The Summer of 1997 was a great time for RC and the world alike. South Park made its debut and Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Speaking of returning… the month of August was also my return to my beloved hobby of RC. I took a break in 94 to go off to college and now that I was home, working and had my own money I was eager to get back racing. I remember picking up this very issue and saying ”Losi makes a 4WD car now!?”. True story, the XX4 made its debut in our August 97 issue and many will agree this buggy is solely responsible for revitalizing the dying 4WD class. Today it’s as healthy and packed full of cars as nearly any other segment! This issue also took readers to one of the most legendary and long running races of all time, the Cactus Classic and we gave our loyal fans a stadium truck shootout just like the one you’ll find in the February issue on sale next week! (see what I did there!) If taking a look back at this issue tells anything, it’s that 1997 was a great time to get into or even come back to this hobby!
Where better to start than with one of my favorite vehicles of all time, the Losi XX4! As far back as I could remember I always wanted a 4WD buggy, that was the class all the big guys raced. Toward the late 90s the class started to become very stagnant with just a couple of cars to choose from and none to really get excited about. Enter Losi into the scene with a revolutionary new buggy that not only ran great on just about any type of track you could find at the time, but one that looked like no other. A three belt drive system with an adjustable front one way clicker, molded chassis and shock towers and a killer suspension setup propelled the XX4 from small town newcomer to IFMAR World Champion in no time and the 4WD across the nation was all but consumed by the car that many consider to be Gil Losi Jr’s finest work.
The Cactus Classic is arguably the most famous non-championship race in RC history which is why we picked it for our list “7 Races To Attend Before You Die” in our Pro Racer special issue. With the next race just around the corner in 2014, it’s amazing to think that this year will be race number 28 for the Cactus. A couple venue changes and other little details have only improved and grown this race to be one of the most sought after electric races of the year. Every big name has raced at the Cactus Classic, from Masami, to Jared Tebo, Cliff Lett to Dustin Evans. If you are anybody in off-road racing, you had better be there in Arizona! 1997 Cactus Classic was sort of like a looking glass into the future. World Champ Matt Francis drove his XX4 to one of its very first big race wins, a young 10 year old local racer named Ryan Maifield managed to catch our eye and landed himself in an RC magazine for the very first time!
You may think I planned this but I didn’t. While we’re getting ready to bring you our new 2WD Brushless RTR Stadium Truck Shootout in the February 2014 issue of RC Car Action (get a sneak peek here), the August 1997 issue took the eight best offerings in stadium trucks up to RC Madness in Enfield, CT to see which was best. The trucks were broken down into Sport Racers, Backyard Bashers and Racing Trucks due to their prices and various stages of completion out of the box. Which ones came out on top of each category? Why do all the editors pictured have so much hair? Why are there nine trucks pictured in the group shot of an eight truck shootout? All this and more were answered!
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