This article was originally published in RC Driver’s July 2016 issue.
Over my thirty-plus year run in the hobby, I’ve hung out in my fair share of hobby shops and raced at more tracks than I can possibly remember. When I and many other RC racers hit up these places, we have our routines which are often executed with blinders on as to what and who are around us. Sure there are racers and a track and most likely a shop, but lurking in the background are newbies! Newbies are everywhere and they could be your competition or even a friend as long as they get the right start in RC. So here are some ways to spot the newb and how to help them.
This person stands up at the front of the shop or entrance at the track completely overwhelmed by what is going on. Sometimes tracks don’t have clear signage to point these people in the right direction or enough staff to help the people who are standing in awe of what is going on. That awe can turn off real quick if they don’t get what’s going on and will simply turn around and walk away. If you see this person, head over and introduce yourself as a racer. Ask if they are interested in racing RC and lead the way for them just as someone may have done for you.
THE TOY TOTER
So many times, I’ve seen a young driver or parent walking in with a toy grade RC car. And so many times I’ve seen racers point and snicker. Don’t! This person is almost one of us. They obviously have an interest in RC so lead them on the way, don’t make them feel like an outcast at the track only to go home, throw that car in the closet and never try RC again. Show them to your pit table, tell them the differences and what’s so cool about hobby grade RC over toy grade.
This person really wants to get into RC, but just needs someone to stop them and point them in the right direction. You’ll see this person doing laps in the pits and around the track, so on lap two, stop them and find out who they are and how to get them to do laps on the track.
THE SHOP STARE
That person who has been in the shop staring at the wall of kits may need help from the shop staff, but many times they like to take advice from another enthusiast not trying to upsell them. If you see this person, talk to them and help them pull the trigger on a new car from a peer’s perspective.
WALL DURABILITY TESTER
This person already has an RC vehicle, but on the track has hit just about every wall, pipe and other car. The dings of hitting a building support ibeam are often amusement to those in the pits, but this person needs help taming that throttle finger and finessing the wheel. Offer tips that helped you when you started. Take it slow, ease off the wheels on the straightaway and let the car go straight, no need to hit jumps at full throttle and let faster cars go by and try to follow them. There are probably several classifications of newbies wandering the pits, tracks and local shops, so rather than watch them stray, help them get into the hobby the right way so they too can contribute to your local race facility staying in business and provie plenty of competition to challenge your skill.