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The Radio Controlled Car Racing 'bug' hit me after a visit to a motor show at Brentwood with a friend. There was a demonstration that day of the racing model cars and after returning home with the obligatory armful of leaflets started work on my prospective sponsor - 'dad'.
Persuaded 'sponsor' to approach the racing club, who was part of the above demonstration, they were very accommodating and invited me along to a club meeting and a chance to use one of their cars (good idea before paying out for your own!) (More clubs take note!). Many thanks to Cambridge Oval Racing Club www.btinternet.com/~rc.cars/ and the legend that is 'Pinky Cooper'.
After a couple of race meetings 'sponsor' took the plunge and bought me my own kit. My first kit was a 1/12 scale oval racing model from Mardave www.mardaveracing.com Mardave 1/12 scale offer some of the cheapest (and easiest to build! - 'sponsor') models on the market and is a very good starting point for prospective 'boy racers'. Visit your local model shop for advice, prices etc or look in model magazines for prices. A lot of shops and mail order companies offer deal prices for the car and the radio equipment you will need. Model magazines also have second hand sections if you want to pick up a bargain (need to know what you're looking for here!) As a beginner it is probably better to start with a 'deal' until you get to know more about the hobby.
'sponsor' put the car together in a few short hours and not too many swear words, painted the body shell (Renault megane), the 'deal' kit included body shell, radio gear, battery and fast charger (provide your own 12v supply) and I was ready to race! Back to Cambridge Oval Racing Club (Indoors on carpet - for racing all year round) and the racing began. The club and members were (and still are) very helpful, they will try and grade you with other drivers of the same ability. The first few weeks was a good learning curve, which bits 'sponsor' hadn't put together right, not enough glue on tyres etc but teething problems are soon sorted out, (Mardave spares are cheap anyway - 'sponsor').
I started the above at age 11 and nearly three years later am still going back for more. Oval racing is not everybody's cup of tea but is good fun and a cheaper way to start the 'hobby/sport'. You can race 1/12 scale hot rods, 1/12 stock cars, 1/12 saloons (faster version of the hot rod), 1/12 ministox, even reliant robins! (Yes you can!). What you race may depend on what a local club races, Mardave web site has links to local clubs, the British Radio Car Association, www.brca.org also has very good links to clubs, model shops and organisations that can help.
After 12 months of 1/12 scale racing including stock cars, hot rods and bangers, (team member of east anglian team banger champions 1999!) Mines the one on the left.
I got the urge to move on to bigger things. (oh no - 'sponsor'). I saved up pocket money and bought myself a 1/10 scale Touring Car. This was a bit more difficult to put together as a kit but with experience and help already gained I was able to put a decent car on the track complete with favourite bodyshell, Subaru!
Armed with the above touring car, radio gear and batteries I could now venture to pastures never raced before, the great outdoors, although my first experience was gained with a winter indoor series on carpet which gave me experience with the car on a surface I knew before braving the British summer and racing on tarmac (you just need a change of tyres!).
Once again a local club was a great help (as were the members), as I now raced under the guidance of the Springfield (Chelmsford) Radio Controlled Car Club www.sfieldrccc.co.uk I was venturing further afield to the exotic locations of RC racing - Colchester, Southend and Snetterton as during the summer months the Springfield club mainly raced 1/10 buggies which race mainly outdoors on grass.
Well after a while 'sponsor' got fed up of the driving to the meetings and I didn't fancy the early morning Sunday starts so guess what? Armed myself with a 1/10 scale buggy (used radio gear from other cars to save expense) and continued to race locally all year round!
Yes I've definitely got the 'bug' (tell me about it - 'sponsor') and enjoy all the forms of racing, not many weeks go by without a midweek race night or Sunday race day, winter or summer. Good fun can be had by all ages, male or female ('sponsor' does chuckle at the people who take it too seriously). What will 2001 bring?
To be continued?..