Off-Road Racing

RC racing can be the most fun you’ll have with your car and your friends and family. Off-Road racing means jumps, bumps, tumbles, dust, dirt, and mud. Racing in general also helps you train yourself to stay calm under a bit of pressure, and gives you a great feeling of accomplishment when you make a clean pass on a competitor and over time see your skills and performance improve. The key is to remember you’re really just driving a model car and just relax.


There’s world-class level racing for lots of vehicle types going on all around the world as you can see in the video below. But all of those people started at the grass-roots level with their local RC club or group.

That grass-roots level is where we’re at in HRM. The local play-racing is certainly in the For-Fun category but the track at Halifax RC Park does provide a great facility for growth into more serious model motor sport as the years go by.

Benefits of RC Racing

  • Most racers are passionate about racing and having fun and you know what they say, “the more the merrier!” Racers like racing. That obviously isn’t possible without having other people to join the fun. Everyone was a beginner at some point and most racers are more than happy to share a few tips and tricks to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable – both at the track and at home as you “wrench” on your vehicle. Some may even offer to lend a hand or spare part to get you back on the track.
  • Going to a race, whether to drive or spectate, is an excellent opportunity to see a variety of cars in action and get a sense of what you may like. Some may even offer to let you try their vehicle. It goes without saying, please be respectful if they do as some of the “modified” vehicles on the track are capable of high speeds. Please don’t be too liberal with the throttle until you get the feel of the controls and the vehicle!
  • Product knowledge. Some racers have spent a significant amount time researching, modifying and driving their vehicle(s) and are more than happy to share their product knowledge and experience with you. Something to keep in mind however, much like Ford vs Chevy, Polaris vs Ski Doo, Yamaha vs Honda, some have strong brand loyalty, so keep an open mind when speaking with them and follow it up by a trip to your local hobby shop.
  • Family fun. Many of us enjoyed racing as a child and are now sharing the hobby with our own children. Racing is a great family activity as it isn’t height, size, muscle dependent like some other activities and hobbies. Just don’t get upset when your child exceeds your skills and you can’t keep up! 😉
  • Lifelong skills. RC racing as a hobby can train you in a whole set of lifelong skills such as organisation, self-drive, and commitment along with real technical knowledge that can be applied in many science and engineering fields.

A Track

The main thing you need for off-road racing is a track to do it upon. Guiding your vehicle around a circuit is more difficult than just running up and down your yard. We’re fortunate in HRM that there are some off-road tracks around to race on (Maritime RC map). Take a visit out the free-to-use track at Halifax RC Park in Beaver Bank ( and have a go.

But you don’t even need a permanent track. Some old fire hoses or thick rope can be laid down to form a track in your yard or any other open space. Corner dots, cones, “pylons” or 2l pop-bottles filled with water can act as the turn markers of your track. Take a look at what the guys below have done with a small space in their yards.

firehose track1 firehose track2

Off-Road Race Classes

Off-road racing cars are normally quite versatile and are able to deal with a large variety of terrain. 1/10 scale cars will run fine on short cut grass, and 1/8 scale vehicles will have no problems on most terrains including snow. Even if you’re not planning on racing, choosing a car that could be raced might be of benefit if you even have an idea that you’d like to try to race with your friends. From a beginners perspective, the 4WD vehicles are certainly easier to drive, but are sightly more complex and may require more maintenance.

The table below lists the most common race categories and shows a typical vehicle from that group.

Please keep in mind though, you don’t need to speed a lot of money to buy a “high-end” racing vehicle. Racing may sound like it should be expensive but many of us enjoy racing with beginner vehicles as much as we do racing higher end vehicles. There are even local groups that run a “box stock” beginner class with kit prices below $200 and ready-to-run prices starting at $300. Check out the Formula TT02B group on Facebook.

Scale Power Drivetrain Type Example
1/10 Electric 2-wheel-drive (2WD) Buggy KyoshoRB6
Kyosho RB6
1/10 Electric 4-wheel-drive (4WD) Buggy CatK2
Schumacher Cat K2 Aero
1/10 Electric 2WD Short Course Truck (SCT) DESC210r
Team Durango DESC210
1/10 Electric 4WD SCT TLRTEN-SCTE
Team Losi Racing (TLR) TEN-SCTE
1/10 Electric 2WD Stadium Truck RC10T5m
Team Associated RC10T5M
1/8 Electric 4WD Buggy mbx7r_eco
Mugen MBX-7R ECO
1/8 Electric 4WD Truggy Serpent Cobra E-Trug
Serpent Cobra E-Truggy
1/8 Nitro 4WD Buggy Kyo Inferno MP9
Kyosho Inferno MP9
1/8 Nitro 4WD Truggy TLR8ightTruggy
TLR 8ight-T 4.0
 1/5  Nitro Exist in all forms but are expensive and require a very large area to race

Manufacturers of Off-Road Race Cars

(in some sort of alphabetical order)

Team Associated –

Team-C –

Carisma –

Team Durango –

HoBao –

Hot Bodies Racing –

HPI Racing –

Kyosho –

Team Losi Racing –

Mugen –

Schumacher –

Serpent –

S-Workz –

Tamiya –

X-Ray –

Yokomo –

Local Off Road Racing Clubs and Groups

Sackville RC – Local RC Club that organises races at HRCP –

Halifax RC Off-Road Racing – RC Off-road racing group for the local area –

The Tamiya Crew – Play racing of Tamiya vehicles including a beginners specific box-stock SPEC class of 4WD buggies –

East Coast R/C Sports – Atlantic region RC racers –

Greater Moncton R/C Raceway – RC Race track in NB –

J&L RC Playground – RC race track in PEI –

Riley Lane R/C Raceway – RC race track in PEI –

Cap Pele RC Revolution Raceway – RC race track in NB –

Racing at an Event

We have a couple of blog posts relating to the typical rules of a race track, and what is expected of you when you attend a racing event. Have a read if you’re thinking of attending an event. Although these rules might seem intimidating, remember that everyone you see at an event was once a beginner, and they’re normally very happy to help or answer your questions.

Timed races normally last for about 5-8minutes for electric vehicles and somewhere around 20-30min for nitro ones (and up to 60min for the nitro “Finals”). Having a timing system means that you can get the exact times for each lap you complete, and then are able to compete in a qualifying session that is run in Heats that sort the racers into an order of slowest to fastest. The races at the end of the event are called Mains and the A-main is where the fasted people from the entire day race against one another.

Play-racing is much more common at the grass-roots level. Races might be 3-5 lap shootouts as they don’t require an expensive timing system to organise. Most of the groups in HRM do a bit of play-racing, and Sackville RC are trying hard to get some timed racing going regularly at HalifaxRCPark.

Governing Bodies

If you really want to do some reading of the very ‘dry’ rules and regulations that govern RC racing at the national and international level then check out the following. But in general if you buy a car from one of the main manufacturers then it should comply with the rules of the governing body. But at a local club level, those sorts of things are less of a concern. Just get out there and have fun!

ROAR (Remotely Operated Auto Racers) – Governing body for the US and Canada –

IFMAR (International Federation of Model Auto Racing) – Governing body for International racing –