Douglas Waller wants to enter the racing circuit. The R/C racing circuit, that is.
The retired teacher has had a need for speed since first experiencing the rush of Radio Controlled (R/C) racing as a teenager. He says it came from a fateful trip on the bus while living in Richmond.
“Guys in Landsdowne Mall were racing one-fifth scale gas powered formula one cars,” Waller recalls. “I was so interested I ended up staying the whole afternoon watching. I thought to myself ‘how do I get involved in this?’”
Years later, as a educator in the Prince George area, him and fellow R/C racing enthusiasts gathered on weekends for racing. He recalls despite harsh winters, snow didn’t keep the community from burning rubber.
“Our rule was simple: If it was -10 or colder, we just didn’t race,” Waller recalls. “If there was snow, no problem. We’d bring our shovels out and corner out a spot in the parking lot at the local college and race on Sunday afternoons. But not if it was -10 or colder. Your fingers just get too cold.”
“We’d even race indoors at the community centre in Prince George on Tuesday evenings. Or even in the [College of] New Caledonia gymnasium. The speed you get when you race these things indoors,” said Waller.
His passion for R/C racing got him to push for a track in the Northern B.C. town, Recreation R/C Raceway. But as Waller recalls, after a few short years, life commitments kept him from maintaining the track, and it was closed down for good.
“I was contacted for doing race announcing at tracks all over Western Canada,” said Waller. “Nobody was maintaining it. I just didn’t have the time anymore.”
Having moved to Campbell River about six years ago, he took his R/C cars out again to drive them around. Just doing it for fun, he says the need to fulfill his racing itch came out yet again.
“I went back to that old phrase ‘when we get a track,’” said Waller. “But you don’t get a track. You make a track.”
On March 25, his birthday, Waller got fellow racing enthusiasts to come out to Willow Point, in the area of Penfield Road and Parkway Road.
He hopes that in the near future, he may be able to approach the city to build a track, for himself and fellow enthusiasts. But Waller knows it will take some time.
About 20 people did show up to the event, despite the threat of rain. The event also drew a crowd of curious onlookers.