TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Michael Twilling
Tuesday, Aug 2, 2016 10:13pm
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!
A couple of weeks ago, Michael Twilling earned a TQ and two wins in the 2WD and 4WD buggy classes at T&T Raceway in Louisiana, though that’s not to say any of the racers competing in the Triple Crown Points Series touring Louisiana, Texas and Twilling’s home state of Oklahoma were surprised. Even though his local racing scene may be struggling at times, he’s managed to make a name for himself throughout the south and midwest as one of the fastest electric off-road racers in the area. Read on to learn more about Michael’s RC career.
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
MT: I am 25 years old. I live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
MT: I first got into RC after I suffered an injury racing motocross. I had just torn some ligaments in my right shoulder, and had to have my fifth surgery on that shoulder. A friend of mine got a RTR Team Associated SC10, and I saw him cruising up and down the street with it one day. He let me drive it, and next thing I know we are building a track in a field behind my house. I was hooked. That was about 6 years ago now.
AW: When did you decide to start taking racing more seriously, traveling to larger races and acquiring sponsors?
MT: I think it was maybe two years or so after I started racing at my local track, Adams Creek Raceway. I was racing and practicing as much as I possibly could, and I couldn't get enough. There was some pretty stout competition there usually, with Cody Hollis, Trevor Nault, Tyler Keel, Kyle Skidmore, among others, that pretty much kept me in the back chasing them. I was eventually able to get myself on pace, and decided to hit up my first Big Foot Extravaganza at Mikes Hobby Shop in Texas. I believe I finished 3rd in the B main in Mod 4wd buggy. I have been traveling to as many races as i can since. I think with the
traveling, and making improvements, and getting better results, I kind of got my name out there, which helped with getting my 1st few sponsors.
AW: What do you do for work? Is it difficult finding time to commit to practicing and racing?
MT: I work full time as a Service Advisor at a car dealership here in Tulsa, OK. At times it is for sure hard to find time to practice and race. Between work and life, it can be hard to find extra time to wrench and get wheel time. The last couple of years, I’ve had to start driving at least an hour and 45 minutes or so just to get to the closest track, since my local track shut down. That makes it really difficult to race and impossible for me to get any practice in during the week. Now I try to stay at the track for as long as I can, and try to club race on Saturday, and then practice all day sunday, staying in a hotel room for the night. It makes for a lot of driving, and a lot of late nights, But this is what I love doing, and I’m always striving to get to that next level, so I try to put in the work.
AW: Whats your favorite track? Favorite big event? Favorite racing class?
MT: My favorite track has got to be the HobbyPlex in Omaha. They always put on great races, and have great tracks! My favorite event has got to be the Reedy Race. ‘Reedy’ is for sure the most fun, most competitive, and well-organized races I’ve been to. And getting to go to Cali is pretty great also! My favorite class is Mod 4wd Buggy. I love how it’s always the fastest class, how you have to drive it all out, with a no-time-to-mess-around attitude!
AW: How does the racing in Oklahoma differ from other places you've visited?
MT: Oklahoma does't have the biggest group of racers, or the most tracks. We really only have one 1/10-scale track right now, and a few different 1/8-scale tracks. Just like anywhere, we all know each other, and we all love hanging out in the pits, and battling on the track. Oklahoma has produced a few really fast guys though. I'm really hoping we can get RC back going strong, and get some of the kids back racing, and competing around the midwest.
AW: What are your most proud racing moments?
MT: I would say winning Modified 4wd at the Novak Race is up there. Also, winning both buggy classes at the 2014 Fall Classic was pretty awesome! Getting a podium (3rd) at the 2015 JConcepts Winter Indoor Nats at SmacTrac last year, and last year at the Nats at SRS I made the B main in 4wd, which was my goal going into the week there.
AW: Do you have any goals for your RC career?
MT: Right now I just want to keep racing, and improving, and bettering my results, and see where it takes me. Obviously, racing full time is the ultimate goal!
AW: When you're not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
MT: I have always been around motocross, and will be forever. I have actually picked up on golf recently, which is a lot of fun! Especially wheeling the golf karts!
AW: What's the best part of RC racing? What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
MT: I love hanging out with everyone, and meeting new people, but mostly the racing and the rush I get from it is what keeps me going to the track! And then there is the trash talk in the pits - that’s fun too! Really the only thing that I would love to see change, is how ‘on and off’ RC people can be.
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
MT: There are a lot! I have had a lot of help from Tyler Keel, Cody Hollis and Kyle Skidmore, among others. They have always been there if I ever needed help, or have any questions, and they have always pointed me in the right direction. And of course my "moto mom" - she’s always traveling with me to races, and keeps my head on straight.
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you'd like to add?
MT: For sure! Thank you! It’s been great! I would like to thank LiveRC for doing everything you can to promote and grow the sport of RC. And everyone who has helped me along the way! And of course my sponsors for everything they do! Team Associated, Reedy, JConcepts, GSHobby.com, UpGrade RC. I’m looking forward to Nationals next week! See everyone at the track!