By Scott Canfield August 1996
Once upon a time, not long ago, in a suburb not far away…….. there existed an exciting world within a world. It was a sub-culture that evolved with its own language, its own calendar, and its own rituals. This was a society that shared common goals and aspirations, primarily of ballistic speed. It was a kingdom of friendly rivalry (mostly), and of plastic and pinion gears, and Nickel Cadmium battery packs; a world of groomed soil and radio frequencies.
It was a civilization where brightly colored radio controlled cars would compete on a dirt race track, and occasionally, through the dexterity of their remote drivers (both young and old, male and female), would perform feats of agility and attain speeds both on the ground and in the air, that would undeniably strike you with amazement.
Sadly, we have finished the last lap of the final race. “Put your cars away, turn your transmitters off, and return your transponders……….. but this time, you don’t have to come back and track marshal.” The Yamhill County Radio Control Car Club is dead. The official time of death was 10:am, August 31st, 1996; the last scheduled club race. There was no race; no one showed up. The fact is, attendance had been on the decline for some time. Where there was normally fifty to seventy drivers encamped around the track, peaking batteries, cleaning commutators, and calculating the day’s competition, the count had dwindled to only 4 or 5 at the last several races.
It didn’t take long for progress to overtake and destroy the two story driver’s stand. In its final days, it loomed like a silent guard, keeping watch over the abandoned and overgrown dirt track at the fairgrounds.
Looking back, I can’t believe how much fun I had these last eight years racing R/C cars! The slogan on my favorite race shirt, “You’re never too old to have a happy childhood,” proved to be true.
Now the dirt has been brushed and shaken from the cars, and vacuumed from the drawers and compartments of the race boxes. Both new and old spare parts have been sorted, and the tools carefully placed in order. All is ready, but frozen in time, encased within the portable cabinets I used to load and transport every other Saturday morning. Those race boxes, along with cardboard boxes, folding table and chairs, extension cords, junk food and racing friends made up a Saturday’s home away from home. Those same race boxes that once waited ready in a place of honor, are now delegated to a less traveled, out of the way place of storage.
Although the contents are indeed ready for the next race, apathy has transformed the race boxes into small wooden caskets; miniature burial tombs decorated with shiny 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place plaques. They sit, waiting in silence to be discovered by a future generation. The car’s scuffed and cracked lexan bodies, their spiked rubber tires, and the fact that each has a functional wing, will give credence to the legend of how these tenth scale dirt track cars once participated in a heart pounding, adrenaline dispensing, sometimes awe inspiring, high speed contact sport.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES