TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Simon Kurzbuch
Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016 03:43pm
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!
Last year, after a grueling hour-long final, Swiss racer Simon Kurzbuch rocketed out of the final corner of Miniautodromo Zeca Elias in Brazil to win the IFMAR World Championship for 1/8-scale nitro on-road - the "Formula One" of RC racing - by just two-tenths of a second. He celebrated with his pit crew - Simon's father and brother - who screamed up to him from pit lane, rejoicing in the culmination of months of hard work, and a racing career stretching back over a decade.
Unfortunately, visa issues kept our LiveRC broadcast team from being able to show the moment live - we were stuck back in the United States. Right after the race, I sent Simon a Facebook message asking about a Talk It Up Tuesday interview, but because we weren't yet "friends" on the social network my inquiry sat in his spam folder for a couple of months. But the interview was definitely worth the wait!
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
Simon Kurzbuch: I just celebrated my 24th birthday last week. I live in a small City called Langenthal, close to the capital city Bern.
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
SK: I started to drive RC cars when i was around 10 years old. My father already did this hobby over 10 years and took me and my brother to our home track for practicing. We really liked it and wanted to start too.
AW: When did you decide to start taking racing more seriously, traveling to larger races and acquiring sponsors?
SK: That’s really hard to define. Perhaps the point was in the year of the World championships in Lostallo, in 2009. Me, my father, and our whole club, the MRCL, worked very hard together to be successful at that event. And at the end it paid off; we qualified 19th and finished 33rd at my first Worlds.
AW: What do you currently do for work?
SK: Actually, I study Management and Business in Zurich.
Photo: Berton Shots, via Facebook
AW: Is it difficult finding time to commit to practicing and racing?
SK: About this I’m very lucky at the moment - I can plan my time according to my needs.
AW: Do you only race nitro on-road?
SK: Mostly yes. Some years ago I did some indoor electric winter practice, but at the moment nothing. Once, I drove an off-road race - it was a 4-hour race in Switzerland with a good friend. Now, 1/8 and 1/10 nitro on-road are my classes where I put my concentration.
AW: How did you feel after crossing the finish line to win the world championship?
SK: It was just amazing. You can not describe this in words. When you look down to your dad and your brother, hear them screaming of joy, and you realize that we together realized our dream!
AW: Did you know that you crossed the line first?
SK: Yes, of course! It was just 0.2 seconds back to second place, but i was 100% sure that I was in front.
Photo: Marco Müller, via Facebook
AW: When did you first realize that you had a chance to win?
SK: I think it was after the Euro Nitro Series race in Fiorano. Before the weekend we defined this as the rehearsal for the worlds. After earning second place in Qualification, a nearly perfect final in every way, and winning, I saw that we were ready to do something big.
In Brazil everything got more tangible. After being second-fastest in practice behind my friend Silvio Hächler, and our amazing performance from me and my pit crew during qualifying, I saw a huge chance.
AW: What do you think was the single most important factor that contributed to your win? Your car? Your crew? Your driving?
SK: I can’t break it down to a single thing. I think if you want to win a world championship, with a such highly competitive driver field, everything has the be perfect. Otherwise, you can’t reach something big like a WC.
Photo: RC DriveR's, via Facebook
AW: Aside from last weekend’s World Championships, what are your most proud racing moments?
SK: I’m really proud of my overall win at the 2014 Euro Nitro Series. I had a really great Season. Also, I’m proud of my finishes at the 1/10-scale Euros in 2014 and 2015 with a 3rd and a 2nd place. Another one was to win in Fiorano at this year’s ENS; Dario Balestri and I had a great fight during a long distance of the race, this was really amazing.
AW: When did winning a world championship become one of your career goals?
SK: Hmmm, thats a hard question. I think me and my 2 mechanics didn’t put that in the main focus. We just wanted to give our best possible effort. We worked hard before the race and even more on the whole event.
Photo: Harry Kissling, via Facebook
AW: Do you have a new goal now?
SK: My new goal for this year is to repeat the overall Euro Nitro Series championship in the 1/8-scale class. For me, this is a very important one, because it’s not just one race where you can win or lose. There are 4 races, on different tracks, so very very interesting.
Another goal is this year 1/10 WC in Gubbio, I want to show my best and hopefully we will reach a great result!
AW: What’s the best part of RC racing? What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
SK: The best part is to have a great time with great people on and beside the track. On the other side, for sure, is the driving and the racing fever.
Photo: Fun & Drive, via Facebook
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
SK: There are so many, nearly impossible to name them all. For sure the most is my family. They put so much time in our hobby and I want to thank them for the amazing season we had last year and the next, which will start shortly. But there are so much more people, like the members in my club, which support me now over years, all my supporters and sponsors to name a few. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I want to thanks again to all my Sponsor, which made this dream come true:
Shepherd Micro Racing, Novarossi, Contact Tyres, Meccamo Fuel, Futaba, ART, Protoform, Extreme Aerodynamics, Brillant RC, Pitshark, JG Design, Picco Bello Modellbau, Hasi-Modellbau