Moment with Mike: Professional R/C racing, is it worth it?
Monday, May 5, 2014 01:31pm
By Mike Garrison
It's been a minute or two since I've shared what's on my mind via a new "Moment with Mike", and today I have something that I can't stop thinking about. Over the weekend I had a discussion with some friends of mine regarding careers. We got to talking about making racing into a career. The discussion immediately headed to 4x Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto. He has openly admitted that racing has "become a job" to him, implying that the fun and enjoyment in it is slowly fading away. Some say that he is no longer racing because he loves racing, but because it's the only way he knows how to make money.
We transitioned the conversation to R/C car racing. Several of them knowing nothing about R/C car racing found it hard to believe that the sport's top drivers make a living solely racing R/C cars. Once they got over the shock of that fact, we started discussing is it worth it? Is racing R/C cars as a career worth all that goes with it...the good and the bad?
First we discussed the highlights of it all. As a professional R/C car racer you have the opportunity to travel the world, you get paid to drive an R/C car all day everyday, you have factory support from major manufacturers, you have access to nearly anything and everything in R/C, you have fans and sign autographs, you are the guy EVERYONE wants to be like at the local track, and the list goes on.
With all of the highs, also come the lows. While you get to travel the world, that means you travel A LOT, taking time away from home, family, and friends. You get paid to drive an R/C car, however, depending on your results and overall economic times can vary from as little to nothing to upwards of $100,000+. You receive factory support, but in turn spend much of your time testing, testing, and more testing on new and prototype products (both good and bad). You have fans and sign autographs, which means all eyes are on you ALL the time (even when you "blow-out"). EVERYONE wants to be like you at the local track, which means everyone is out to race you. If you slip up one club race and allow a local to beat you, you will NEVER hear the end of it.
So the question remains, is it worth it? Is it worth the travel, varying income, time spent at the track, and the ongoing spotlight to be a professional R/C car racer? At what point does it "become a job" for racers?
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