JR Mitch is one of the most experienced racers in the off-road scene, having been a national-level contender for more than two decades. He’s raced a little bit of everything, represented a lot of different companies, and now travels to events in support of JConcepts drivers as well as operating the 22 Empire and TLR blog. Learn more about JR Mitch’s life and RC career in this week’s Talk It Up Tuesday.
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
JR Mitch: I am 38 and I’m from Tampa, Florida.
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
JM: In 1986, I was introduced to R/C vehicles when my grandmother bought me a Tamiya Monster Beetle when I was 5 years old.
AW: What do you do for work? Does your job make it difficult to attend racing events?
JM: Right now, I’m very fortunate to be able to call R/C racing as my current profession.
AW: What made you decide to start attending big races and trying to attract sponsors?
JM: As a family back in the early 90’s, we traveled outside our state for larger events to help get into the scene a little more other than always just racing in Florida. As for attracting sponsors, it wasn’t like it is now back in the day. I remember big name people coming to me asking if I would like to race for them. You just don’t see this happen anymore.
With Masami Hirosaka at the 1989 Florida Winterchamps
AW: What’s your favorite track? Favorite big event? What different classes have you raced - and which is your favorite?
JM: I don’t really have a favorite track or big event. I love the hobby and I love to race. It doesn’t matter which class, race, track, or condition. Over the years, I’ve pretty much raced everything from off-road to on-road and everything in between, but my favorite class hands down is modified 2WD buggy.
AW: Having traveled around the world to different events, how does the racing scene in your area vary from other places you’ve visited?
JM: Florida has a very strong racing scene even with having a limited number of places left to race. This is mainly due to awesome hobbyists and organizers dedicated to the hobby which keeps us up at the top and one of the greatest states to race in.
AW: What are your proudest RC moments?
JM: I have a lot of proud moments on the result side of things over the years, but more importantly R/C racing has been a very positive influence for me beginning at an early age and keeping me involved to have the drive to compete even now at 38.
AW: Do you have any goals for your RC career?
JM: Yes, keep doing what I do best; enjoying this great hobby we have and helping it grow as much as possible.
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
JM: I have a ‘63 VW beetle I like to take to car shows and playing golf.
AW: What’s the best part of RC racing? What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
JM: Best is competition. What is annoying are keyboard trolls.
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
JM: The list is very long but I’ll keep it short for this Talk it up Tuesday: My Family, Everyone at TLR/Horizon Hobby, Bryon Shumate, Jason Ruona, Jim Campbell and Randy Pike, Gil Losi Jr., Mike Reedy, Don Hill, Ernie Provetti, Erik Everett, and all the R/C racers here in Florida.
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JM: Thank you for having me and keep racing everyone!