By Mike Garrison
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!
A name that most arealready familiar with, but have heard a lot more of lately is "Ben Sterling". This week we sit down with the accomplished Australian racer and owner of BSRC to discuss everything from the upcoming Aussie Worlds to new BSRC products, his racing, and more!
LiveRC: Welcome Ben to Talk It Up Tuesday! For those who aren’t familiar with who Ben Sterling is, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in R/C, and what are some of your proudest accomplishments since then?
Ben: Thanks Mike! I’m from Melbourne, Australia. 29 Years old and have been racing since I was 14. Away from RC I’m right into my dirt bikes. Having managed motorcycle stores since leaving school in 2006, until now where I manage the spare parts of one of the largest motorcycle importers in Australia. I have also worked along side some of the biggest names in the industry, with the likes of Pastrana, Sinclair and Hill.
Some of my best achievements aren’t necessarily racing related. Coming 2nd in Australia last year in Truck was definitely up there, but I think going against what everyone was telling me and starting my own race team here in Australia is my biggest achievement. Having everyone run the same product has really allowed me to help others and get them up the pointy end of the field. Forwarding on so many years of experience is a great feeling and when you see them get good results, it really makes it worthwhile.
LiveRC: You have competed in multiple IFMAR World Championships, but seeing that it has not been to Australia for 1/8-scale off-road since 1989, I am assuming you are pretty excited to have the race “in your backyard”?
Ben: Yeah, having the Worlds this year in Perth is going to be awesome. I attended the 2006 1/10 IC On-Road worlds in Brisbane as a mechanic and that’s as close as I have been to a worlds in my own country. The guys in Perth, Simmsy, Painy, David, Craig and the whole MORBC crew do a fantastic job and I’m sure everyone’s expectations will be met when they arrive.
LiveRC: Obviously being a multi-time champion in Australia you are going to be one of the host country favorites to win the upcoming IFMAR World Championships in Perth. Who do you feel will be your biggest competitor from Australia? Who do you feel will be your biggest competitor from around the globe?
Ben: Haha, I don’t know about one of the favorites, but thank you! Kyle (Mcbride) has us covered with that I think. Obviously from overseas you have the reigning World Champ David (Ronnefalk). He was mega quick at the Warm Up race and I’m hoping he can bring this form over in November and go back to back. Also your Tessman’s, Ongaro’s, Boots, Maifield’s etc. will all be on their A-Game, so it should be very exciting.
LiveRC: You had some tough luck at the Worlds Warm Up, but you also shared that you worked closely alongside the HB Racing designers, designed your own HB Genuine part, and learned a lot from the race. Tell us a little about it.
Ben: Yeah, Worlds Warm up was a tough one for me. I had the ability to be able to stay with Torrance and David whilst over there, and the set-up I have been running was basically backwards to what they have been currently running. So I ended up using it more as a learning event, rather than one where I was going for a good result. The amount I learnt staying with them, talking with them etc. was crazy. I think I learnt more in 4 days of racing than I have this whole season so far.
Haha, we were brainstorming about how we could make a certain part for one of their new 1/8 on-road cars and the idea I came up with, Torrance liked and within half an hour he had it drawn up on CAD and my idea had come to life. So cool.
LiveRC: Aside from the Warm-Up race, do you race or practice often at the MORBC track?
Ben: Unfortunately, no. I live over the other side of Australia. So, unless there is a National Round there or FEMCA etc. I will make my way over. But it's just a little too far to travel for practice or a club race.
LiveRC: Do you feel you will have an advantage over the competition who has never been to Australia – let alone the MORBC facility and track?
Ben: I think the only advantage I will have, is having the comfort of knowing the facility really well and that it is in my home country. Apart from that, I think it will be a level playing field as the track surface had changed a lot for the Warm Up race compared to how it used to be and with a fresh layout, it will be fair for all.
LiveRC: What do you feel will be the biggest challenge (other than the other racers) at this year’s IFMAR Worlds (weather, track surface, tire wear, temperature, etc.)?
Ben: For sure the weather will be the biggest challenge. We were really lucky with the weather for the Warm Up race, but for some reason in Australia if you hold a big event, we always have rain! It won't rain leading up to, or after the event, but it will always rain during haha. So we will see. Hopefully the weather Gods will be on our side, especially for everyone travelling from overseas.
LiveRC: Your name has been circling the web more and more lately with your new products from the BSRC (Ben Sterling RC) brand. What are some of your newest products you have available?
Ben: Yeah, I have some cool new products out. Carbon Fiber Droop Blocks for 1/8 Buggy, 1m Charge Leads, Fuel bottle, Air Filter Foams, Carbon D817 Radio Trays. All very high quality, and all products I personally use. I don’t see the point in selling something that is not up there in quality and something I wouldn’t use myself in racing.
LiveRC: What made you decide to start your own brand in addition to racing?
Ben: It’s something I have always wanted to do. Ever since I was in high school. I feel I have some pretty cool ideas in my head, but never really had the $$, support and the contacts in the industry to be able to do it. But with all the travelling I have done around the world and the friends I have made has allowed me to start producing my own products.
Another thing is that I’m so sick of people saying they purchased their gear overseas. Every hobby shop here in Australia, and I’m sure in the USA, Europe etc. too they are sick of this. The racing market is very small, BUT there is still a market there. As a racer myself, I’m in the field every weekend and can listen to people and what their needs are. Hopefully I can try and fill some of this gap and keep the business here in Australia.
LiveRC: Of all your own products, which one is your personal favorite and why?
Ben: Hmmm tough question. I love my Fuel Bottle, but there might be something coming that will be my favorite 😉
LiveRC: Are there any new products in the works that you can give us a hint or clue about?
Ben: Yeah I have some cool ideas. One of the products currently being made is some 1/8 wing washers and some MBX8 product.
LiveRC: What is the best way for customers around the globe to purchase your products?
LiveRC: When you aren’t racing R/C cars, designing new products, and running your own business…what are you doing for fun?
Ben: I love watching AFL (Australian Rules Football), motorcycles, and just hanging out.
LiveRC: What is one thing most people don’t know about Ben Sterling?
Ben: Another tough question haha. Honestly, I would say, how friendly I am as a person. I don’t know whether some people are too intimidated to come up and speak to me or take me the wrong way, but I truly am a friendly person. I’m always happy to help others, share ideas and just generally have a chat. I think some people see how serious I take my racing, but this shouldn’t deter them from coming up and saying G’Day or even asking for advice.
LiveRC: Favorite person to race with on the R/C track?
Ben: Obviously NOT JQ!!! Ha-ha (joke). Nah, I don’t have a favorite racer on the track, BUT anytime I can race the best in the world is my favorite. For me to be able to race them and learn is the best feeling. Competition is a good thing and pushes me harder and harder. It makes me more determined to win.
LiveRC: Well Ben, you are a very busy guy, and we sincerely appreciate you joining us today! We wish you the best of luck with the new line of BSRC products and at the upcoming World Championships. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Ben: Thanks Mike! I just want to thank you and the whole LiveRC crew for reaching out to me. It means a lot to be recognized in the industry. I would also like to thank my sponsors, without them it wouldn’t be possible. HB-Racing, Proline, REDS, MKS, BSRC, VP Powermaster, Plaig, Ko Propo, Stickit1, T-Works, J.A Design.