RC tracks across the country are located in about as many diverse places as you can imagine, from the lobby of four-star hotels like those that host the IIC in Las Vegas and the Snowbird Nationals in Florida, to empty lots and even junkyards (Western R/C, where the Silver State Nitro Challenge was held for years, was actually tucked into the back corner of a junkyard!). There are tracks in the middle of open fields, facilities tucked away in forests, and RC sanctuaries located in the heart of large metropolitan areas.
Does the location of the track matter? Where does the physical coordinates of the track fall on the list of priorities if you were to design your ultimate RC playground?
I’ve always held the belief that RC racetracks and facilities should be designed and built with the racer in mind first above all else, as this is a participatory hobby that doesn’t yield itself well to engaging the uninformed spectator. Obviously for reasons of cost, many tracks (especially outdoor courses) are built on the outskirts of town, like The Nitro Pit that held The Dirt Nitro Challenge for its first few years in Arizona. While it’s nice to have plenty of room to build a large track and pit area, the added distance from creature comforts like fast food restaurants and hotels certainly makes it tough on out-of-towners and even local racers alike. Is the quality of the facility more important than easy access to civilization?
And then there’s the consideration of spectators. West Coast RC Raceway, which held last year’s ROAR Supernationals and organizes the annual Reedy Off-Road Race of Champions, is located in an industrial park in Los Angeles. Despite its prime spot in one of the country’s largest cities, not even one of the most prestigious races in the world drew attention from outside the industry. Of course, there’s no way for passers-by to know that there’s something going on within the walls of a warehouse building save for the streets lined with parked cars (commonplace for LA anyway), but surely it’d be easier to find people interested in watching some racing action when there’s a larger pool of people to draw from…right? As an example, the two hotel-hosted races I listed above benefit from having constant foot traffic through the hotel, which is more than most nitro off-road races will see in a decade.
Some of my favorite tracks that I’ve ever visited were located well off the beaten path, and yet one of the most exciting races I’ve entered was the invitation-only RCX Supercross back when our annual RC expo was in Anaheim – there’s just something exhilarating about competing for hundreds of dollars in prize money with thousands of people watching.
How much does location matter?