I started typing this blog while packing my bags for this weekend’s Cactus Classic in Scottsdale, AZ. It’s approximately the 1,379th “big” RC race that I’ve attended, and while I won’t be racing I still can’t help but get at least a little bit excited.
While at last month’s The Dirt Nitro Challenge, I marveled at the number of people who stuck around on a cold Sunday evening to sit on hay bales and watch the 45-minute long Pro Buggy main event. I think we can all be honest and say that to an uneducated viewer, RC racing isn’t all that terribly exciting to sit down and watch; the cars are small, the speed of the action can make it hard to follow along, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll see lots of competitive passing – especially on a large track and over the course of a long main event. Like flipping through the channels and stumbling across an inconsequential college basketball game between two schools you didn’t know existed, it isn’t until you’ve grown to appreciate the personalities and skills of the drivers that you really appreciate watching a competitive RC race.
Maybe that, then, is why I get such a kick out of attending these races after so many years. For one thing, I’ll never take for granted the chance to see the friends I’ve made around the world as we all convene to share our mutual passion. Watching the best in the world compete for the win is just icing on the cake.
I’ve never really agreed that the best way to help this hobby grow is to televise the races and broadcast it to huge audiences – I think that we’re better served by preserving the race program for the entrants rather than the spectators, and showing potential hobbyists what it’s like at the grassroots level so that they’re less intimidated about the concept of hitting their local track for a weekend club race. Even still, I can’t help but think that small tweaks could be made to the status quo of organizing races to help them be more entertaining to watch. What do you think?