Growing up in the SoCal area has its advantages for young racers looking to make a name for themselves in the world of RC racing, but there are some unique challenges as well - after all, the competition is pretty tough. David Jenson has managed to separate himself from the crowd and has done it the right way: with strong finishes and a good attitude. I've always had a soft spot for family racing teams that always look like they're having fun, because that's how I got into the RC world, too. After one of TLR's youngest rising stars, David Jenson, cleaned up in Pro 4 and 1/8-Scale Electric at the Hot Rod Hobbies Off-Road Shootout this past weekend ahead of some pretty stiff competition that has been racing longer than he's been alive, I figured there was no better time to invite him to participate in LiveRC's Talk-It-Up Tuesday.
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
David Jenson: I am 14 years old and from Buena Park, CA
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
DJ: I was about 9 years old when I started RC, and that happened when my friend’s mom discovered West Coast R/C Raceway in La Mirada, CA. We went there to watch, and the following week I did my first club race. I took third in the beginner class with a two wheel drive Traxxas vehicle, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
AW: What grade are you in, and at what school? Is it difficult to balance school and racing so much?
DJ: I will be starting eighth grade at Buena Park Junior High School. When school starts back up I usually only race during the weekends because I know it’s important to keep my grades up to stay on the honor roll.
AW: How much fun is it to travel around Southern California with your parents going to races? Has it always been a family activity?
DJ: I really enjoy going to different tracks with my parents and I thrive on the challenge each one brings. I have also raced in Arizona and Nevada and hoping to go elsewhere. Yes, we have always done this as a family activity from the start.
AW: Aside from your mom and dad, who are some of the people that have helped you the most in RC?
DJ: Besides my mom and dad, one of the people that has helped me the most in RC is one of the track builders at West Coast R/C Raceway, Pat Grossaint. He got us started with setup and driving tips. As I progressed Ryan Dunford and Doug “Casper" Nielsen and the TLR team have been a great help.
AW: What made you decide to start attending big races and trying to attract sponsors?
DJ: Because I like the competitiveness, learning new tracks, and meeting new people to race with. I was 11 years old when I received my first sponsorship and realized if I attended more events I would have the opportunity to pick up more sponsors.
AW: Congratulations on winning two classes at the Hot Rod Shootout! You were up against some pretty tough names, including Barry Baker. Is this your biggest win so far?
DJ: Thank You! I am not sure I would call this my biggest win because I have had some other notable wins too.
AW: You get help from a few different companies, most notably TLR. Did they start approaching you, or did you ask them to sponsor you?
DJ: We basically ended up approaching one another at the same time when I won a TEN-SCTE in the final round of the PRO-4 class as the top privateer in the 2011 JBRL.
AW: What is your favorite track? What’s your favorite racing class?
DJ: My favorite outdoor track is Hot Rod Hobbies, and for indoors it’s OCRC Raceway because they both have outstanding traction and amazing track layouts! My favorite class is 4WD Short Course because of its power and speed.
AW: At many of the electric off-road events you typically race 1/8-scale electric and 4WD short course, even though few racers enter those classes. Why race those classes instead of searching for more competition?
DJ: I usually race three classes when I attend events and as long as I have a few competitive racers in those classes it only helps me get better and those two are my favorite.
AW: Do you think that those two classes will ever grow?
DJ: When I first started, 4WD Short Course became very popular and grew even moreso after TLR introduced the TEN-SCTE. Right now the stock classes seem to be the most popular but I do think people will come back to these two classes for their durability and speed.
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
DJ: I like to play video games and play pool.
AW: Thank you David! Do you have any other sponsors or people you’d like to thank?
DJ: I would like to thank my sponsors: TLR, Horizon Hobby, Orion, Pro-Line, Spektrum, RC Bombshells, Enigma Graphics, MIP, RCinisider.com and my mom and dad for making this all possible. I would also like to thank LiveRC.com for doing this interview.