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June 2013

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RC Car Action - June 2013

PRO RACERS NOT ONLY

PRO RACERS NOT ONLY DRIVE CARS AND TRY TO WIN RACES, BUT ALSO ACT AS AMBASSADORS AND SPOKESPEOPLE FOR THEIR SPONSORING COMPANIES. Wow, Cody King looks waaay older than his dad! Wait, Cody is on the left. OK, my bad. Kyosho7 Kyosho JOB7 7 PRO RACER Cody King and Paul King THE One of the most sought after but misunderstood jobs in RC, many think that the life of a pro racer is one of jet-setting around the world for races, making big money to simply drive, and sponsors beating down your door to give you free stuff. While there are a small handful of racers who don’t need to work, most have day jobs within the RC industry as engineers, in R&D, or anywhere else they can fit in. As a factory team driver, pro racers not only drive cars and try to win races, but also act as ambassadors and spokespeople for their sponsoring companies. Their work is highly visible to the RC community and how they act and perform on and off the track is a major driving force in the sale of their sponsors’ products. At major races, many work on their own cars as well as drive, while others are paired with a mechanic who frees up their time to focus on driving their way to the top of the podium. PHOTO BY SEAN EARNEST THE JOB Once a customer purchases a product, the Customer Service and Service departments become the face of an RC company. As customers have questions, experience problems, or equipment fails, it’s these departments that play an integral role in not only getting their customers back up and running, but also upholding the reputation of the company. Customer service reps take phone calls from customers, answer questions, walk customers through setup, and travel to trade shows to meet customers face to face. Service techs take incoming broken products, troubleshoot, and repair them in a timely manner to keep customers happy. THE PRO Billy Tompkins got his start in RC when he saw a friend’s Traxxas T-Maxx and was hooked immediately. As he grew older, he got more into 1/8 nitro racing and entered ITT Tech where he learned electronics and hoped to work for Hitec, when a friend who worked there asked if he was looking for a job, Billy jumped at the opportunity. Hitec RCD started him as a customer service rep but as his involvement in the company advanced, so did he; eventually he found his way into the position of service tech. As Hitec holds a lot of stock in the quality of their customer service, Billy works one on one with customers concerning their repairs, and due to his interest in racing, you can meet Billy at races around the country where he represents Hitec and provides on-site support for their products. Remember that time you tried to con Hitec into giving you a free servo? This is the guy who said "No." 8 CUSTOMER SERVICE TECH Billy Tompkins Hitec RCD THE PROS Paul and Cody King are a father and son RC racing team. When they started out, Cody was primarily the driver and Paul worked on the cars. However, over time, Cody has started working on his cars, leaving more time for Paul to focus on the other aspects of their team like handling sponsorship contracts, scheduling, and inventory, so he has everything he needs to be at the top of his game. He also plans all of Cody’s travel and ensures that they have plenty of fuel and tires for big races and pits for him at all major races. “It’s been interesting for me, because my role has changed a lot lately. I worked hard at educating myself about chassis setup, and now I help him learn much as possible,” said PK. For Cody, the day to day involves building cars, preparing for races (especially Nationals and Worlds), and writing race reports for his website (codykingrc. com). Weekly practice typically involves testing prototype products and giving the factories feedback to help improve them. “It’s kind of like being a carnival worker; on the road all the time with my big suitcases. I often have races back to back, so I barely have time to wash my clothes before I have to catch a flight,” said Cody. The Kings are always thankful for all of their sponsors past and present and are currently sponsored by Kyosho, Reds, Pro-Line, Byron Fuel, A Main Hobbies, ProTek RC,, KO Propo, Speed Passion, Stickit1 and Lunsford. 46 MORE FROM THIS ISSUE AT RCCARACTION.COM

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