TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Alex Kosciuszek
Tuesday, Jul 7, 2015 12:00am
By Aaron Waldron
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
I first met Alex Kosciuszek when he flew all the way out here to California for the 2014 Reedy Race. I knew the smiling high schooler was already one of the fastest racers in the Northeast, but the weekend didn't go his way at all - and after qualifying he was buried pretty deeply in both 2WD and 4WD. I ran into him again at the ROAR Electric Off-Road Nationals down in Cocoa, Florida a few months later, and he seemed much more in his element. Qualifying in the B-Main in both 2WD and 4WD amid many factory pros with a couple of surprising qualifying rounds earned Kosciuszek plenty of recognition from his peers, not to mention direct invitations to this year's IFMAR Worlds. He returned to the Reedy Race this past January a totally different racer, qualifying eighth in 2WD and racing his way to fourth, and bumping into the 4WD main event from the B and finishing ninth. If that wasn't impressive enough, he came back out to California for the ROAR Fuel Off-Road Nationals a couple of weeks ago and bumped from the quarterfinal to the semi, finishing 19th overall and earning a Worlds invite for that class, too. I shot Alex a Facebook message to learn more about him and his racing career for this week's Talk It Up Tuesday.
Photo: Brian 'Gump' Belanger, via Facebook
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
Alex Kosciuszek: I’m 16 years old and I am from Naugatuck, Connecticut.
AW: How did you get started in radio control, and how long have you been racing?
AK: My neighbor was driving his T-Maxx around the yard one day, and I thought it was really neat. So for my tenth birthday, my parents got me a Traxxas Slash and I have been hooked ever since! I started racing a few months later, so I've been racing for roughly five years now.
AW: How long did it take you to decide to take racing more seriously? When did you start picking up sponsors?
AK: I would say about three years ago, I noticed I got a lot better, and started winning club races on a weekly basis. So I started traveling to bigger races, practicing a lot more and taking racing more seriously. I believe I got my first sponsorship about four years ago.
Photo: Rob Oompa O.D.D FX, via Facebook
AW: How do you balance attending high school with racing and practicing, especially racing at such a high level in both electric and nitro off-road?
AK: School always come first no matter what, so usually I try to get my work done early. This allows me to have more time to work on my cars or go racing.
AW: Do you have any particular goals for your RC career? What about outside of RC?
AK: My goal for RC has always been to do my best and go as far as I can while having fun. My goals for outside of RC is to go to college and become a mechanical engineer.
AW: What are your most proud racing moments so far?
AK: My proudest moment was making the Open A-Mains at the 2015 Reedy Race of Champions.
Alex won this year's Rumble in Rome
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
AK: There has been a lot of people that have helped me. I would say Brent Thielke, Jason Rouna, Kody Numedahl, and Mark Westerfield has helped me the most so far.
AW: What is your favorite track? Favorite big race? What about your favorite racing class?
AK: My favorite track has to be OCRC Raceway in California, and my favorite big race is the Reedy Race of Champions. My favorite class is Modified 2WD buggy.
Alex beat Steven Hartson and Dakotah Phend at this year's Tekin Supercross Showdown at RC Excitement
AW: What’s your favorite part of RC racing?
AK: Meeting and helping new racers!
AW: What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
AK: When racers worry more about getting sponsored than just having fun.
Photo: Team Associated, via Facebook
AW: How do you think the racing scene in the Northeast differs from the other places you’ve seen and visited across the U.S.?
AK: It is amazing how different it is. I would say the Northeast is a little more laid-back and the tracks tend to be smaller and a bit looser.
Photo: Brian 'Gump' Belanger, via Facebook
AW: If you could change one thing about the current RC racing environment, what would it be?
AK: I don't think I would change anything about it, to be honest.
Photo: Nate Reyes, via Facebook
AW: How do you explain to non-RC friends what you do?
AK: I usually like to show them a video of a race and I try my best to explain how everything works.
AW: What are some of your favorite non-RC hobbies?
AK: Watching baseball and hanging out with friends and family.
Photo: JConcepts, via Facebook
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
AK: Thanks for having me! I just want to give a special thanks to Team Associated, Reedy, JConcepts, Deny's Designs Inc., Chewy Graphics, and Wolcott Hobbies and Airsoft for all the help and support! And of course, my awesome family for everything they do for me!
Photo: PhoTog RcPhotography, via Facebook