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When is the last time you asked yourself “why?”

When is the last time you asked yourself “why?”

How recently have you taken the time to reflect on what got you, and what keeps you, involved in RC? It’s one of my favorite questions to ask a fellow RC enthusiast because of the myriad different answers I’ve received over the years; if you surveyed a group of hobbyists you’re bound to receive a vast array of different answers: the competition of racing at the local track, the evolving technology of today’s kits and power systems, or even just the joy of building something from a bag of parts into a fully operational, albeit miniature, automobile. Dig deeper into where many of these amazing stories began and you’ll often find even more touching details, stories of love for a hobby that sprouted from such humble roots as garage sale purchases, family holiday presents, and saving allowances or mowing lawns to save cash for a new buggy.

Of course, “why are you involved in RC?” can segue into other inquests, like “why not consider a job in the industry?” or “why did you choose to make your hobby your career?” The question can morph into different forms, like “why do you race instead of driving around the backyard?” or its antithesis “why haven’t you tried racing yet?” These catechisms can be observational, either in a positive (why do you spend so much time on your cars?) or negative tone (WHY do you spend SO much TIME on your cars?!).

Answering someone who asks “why are you involved in RC?” can be easy for some (the father smiling as his son completes his first few laps) and difficult for others (the turn marshal still upset over his finish from the previous race). Look up at the drivers’ stand during a qualifying race of a big event, in which a multi-time World Champion could be sharing the same viewing platform as a total privateer who pays for all of his own equipment, and you can be assured that their answers to the same simple question will be radically different.

I’ve asked hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fellow RC’ers why they were involved in RC, and nearly all of them repeated the question to me after giving their own answers. Is it the racing? The cars and trucks? The places I’ve visited or the friends that I’ve made? Most of them are initially surprised by my answer, but everyone that truly enjoys picking up a radio eventually agrees because we have all shared the most crucial, basic sensation caused by taking control of a radio controlled car.

Why am I in RC? Because it’s fun. The sensation of nailing the perfect lap is a thrill that will forever put a smile on my face, and some of my fondest memories involve a few friends, their RC trucks, a backyard full of jumps, sunny weather, and some delicious carne asada tacos straight from the grill (I’m from Southern California, after all). No matter why you’re still involved in RC, chances are that you got started because it was fun, and I look forward to sharing the experience of having fun with radio control every month with the audience of RC Car Action.

What about you? Why are you into RC?

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Updated: August 16, 2012 — 10:28 AM


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  1. Great question, and I have several responses, I started with a Tamiya Grasshopper that I got for a birthday present after a store bought Christmas gift was not up for racing, I put all sorts of hop ups on it and still have the trophies and ribbons I won from the old track. I spent nearly every paycheck at my local hobby shop, buying parts or kits as I knew I would never race a real car at my local paved oval, Oswego Speedway. I was honored when the hobby shop asked me to build an rc 10 graphite car with a Bolink West Coast Supermodified body on it for a raffle for the local guy who raced real life cars. Had fun in college letting my friend drive my cars at the dirt oval tracks and then it faded for a few years. I gave away all of my stuff, 15 or 16 cars and radios, parts etc.

    5 years later and I found myself living a scant 4 miles from the ultimate hobby shop in my area, so I bought a new car, got back into the hobby and started racing dirt oval in Syracuse, NY. A couple of cars and a couple of trucks later and my fad had died again when I moved further away. Neither the time nor the success I had as a teen.

    I still have those B3s, T3, and a few others, when a friend of mine came up to me last spring and said he was getting a short course truck. I had to ask him what it was. Now I am racing several classes dirt oval and off road with DESC210s and a DEST210, and having the time of my life.

    I am still not having the success I had with that Grasshopper, but when I sit down at night pondering what I should do to make this new technology, and brushless and lipo is all new to me, I see that little boy who sat at a desk in his bedroom lowering his aluminum chassis RC10 to race at his first carpet oval.

    Come to think of it, when I entered the corner with that RC10 and it flipped right over, on it’s roof, it looked a lot like my short course truck tonight on that clay oval…

  2. Ha! Now I’ve heard everything – you win the award for most abstract RC story ever. I hope the officer laughed afterward!

  3. Ariberto Galante Why? Simply because it is fun. Awhile back some buddies and myself were playing with our nitro trucks in the company parking lot. We had finished our shift from work,it had rained and the air was misty ,it was around 1am. my friend was having a problem starting his pull crank nitro truck. We all took some tries at it, at one point we were all around him and his truck while he was frantically pulling his pull starter.when the police came into the parking lot. Apparently from the street it looked like we were beating on someone.(the movement while pulling the starter rope) So want it or not it makes memories for our old age I guess!

  4. Sorry, but there is always a negative in everything in life. Yin Yang. I’m asking the same question myself everyday. But I ask because I’m bored doing it myself. In my community, the aviation and marine sectors of the hobby are strong. But I have yet to see any rc car enthusiasts. And when there was rc in the past (at least 10 years ago), the whole reason to go out and do it was for the sharing of fun with others. Right now I’m not having fun. Why am I doing this?…

    1. Check out woodward park on the weekends

  5. I was into RC off road racing back in 1987 and enjoyed running my Tamiya Boomerang. The limited number of events that were available in my area at the time did not keep my interest, so my time spent in the hobby was short lived. Recently while searching the internet I came across “RC Adventures” and was hooked into RC vehicles again. I am building an axial XR10 to do some rock crawling and get into competition again. The most enjoyable parts of the RC hobby for me are building the RC kits and meeting fellow RC enthusiasts at the events you attend.

  6. Wayne, that’s what I’m talking about! Sometimes it’s the learning curve – and those “a-ha!” moments when you figure something out – that’s most enjoyable about a day at the track. Thanks for the great comment!

  7. The short of it is that it is fun! I’m a modeler and ex hot rodder, so Ive always loved the realism and technology. I love the competition racing and tinkering with the car to make it handle better. I took a few years off and recently just felt the urge to go racing again. The learning curve is much slower as i get older , but the fun curve is just as high.

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