took a break from the mayhem and spoke with some of the guys who know monsters best: Darren Grillo, event operations manager for Pace Motorsports and designer of this year’s track; Joe Kirkwood, six-time world champion R/C monster truck driver; and Joe Kilian”gg7 winner of the 2WD Stock and Pro Stock pull-offs and a to-year veteran R/C truck driver.
Occupation: event operations manager for Pace Motorsports Hobbies: R/C monster trucks
R/C Car Action: How did you get involved in R/C monster truck racing?
Darren Grillo: I’ve always had an interest in R/C racing. In fact, I raced some years ago. When I found out that monster trucks were the rage, I tried it. I figured since my occupation revolves around monster trucks, my hobbies should revolve around my occupation.
RCCA: How did you get the idea to have R/C monster truck shows during the real monster truck events?
DG: Another event director put on an R/C demo at one of the shows. The event went well, and when I found out how easy it was to find people who own and race monster trucks, I decided to make a few phone calls. The next thing I knew, I was knee deep in R/C monster-truck drivers who wanted to perform in our shows. So I guess you could say I really just stumbled onto the idea.
RCCA: If people are invited to one of your shows, what do they have to look forward to?
DG: They will get the chance to feel the rush of having a stadium full of people just going nuts while they perform on the event floor; and to top it off, they’ll meet the other participants, usually including real monster-truck drivers and members of the Pace staff. What will you have to took forward to? A real good time, that’s what.
RCCA: Do any of the full-size monster truck drivers have R/C monster trucks?
DG: I’ve noticed a lot of them do own Bennett and ESP Clod Busters. For them, it seems to be their toy of choice during the off time. I would say that a good percentage of real monster truck drivers and owners own R/C monster trucks.
RCCA: What is your interest in the NR/CTPA?
DG: I think that it has a bright future. With a little bit of guidance, it will have the opportunity to blossom and will become much larger than it is now. With some minor changes in its current format, the NR/CTPA could make its racing more interesting for the competitors and the spectators.
RCCA: What is your vision for the future of the NR/CTPA?
DG: I would like to see the NR/CTPA put on a national championship at one of our events.
Occupation: contract painter Hobbies: building R/C trucks and fishing RCCA: When did you get involved with R/C monster truck racing? Joe Kirkwood: Right at the beginning. I always raced trucks-the bigger the truck, the better-and I scratch-built a lot of stuff before the NR/CTPA even started. The first year of the NR/CTPA, I became a member and started racing.
RCCA: What part did you play in the development of the Bennett Equipment Clod-A-Leaver chassis and suspension?
IK: I built the first three trucks at home with a hacksaw and Dremel. Once things started rolling, I worked out a deal with PDI/Zeta. They were the first to manufacture the parts. Once PDI/Zeta decided to get out of the business, Bennett Equipment took over.
RCCA: You’re a six-time world champion R/C monster truck driver and are considered by many to be an authority on monster truck racing. What advice can you pass along to someone who is just getting started in monster truck racing?
JK: That’s a tough question. Set up your suspension up as soft as you can. That works well on most tracks. A lot of guys, including me, over-power their trucks. I slowed down one of my trucks and found that I was able to shave a full second off my best time.
RCCA: So, basically slow is fast?
JK: Right; more power is definitely not better.
Hobbies: collecting trains
Occupation: works for a county water authority
RCCA: When did you start in R/C truck pulling? Joe Kilian: About to years ago. I couldn’t afford a real pulling truck, so l got involved in scale pulling.
RCCA: What do you see in the future of R/C truck pulling and the NR/CTPA?
JK: The trucks will become more realistic and will be more powerful. Truck pulling will also become more widely accepted.
RCCA: What advice can you pass along to those who would like to get involved?
JK: The best entry-level vehicle is the Bolink Digger. Just come to one of our events and talk to me or one of the other members of the NR/CTPA, and we will be glad to help you out.
Copyright Air Age Publishing Mar 1999
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