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 Ron Schuur, Hobbywing team manager and owner of Schuur Speed, to discuss the two brands, stock class racing, the new 21.5 buggy class, and more!
LiveRC: Welcome Ron to another edition of Talk It Up Tuesday! It has been awhile since we’ve had the opportunity to chat. Let’s start off by talking about your own brand SchuurSpeed. What is the latest with SchuurSpeed, and plans for 2020?
Ron: We plan to keep pushing forward with our full line of racing motors, and investing more time and support of our modified motors. With Ron DeVoll winning the Reedy Open class last year, and Max Flurer racking up wins in the Modified Dirt Oval, the demand has increased nicely. Our V4 motors in Stock and Modified continue to produce wins in support of our tag line – “We race what we sell.”
LiveRC: Do you have any new releases or products in the works that you’d care to give us a few hints or a sneak peek of?
Ron: At this time have nothing that we can share, but stay tuned!
LiveRC: SchuurSpeed motors are known to be some of the most competitive motors on the market in the stock racing classes. Stock racing has changed a lot, and in many places has become more popular than Mod. Why do you think this is?
Ron: Thank you we’ve put a lot of effort into the SS motors. You may not be aware but each and ever motor is QC checked, dyno tested, and tuned before packaging. You mention the popularity of stock racing, it’s a combination of reasons it’s become so large and is a lengthy discussion. Mod racing essentially makes R/C a part-time job in order to have the proper setup, well maintained cars, practice, to be competitive at those speeds. Stock racing allows R/C to be more of a hobby, and allows racers to build a car, change tires, and race periodically with their buddies and still be competitive. Yeah there are rebuilds and maintenance but not like modified.
LiveRC: Many people believe the stock classes are an entry level class, and that expert level drivers should not be allowed. What are your thoughts?
Ron: 17.5 is currently referred to as stock, and it has developed beyond what most think of as stock. 17.5 has become so fast that it is not a viable entry level class that many think the name “stock” means. This is why for the last couple of years, and even more so this past year, I have been pushing a 21.5 fixed motor, spec gearing, and spec tire STOCK class. The 21.5 allows those getting involved in racing the opportunity to learn how to handle the buggies and learn how to set them up to minimize laptimes.
LiveRC: On that same note, many believe that stock class racing is no longer “stock”, and requires more time, effort, and money to be competitive than mod. Would you agree or disagree, and why?
Ron: I really disagree with that thinking. I support and assist several of the top level stock drivers, and also enjoy the experience to watch a few top level modified drivers. The initial preparation of cars is arguably very similar, but the upkeep is less on the stock side.
Here’s my thoughts on what many see as more expensive in stock, and that is battery and motor costs. I hear all the time, “Oh charging batteries at high amperage is killing them and they constantly need to be replaced.” This from my experience, and of those I work closely with, is not exactly true. Most of these racers use batteries for 9 months to a year or so. At the base of this issue is misinformation of batteries, and especially how to care for them.
On top of that I hear about motor of the month etc. Marketing comes into play here in my opinion, and again possibly a bit of education is missing. I constantly see racers endlessly tuning and buying motors chasing after speed. I’ll stop here as this is a lengthy topic and should be discussed separately.
LiveRC: For new racers coming in, what do you believe is the best class to race, and why?
Ron: Currently it’s difficult for a new racer. Across the board racing is currently too fast and/or requires a level of setup knowledge they do not yet have. When I visit tracks on non-racing days there are often many people enjoying their R/C cars, trucks, what have you. They are having a great time without any limits or rules standing in the way. It’s simply FUN. Best class is a great question, but let’s continue with off-road and 21.5, the class is geared for beginners and less experienced racers. Look at the entries for these lesser classes and you’ll find trophy hunters dropping down into them. The new racer is immediately faced with someone running circles around them at best, and at worst asking them to move over. I’m not sure it’s what class that needs to be discussed, but again it’s a tough situation and requires deeper discussions.
