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Radio control car enthusiasts find new home at Bonnie Doon Mall

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A long-time Edmonton club racing radio control cars has a new permanent space that is helping rev up new interest.

Started 25 years ago, Radio Control Racers Edmonton is a not-for-profit collective that offers the opportunity to learn how to maintain and run miniature cars. The group has had an outdoor dirt track it uses in the summer but, for the first time, has a new base of operations for the winter.

The group took over a storefront in Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre three weeks ago. It's now home to a special track and hobby meets for RC drivers, from novices to those who have it mastered. 

Randy Van, club president, told CTV News Edmonton how the club previously hosted drop-ins and events at the Alberta Aviation Museum. Now they can race whenever they want.

RC cars take to the dirt track that Radio Control Racers Edmonton operates during the summer months (Source: Radio Control Racers Edmonton/Google Photos).

"To have a place where we can race in the wintertime is everything," he explained. "A lot of us are strong enthusiasts and enjoy the hobby, the camaraderie."

"Grown men racing toy cars is what we joke about with each other," Van said with a smile.

Randy Van, Radio Control Racers Edmonton president, speaks with CTV News Edmonton (CTV News Edmonton/Brandon Lynch).

The mall has made it easier to reach a new audience as well, Van says, with onlookers watching or trying their hand at running laps.

"The mall is just absolutely fantastic," Van said. "The whole point of this is to broaden the scope of RC racing, bring it to a bigger audience, get more attention and get more young people involved with it.

"Us old goats, we are few and far between now that still race," he said.

RC car enthusiasts drive around the track set-up at Bonnie Doon Mall on Saturday, March 4, 2023 (CTV News Edmonton/Brandon Lynch).

His favourite part is seeing new members learn how to tune their cars or seeing a young person try the hobby for the first time.

"The glow in their faces and excitement watching the cars," he said, "it's wonderful."

"Being my age, being a granddad and seeing the youngsters come up wide-eyed, it's just the most beautiful feeling. When you help a young lad and help him get around the track a few times."

To learn more, visit the club's website.

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