TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Kody Numedahl discussed the B64, his career and more
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016 10:24pm
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!
Kody Numedahl’s RC career started with a high school side job at a hobby store, where co-workers introduced him to RC car racing. He and his father dove straight into the hobby, and the Colorado native was quickly signed to Team Associated’s roster - ten years ago. Numedahl was hired to Team Associated’s engineering staff following his college graduation and has played a major role in developing the company’s off-road vehicles that have scored national and world championships. As his latest project, the B64D 4WD buggy, neared completion rumors of Numedahl’s departure from Team Associated started circulating social media. I reached out to Kody to talk about his life, and his newest creation, for this week’s Talk It Up Tuesday.
Aaron Waldron: Congratulations on the hugely popular introduction of the B64D! Is it nice to finally be able to talk about the new car?
Kody Numedahl: Yeah, it’s nice that I can answer the questions that people have been asking for a long time.
AW: Before we get too far, let’s address the monkey in the (chat) room - there have been rumors flying around the Internet that you quit your job at Team Associated and were moving away from the RC industry, and yet here you are answering questions about one of the most-hyped releases of late 2016. What’s the deal?
KN: Since September, I have been working for a company outside of the RC industry. However, I am still working for Team Associated part-time playing a similar role as I did before. The only real change is that, for now, I will not be attending any races.
AW: The vast majority of those who will read this interview choose to race RC cars as a hobby. How would you explain to them that, when it’s your job, your perspective changes - and that burnout can actually be a real thing?
KN: Your perspective does change when you work in this industry for a living but I wouldn’t say burnt out is the correct term. For me, I still enjoy doing this - but I enjoy different aspects of it than before. I understand how much work goes into each project and that lets me appreciate the success the race team has even if my personal racing isn’t going well.
AW: Facebook tells me you’ve been dating a young lady named Morgan for about four months. How’s that going?
Did she have any exposure to RC car racing before you met? What does she think about your career?
KN: Everything has been going great and I couldn’t ask for anything more. We live together in Huntington Beach, not too far from OCRC. She had no idea about RC before we met but now she sees how big of a role it plays in my life. Morgan has been to the track a few times now but since this is no longer my full time job, my time at the track is also less than it used to be.
AW: Brent Thielke acknowledged at the Worlds in Japan that Team Associated would be working on a replacement for the B44 chassis. How long ago did you first begin working on the B64 platform?
KN: This project began at the end of 2014. Since then, racing has changed quite a lot which has made the project take much longer than we would have liked. I was actually not the lead designer on this project during the early stages, but was assigned to take on and finish this project last summer.
AW: What were the main goals for the B64 project?
KN: The goals for this project have evolved throughout its life. In 2014, carpet/astro racing was still seen as a secondary type of racing in the US market but clearly things have changed. As we learned more about this type of racing it had an impact on the direction of the project. In the end, we wanted to continue being competitive on dirt as well as strengthen our platform for carpet racing. In addition to this, the vehicle’s strength, ease of assembly, and metric hardware were also things that needed to be addressed from the previous platform.
AW: Team Associated is the first company to announce two distinct variations of a 4WD buggy chassis. How soon in the process was the decision made to do separate dirt and carpet versions, like the B6 and B6D 2WD buggies?
KN: Honestly, this wasn’t decided until track testing began. It became clear that there are items that need to be different for both types of racing and we want to offer our customers the best product for the type of racing they plan on doing. I would expect other manufacturers to follow suit on this approach.
AW: The B44, in its various forms, has been the most successful 4WD buggy over the last decade. How difficult was it to start from scratch and build something new?
KN: It’s always difficult when you are trying to improve on successful vehicles but just like other projects, you take what worked well from the previous version and try to implement new ideas to fix flaws. In the end, the B64 is the best 1/10-scale 4WD buggy that Team Associated has produced.
AW: First with the B5M, then the RC8B3, the B6 and B6D, and now the B64 and B64D, you’ve been involved in some of the most significant vehicle releases in Team Associated history. Did you have any idea that your hobby would lead to such career milestones?
KN: My involvement with Team Associated started in 2006 when I joined the race team and it slowly became more in depth. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised because this is what I wanted to do but I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to do what I have done. I owe a big thanks to Cliff Lett, Brent Thielke, Scott Brown, and my Dad in helping me get to this point.
AW: You’ve watched some of your projects cross the finish line to win world championships, and helped steer one of the industry’s most storied brands toward its future. Do you have any new career goals? What will we see next from Team Associated? And what does the future hold for Kody Numedahl?
KN: My goals are always the same: to give 100% no matter what I am doing. Team Associated will continue to have my support and we even have a couple new designers that will make our development even better. WeAreAE.