Welcome to our second Stars & Their RC Cars interview. This month we’ve nagged and begged and we’ve managed to secure a few moments of a very influential man in the RC Kingdom, none other than Matt Benfield (@mattadh), Editor of Radio Control Car Racer magazine! We’d like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Matt and his team for not only agreeing to take part in this interview, but also for sponsoring our Longest Crawl event on June 24th this year!
So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in…
When did you first get into RC Cars?
I was 17 years old and finally had some money of my own to buy a car. I had always been interested in racing as Jim Paffett (father of Gary Paffett – McLaren Mercedes F1 test driver and DTM racer) a friend of my dads was one of the founders of Eden Park Overlanders and we used to see the club at events like Bromley Pageant of Motoring and school fetes where they would put on demo races.
Was it recreational or did you jump straight into competitive racing?
I guess it was for fun to begin with as I was aware of the racing scene but had no idea how to get into it or if I was good enough at the time. I ended up starting racing locally at a club in a park at Sidcup where they used to run on a Sunday afternoon. This was a good place to start as they were a grass roots club with a very basic timing system and some helpful guys racing and organising.
What was your first RC Car, do you still have it and why did you chose that one?
I had a Tamiya Astute as a first car as I had aspirations of racing and it looked good. It was second hand as was most of the items. I used to shop at Avicraft in Bromley and they had some helpful regulars who provided me with equipment and most importantly, help and advice. Unfortunately, I dont have it anymore and cant even remember what happened to it…
Which car do you rate as your all time iconic model & why?
I think that the RC10 has to stand out as the iconic model for a number of reasons really. There was the famous advert of Jay Halsey scaled down so that it looked like he had just climbed out of the car after winning a race – it was a brilliant advert and one that I remember as standing out from all the others. The RC10 has been so successful and still continues to be in its latest guise. As far as I know, every RC10 has won a World title to date (excluding the B4.1 but that car has never competed at a Worlds yet) and there are certain elements of the design like the shock absorbers and Stealth gearbox that set the standard for others to follow. And of course, collectors are very keen to get their hands on the early RC10s as well as the MIP 4WD conversions etc which means that others have the same opinion.
Do you have a personal collection, if so, what is your most treasured model?
I am very lucky that in my position as editor of Radio Control Car Racer magazine, I get to see all the latest models, accessories and components as they pass through the offices and into magazine and website features. I have never been a collector or wanted to hold on to models as I am a racer at heart and so they get used and abused rather than gather dust on a shelf. This is just my personal opinion as I know many friends and other RC enthusiasts who have large collections who scour the internet looking for those exclusive models.
Electric, Nitro or Petrol?
Stick or Wheel transmitter?
When you’re at the track, what’s the one tool you couldn’t live without?
A tough one this, but I suppose its my lexan scissors, although this sounds silly… I think every race meeting they are used for something – trimming the body, profiling a rear wing or cutting some double sided tape. It lives in my toolbox along with all my other must haves like a modelling knife, threadlock, Blu-Tack, ride height and camber gauge, cleaning brush, temp gun, toothbrush and usual items like nut drivers, pliers, allen drivers, etc.
Do you have any rituals you go through before you race or a lucky charm you take with you?
Sorry, not really.
If there’s trade secret or pit tip you could share with a newbie, what would it be?
Matt Benfield is the Editor of Radio Control Car Racer, the most popular RC magazine in the UK. The monthly title contains all the latest news, new products, kit reviews, product tests, race reports from the biggest and most popular events and much more. The magazine is available in printed and digital media with an App available on iTunes to download and get the magazine on your Apple iPad, IPhone or iPod around the world on the day of its release. Alongside the magazine, there is an informative website at www.rcracer.com that features all the latest race news and product releases as well as videos and online build ups and features.
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