Life is Like an RC Car 2.0 The Upgrade

 

This post is an update of a post from 2016.

It’s been a year and five months since our journey began into the RC vehicle hobby. For the first part of the story click HERE  and when you are all caught up, the link at the bottom will bring you back. Or just ride it all the way through and read the beginning at the end. The original post is here.

Anybody that’s in it can tell you it is an addiction, albeit a good one. It can cause some financial strain but is not know to destroy relationships. Rather, I think it can build good ones among friends, strangers, parents, and siblings. And, those two have had some serious upgrades that have taken them from 20 MPH cars to 45 MPH  back-flips and wheelies.
At this writing, we now have cars that can easily go 85 MPH and our game has been seriously upgraded. We have an entire room in our house dedicated to the care, maintenance, and storage of our eight cars. Only two cars from the time of the original posting are still in our stable. And, those two
Most recently, my six-year-old son Tobias picked up two sponsors for RC Racing. I know right, a six-year-old with sponsors for a technical sport. I think it’s crazy too. The sponsorships came about through a Pro RC Car Driver named Thello Jordan who owns and maintains Speedworld Raceway in Roseville, CA.
Watching Tobias drive at a gathering of off-road drivers, Thello exclaimed, “You need to get that kid racing.” At his track, Speedworld, they only race on-road cars as in the word asphalt. Up till last week, we only had off-road cars meaning dirt, rocks, and mud every boy’s favorite. On-road racing and off-road are like apples and oranges, they’re both cars, but the similarity ends there.

In subsequent conversations, I asked many questions and Thello advised me on what it would take to get into on-road racing. I sold a big pink and scary-fast monster truck to get the money, and Thello offered to sponsor Tobias to race.

Tobias' Sponsors

Tobias’ Sponsors

 

Allen and Tobias with TC4 kit

Allen Tannehill of Hobbytown with Tobias and the new kit and a body.

I told our Local Hobby Shop proprietor, Charles Tannehill, about Thello’s offer and he offered to sponsor a car. His store Hobbytown in Folsom, CA ordered a Team Associated Touring Car and we received the kit last week Tuesday.

 

 

A big race, King of Cali, with Pro Drivers from three states away was scheduled for three days after we received the kit to race in the electric USGT class.

With one day remaining, the car is finished and ready to go.

Yes, the car on the right is the same car. As it turns out, I had selected the wrong body for the class he was racing. It needed to be a two-door. Thello gives us new correct body and I stayed up till eleven at night painting the shell with leftover paint hence the green and red.


That first day, allocated for practice, we were plagued with problems, yet Tobias was able to get in some good practice time. In the end, we were tired and hot but blown away by the generous support of the track and the professional, highly skilled and very fast drivers. I am continually amazed by the generosity of the people in this hobby/sport.Tobias is a great driver, but he is still six and never driven this kind of car before. The next youngest kid on the track was seventeen. Tobias got in the way, caused a few crashes, and there was some under breath cursing by other drivers. Yet, every one of them offered only encouragement, tips, and praise. Amazing.

Tobias is a great driver, but he is still six and never driven this kind of car before. The next youngest kid on the track was seventeen. Tobias’ car got in the way a few times causing a few crashes, and under-breath cursing could be heard from a couple drivers. Still, every one of them offered only encouragement, tips, and praise. Amazing.

A steering servo failed on the first day and we purchased a new one. It also failed, so, Tom, the guy next to our pit area loaned us one. More awe and wonder. We scored some good swag at the end of race raffle. A driver who won a gift card gave it to Tobias. MORE and MORE Astonishment at liberality and graciousness of the people in this sport/hobby.

At the end of the qualifying runs, Tobias was placed in the B Main, the winner of this heat would be elevated to the A Mains. Tobias came in last in every heat, but he improved exponentially each time. The fact that he could navigate the track at all is a testament to his skills.

Here is Tobias’ first lap of his first real on-road race (Watch the red and green Camaro):

And if things couldn’t get any better…

The News Team from Good Day Sacramento showed up on Sunday, THE BIG DAY of the A Main races. Thello and Jessah ushered them to Tobias. On his debut on-road race day he is interviewed on LIVE TV.

Here are some more pics from the race: 

 

This is a toy

This is a TOY — These are not what this story is about.

So, this bragimony was supposed to be on how Life is Like an RC Car. I think it applies. If you stretch yourself out in life, in other words, if you refuse to settle for where you are at and shun the day to day grind, life will likely bless you with joyous moments and opportunities. Often we miss the best things in life because we don’t take a chance. Now, Tobias will be confident that he can rise above the mundane and middle ground. He will come away with a confidence borne on a large circle of peers and mentors.

No telling where he will go from here. Today I just learned the story behind Lewis Hamilton the most storied World Champion driver in the history of Formula 1 racing. For him, it all started with an RC car when he was six Tobias’ age.

 

 

 

 

Now for where it all started.

The Prequel

This story first began back in April 2016 when we got our five-year-old son a REAL radio control car for his birthday April 1st. Real meaning from a Hobby Store (what they call Hobby-Grade cars) not what you buy at Walmart, Target or even Toys R Us. Those all gobble dry cell batteries like I do Cheerios, and break in a week. And did I say SLOW? Tobias had gone through a dozen. All failed and ate batteries except this one. It wouldn’t die. We ended up chasing it with the REAL RC car until we crushed it.

I thought he’d have a lot of fun with a real car as I coached from the sidelines and told him what and how to do it. As I watched, I realized one thing, I was missing a whole lot of fun.
This first car is a 1/18th scale Monster Truck made by Dromida, a division of Revell. In no time at all, Tobias was very good at driving it.
The title of this piece is, Life is Like an RC Car, which brings up my first point.
  • You can sit on the sidelines and watch someone else live life a la TV or Cable News and Reality shows or perhaps even your more adventurous friends. Or, you can get out and live it. Join in the fun.


So, I decided that WE needed a second car. Bigger and better of course. The red one on the right is our second car A Redcat Volcano. The second point in Life is Like an RC Car:
  • We live under the false impression that bigger, faster, and better—is—better.
You do know the answer to this, don’t you?
First day out, that new car dropped a steering hub with no parts locally available. Our new Golden Calf had let us down.
Once it was back up and running (a week later), it proved itself to be a whole lot of fun, but again things started to break. I now know one of the main Axioms of RC cars: They break. Get used to it.
So, anyway having one big car and one little car proved itself a mismatch and less fun than ideal… In comes the second small car. $100 Brand New at RC Country in Sacramento. The fun quotient ramped up once again.
The third point in Life is Like an RC Car:
One, two, or even three is never enough. Rockefeller (the original) was once asked, “How much money is enough?” The world’s richest man at the time replied, “Just a little more than I have.” Same holds true for RC Cars and all the friends I have made in this hobby/sport, all agree.


 
 
 
 
 
‘Most’ of our stable
Now we have two big ones and two smaller ones and we use them often. Now that we’ve found some cool racetracks, especially Rescue Raceway in Rescue, CA , we want them to run more often which means upgrades. And, did I say faster too?
This brings up the last point I’ll make in my RC Cars as a metaphor of life.
  • Once you get it working, you want it to work better and faster.
    • And once it goes faster, the weaker systems start to break. You beef up that weaker system and now the next weakest fails. Same too in life.
Just when you think you have it all together, the next weakest link will fail. Which will cost you money, sweat, time, and frustration, but it’s worth it.
Or, you could just sit by never change and watch others have all the fun.

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