IROCC History

Started by weekend camper, June 15, 2012, 12:04:55 AM

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weekend camper

PART ONE -- up to about 2003

The Island Radio Operated Car Club (IROCC), based in Victoria, BC, Canada, formed in 1985 when two smaller racing clubs joined together under a common directorship. The first of these two clubs was an on-road club that gathered together in the basement of one of the members' houses to race 1/12 scale cars. The small venue featured a slick, polished concrete track surface. Mr. Clean cleaning agent was found to be an effective traction additive for this type of surface so a small pit lane was constructed and doused with the cleaner. When a racer felt he needed more traction it was a simple matter of making a quick pass through the pit lane. The on-road club was 15-20 members strong and raced this format for several years. The second of the two clubs was an off-road club that raced off-road buggies. In this timeframe the off-road track was located on the Old Island Highway, beside Shoreline School. Shortly thereafter (1988) it was moved in behind Pearkes Arena.

When these two clubs merged, the two treasuries were pooled. This allowed the purchase of both an AMB lap timing system, and a couple of rolls of carpet for indoor racing. The combined membership enjoyed some achievements together: First, the club hosted the "1988 Speed Weekend" off-road race. Although the race was completely rained out, it drew entrants from the Lower Mainland area. Second, the club managed to secure an indoor racing venue in the old car museum at Western Speedway (1988). At this location 20-30 racers gathered together to race 1/12 scale cars on a weekly basis during the indoor season.

The off-road track moved again - this time to the Highlands in Langford. After a short stay here, it moved again to the bottom of Hartland Road in Saanich (1992).

In 1990 indoor racing moved to a tiny church hall in View Royal. WD40 was used as a traction additive but it would last only six minutes. The races were eight minutes long, which meant for an exciting final two minutes. After outgrowing the church, indoor racing moved to a gym in the Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt (1992).

It was at this time that the club was at its strongest with respect to membership. Summer off-road racing saw as many as 25 racers out for weekly racing in the sun while winter on-road racing enjoyed weekly turnouts of 40+ racers dueling it out on the carpet. During these "hay days" a couple of notable events occurred: The "1993 Speed Weekend" off-road race was held at the Hartland off-road track. This time around the weather cooperated and the race was a great success. Again, entrants came from all over Vancouver Island as well as from the Lower Mainland area. During the indoor seasons, Victoria racers were developing a strong reputation of excellence. A couple of local racers earned distinctions at national level indoor events.

Unfortunately the club's great success fizzled in 1995-1996. The Hartland off-road track had to be abandoned and the only replacement site that could be found was a location in Duncan. The track relocated to Duncan but the turnouts suffered greatly. The indoor scene suffered as well. People weren't getting along very well, and the club essentially disbanded. And so - for two or three years – IROCC was reduced to a small summer off-road scene and nothing whatsoever during the winter.

In 1998 a small group of on-road enthusiasts decided to get their act together and start racing again. The location was in Duncan, in a barn on the exhibition grounds. Although the location was not ideal, the on-road club did experience a resurgence in interest. After two years in Duncan, there was enough interest in on-road racing to make a bid on a location back in Victoria. The summer off-road scene in Duncan was completely dead by this time so the focus was on getting a good winter racing program back in Victoria.

IROCC started its rebirth during the winter of 2000. The club secured a location at the Saanich Fairgrounds in Brentwood Bay. That winter, 10-12 racers would show up on a weekly basis to race 1/12 scale cars on the carpet track. Lap timing was a manual process now because the AMB system had been sold off during the "down" time. The winters of 2001 and 2002 saw a slow but steady increase in interest and the turnouts increased to 15-20 racers per night. The club was eventually able to afford to buy another AMB system.

Summer racing during these days was now touring car racing. The club bounced around between various parking lots around town as they tried to build up the summer program. Times were lean at first, with only a handful of electric touring cars showing up. By 2002, the club was looking a little better with an average turnout of about 10 racers.

The summer of 2003 saw an unbelievable jump in club membership - and it was all due to what seemed to be an unlucky break. The start of the summer saw the club racing in a somewhat remote parking lot near the Esquimalt naval base. Due to a noise complaint, the club was prohibited from using the parking lot any further. Somewhat discouraged, the club found a new location for the rest of the summer that would prove to be very beneficial. The new location was in the BC Transit Park and Ride lot beside the Juan de Fuca recreation center in Colwood. This location had more visibility than the club had ever seen. The Times Colonist newspaper wrote an article about the club and CH Television featured the club on its "Go Magazine" program. All of a sudden, large crowds of spectators started to come out and watch the racing. One particular day there were more than 200 spectators watching one of the races. From all this attention, the club membership jumped sharply to 20-25 racers.

weekend camper