By Tyler Hooks
Future Stars of RC is a regular column on LiveRC where aspiring RC journalist Tyler Hooks has a conversation with fellow up-and-coming racers across the country, covering youth-friendly topics such as school subjects, watching TV, throwing huge whips and, of course, girls.
With the influence of the likes of Ronda Drake and Sarah Ernst winning against the best racers in the business, the door has been opened for the next generation of female stars in a mostly male-driven hobby. Team Losi Racing driver Makenzi Harbuck is one of those women battling it out in the open class at some of the largest events on the east coast.
Name: Makenzi Harbuck
Age: 19 Years Old
Sponsors: TLR, Spektrum, Pro-Line, Horizon Hobby, M2C Racing, Bones Brew Fuel, 4C Hobby Supply, 92Zero Designs, and CowRC
TH: When did you first begin racing?
MH: I started out racing when I was twelve years old! My dad raced when I was very young, and I would go on the weekends with my family to watch and cheer him on. I guess you could say I practically grew up at the RC track, haha.
TH: What is your biggest racing accomplishment?
MH: I have a few accomplishments that really stand out to me. I think my first big accomplishments in RC were when I podiumed at the Alabama Manufacturers Shootout and then at the Wicked Weekend a few months afterward in Sportsman Truggy. That was the point where I told myself if I continued to work hard that I could really improve in the hobby. As of right now though, my biggest accomplishment would be being able to podium in E-Truggy and finishing 5th overall in Open Nitro Buggy at Battle of the Sikest.
TH: What is your worst racing failure?
MH: It's hard for me to really pick anything as a racing "failure." I've had plenty of ups and downs, but I feel like every race is a chance for me to learn something new whether it be through the good or the bad.
TH: Where do you attend school, and what is your goal for a future occupation?
MH: I'm currently enrolled in community college working on my basic core curriculum. As for future occupation, I'm still undecided but my major is Business Administration.
TH: What is your favorite class?
MH: My favorite class to race is 1/8-scale nitro buggy. I've always really enjoyed running nitro, and I feel like its a super-competitive class to compete in.
TH: Do you have a boyfriend?
MH: I don't have a boyfriend, but who's to say that maybe one day I won't encounter an Adam and Ronda Drake love story? LOL
TH: What do you think of the old saying “girls just get in the way of racing?”
MH: Well, being a girl in the rc hobby, I'd completely disagree with that! I love having the opportunity to race, and it's nice once you've found that group of friends that don't treat you any differently just because you're a girl!
TH: What is your real dream car?
MH: My dream car has always been a white Range Rover with black interior!
TH: Huge Whips, driving absolutely flat out or more calculated driving, smoother on the throttle?
MH: I think my driving style consists more of being smoother on the throttle and trying to put in clean and consistent laps. However, I'm never against throwing in a little whip action here and there!
TH: Action sports or conventional sports, what do you follow in your free time?
MH: Anyone who knows me knows that I am EXTREMELY competitive when it comes to sports! My favorite sports to follow are NFL football and Supercross! I am a hugeeee New England Patriots fan, and my favorite supercross riders are Ken Roczen and Justin Bogle. I also like to keep up with MMA every so often.
TH: Who did you look up to when you were an even younger racer? Who has been the biggest help to you as a driver?
MH: I have always really looked up to Ronda Drake! She's been my inspiration to not let the boys intimidate me in such a male-dominated hobby. I've learned a lot from watching her race, and she continues to be a huge inspiration to me. As a driver, I'd have to say the two people who have been the biggest help to me are Cole Ogden and Joe Bornhorst. They have always been so willing to give me pointers when it comes to my equipment and driving, and they always are extremely supportive of me.
TH: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to a new up and coming racer?
MH: The biggest piece of advice that I would give to a new up and coming racer would be that it takes time! Never get discouraged and always keep pushing yourself. Keep having fun and working hard and success will follow!