TALK IT UP TUESDAY: New SDRC Raceway owner Travis Brock
Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016 07:07pm
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 met Travis Brock shortly after he got into the RC industry, about a decade ago, while attending some HPI Racing promo events at Monster Jam shows around Southern California - where we’d spend a few hours jumping Savage monster trucks and Baja 1/5-scale vehicles in front of thousands of spectators. I was working for a magazine at the time, and when Brock wasn’t jumping (and fixing) cars at these shows he was helping HPI Racing customers fix their own vehicles over the phone.
After working for a few different RC companies and then exiting the industry, Brock found his way back a few weeks ago by taking over SDRC Raceway in San Diego, CA - my old home track. I caught up with Travis via Facebook to find out about his new business venture, and learn more about his RC career, for this week’s Talk It Up Tuesday. (Cover photo: Pres Ilog, via Facebook)
Photo: Team Novak, via Facebook
Aaron Waldron: How old are you, and where are you from?
Travis Brock: I am 33 years old and from Temecula, CA
AW: How did you get into RC, and how long have you been racing?
TB: I had a few toys when I was a kid but that was it.
About ten years ago, after some dirt bike accidents, I picked up a HPI Baja 5B. That was my first real RC car - and then I got a Slash. I ended up working for HPI in their customer service department as a 1/5-scale specialist and that opened my eyes to a lot more.
Photo: David Sandate, via Facebook
AW: When did you start taking racing more seriously?
TB: Shortly after I started at HPI I found myself at OCRC running Spec Slash and that eventually led to a Team Associated B4.1 as it was the hot car at the time.
AW: How long have you worked in industry? What are some of the other jobs you’ve had in RC?
TB: I have made my rounds and have also spent some time working for Horizon Hobby, Pro-Line, and even a few years working at a Hobbytown USA in Temecula. I guess between all the RC jobs I have close to 8 or 9 years in the industry now - time flies!
AW: What led to your decision to take over SDRC Raceway? Had you ever thought about running your own facility?
TB: I had a job outside the RC industry for the past couple years that paid well but I was just not happy. I had some things change in my life and it left me wanting more. I talked with my good friend and former owner of SDRC, Scott Bergen, about what it would take to get a track up and running. I had my eye on a building and was wanting to get back into an industry that I loved. One thing led to the next and me taking over things at SDRC just seemed like a great fit for the both of us. After a few months of talking the papers were signed.
AW: You recently reinstated a Slash Spec class and planned an upcoming 3-Hour Endurance Race. What other plans do you have in store?
TB: My plans are to keep RC fun and make it beginner-friendly. So much of our industry is just RACE, RACE, RACE that people forget what it was like to pick up a Slash and rub some doors. It puts a huge smile on your face, you start laughing, and you aren't worried about having the perfect diff, tires, or anything that goes into racing a mod buggy.
I didn't come into this with a solid plan, just an idea to make SDRC the best track in the country. I’m taking it day by day and just looking to make it the place where everyone wants to be.
AW: Other than SDRC, obviously, what’s your favorite track? What about your favorite racing class?
TB: OCRC and the Black family are hands-down responsible for getting me hooked on RC Racing. They made it a lot of fun and showed me what a real track should be. They have what I consider to be the best place in the country and it gives me something to strive for with SDRC.
I also moved out to Denver for a year when I was still learning how to go fast and I was welcomed with open arms by the guys at MHOR RC in Aurora, CO. Chadd, the owner, runs a phenomenal facility and that track is responsible for putting out some of the country best racers. Without guys like Kody Numedahl I would not have ever figured out how to go fast.
AW: What are your most proud RC moments?
TB: On the track, it has to be making the A-Main in both Stock Buggy and Stadium Truck at the ROAR Nationals in 2012. While my finishes weren't the best, I still had a great time and was happy to be in the A at such a large race.
But honestly, I love helping people and making friends. Throughout my RC career I have met so many great people and have had the opportunity to help so many people. That is what I am most proud of.
Photo: Chris Austin, via Facebook
AW: Do you have any goals for your RC career, or for your company?
TB: For me, just to race some cars and have some fun. I’d like to get a bit faster, but it’s not that important. I’m happy to hand my radio off to a new racer who broke on a warm-up lap even if it means missing my race.
As for my goals with SDRC - just to make it the best it can be
AW: When you’re not at the racetrack, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
TB: Watching LA Kings hockey and riding mountain bikes. It’s all I need to make me happy. :)
AW: How do you explain to non-RC friends what you do?
TB: I bought a 13,000 sq/ft building full of dirt, and yes - grown men pay me to come play in it.
AW: What’s the best part of RC racing? What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
TB: The best part is, by far, the people I get to race with and the relationships that I have built over the years. I love racing, but if it were not for the people in this industry I would not have stuck around.
What annoys me? As a track owner, I should not say.
Photo: Kevin Gahan, via Facebook
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
TB: Robert and Nick Black for the start in all of this; Rodney Wills for being Rodney; Scotty G, Kody Numedhal, Scott Bergen, Team Losi Racing, Jerry Blodgett and all my friends.
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
TB: Our Annual Top Gun Shootout is on December 3rd and 4th in San Diego, CA. It is sure to be a blast. Check out www.sdrcraceway.com for more info.