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Pressure cooker: Autocar goes Tamiya radio controlled car racing


Fortunately, everyone involved at MB Model King of Clubs bent over backwards to make us feel welcome – and understood all too clearly the tech director was a rank amateur who had let his star driver down on prep time… Elliott was entered into the junior rookie category and would have a series of heats in the morning to get up to speed, with an hour between for fettling and car repairs – which would prove much needed. Although we couldn’t help but stop and watch some of the top-class runners. The hand-eye coordination and skill involved to keep these things on course around the nicely prepped kerbed track was mind-boggling. Photographer Malcolm Griffiths, a seasoned pro specialising in motor racing on a slightly bigger scale, admitted capturing these buzzing little projectiles was a challenge the likes of which he’d never encountered before, suitably out of scale with reality.

The track was surrounded by the ‘paddock’: gazebos shielding the competitors from an unrelenting sun that only increased the intensity – and the tech director was getting a sweat on! Around us, old hands were preparing their cars customised far beyond our box-fresh RSR. To be fair, I too had been sent a pack of upgrades (!), but we had enough on our plate without eking levels of performance we had no hope of tapping into. But next to us a group of chaps were hard at work and I struck up conversation, noticing as I did so the F1-style tyre warmers… Erm, how much exactly do you spend on your hobby, I asked in all innocence? “Let’s just say one season I spent a grand on tyres alone,” came the reply. To repeat, niche world equals proper commitment.

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