Thailand – the home of RC racing ?



Thailand, a country that shouldn’t require the most formal of introductions to our well-versed readers, a brief biased summary –  a tourist favourite for its climate, culture, moderate cost and flourishing sex trade. However whilst off-track delights may entertain racers, Thailand does present itself as a sort of ideal home for RC already, the nation’s RC industry bolstered by serious investment into world class facilities and in offroad, world-leading track designs.

“The 4th time a World Championships will be held in Thailand since 2008”

The news broke yesterday that IFMAR had selected former World Champion Surikarn’s indoor facility ‘Huge RC’  in Bangkok as the host for the 200mm IC onroad World Championships, an unprecedented u-turn after it was decided in November 2013 that Buenos Aires, Argentina was unsuitable to host another Worlds after the disappointment of the 1/8 Buggy Championships held there in December 2012.

This sees the 200mm class once again return to Bangkok, which also hosted the 2012 World Championships albeit at the RC Addict facility, the 4th time a World Championships will be held in Thailand since 2008.

IFMAR World Championships in Thailand:
2014 – Huge RC, Bangkok – 200 mm IC Onroad
2012 – RC Addict, Bangkok – 200mm IC Onroad
2010 – PRC, Pattaya – 1/8 Buggy Offroad
2008 – Radio Control Speedway, Bangkok – 1/10, 1/12 Electric Onroad

IFMAR’s love affair with Thailand is clear, as a cheap destination it suits the needs of high-level RC Racing quite well, offers unbeatable trackside hospitality & friendly people, although it presents a stark contrast given widespread poverty rendering even a simple RC Car far beyond the reach of many families due to the cost and low wages. This is a fact of life, however having personally witnessed the small army of employees and workers at the Pattaya RC Powerboat facility its clear that ‘RC’ is bringing economic benefits to a small community of people.

“Atsushi Hara chose Thailand many years ago as the place to live & race”

Thailand and to a greater extent Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan are a hotbed for RC already with tracks that are true facilities that eclipse the best that N.America & Europe can offer. Japan has long ruled the Asian (FEMCA) bloc’s trophy cabinet, the likes of Masami Hirosaka (14), Naoto Matsukura (3) & Atsushi Hara (2) boasting a mouth-watering 19 IFMAR World Championships between them, however with Meen Vejrak’s 2012 win on home soil in Bangkok, some 10 years after Surikarn’s win, could the Thai flag be about to fly ontop of those podiums even more in the next decade ?

History has shown that when a group of gifted RC racers start to race and practice more & more with each other, their level improves exponentially & with some serious financial backing combined with proximity to the manufacturers (Taiwan, China) and great tracks its simply bound to happen – the right ingredients are there.

It’s no accident that the multi-class sensation that is Atsushi Hara chose Thailand many years ago as the place to live & race – a plethora of onroad and offroad tracks to choose from has ensured the professional RC Car driver can compete at the highest level across multiple disciplines, not to mention racing with the locals and accelerating their progress.