TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Matthew Gonzales
Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016 07:07pm
By Joe Adragna
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
I’ve had the pleasure of racing against Matthew Gonzalez for the past year in the very deep and talented 17.5 Buggy class that dominates the entry count in the western United States. With Matthew, you get the classic combination of a kid who wants to have fun and spend quality time with his father, Martin, and his “track family” as well. After his breakout win at the Top Gun shootout at SDRC I spent some time with Matthew to discuss his past, his future, and his feelings on the 17.5 class.
Joe Adragna: Tell me about yourself. Where are you from, and what else other than RC do you like to do? How'd you get into RC? Your nickname is Glitch - how'd you get it, and what does it mean to you?
Matthew Gonzalez: I'm from Chula Vista, California - in the San Diego area. It seems like racing is all I do - or hanging out with friends outside of the track. I got into RC because all of my friends were busy with things they wanted to do, so I found something I wanted to do. I'm 15 years old and in the tenth grade. I've been racing for 5 years now. I got the nickname “Glitch” from my friend and mentor, Jim Hughes - he gave it to me a year after he met me due to my stutter. The nickname means a lot - my friends at school call me Glitch, and most of the people at the track think it's pretty awesome.
JA: You won the 17.5 buggy class at the Top Gun Shootout held at the iconic SDRC Raceway. How big was this win to you, and how long has it been your goal to win this race? How does it feel to win?
MG: This win has been a goal of mine. I was in the B-Main three years ago, and qualified for the A-Main last year, so knowing I could keep up with those guys was a huge confidence booster for me. It feels awesome! After three years of hard work, it's finally paid off!
JA: So you're in tenth grade and it's a bit cliché, but what are your personal goals? Is R/C something you want a future in, or will you be looking to go to college? If you’re planning on going to college, what schools are you looking into and what do you want to major in?
MG: My personal goals are to go into the advertisement business. I like trying to promote things the best way I can. RC is something I would want to look into as a career, but school comes first as always. I will be starting out at a community college and transferring over to a University of California school.
JA: There is a lot of criticism about the 17.5 class, mainly about the cost to compete. How do you feel about the 17.5 class, seeing as how you're one of the top racers in Southern California?
MG: Ah, the fun part. After doing a lot of racing locally in San Diego, Jim and I have found that charging at higher amps didn't affect lap times or speed - it just created extra wheel spin. I feel that the competition in stock classes is crazy, and it helps to travel around and race with more competition.
JA: Do you think a lower budget program can compete with the higher budget racers?
MG: A local named Jack Harley races each weekend without all that stuff and keeps up with everyone. He made the main this weekend and finished sixth, so a low budget program can definitely keep up with a high budget stock racer.
JA: So what are your plans for 2017? Who is supporting you this year?
MG: My plans for 2017 are to race modified during club races and local big events, and when racing out of town to bring out the stock car. The people supporting me this year will be my biggest supporters - of course, my mom and my dad are always there for me no matter what. My mom always tries her hardest to take me to the track when my dad isn't here and wakes up early to make sure I'm there. My dad gave up golf on day one when we showed up to the track with my little Factory Team T4 - after the first few hours there he knew I was hooked. He has always been there for me even though I can sometimes leave a mess in the garage. I also want to thank Jim Hughes for always helping out, and answering my questions, and for all the laughs, and help off the track - he’s always there for me. Joey Abicca - man, Joey has always been here trying to push me and make sure my stuff isn't hurting (lol), and making sure I'm on my game when my Dad isn't here. And Terence Webster, AKA T-Web - man oh man oh man, has this man been there since day one of me racing. T-Web had a kids class to teach new drivers how to drive each weekend right at 8am to 10am. My dad would wake up early just so I could take that class. And every day I would get sad because I wasn't getting any faster. T-Web would always tell me, "it'll take time, but you'll get there Matt!" Tyler Hicks has been a huge help as well these past few years, by taking me to races and helping me with setups; he’s great person to be around.
JA: That’s awesome to hear. Travis Brock recently took over the reins of ownership at SDRC Raceway. Have you started to see a lot of changes? Has these been a resurgence of racers? I saw Top Gun had over 200 entrees - is R/C making a comeback in your area?
MG: I think with Travis taking over, RC has started taking off a lot more. There has been a lot of changes, such as the shop being stocked. Travis is always coming up to us asking if we're all happy with everything and we pitch in our ideas and Travis gets right to it.
JA: OK, my last question - support wise, who else is helping you out for 2017?
MG: I'd like to thank Jason and Paul at JConcepts, Matt And Brandon at MIP, Ray Dog from Sticky Kicks, BK from Dirt Racing Products, and Jeremy from RCI. And my parents for always being there for me! Jim, Joey and T-Web, And everyone else who supports me down in SD!!