LEWIS Hamilton had better watch his step – Huddersfield can now boast its own young motorsport champion.
But Karl Dransfield, 15, is roaring to victory with something a bit different from a McLaren Mercedes F1. He’s the current European Junior Champion for 1/10th-wide, radio-controlled model car racing. And he boasts a ranking of 9th in Europe among competitors of all ages.
Karl has honed his talents alongside 130 other model car enthusiasts at the Yorkshire Radio Controlled Model Car Racing Club, based in West Vale.
The 280m-long ‘Halifax Track’ is widely considered the best in the UK and one of Europe’s top model car racing sites.
Some of the cars can achieve speeds more than 75mph, and accelerate from 0-60mph in less than two seconds. Their engines can reach 43,000 revs per minute, more than seven times that of a family car.
This weekend, April 26 and 27, West Vale hosts the second round of the British Radio Car Association (BRCA), with around 50 competitors racing 1/8th-scale nitro-powered cars, the fastest and most powerful of their type.
The club has members from primary school up to retirement age, and club secretary David Dransfield, also Karl’s father, said: “The younger ones seem to be doing better than the older ones because they have the reactions of a ninja!
“The biggest thing though is the enthusiasm everyone here has. The racing is really good fun to watch as well.”
Cars raced at the club are powered by batteries, petrol, or nitro fuel. They typically cost from £150 up to £900, but they can also be self-constructed.
Mr Dransfield said: “The best cars I have were built from kit. It gives you a better understanding of how the car is put together.”
A racing ‘team’ consists of one racer with the remote control and a mechanic in the pitting area who is responsible for refuelling and repairs. The club encourages technical knowledge and Karl is in the mechanic’s role for this weekend’s event.
His father, understandably proud of Karl’s achievements, said: “He’s superb. It’s an extremely involved hobby, and the mechanical side of it takes a lot of learning.”
Membership of the club costs £30 per year for under 16s and concessions and £50 for adults. There are monthly meets for members to compete against each other – the next is on May 4.