Here’s an article I just wrote for Tekno as part of their “Tales from the Team” articles.
“It’s that time of year when everyone in the R/C community goes out shopping for that shiny new deal that is going to radically fix their program and make them #1 in the world. With sponsorship of some level more prevalent than ever, it seems that nearly anyone can get some type of representation sponsorship. But what really garners the attention of the R/C community is when a top level pro driver is rumored to, or makes a big switch.
People often boldly state in comments that what a pro driver uses for equipment has no bearing on them. But when a top name like Tessman or Maifield is rumored to be making a chassis change, there are hundreds of shares and thousands of comments on Facebook about the topic. We can’t help it. It’s juicy and captivating in our tight nit community to see what those who make a living at this hobby are going to do next.
But do you ever think about what it truly means, and why these deals are happening? Is the driver not happy with where they are, or is the company not satisfied with said driver? Is there another company wooing said driver away with a better deal and promises of grandeur? Is it always about the money or could it possibly be about the opportunity to race with or work with people they like better? Is the driver seen as #2 on the team but wants to be somewhere where they are #1? Is the company in financial hardship and cleaning house or is there a pattern to certain companies based on Worlds years?
Do you also consider that for these few drivers who make a living at R/C racing, that many of them are primarily classified as independent contractors? They are participating in this hobby at the highest level and doing so on generally year by year, or maybe a 2-year basis. Contracts tend to be short, and there can be a lot of unknowns heading into a contract year for the driver. Especially those who have a family to support, they are always at risk of it all not being able to work out in the near future.
This hobby is fun, and it’s why we all get started in it. But as with anything, when it becomes your job or career there can be things about it that aren’t as rosy as when it was just a hobby. Also because this hobby favors late teens to early 30’s it can be a risky life choice to make. Many forgo higher education to be able to participate and compete at the top in this hobby. There also should be sights set on the exit strategy when those younger kids with faster reflexes begin tearing up the scene.
So when you look at these top names making moves as we enter each silly season, maybe try to figure out the reasons behind it. There’s more than one possibility and just as every one of us is unique, so is our life situation, and our career path through this awesome hobby! Here’s to everyone settling in where they can be the most successful and to an amazing 2017 racing season!”
Happy silly season to all!