Small cars of all different colours slide around sharp corners, while the buzzing of wheels and mini engines can be heard before you enter the room.
The owners of the cars stand on the sidelines with transmitters in hand, directing their radio controlled or RC vehicles to drift smoothly around the track.
The Halifax RC Drifters organized the event on Facebook. The Drifters has a Facebook page that has over 400 members. Shane Inness was one of the first people involved with the group about seven years ago.
In an interview, he said he’s been interested in RC cars since he was a kid, and now he brings his young son to the track.
“I’ve been playing with RC cars since I was younger than him,” he said, pointing to his son.
The internet helped Inness connect with other people in the RC community.
“I met a couple guys that were into this too, and we started getting more into it,” he said. “You see all the stuff growing online and Facebook and YouTube, and you get some more motivation to start something here.”
Jimmy Soper is the owner and operator of East Coast Indoor RC Park, on Glendale Avenue in Lower Sackville. He opened the space just two months ago.
Already, there is a large drift track and another track for off-road RC vehicles to go through sand, up wooden ramps and over rocky paths.
During the event, the cars drive around the track and drift into a little orange shelter that is only slightly bigger than the cars themselves. At one bend in the track, there are three yellow flags the cars gently tap while drifting.
There are a lot of intricacies in a small frame, and the mechanics are different in the drift cars compared to regular RC cars.
“The way the chassis set up, the way the steering is set up, the weight distribution, a combination of the electronics in it as well to help it maintain stability, right? And then a lot of practice,” Inness explained.
“I like RC cars and I just wanted something fun to do,” Soper said in an interview.
“Since he opened here we’ve been coming here every week or every second week and it has definitely been starting to grow for sure, getting more interest,” Inness said.
People buy and trade parts for their cars online, but a shop in Dartmouth sells radio control vehicles and accessories, too. Mighty Small Cars is an RC retailer that has been around for decades.
Greg Gibson works at Mighty Small Cars. In an interview, he explained the beginnings of the shop.
“It was started so people could honestly play with RC cars back in the ’70s,” Gibson said. “It basically boiled down to a gentleman who owned the shop before the current owners do, wanted to start RCing, wanted to start racing, and you can’t race cars with one vehicle, so he ended up getting a couple in and it kind of just bloomed in from there.”
Drifting isn’t the only thing people do with their RC cars, people also race them traditionally, set up jumps and obstacles, or just build them for fun.
“Our most common consumer is just the average person that wants to go take an off road vehicle and go, what we in the hobby refer to as bashing,” Gibson said. “Basically just going out, taking a truck, running it in some jumps and some off road terrain just for the sheer enjoyment of it.”
Gibson said that he is also noticing the hobby gaining interest. For the East Coast Indoor RC Park, an increase in popularity could mean a larger park.
“I’d like to see it be popular enough to get a bigger spot, the demand is here for it,” Soper said.
About the author
Avery Stewart is a journalist in Halifax. She has a background in English literature and philosophy.