By Aaron Waldron
While some men that race RC cars participate in the hobby to get a break from life at home, others report that it can actually cause stress in relationships - if you browse your favorite Internet forum about RC for long enough, you’re bound to find complaints about significant others that don’t “get it.”
For Darrell and Dawn Forrest, who finished 9th and 11th, respectively, in 4x4 short course at the Cactus Classic, RC racing has become a hobby that they enjoy together. Since Darrell was reintroduced to the hobby by a friend, the couple from Apache Junction, AZ has been racing together for about five years. I chatted with both during the trophy presentation in our LiveRC broadcast trailer.
AW: How did you get started?
DARRELL: I used to race on-road cars a long time ago, as a teenager, but I stopped because it took all of my money. A few years ago, a friend brought over a brushless-powered Traxxas Slash and showed me his new toy. I tried to avoid it, but he invited me to a club race at the old ET Motopark RC track. He broke the truck, and I offered to fix it if he’d let me race the next round. I finished second, and I was hooked. I bought an HPI Blitz the next week.
DAWN: I went with him for a week or two and thought ‘this is boring, I want to try,’ so we got a Traxxas Slash for me to drive.
DARRELL: I couldn’t pry that thing out of her hands.
AW: Did you keep up with RC at all even when you weren’t racing?
DARRELL: I never raced off road. I was so far out of it I didn’t know there were brushless motors, LiPos, short course trucks, any of that. And since ET Motopark was down the street from our house, once I saw them race I said, “Yeah, I’m going to do this!”
AW: How long did it take you to get more serious about racing?
DARRELL: The first weekend that I went racing, the announcer told me about a KBRL (Kenny Brosh Racing League) series round the next day. We didn’t enter, but we went out and watched and decided that’s what we wanted to do. So it took about a week.
DAWN: And we always do everything together. We just got into 1/8-scale electric, too!
AW: How do you explain to your friends what you do?
DARRELL: Actually, I bring my cars to work a lot since I often leave straight to go to the track.
DAWN: My friends usually think it’s something that kids play with and that it’s not a serious, competitive hobby. But it’s so much like a real car, working on them and figuring them out for different track conditions. Sometimes I record our races or our friends’ races, so I tell people about it and show them videos and they always say “wow, they’re really fast!”
AW: Dawn, do you ever feel intimidated racing against all the men?
DAWN: Sometimes I do, especially racing against big name guys. I get nervous and don’t want to hold them up, but I know I should just keep my line and they’ll get around me, unless the announcer says to let them go. But it interrupts my focus and I have to get back in my groove.
DARRELL: if she’s in a main and she’s racing with a bunch of guys and we’re not in the same race, I’ll encourage her not to let them pass and keep going.
DAWN: I think that’s what intimidated me, last year at this race I made the A-Main and I was having trouble on the sugared track, and a guy yelled at me. But with the guys at the local track, our friends, I don’t get intimidated. I hold myself together.
AW: Do you have any goals for RC racing?
DARRELL: “Yeah, we do. We want to race more big races out of state.”
DAWN: We used to play softball, golf, go bowling. When we get into something we get competitive together, we support each other, we like to see each other do well.
DARRELL: I was so pumped that she made the A-Main, we were working so hard to get it so that she could drive well enough to get there.
AW: Would you have any advice for other women interested in racing?
DAWN: I’ll try anything. I say to women that they should do it. Even if you think you can’t do it, you should try. I’ve had fun and made so many friends, it’s kind of a men’s hobby, but you’d be surprised at how many men are glad to see a woman that’s competitive. Kamryn Ayers is a perfect example - we remember when she first started racing, and now she’s so good in just a couple of years. I used to beat her, and I think she kind of looked up to me as another woman racing, and that probably made her want to work harder. I’m glad to see her accomplish so much.
AW: Would you have any advice for other men explaining to their significant others that it’s worth a try?
DARRELL: I would encourage them to take their wives to the track and at least let them try driving, and encourage them. They may have a knack for it. Dawn picked it up right away. We race a couple of husband-and-wife teams and sometimes the women are more competitive than the men! And sometimes if I don’t have a good night, but she does, that pumps me up as well. You have your wife with you and that’s a great feeling, to see them do well.