LiveRC: Another genre of R/C racing that has really taken off in popularity is dirt oval racing. You have been to the RC Chili Bowl on numerous occasions as a racer and/or Hobbywing support. What is the cause of this sudden surge in popularity?
Ron: Mike another very interesting question. I wonder if it’s not racers leaving other types of racing just looking for a NEW fresh beginning or is it simply because of the growing attention placed on oval. I’m not sure, because again, to run fast requires similar efforts. I must admit personally it’s very intriguing to myself because I enjoy 1 to 1 dirt track racing. One of the top events of the year for me is the RC Chilibowl.
LiveRC: What aspect of dirt oval racing do you think attracts racers the most, that you might not find in other forms of R/C racing?
Ron: Number one is all the classes look like real dirt race cars. Another is that there are several classes you can successfully use older model chassis, and parts to race competitively.
LiveRC: Seeing that you are very involved in the world of brushless motors, ESC’s, and making R/C cars go fast…have you tried out the quickly growing R/C drag racing scene yet?
Ron: I have not tried it myself, but I have been involved from a distance. Again, the racers run cars that are directly relatable to real drag cars.
LiveRC: Your co-worker Charlie Suangka is heavily involved in the world of R/C crawling and FPV racing. Has he convinced you to give either one of those a try yet?
Ron: I have and still do enjoy FPV, but I am way behind as I just do not have enough time.
LiveRC: Let’s talk Hobbywing. What’s the latest happenings at Hobbywing, and what have your primary roles been over the past year?
Ron: My primary role is Team Manager, and as such I coordinate events we support as well as which we will attend. Additionally, I spend a significant amount of time testing prototype firmware, and/or motors across all classes. Some of the testing and reporting I oversee utilizing our team drivers. Coordinating submissions to ROAR, and in general keep HW involved with rules and regulations.
We just recently released the all new from the ground up XR10PRO G2 ESC, which was a big effort for everyone at HW. There are many new hardware and software developments involved. We are about to release a new line of G3R SPEC motors and have gotten favorable responses from those whom have tested them. At the moment they are awaiting ROAR approval.
LiveRC: Silly Season is coming soon. Are there talks of any major new signings for Hobbywing in 2020?
Ron: Mike, Mike, Mike…we can’t talk about this! But yes, expect some movements.
LiveRC: What are your thoughts (good and bad) about the industry as we prepare for a new year just a few months away?
Ron: I believe as an industry we have some challenges facing us. I am encouraged in current movements and developments time will tell.
LiveRC: What are your plans for 2020 with your company, Hobbywing, and as a racer? What events can we count on seeing you at?
Ron: Both SchuurSpeed and Hobbywing will support the National Series presented by JConcepts, and all of Scotty Ernst Productions events, the Snowbirds, and Reedy Races are also scheduled.
LiveRC: When you aren’t living the R/C life, what are some things you enjoy doing?
Ron: That’s a tough question, but I really enjoy R/C and often go to local tracks to spend time with friends and get reacquainted. Then there are honey-do lists and a desire to enjoy quality family time. I like to be busy, so I don’t often vacation.
LiveRC: What is one thing most people don’t know about Ron Schuur?
Ron: I enjoy live music of many types, real 1 to 1 racing, and time out in nature for a hike to reflect and clear my head
LiveRC: Who is the best driver on the planet currently, and why?
Ron: In offroad, I’m partial with Spencer Rivkin. His 2019 year may have started slowly, but he’s just been on a streak winning or fighting for the win across the country and he’s won the 2wd World Championship. Spencer has been successful in the past in on-road as well finishing 2nd in the Reedy Race Open class. But each discipline has a driver.
LiveRC: Ron, it is always a pleasure talking with you, and we sincerely appreciate you taking time out with us today! Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Ron: I enjoyed the chat, and at some point we should explore a couple of these lengthy topics above in more detail!