals at Mike’s Hobby Shop when thanks to track owner Mick Darnell I also got the chance to visit Gas Monkey Garage from the Discovery Channel hit show Fast & Loud.   Luckily when traveling to the US from Ireland Dublin Airport has one of only a few purpose built facilities outside of the North America that allows US bound passengers to undertake all immigration and customs inspections prior to departure meaning no queuing on my arrival at the other side.  As part of the process one must fill out the details of your trip including its purpose and the address at which you will be staying and this lead to a funny reaction from the US immigration officer.  While he found the purpose of my trip, reporting on a model racing car event, unusual enough when he saw the hotel address he responded in an slightly amused tone ‘Your staying in Flowood!!!’.

Continue reading On the Grapevine here


September 10, 2013

Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

In the not too distant past, the RC industry was predominantly focused around three areas – Japan, California and Western Europe.  Almost all the manufacturers were located in these three areas and the majority of major races also took place nearby.  But, in the last 10 years, we’ve seen a very obvious shift into different territories as our hobby expands globally.

Continue reading Oli’s column here


August 29, 2013

On the Grapevine – Beijing

On the Grapevine – Beijing

After an enjoyable break from the skies, last week I returned to my travels with a journey that from the time I left my house in Ireland till the time I arrived at my other 2nd home (Hotel!!) ended up taking 27-hours.  The reason for the long trip was because I was off to China where Red RC would cover its first FEMCA Championships.   The event essentially crowns the champions of the Far East much like EFRA’s championships decide who is Europe’s No.1 driver and the ROAR Nationals determine who is top dog in the US/Canada.  While FEMCA, which stands for Far East Model Car Association,  has hosted the championships for many years across most of its 15 member countries, the 2013 1:8 Offroad event marked a very significant development for our sport in that it was the first sanctioned international r/c car event to take place in China.  While pretty much every r/c car to hit a track around the world contains parts made in China, as a hobby r/c racing is almost non existent in a country that has a population of 1.4 billion people.  Over the course of the week long event I got a very interesting insight into how that could all be about to change as the powers that be see potential in using r/c racing for the purpose of making education more interesting and interactive – something that can only be a win win situation for the growth of racing in potentially the biggest market in the world.

Continue reading On the Grapevine here


August 27, 2013

One Track Mind?

One Track Mind?

One of the difficult things I often face when I talk about RC racing to my non-RC friends (yes, I do have those!) is explaining that we have different scales of car, electric and nitro powered, on road and off road…. Last time I checked there was something like a dozen reasonably distinct classes.  And that’s before we even look at Stock or Modified variants of the same class.

Continue reading Oli’s column here


August 13, 2013

Driving Sponsorship Forward

Driving Sponsorship Forward

When I began racing in the late 1990’s, the racing scene was (as you’d expect!) very different from what it is today.  One of the biggest differences I’ve seen has been the evolution of supported and sponsored drivers. Back then, I wasn’t aware of any “full time” drivers.  There were a number who worked for a manufacturer or distributor, and sponsorship was something that drivers aspired to achieve.  Outside of the top echelon of drivers, someone may have been fortunate to get a bit of money off with their local model shop, but that was usually the best you could hope for.

Continue reading Oli’s column here


July 30, 2013

Great Expectations?

Great Expectations?

Last weekend, I, along with over 200 other racers, had the experience to race at the ETS Finale at the Hudy Arena.  I’m sure you’ve all seen, either through the reports here on Red RC or through the numerous posts on social networking sites from the weekend, the immense positive reaction to both the facility and the organisation of the race meeting. Whilst this was a rather special event, it did make me wonder what our expectations are of race meetings nowadays.

Continue reading Oli’s column here


July 26, 2013

On the Grapevine – Trencin

On the Grapevine – Trencin

I have had the opportunity to visit many great, and many more not so great, r/c venues around the world and have vivid memories of my ‘wow’ reaction on entering the world famous Yatabe Arena in Japan and the mammoth Mike’s Hobby Shop in Texas. Last week however arriving at the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Slovakia, the Hudy Racing Arena evoked a reaction that is best not put in print. From the time we pulled up in our rental car at the main entrance barrier this place was making a lasting impression. We were greeted by the first of two car-park attendants the second of whom directed us into our parking spot. On entering the building itself the usual handshake and ‘hello’ greeting from drivers and their entourage had been replaced with ‘this place is amazing’, ‘unbelievable’ and ‘mind-blowing’ and that is exactly what the Hudy Racing Arena is.

Continue reading On the Grapevine here


July 18, 2013

On the Grapevine – Reims

On the Grapevine – Reims

In 2009 while covering the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Austria I remember looking through the timing sheets to see what drivers i needed to talk with before I got to work on my latest report and mixed in with Europe’s elite Offroad drivers was a name I had not come across before. Asking around if anyone knew where I might find this Swedish driver I was directed to Frenchman Adrien Bertin. On finding Adrien, beside him was a small shy kid together with his dad. While this was my first encounter with Adrien’s then 13-year-old protege, this kid already knew about winning having just become the European B Champion. Having had to direct my question down at this little figure, with Adrien having to provide most of the answers, last weekend, 5-years on from my first encounter, I was directing my questions up at a much taller and confident driver asking him for his thoughts on a race that had just seen him become the 22nd member of Europe’s most exclusive group of racers.

Continue reading On the Grapevine here