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 we sit down with Tony Newland, the man behind Action RC Distribution and bringing LRP back to America!
LiveRC: Welcome Tony to this week’s edition of “Talk It Up Tuesday”! Let’s start at the beginning – when, where, who, how, and why did you get started racing R/C cars in the first place?
Tony: I started racing sometime in 1991. I had a few basher cars back in the day. The Futaba FX10 was the first car ever I built. I was about 12yrs old and mowed lawns, pulled weeds etc. to do whatever I could to earn enough money over a summer to buy everything I needed.
A few years later I discovered Intermountain RC Raceway about 10 miles from my house. I watched a club race and it was history from there, the needle was deep in my arm lol. Ever since then I’ve been into the racing from big cars to little cars, my mind is intrigued with mechanical aspects.
LiveRC: What is your proudest accomplishment as a racer?
Tony: I don’t know if I have a single moment I’m most proud of. I had issues during qualifying at the Nitro 1/8 Offroad Canadian Championships years ago and ended up in the E main. With the help of friends like Hal Hudson I bumped all the way to the A main and led for a while until a servo failed. That was exciting. I’m proud I have qualified for 3x IFMAR world championships, yet the only one I’ve been to was to wrench and pit for Billy Easton lol. I was once ranked top 10 in the country in 1/8 nitro category when the RC Pro Series was big. Along with that I have made the Open A main at the Reedy race a few years ago and many time regional champion.
(Tony's racing career isn't limited to R/C, as he is also a semi-professional UTV racer as well.)
LiveRC: You have held multiple roles in the industry over the years, including your own companies. When did you first decide to start your company Klinik, and why?
Tony: I started Klinik Jan 1 2017. I had been making parts for my personal cars, while sharing info and ideas with Tristram Neal (Schumachers offroad engineer). After testing some of my ideas they worked really well, I decided to start mass production of the Max Stock Conversion Kit for the Schumacher KC buggy. This conversion made a drastic improvement of drivetrain efficiency for 17.5 stock guys running the KC here in America. That was the #1 product that launched Klinik worldwide.
I’ve sold several hundred kits to just about every country you can imagine. Shortly after the conversion kits were released I started offering custom anodized titanium hardware, ball stud and turnbuckles. This is probably what Klinik is most well known for. We offer high quality billet machined 6al4v screws sets, turnbuckles, ball studs etc. custom anodized in 11 different colors. Several of those colors are our proprietary colors we’ve developed in house and only available from Klinik.
LiveRC: What are some of the products that Klinik has to offer?
Tony: We offer high quality billet machined 6al4v screws sets, turnbuckles, ball studs etc custom anodized in 11 different colors. In addition to custom carbon fiber pieces including our bestselling battery cradles, shock towers and a few tools. All made in house.
LiveRC: In addition to Klinik, you have now opened Action RC Distribution. When, where, and why did you decide you wanted to take on a distribution role in the industry?
Tony: I have worked for a few distributors over the years, either in a salesman role or product sourcing and R&D. So I’m familiar with how the distribution business runs and what it takes to achieve sucess. I was introduced to Jürgen Lautenbach (Owner of LRP) through Michal and Matthew Orlowski earlier this year. Jürgen and I had spoken several times on the phone talking about all sorts of things from the history of LRP through the present and future. One of our conversations turned to LRP being absent from America since his reorganization a few years ago. We spoke many more times after that and came to an agreement that I would provide product, service, and support for LRP’s introduction back to North America. A few months later we are open for business! And it is BUSY! We have been met with a ton of support from long time LRP customers and dealers that have missed the product. I’m very excited to represent such an icon brand in our industry. I have the utmost respect for Jürgen and what he has accomplished throughout the decades. I hope we can build on that rich history going forward!
We will be providing support and distribution in North America. We will also build a strong USA racing team and attend several events in the future.
LiveRC: Will Action RC distribute and sell other brand products as well, or solely LRP?
Tony: Right now just LRP, but who knows what the future brings. We have a 5yr plan we’re working towards. Hopefully we can re-visit this in 5yrs and talk about where it all started and what we have accomplished.
LiveRC: Do you feel that LRP products have an advantage over the competition, and if so, why?
Tony: Absolutely! The first thing I learned from Jürgen is that he is committed to making the highest quality products on the market. LRP’s reputation is an impeccable one. For decades LRP has powered dozens of national and world titles. This continues today. They are multiple time European champions from stock classes to modified, onroad and offroad. There’s no question the products are very high quality. We have been testing the batteries, motors and speed controls for quite a while now. Well before we committed to distribute them here and the results have been amazing.
LiveRC: 17.5 stock class racing is arguably the most popular class on a local level for most tracks. What does LRP offer to compete with the other heavy hitters in the class?
Tony: Absolutely true! Stock makes up more than half the overall entries at most tracks and races. We have the Stock Spec Flow X Speed Controls, which are very efficient, smooth and lightweight. Stock Spec specific LIHV super low IR batteries with their own unique chemistry made specifically for stock racing. The motors have been updated recently and are very efficient. Initial dyno runs on some of the tuned versions of the stock motors has been fantastic. Higher torque and power numbers than any other stock motors we’ve tested. I’m very confident in the quality of LRP.
LiveRC: Will LRP products be sold direct from Action Distribution RC, or is there a way for dealers and hobby shops to carry these products as well?
Tony: We have inventory available on our website for retail customers, but we’re focused on supplying dealers with products and support. Dealers can email us on the site or send sales questions to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if they have technical questions. One of us will get them setup!
LiveRC: Do you plan to offer trackside support for LRP at major events moving forward?
Tony: Yes we will be attending races in the future.
LiveRC: What is the next race we can expect to see you, Klinik, Action RC, and LRP in attendance?
Tony: I will attend a few local and regional events this fall. The next big race will be the Reedy Race 2020 (whether in a racing capacity or support).
LiveRC: We are very excited to see LRP’s return, and the start of Action RC Distribution. We enjoyed talking with you today and hope to do it again soon. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Tony: Thank you for the opportunity Mike! Looking forward to the future, growing all the brands and developing new products! I am in a consistent growth of knowledge and always learning to ensure that both businesses are preforming at their peak!