By Aaron Waldron
After racking up several wins at regional events over the last few years, Tommy Hinz looked to be in control in what would be a career-defining win at last year’s Reedy Off-Road Race of Champions when he set the fastest time in both the third and fourth rounds of Open 4WD qualifying to earn the front row on the grid for the double A-Mains. However, after making costly mistakes in both legs, he failed to make the podium and managed only a fifth-place finish. Now one year later, Hinz is headed back to the Open class at the Reedy Race - and this time, he’ll be using all-new equipment after changing nearly all of his major sponsors following the 2017 season. Read about his move to XRAY, Hobbywing and ProTek RC in this week’s Talk It Up Tuesday.
Aaron Waldron: Congratulations on the switch to XRAY and Hobbywing! What was the main factor behind your big move?
Tommy Hinz: Thanks! The main factor behind my move was to have a fresh start. I felt like I was at a stopping point, and felt like maybe a change could get me past the stop point I was currently at.
AW: How much track time have you had with your new equipment? What have your first few days with the team been like?
TH: So far, I've run the XB2’18 at a Wednesday night club race at my home track Hobby Action Raceway, and I’ve also ran both the XB2’18 and XB4’18 at OCRC last Friday and Saturday. So far, everything has been awesome; I now feel that I have a base starting point with both the new cars, and the new electronics, and feel now I can try to tune the rest of the package in.
AW: You had been a part of Team Associated for a few years. Was it a difficult decision to leave?
TH: I was with Team Associated and Reedy for 7 years, so yes — it was a very hard decision to make. I have made many friendships and memories with the whole AE crew, and can’t wait to see all the guys at the track.
AW: How did your old teammates respond to the news?
TH: Most of my old teammates congratulated me and encouraged my decision 100%. Luckily, all my teammates were good friends and wished me nothing but the best.
AW: Did you talk to any other brands about joining them before making your decision?
TH: No, I felt if there was any other team I would want to currently be a part of, it would be XRAY. Therefore, I didn't really think about any of the other brands.
AW: When did you start talking to XRAY? What excited you most about the opportunity?
TH: I started the process about a week into December, and the whole move happened pretty quickly — almost within the snap of my fingers. The most exciting part for me was the fact that I get to work with two of my long-time buddies: Ty Tessmann and Tanner Stees.
AW: How did you get hooked up with Hobbywing? Is the Hobbywing North America going to be more active in the Modified classes in the U.S.?
TH: I got hooked up with Hobbywing North America thanks to Ron Schuur; we’ve always had good chats at the races, and when I decided to change up my program, Ron was the first to reach out. I feel Hobbywing is going to be much more involved in the modified scene now that they also have Arizona's Ryan Maifield, as well as Ty Tessmann.
AW: Have your racing career goals changed along with this team switch? What are you shooting for for the 2018 season?
TH: Honestly, I just want to have some solid finishes and do the best that I can do at each and every race. Nothing really has changed there.
AW: Will you be changing any other sponsors for 2018?
TH: For 2018, I also made the switch to ProTek RC for servos and batteries.
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
TH: Thanks to all my family and friends for the support, and special thanks to all my sponsors for 2018, let's make this a great year! XRAY, RCAmerica, JConcepts, HUDY, ProTek RC, SDRC Raceway, and StickIt1.