What do you get if you cross radio-controlled racing with the twists, turns, jumps and bumps of rally cross? The 2021 RCX Championship. The first round of this thrilling racing series got off to a flying start last month at the specially-designed Motul RC Raceway at Zwartkops, near Pretoria, South Africa. The track was specially built to be a unique, world-class facility to cater for the growing RCX scene. To find out more, we gave track owner Brendon van Standen a call.
Brendon, your new RC track has been causing quite a buzz. Can you tell me more about it?
I built the first multi-surface RC track in Africa. We race 1:8-scale, off-road, radio-controlled nitro and electric cars. What makes our track unique is the multi-surface. Most tracks only have one surface. Ours is more like a rally-cross, mini moto-style track with different surfaces and jumps and so on. We run the RCX Championship on it, our own race format that’s designed to make RC racing a bit more exciting.
How long did it take to create the track?
It’s taken two years to build the facility up to what it is now. We’ve just started now with Motul coming on board as a partner. We did our first event at the track at the end of February.
What was your motivation behind the project?
In South Africa, the sport of RC racing was at its lowest ever point – as little as eight competitors left racing in the whole country and only three tracks. Because of my passion for racing, I decided to build this track and help revive the sport. We’re already at more than 75 entries and we’ve just got going really.
Is RC racing something you’ve always been into?
From the age of 11, I’ve been playing with RC cars. I raced for a few years with 1:10 scale models. Then through my teenage years and into my 20s and 30s I was involved with off-road quad bike and car racing. But I came back to RC racing in 2013. I’ve been all over the world racing, from the 2016 world championships in Las Vegas to the biggest indoor track in the UK.
How did that travelling inspire you?
Because I’ve seen all these other facilities, I wanted to build something different. That’s what has driven this interest in the track worldwide. We’ve had a lot of interest from Europe and America with people wanting to come over and race. We’re just a bit restricted at the moment because of Covid.
Is RC-X a new genre of RC racing?
It’s a bit like rally cross, except for radio control cars. The X means it’s a cross surface. So, the course varies from tar and dirt surface. This makes setting up the vehicles more difficult because you’re going from a high traction surface to a low traction one. It also makes the racing a lot more exciting.
Motul has partnered with you. Can you tell us more about that?
From my background of being involved with off-road racing (I almost did Dakar with a quad bike but I had an accident at one of our local races so I couldn’t do it), I’ve seen the passion of Motul and how much Motul promotes all forms of motorsport. Because of that, I thought I’d take a long shot and contact them to see if they’d be interested in supporting us. There’s also a product connection. Motul makes a mix that goes into RC fuel. Being an importer of products myself, I thought I would see if Motul would like to be involved in something a little bit different. They liked the whole concept and the fact we’re a family-orientated facility in a growing sport.