Lifestyle

My Collections: A real radio control racer

By James Bennett

The car pelts down the main straight as the driver’s mind pulsates and fingers shake.

The car crosses the line.

All the driver needs to do is switch off the radio control remote without breaking a sweat.

For Glenn Grinter, radio control car racing is his passion.

He’s only been a member of the Shepparton Radio Control Car Club for about one year but Glenn has been racing 10th scale RC cars for more than 35 years.

Now Glenn is starting to share that passion with his son Mitch.

It started off as a curiosity when he was 14.

Now at 46 he’s still racing.

Glenn was on holiday with his parents in Adelaide in 1985 when he was impressed, watching a bloke whizz around a Tamyia Frog RC Car.

‘‘I’d never seen something zipping around doing anything like it. I thought, ‘wow I’d love to have something like that’.’’

‘‘I eventually bought one and raced it against a friend.’’

Glenn now has an impressive display of modern RC cars ranging from two-wheel-drive, stock engine and four-wheel-drive buggies.

He no longer owns his first Tamyia Frog, but does own the Kyosho RC he purchased in 1987.

‘‘It hasn’t been out in ages but I should get it going,’’ Glenn said.

‘‘If there’s ever a vintage racing class I might try and get it going, but finding parts would be impossible.

‘‘The Kyosho would be lucky to reach 40km/h and that was considered quick.’’

The RC cars Glenn races are kit cars and usually include a stock engine. However some drivers will build their own modified engine.

‘‘There is a bit of maintenance that goes into my cars. You can’t just thrash it around and expect the wheels to be ready to go next week.

‘‘I put time into my cars but you don’t really need an engineering degree to repair them.

‘‘It’s about taking your time and carefully reading the manuals.’’

Modern day motor racing involves more than just driving; special diets, trips to the gym, hundreds of equipment and safety tests and age can play a factor.

But the best skill a driver needs is good hand-eye coordination.

With radio control car racing, drivers can ‘‘write off’’ their car and it won’t cost as much as a regular car, and injuries are non-existent when a car experiences a serious crash.

The radio control car racing scene in Victoria is a niche but tight, friendly group of people.

Glenn will travel across Victoria with his fiancé Sarah (another racer) and Mitch almost monthly just to race their RC cars.

Glenn says when you’re catching up regularly with the same drivers for many years, it’s easy to make friends... and rivals.

‘‘The Shepparton club has only recently introduced 10th scale model cars, previously I’ve been racing at Keilor, Wodonga, Mildura and Knoxfield.

‘‘Sarah and Mitch can go and have a bit of fun, it’s not taken too seriously and that’s what it’s all about; having a bit of fun.’’

‘‘I’m still friends with people I’ve raced against since I was a kid. That’s why I wanted my son to be involved because I’ve made lifelong friends and he has that opportunity as well.

Glenn said it’s those lifelong friends that help create the fun.

‘‘There’s so many times I’ll compete against a friend and the banter after one of us beats each other is great.’’

Mitch, 14, has been racing for about two years and his dad joked he has a bit of work to do when he races competitively.

‘‘It’s fun going around the track and because I race in juniors I’m competing against other people my age,’’ Mitch said.

‘‘When there’s someone new who comes into the sport, we’re all supportive towards that person.’’

The Shepparton Radio Control Car Club has always been an 8th scale model car club but unfortunately has experienced a recent decline in numbers.

Glenn said although 8th scales have declined, the 10th scale model is expanding.

The track is behind the basketball stadium, and according to some of the club’s members, is unknown to most locals.

It even comes with enough space for people to camp overnight during big race meets and even has a converted shipping container for the drivers to be elevated for the high-speed races.

Glenn said he enjoys racing at his local track.

‘‘At our recent meeting the track was in really good condition.

‘‘The track is a great way for me to get away from everyday stress of life.’’