Catching the Drift

Remote control cars have come a long way - and fast. RC drifting provides a fun, safe hobby for thrill-seekers. Alan Yee lives a double life. No, there’s nothing scandalous about the 28-year-old insurance salesman from Waimanalo, no secret agent life.

Kyle Galdeira
Wednesday - April 20, 2011
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Cool cars — ’nuff said

and with additional “pure racing” kits with enhancement parts, can easily move up to $300-$500.

“You can easily spend over $1,000 without thinking twice. I must have spent close to $2,000 already. My first (car) kit got stolen ... my wife was pissed!”

The good news for those looking to get started is that as a result of the sluggish economy, some drifters are getting out of the game, and selling their cars and multiple add-ons for bargain prices.

Yee adds that while he and his cohorts have fun with their hobby, “it’s more than just big kids playing with toys. I’ve spent two years (practicing and racing), and some of the guys I play with have been doing it for seven years.”

While most are content with drifting for fun, drivers do get the opportunity to race competitively.

According to Yee, there are usually two large competitions per year. The first was held March 27 in Pearl City, and Yee says he expects the next event to occur sometime in July. The competitions have numerous sponsors that provide prizes for the racers, including trophies for the top three finishers, and a slew of swag including everything from T-shirts to key chains and stickers.

Talia Untalan from team High Society drifts her car

Competitions are typically broken down into two divisions: advanced and novice. While there is no limit on the number of participants, the top 16 racers from each division are eligible for prizes, and go head-to-head with one another in the tournament, with winners advancing until one lone undefeated competitor remains.

In the recent “Battle Formations” event, Lopaka Rodriguez took top honors in the advanced division while Rico Biacan took gold in the novice class. Overall, 42 drivers entered the competition, a number Yee hopes will continue to grow as the sport gains traction.

“The idea of the sport, it’s more like a dance,” he says. “There’s a lot of style involved and the racers’ personalities really come out.”

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