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!
For this week's Talk It Up Tuesday sit down to discuss the upcoming ROAR Nationals, the highs and lows of being a pro, 1/8 vs. 1/10 racing, and more with the recent AMS 9.0 Pro Truck class winner and one of Tekno RC's star players - Joe Bornhorst!
LiveRC: Welcome back Joe to “Talk It Up Tuesday”! First and foremost, let’s start by talking about a very successful weekend at the AMS 9.0 by taking the win in Nitro Truck. Tell us a bit about the weekend and your results.
Joe: What’s up! Thanks for having me. AMS went pretty well for me. I had good qualifying in all classes which set me up well for the mains. The truck main went pretty much perfect and I was able to come away with the win which I was pumped about. Ebuggy A1 went well getting a 2nd behind Maifield. The nitro buggy main and Ebuggy A2 just didn’t go my way. My cars/tires/engine program were all awesome, but my driving just wasn’t on par in those couple runs, so that was my bad. That’s racing though!
LiveRC: The AMS track was full of big-air. With a background in motocross, do you prefer a supercross style (big-air and technical) or a motocross (rough, gnarly, and fast) track layout?
Joe: I enjoy both actually. I am pretty good at timing jumps and have good car control in the air, so a jumpy track is fun to me. Rough tracks bring in the technicality to your driving and line selection is key. Both are cool!
LiveRC: You’ve had very good results over the past few years in both buggy and truck. Which do you prefer – buggy or truck?
Joe: I’d say buggy. A couple of years ago my answer would have definitely been the opposite, but lately I’ve worked on being more technical with my driving, and that suits buggies.
LiveRC: Next on your list of races is the upcoming ROAR 1/8-scale Electric Off-Road Nationals. Will we see you running all three classes (E-Buggy, E-Truck, and 4wd SC)?
Joe: Yep, all three!
LiveRC: Which class do you feel most confident that you could potential win a national championship title this year?
Joe: I think either E-Buggy or E-Truggy. I haven’t won any national championships yet, so I don’t care which one it comes with, I just want one! Haha.
LiveRC: Who do you feel will be your biggest competition in each of the classes?
Joe: There’s no way of knowing that. I think there will be 5-7 of us that have a legit shot at it. We’re all going to be going fast, so it all depends who has some racing luck on their side and what happens on the track.
(Britani Jo Garrison shows her "support" for Joe during the live broadcast of the 2018 ROAR Off-Road Fuel Nationals...)
LiveRC: You are aware that your archenemy/my wife, Britani Jo, will be attending the event, correct? Are you prepared to handle and dodge the shade that she is sure to throw your way? [Laughs]
Joe: No preparation needed. She thinks she scares me, but in fact the only thing I’m scared of is if she can figure out how to turn on our cars for our races.
LiveRC: 1/8-scale Electric Buggy has grown considerably over the past few years. Do you feel the class is popular enough around the globe and/or worthy of an IFMAR World Championship of its own?
Joe: I don’t see why not. From what I can see, everyone runs it and there is only a few races that it is not ran at. Some people think it isn’t as prestigious as nitro, but all of the pros want to win electric races just as much as they do nitro. The only hold up would be scheduling an event for it. It would probably have to work more like the 1/10 Worlds do where there is two events in one.
LiveRC: Since the release of the Tekno RC EB410 buggy, we have seen you at more and more major 1/10-scale events as well. How has the transition from being an exclusive 1/8-scale racer back to 1/10 and 1/8-scale been so far?
Joe: It was tough for sure. I haven’t spent much time at all with 1/10-scale up until this past winter. The learning curve was tough, but I think I got it pretty decent. 1/10-scale races are just a completely different feel and different mindset compared to 1/8-scale races. They’re both equally as much work, your time is just spent in other areas. It’s fun to switch it up though!
LiveRC: We are assuming you’ll be at the ROAR 1/10-scale Off-Road Nationals as well? What are some of your goals this year for that event?
Joe: Yep! I think a realistic goal is just to be in the A-mains. If I can do that, I’d be happy.
LiveRC: R/C car racing is your full-time job now. When and what was your first pro race as a paid professional?
Joe: I think my first race it was the Race Against Cancer at McCullough’s in the fall of 2014, which was right after I signed my first contract with Tekno. My first big race with them was I think the Battle of the Sikest at Fear Farm, also in the fall of 2014.
LiveRC: Best part of being a professional R/C car racer?
Joe: Getting to travel all over the place and race on the best tracks. Also being able to live my childhood dream and make a living racing.
LiveRC: Worst part of being a professional R/C car racer?
Joe: Maybe just the pressure. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and give back to all of the companies that support me. So when I don’t do well when I had an opportunity to, it’s tough.
LiveRC: Favorite race/track you’ve ever raced?
Joe: That’s hard, I get to race constantly on the best tracks built by the best track builders all the time. If I had to pick one just for cool factor, Silver State this year was fun because we were in Vegas, the race was in the casino, Supercross was in town, and everything seemed to work well. It was just a fun week.
LiveRC: When you aren’t wrenching, practicing, or racing R/C cars – what are you most likely doing?
Joe: I still like to fly RC planes when I can, and NO I don’t crash them anymore. Lol. I like to play some Xbox with my buddies and just enjoy time at home.
LiveRC: Seeing that we just distracted you enough that you glued your tires to the pit table, we should probably quit bugging you and let you get back to work. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Joe: I’d like to thank all of my sponsors for all of their help and support and for letting me do what I do. Tekno RC, Pro-Line, Tekin, MKS Servos, Nitro Pro Fuel, BLOK Engines, SMC Batteries, Sanwa, Avid, MIP, Speed Tuned Pipes, PT RC Racing Oils, BOOMrc Graphics, and Shearious Designs. Thanks for having me, see everyone at the races!