Thankfully, the haze has been cleared and the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series can resume its fifth round at Bottle Tree Park this Sunday. This week, we focus the spotlight on Team Xray Singapore, the closest competitor to championship leader Team Tamiya SG.
Team Xray Singapore’s drivers James Tang (affectionately referred to as PY Tang), 39-year-old real estate salesperson, and Wee Yi Xi (Wee EC), 28-year-old financial analyst, are doing well in the series – PY is currently second in the drivers’ standings, just 1.75 points away from leader Alvin Koh. EC is lying in fifth place. They had an unfortunate time in Round 3 when they faced problems with the car and couldn’t make it to the start line, costing them valuable points championship points.
With just three more rounds to go, Team Xray Singapore will keep on fighting.
Q: How, when and why did you get started in RC cars?
PY Tang (PYT): I started dabbling with RC cars when I was about 15 years old. I remember that I got my first RC car, a Marui Big Bear, from my brother. We ran the car on the street just outside our house it was a lot of fun.
Wee EC (WEC): I got my first RC car when I was a kid. It was a gift from my parents so I must have been a lucky boy! I’ve loved cars from as long as I can remember; apparently the first words i read were from a car magazine! Naturally, the desire to own my own car stemmed from a young age, and a RC car was the closest I could get to achieve that dream as a child. I only started getting serious in RC cars at the age of 22 during university, when I managed to scavenge enough cash to buy a Tamiya TT-01.
Q: When was your first race and how did you do?
PYT: It was in 1991, if I remembered it correctly. I was working with Toycars in Johor Bahru while waiting for my school exam results. They organised a race in a parking lot of the Pan Pacific hotel and I came in first! That was when I realised I can actually race a RC car pretty well, after bashing RC cars on the streets all the while.
WEC: My first proper touring race was sometime back in early 2009. I joined the Modified class in a local club race and you can imagine my surprise and delight when I managed to qualify second behind one of the top guys in Singapore! Sadly, technical problems ended my run during the first final.
Q: What made you want to continue racing RC cars?
PYT: It has always been my hobby and I like to work on stuff, such as installing and repairing. Racing RC cars provides the thrills and gives me the chance to look for an achievement from all the time spent on the hobby.
WEC: I guess my love of cars and all things related made me want to continue with RC cars, as full-scale motorsports is out of my budget. On top of that, we have a great RC car community here in Singapore. Despite being racers, we are all friends who have a common hobby, and ultimately it’s always good to spend time with your mates.
Q: How big of a motorsports fan are you?
PYT: I like all kinds of motorsports including F1, superbikes, rally cars and more.
WEC: I’m a huge motorsports fan and appreciate any form of competitive driving. My favorite motorsport is still the World Rally Championship; I idolised Colin Mcrae in my younger years. It’s a pity that rallying doesn’t have a big following here in Singapore though.
Q: What do you like about RC car racing?
PYT: RC car racing is a healthy sport to me. I like motorsports a lot and RC cars is the closest I can get to, for now. The preparation and setup needed for an RC race car is similar to a full-scale race car too.
WEC: RC racing is the closest you can get to experience the thrills and adrenaline rush of motor racing without busting your wallet. It’s also a deeply technical sport which involves in-depth knowledge and ability on car control, setup and other black arts of the hobby.
Q: What do you think of the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series?
PYT: It is good for the audience and fans, to create some excitement in RC racing. It can be stressful for the drivers, but it provides a good opportunity to learn more things as well.
WEC: I think the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series is excellent as it introduces new concepts to local RC racing. Firstly, it serves as a promotional platform for RC car brands which are sold here in Singapore. This gives greater market exposure and awareness to other brands that would normally be reserved for the big names. Secondly, it allows us to compete on a team level as well. RC racing has always been an individualistic concept, but with the manufacturer championship ratings, it takes the competition to a whole new level.
Q: What is your target for the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series?
PYT: Just like in any other races, I always aim to be on the podium and winning is a bonus. I do not like to set a target to win because it would take away the fun in racing and create unnecessary stress. Besides, in any competitive racing, being able to stand on the podium is already a great achievement to me. Getting a good result in a final depends not only on racing ability, but also a healthy dose of luck.
WEC: My aim is to finish as high up the standings as I can! Realistically, it would be tough to win as we have enormous talents competing in the series. I would be more than happy if I can finish third behind the big boys.
Q: Who do you think is your biggest competitor?
PYT: Every team has been progressing well and I think every driver stands a chance to be in the podium.
WEC: I have to say that Nicholas Lee of Team Tamiya SG and my own team-mate PY Tang. They have brought the level of local RC racing to a new level and are both amazing drivers and competitors.
Q: What are your thoughts on the RC car scene in Singapore? How do you think it can be improved?
PYT: I think the RC car scene in Singapore is getting better. We see many new faces at the track, partly because of all the great initiatives and events organised by Racework Hobbies. I think the RC car scene will improve a lot with the constant exposure of the hobby to the public and a lot more events that are targeted at newcomers and beginners.
WEC: I feel there are limited RC tracks, naturally, due to the lack of space on our tiny island and that has restricted the growth of the RC car community. The lack of media publicity on our hobby is a shame as well, due to the fact that we have such incredible homegrown talents competing on our shores!