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 legendary racer and newest addition to the Hot Race Tyres development team, Mark Pavidis!
LiveRC: Welcome Mark to this week’s edition of Talk It Up Tuesday! It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from you since your departure from the industry. After you parted ways with AKA in 2017, you went to work outside of the R/C industry. Tell us a little bit about that.
Mark: Yes, in 2017 I was laid off from AKA due to financial reasons with the company. I currently work outside the R/C industry for a leading adventure van outfitter in Southern California, RB Components. RB Components takes Mercedes Sprinter vans and converts them into just about anything. The majority of the business is based around building Adventure Vans and selling the parts for the DIY customer to build their own. It's very similar to R/C in many ways just the parts are much bigger.
LiveRC: Obviously the hot topic is your new role at Hot Race Tyres. What exactly is your new role with Hot Race, and will this replace your full-time job outside the industry?
Mark: My role with Hot Race is helping them establish a presence here in the USA. No, I am still full-time at RB Components. Hot Race is something I am doing on the side.
LiveRC: How did this opportunity for you come about?
Mark: I was introduced to Hot Race almost a year ago. Nothing really came about right away. I did offer to help them on a few projects. During our conversations making a push in the USA market came up. We discussed some of the obstacles in the market that other companies have with product availability and pricing etc. I said what about taking your current tire line and have dual manufacturing in both Europe and in the USA, which are two of the largest markets for R/C. Both Europe and USA can produce the exact same product but in a timely and more cost effective manner.
LiveRC: Hot Race plans to begin production in the United States as well as continuing production at their home base in Italy. Does this mean that from start to finish tires and other Hot Race products will be produced here in the USA?
Mark: Yes, Hot Race will produce the exact same tires (rubber compounds) in both Italy and USA.
LiveRC: Hot Race offers both on-road and off-road tires. Will you be a part of the on-road development as well as the off-road?
Mark: My role will be strictly helping in the rubber off-road market. Their on-road foam tire program is super solid, and this requires a completley different process of manufacturing which their factory in Italy is also setup for.
LiveRC: The current Hot Race off-road tire lineup is strictly 1/8-scale. Is there plans for a 1/10-scale line in the future?
Mark: Yes, currently the Hot Race rubber tire product line is in the 1/8 category. I would say yes 1/10 tires would be in the future, but nothing right away.
LiveRC: Currently there are 4 compounds of Hot Race rubber to choose from in off-road tires. Is there plans to expand that, and if so, what other compounds do you plan to help develop?
Mark: Our goal with the tire line is to keep it as simple as possible. Shops and customers don't want to stock or take to the track endless tire compounds. We are trying to optimize compounds that are used the most often for the conditions that are seen the most often. It is very easy to get out of control with multiple tire compounds when you offer multiple tire treads. When the line is complete we will have a Clay, Super Soft, Soft and a Long Wear Compound.
LiveRC: As a former National and World Champion combined with your past experience in the tire business, this is a big move for Hot Race. What are your goals for the brand in 2020?
Mark: It is a big move for Nicola at Hot Race. His commitment and passion is really what made the decision easy to help them. For 2020 the goal is to not win races, but to help Hot Race build a brand that produces a quality product, meets customer expectations, and is readily available. With a new company this just doesn't happen right away as there are many hurdles but it is a team effort, and we will get there.
(Pavidis on the top step of the podium at the 2006 IFMAR 1/8 Off-Road World Championship.)
LiveRC: Currently Hot Race’s only top-level American driver is Cole Ogden. Do you think with further development and US production we will see the number of top professionals in America using Hot Race increase?
Mark: Cole is an amazing driver and has helped put Hot Race tires on the map here in the USA. A great asset for the company for sure. Having a deep field of top drivers running your product is not what makes your product number one. If you build a quality product that can compete at the highest levels thats what's important.
(Cole Ogden debuting his new Hot Race Tyres at The Dirt Nitro Challenge 2019.)
LiveRC: When a company develops a tread pattern that works well, most often other companies follow with similar or sometimes nearly identical designs. Racer’s often call out these companies for “copying”. What are your thoughts on this?
Mark: Every company studies each other's products. Directly copying another companies product I think shows poor product development, but each company takes a piece of someones product and put's it into their own.
LiveRC: Does this new position at Hot Race mean we will be seeing more of you at the track again? Perhaps racing as well?
Mark: I will be at the track on the weekends here and there. Maybe a little bit of racing when time permits.
(Mark behind the wheel at The Dirt Nitro Challenge 2016 - Photo by NeoBuggy.net)
LiveRC: What is the best AND worst parts about working in the R/C industry?
Mark: The best part of working in the R/C industry is meeting so many great people. I can honestly say I have traveled all over the world and the R/C community is like no other. It truly is about the people. The worst part of the R/C industry right now is seeing the industry go more customer direct, which cuts out the local shops. I don't know what the perfect answer is, but for a company to survive and be competitive thats what the industry has done and it is unfortunate.
LiveRC: Congratulations Mark on the new position, and we are happy to have you back working in the R/C industry. We wish you the best of luck and are anxious to see the future for Hot Race with your help. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Mark: Thanks Mike! Yes the R/C industry is very special to me as I grew up working in the industry all my life. Met some great people and worked for some great companies along the way. My day to day job working for the coolest adventure van company, RB Components, will not change but this allows me to still be connected to the R/C industry. I plan on coming out to DNC over the weekend as this will be our official launch. I look forward to seeing alot of friends I haven't seen in some time. So stop by and say hello!