The Kamloops Street Outlaws win big money racing small cars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The Kamloops Street Outlaws win big money racing small cars

Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Gary Unser
November 08, 2020 - 6:00 AM

Racing a five-pound remote control car is a lot harder than it looks.

It requires skill, practice and precision but if you know what you're doing, you could walk away with some serious cash.

"When I was a kid, I always wanted to do RC but I could never afford it," Gary Unser said.

He founded the Kamloops Street Outlaws, a tight-knit group of RC (remote controlled) car enthusiasts who meet up and race.

"Now that I’m a grown man, I get to have my second childhood, and my kids like to race too," he said.

The group organizes events, drawing RC racers from out of town, and compete for cash. Each competitor pays an entrance fee, and the winner gets the whole pot.

"We ran the biggest cash race in Canada to date, with the winner walking away with $500 cash for two hours of racing," he said. The event was this September, and the group was able to easily socially distance outdoors.

"Next year is going to be bigger," Unser said.

There are many different types of racing, and RC cars are designed specifically for each one. The Kamloops Street Outlaws primarily stick to drag racing.  

"It’s strictly A to B, as fast as you can," Unser explained. "We can race on any street anywhere."

That's one of the reasons why RC racing has become so popular. Inspired by the American racing show Street Outlaws, the idea is to be able to race without a track, anywhere at any time. With small RC cars, finding the space is a lot easier.

A drag track is straight and flat, 132-feet long, which is a scaled quarter mile.

Racing RC cars may seem pretty straightforward, but it's a challenge, and that's why the group loves doing it. 

"It looks really easy, like how hard can it be to drive a car straight?" he said."But when it does zero to 60 miles an hour in two seconds and it’s one tenth the size of a real car, it takes a lot of skill."

Racers hook their RC cars up to a computer program to manually adjust the settings and maximize the car's speed.

"Basically all the micro parameters that go into electric motors, you can control," he said. 

You can adjust how fast your engine starts, speed control, and other minute factors that will make you that all-important second faster. 

"It’s just that feeling of accomplishment, you made your car the fastest it could be, competing against other people who are just as smart as you are," Unser said. 

Having the right car for the race is another key factor. RC cars for beginners cost about $300 to $400, and they're a bit slower and easier to operate. High-end RC cars can cost upwards of $2,000.

"They’re all carbon fibre, with custom made motors and speed controls, and able to do all the stuff that the big cars do," Unser said.

Because the drag cars are meant to go short distances very quickly, they need to pack a lot of power.

"The motor is a little bit bigger than an Apple Watch and about an inch thick," he said. "Enough power goes through that thing on a drag race pass to power a house for seven seconds."

However, The Outlaws run a Stock Class for the standard cars, so you don't need to drop a couple grand to win.

"It’s actually more fun, because everybody has the exact same motor, same everything," he said. "It’s more about skill, timing, how fast you can get off the line."

The group welcomes anyone who wants to join in and race, from kids to adults. Currently, they meet every Saturday evening to race in the NorKam parking lot.

However with winter on its way, they're looking for an indoor space. 

"We run on slicks, our tires are bald basically like real drag cars," Unser explained. "It's just way too cold, they won't go anywhere fast."

Anyone who wants to join in on the racing, or has potential space for indoor RC racing can contact the Kamloops Street Outlaws here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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