The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Kootenai Radio Control Racers carpet series event at the VFW in Libby was that there were very few kids. My drivers were age 10 and six with zero experience and we had just walked into a room full of very serious looking men and women with layouts of very serious looking RC cars they were preparing to race.
We had barely made our way across the facility and found a table to call home base for the day when we started being approached by other drivers. All of them offering to help. Before we knew it, someone was cleaning our wheels, someone else was offering up a transponder for us to borrow and several other folks were giving our drivers friendly tips about the race.
The track was a simple oval on green AstroTurf. The host was Steve Scheer owner of Scheer Bros. Hobby Shop in Libby and the man responsible for selling me $350 worth of RC cars to get Team Big Chongus off the ground.
I didn’t understand much of what was discussed in the drivers’ meeting. We figured out which classes are cars would race in. I got them to a point that I hoped was ready for the race by installing batteries and transponders as needed and we sat back to watch the action of the first couple heat races.
My biggest fear was that we would break someone else’s car and they would be pissed off at us. I didn’t want to experience what 1/18 scale testosterone fueled anger looked like. I worried needlessly.
Once the racing got underway and the prerace anticipation burned off and the proverbial green flag dropped it was all business and a lot of fun. Our drivers competed in the Mini T and Mini B classes, which I chose because the cars we raced came ready to race out of the box. We aren’t at the level yet where we are ready for mods, but it’s coming.
The first race was rough. The boys struggled to keep their excitement from translating to excess throttle, but they weren’t the only ones contributing to exciting and dramatic crashes around the track. The other driver’s in the event all serve as Marshalls when they are not racing to help get wrecked cars back upright and facing the right direction.
The boys second race was far better. Six year old Aries led a lap. Both drivers completed 43 laps in the five minutes of allotted time. The emphasis was to drive clean and smooth, rather than focusing on speed.
We didn’t make it through the entire event largely because I had three additional children in tow including and opinionated 3 year old who was ready for a nap. The boys did however come home and immediately take their cars outside to practice driving some more. We have already started talking about the next event and how we can get better between now and then.
You can learn more about Kootenai RC Racers at facebook.com/KootenaiRCRacers
Make sure to get everything you need at Scheer Bros. Hobbies. They are at facebook.com/ScheerBros