By Aaron Waldron
Scotty Ernst founded the Asian On-Road Championship to bring the excitement of high-level on-road racing to many of the fastest-growing markets in the RC world. Various manufacturers and racers alike had approached Ernst about the prospect of promoting races in Asia and the Pacific, where electric on-road racing remains incredibly popular, after witnessing the continued success of the International Indoor Championships and Euro Touring Series. Though off-road has become the dominant form of RC competition in much of the Western hemisphere, on-road racing is still king. The AOC not only gives manufacturers exposure to drivers in new areas, but gives a whole new world of local heroes a chance to shine.
LiveRC Facebook account -- various pictures and results
LiveRC Twitter account -- breaking news and live race updates throughout the weekend
LiveRC Instagram -- JConcepts Pit Report account -- pictures from the pits
Since 2013, the AOC has visited five different countries each year - the list of nations to host AOC events in the last three years includes Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Drivers from these countries turn out in incredible numbers, but rounds of the Asian On-Road Championship held in such exotic locations also attract racers from North America and Europe as well. ROAR national champions Rick Hohwart and Keven Hébert, and IFMAR World Champions Surikarn Chaidajsuriya and Hayato Matsuzaki, are among the drivers to traveled to Shanghai for the first round of the 2015 season. The chance to race against the world's best can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for drivers in many of these areas!
Unlike the ETS, during which drivers accumulate points toward an overall championship in each class, the AOC operates as a schedule of standalone events with separate winners - the distance between the host tracks makes it too difficult for many of the racers to commit to making the whole series. “It’s not about crowning series winner,” said Scotty Ernst, “but about giving racers in Asia and the Pacific a chance to compete against international superstars, and providing a showcase for talented drivers over here that might not otherwise get any attention outside of their home region.”
Because the races aren't connected in a series, there's more flexibility in the regulations used at each round. Local rules and class designations are used so that regional drivers don't have to make significant modifcations to their cars. For the F1 class, for example, 21.5-turn motors are used in many areas of the world - but it's a 17.5-powered class here in China. Ditto for gyro usage - it's allowed in some countries, but not others.
Quite often, the AOC races will rank among the largest in their respective countries - such is the case here at RCI V2, where last year's event drew over 100 entries with a total expected to surpass that this weekend. "It's not about quantity," said track owner Rick Wang, who has hosted an AOC round all three years of the the series' existence, "it's about quality. We work hard to make sure everything is organized, the facility looks great, and the races have a great time."