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The City Journals

Mini-Z racers ask how fast are you

Sep 09, 2021 11:43AM ● By Greg James

A West Jordan-based group of friends has been racing mini remote-control cars against clubs from all over the world on modular tracks like this one. (Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

A group of remote-control car enthusiasts has taken their hobby and developed friendships and a racing club in the basement.

“It is a club that we have been racing together for almost 20 years,” Salt Lake Mini-Z club founder Brian Stanley said. 

Stanley was at Radio Shack several years ago and ran across xmod remote control racing cars. He wanted something bigger and better and found mini-z racing.

“When we first started, we had a track in the garage,” he said. “It was two sheets of plywood and PVC pipe for the rails. Over time, new styles of tracks have come about. We did not have timing systems at first. We would count laps. One of us had a clicker.”  

The 8–12 monthly participants meet twice a month in Stanley’s basement. 

“We race, but it is more just fun,” Stanley said. “My whole family gets involved. My wife, daughter and son all race. My son started when he was 5. Everyone has different skill levels.” 

A wide range of driving skills participate.

“We are in a group called ‘How Fast Are You’ (HFAY); it is a point series that is worldwide,” Stanley said. “We all run the same track for the month and pull times. It is as if we are all racing together.” 

He initially set out the HFAY organization. The spring season has 31 participants from several racing clubs, including Australia, the United Kingdom and several across the United States.

“COVID shut down several clubs,” Stanley said. “We had 70 to 80 that were participating but have dropped a few clubs.” 

There are several classes available to participate in. Kyosho Racing cars available, including NASCAR, Formula 1 and pan-style cars. The cars and track are one-28th the size of regular race cars. The palm sized cars are powered by AAA batteries and have multiple interchangeable steering, suspension and motor options.

“Come and have fun,” Stanley said. “You will not be the top dog right away. It is different from driving in the street. Learning about cars is fun. You can change stuff on the car.” 

Starting kits ran about $200.

“I had a roommate that introduced me to it, and I showed up one week and got hooked,” Clayton Preston said. “I figured for $200 it was worth it. It is super easy to get into. I had no car knowledge when I started, and I have learned how to adjust things.”

The club has participated in West Valley City’s summer sizzler and has traveled together to Evanston, Wyoming, for a winter ice-breaker race.

Stanley has become a Kyosho and PNracing supplier, so they have the necessary parts when the cars break down.

“It is hard to get parts in town, so if someone needed something at the race, we have it,” Stanley said. 

Stanley leads the spring season points championship. Chad Butterfield and Russ Forsyth are tied for second, and Eric Johnson is in fourth.