A bead of sweat rolls off his forehead, down and along his eyebrow, as his car rips around the dirt bend going nearly 60 km/h. He loosens his grip on the handle, slowing down enough to make the corner, then slams his hands down on the ignition to shoot the car forward. It soars, hits the ramp fast and flies off - and for a brief moment it hangs, like it's sitting on air, before slamming down on the track.
He pulls his finger back off the trigger - designed just like a gun - and lets the car roll to a stop.
"Woo!" he screams, running over and picking the car up off the track. "That was great."
Damien Linley walks back over to a table covered by a cloth tent at Kamikaze Raceway in Coquitlam. By day he works for the city, but on weekends he's a star - a radio-controlled race car driver, and a good one at that, right here in the Tri-Cities.
He's a member of the Coquitlam Area Model Racing Club (CAMRC), an organization that's been around for 18 years, but only 10 at its current track - Kamikaze Raceway - on Pipeline Road in Coquitlam.
It's that decade members will be celebrating on Aug. 24 and 25 with a two-day racing event, a feat that Joanne Hahn, CAMRC spokesperson, is very proud of.
"In the last 10 years of our Kamikaze track, the club and its members have seen many storms pass. Many other tracks have started and ended," she told the Tri-Cities NOW. "Some of these endings came about by risky leadership decisions, some because people have moved on and some due to rising costs in maintaining a track. CAMRC's Kamikaze track has weathered all of these storms."
It's a notable feat pointing to the dedication and passion each of the club's members and volunteer board members has for their hobby. Take for example John Parzer, president of the CAMRC, who has been actively involved in the organization for 13 years - for free. When asked what keeps him going, he's humble.
"Just because, you know, you can see things that need to get done and you want to step up and help the hobby, help the club, help get things done," he said.
Since becoming president seven years ago, Parzer has helped maintain the track, acquired a storage and driver-viewing area, and is planning a $20,000 project to get a major outhouse for the racing area - the one thing he admits it lacks.
But how is he as a racer? "I do race ...
I'm not the greatest," he said, laughing. "I'm not the bottom, but I'm not the top." The organization has roughly 60 members signed up, with nearly 50 of them showing up every Sunday to race and compete against one another.
But it's not a one-carserves-all kind of place, so you better do your homework if you're planning on joining.
"It can be cheap to get into," Parzer said. "Depending on the range you want to get into. There's a mid-range, where you know you can get better motors, you can get better servos (an electric amplifier), you can get better remotes."
Generally, a starter kit costs around $300, with more intense hobbyists paying up
to $2,000 for a car.
Most race cars nowadays use battery power, but some still use nitro, a gasoline variant that runs and sounds like a motor.
There's debate within the community about which runs faster, nitro or electric, but no settlement has been reached yet, according to Hahn.
"With electric if you want to go 60 kilometres you're doing 60 as soon as you're on the throttle," she said. "With the nitros you have to warm up to get there."
Hahn recommends electric versions as they are greener, quieter and don't emit a bad odour like the nitro versions do.
But Hahn, Linley and Parzer also recommend the Traxis ready-to-run "Slash" package. Scott Howard used that and won the novice championship his first year out. All of these cars can be picked up from local hobby shops.
On Saturday, Aug. 24 the public is invited out from 1 to 4 p.m. to check out the track and participate in special events, such as a soccer game and 20-car "mayhem race."
"We call it 'mayhem' because that's what it looks like, even to a spectator," Hahn said. "It's crazy."
Attendees will also be able to partake in exhibition races, check out the concession stand, bid at a silent auction or take part in a raffle.
All proceeds will go to the BC Children's Hospital Foundation.
"CAMRC'S model is simple: We want to bring the best overall experience to the racer in the Lower Mainland," Hahn said. "We seek to do this by offering low cost membership, access to a great community, and fun racing and competition at a really nice track location."
The track is located at 1831 Pipeline Rd. For more information, visit camrc.ca or drop by the open house.
Lisa King, Now / Damien Linley, left, and Scott Howard race their model cars around the Kamikaze Raceway on Pipeline Road.; Lisa King, Now / Damien Linley jumps his car at the Kamikaze Raceway in Coquitlam. Visit this story at www.thenownews.com to see all 26 of our photos from the track.;
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