Day 164: Watch the dust fly at R/C Racing

13 Jun

The road buggy kicks up a patch of cinders and dust as it jets down the main straightaway. At the first sharp turn, a 180, the four-wheeler jolts sharply left and nearly topples on its side. The driver recovers. He presses the throttle down. The engine again whines to a high pitch and the vehicle races toward a series of short jumps. At the last of the tiny mounds, there’s sudden acceleration as the buggy flies in the air with all four wheels lifting way off the red-clay track. After another seven or eight loops around the curvy path, at times at speeds of over 50 mph, the driver, a hefty middle-aged guy, brings the vehicle to a stop. It’s time to change the battery pack. This is remote-control car racing at Tallahassee’s Tom Brown Park. Here, behind Tom Brown’s BMX racing track, R/C cars and trucks flip, roll and perform stunts. But most days there’s hardly anyone to watch despite it being nearly as exciting to see as full-size vehicle races. These cars and trucks are about 1/10th the size of real ones and are powered by high-tech rechargeable batteries or fueled on “nitro” — that’s nitromethane gas. A driver, out here on a late Sunday afternoon practice run, tells me that there are races with big gatherings of fans and racers about once a month. The next is set for July 9. He says the event will likely bring followings from several nearby counties and out-of-state. — Mark Hollis

LOCATION:  Tom Brown Park, 1125 Easterwood Drive

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