Bring On the Fests!

RC Car Action - - STARTING LINE - Peter Vieira Ed­i­to­rial Di­rec­tor/ Sur­face Group pe­terv@airage.com

Big­gest RC car event, at­ten­dance-wise, GO. Did you say ROAR Of­froad Nats? IFMAR Worlds? Ac­tu­ally, the big­gest RC car event of 2017 was Axialfest. Ac­cord­ing to the guys run­ning the gate at Ta­hoe Na­tional For­est’s Cisco Grove Camp­ground, over 2,000 off-road RC fans streamed into Axialfest’s scale-4x4 “hap­pen­ing.” There was some com­pet­ing go­ing on, but the event was def­i­nitely not what any­one would call a race. And here’s the real kicker: there wasn’t a spon­sored driver in sight. Every­one was there on their own dime, do­ing their own wrench­ing, ex­pressly for their own en­joy­ment. And get­ting un­lim­ited wheel time, as op­posed to strictly sched­uled prac­tice, qual­i­fy­ing, and mains. Here’s my ques­tion: why is this only hap­pen­ing once a year?

If you heard a dis­tant “pop,” that was the sound of Ax­ial’s Rodney Wills’ head ex­plod­ing. Re­lax bro, I don’t lit­er­ally mean Axialfest should be more than once a year. But RC could cer­tainly use more “fest”-style events. Rac­ing is great, but there are more than enough “big races” com­pet­ing for driv­ers, and or­ga­nized rac­ing in gen­eral tends to ex­clude driv­ers who just want to have fun—at least un­til they trade in their RTR for a race kit and “get se­ri­ous.” In­dus­try-sup­ported, fes­ti­val-style events could be a real boon for RC, es­pe­cially if they’re near ur­ban cen­ters and opened up to any­one with an RC car rather than a sin­gle-brand event (Axialfest is strictly for driv­ers with Ax­ial trucks, and held in a com­par­a­tively re­mote area).

In the RC air­plane world, they’ve got this well fig­ured out, with nu­mer­ous fun-fly events that bring pi­lots to­gether and help get new peo­ple into RC fly­ing. It helps that the plane guys place a lot of em­pha­sis on or­ga­niz­ing into clubs, which we car guys do much less vig­or­ously, or suc­cess­fully. But with mes­sage boards, Face­book groups, and so­cial me­dia in gen­eral, it’s eas­ier than ever to find and or­ga­nize like-minded peo­ple. And there are al­ready grass­roots RC “bashes” and “jams” hap­pen­ing, with vary­ing lev­els of or­ga­ni­za­tion, at­ten­dance, and no­to­ri­ety. The more the bet­ter, I say, and if there can be three or four more an­nual in­dus­try-sup­ported su­per-blowouts (a la Axialfest), that would be fan­tas­tic. As a reader of RC Car Ac­tion, you know how ir­re­sistible the hobby is once you see “real RC” in ac­tion, and a big, wel­com­ing fes­ti­val that brings to­gether en­thu­si­asts to put on a show for the cu­ri­ous will cer­tainly have a snow­ball ef­fect on the scene. That’s means more peo­ple in the hobby stores, more friends to run with, and more driv­ers who will grad­u­ate to or­ga­nized rac­ing. The more peo­ple we can add to the RC “base,” the bet­ter it is for every­one, no mat­ter what RC niche you’re into.

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