• The 2021 RCX Championship is underway in South Africa.
• RCX is a remote controlled (RC) car racing series.
• The series is open to racers and amateurs with their own RC vehicles.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
The cars hurtle around the track at break-neck speed, barely under control. The track itself is very technical - bumpy, with lots of corners around which the cars' tails are moments from breaking away. You watch the race with trepidation, waiting for the inevitable to happen.
And then it does: a car hits a barrier and cartwheels through the air - three, four, five rotations - before hitting the ground and barrel-rolling several times, finally ending up on its roof. It's as spectacular a crash as you've ever seen.
But something is wrong... there are no wailing sirens from emergency vehicles, no marshals rushing to the accident scene with fire extinguishers at the ready. Instead, a single attendant takes two long strides to reach the stricken car, turns it right side up and deftly steps out of its way as it speeds off, rejoining the race.
While Covid-19 has had a major impact on motorsports - with many events having to be cancelled over the last year - the vacuum was partially filled by the emergence of RCX radio-controlled car racing as a force to be reckoned with on the sporting calendar.
The opening round of the 2021 RCX Championship and warm-up to the National Series took place at Motul RC Raceway at Zwartkops, Pretoria, on 28 February. Motul RC Raceway was specially designed and constructed to world-class standards and was open for both amateurs and South Africa's top RCX competitors.
Track owner Brendon van Staden said: "The 2021 RCX season started with the bang. We are looking forward to bringing the excitement of radio-controlled car racing to motorsports fans and competitors this year. As the only multi-surface track in SA, we're proud to host the Championship and some of the national and international events."
But why did Motul choose to get involved in a sport that measures its lubricant use in mere milliliters?
Mercia Jansen, Motul area manager for Southern and Eastern Africa, explained: "As a brand that's committed to growing every kind of motorsport, it was only natural that Motul would want to get involved in the RCX Championship. This fun, engaging and innovative motorsport contains all the speed and power that motorsport fans have been missing over the last 12 months, and we're delighted to be involved as a lead sponsor of the Motul RC Raceway and the RCX Championship."
Jansen adds that the sport's costs are low enough that there is less of an entry barrier than with other forms of motorsport, making this a truly democratic opportunity. "And who knows - some of the youngsters who cut their teeth in RCX may very well branch into these other forms of motorsport in time, and that plays exactly to Motul's continued commitment to growing all forms of motorsport."
RCX boasts eight competitive classes, with the format of the 2021 RCX Championship seeing competitors in each class test their mettle in three six-minute qualifying rounds, followed by the main race lasting from 30 to 45 minutes. RCX is a sport for all ages - there are two junior classes in the mix, which means competitors' ages range from just four-years-old to over 65. A single race can feature two or three generations of competitors, and it is not unusual to see an entire family taking part.
The fastest class - the 1/8th Pro Nitro Buggy class - will see some of SA's leading RCX competitors battle it out for the honours. By viewing the live-timing link, spectators can enjoy the vibe and all the action from the safety of their own homes. This includes watching eight-time SA Champion Miguel Haasbroek (Mugen Seiki, OS Speed) take on Defending RCX Pro Buggy Champion Kyle Stofberg (HB Racing, Picco, 6MIK); Triple RCX Pro Buggy Champion Justin van Biljon (Mugen Seiki, AMR OS Speed); and 2020 KwaZulu Natal Pro Buggy Champion, Richard Duckham (TLR, Picco, 6MIK).
Racers and amateurs with their own RC vehicles who want to take on the Motul RC Raceway challenge at Zwartkops can visit the official website for more information on the Championship entry details and confirmed dates for open days.