Local hobbyists ask city for a public RC raceway

Whatever you do, don’t call them toys.

Racing radio controlled cars and trucks is a serious hobby for its enthusiasts, who range in age from 4 to 40, and now they are asking the city of Sequim to take it seriously, too, requesting a parcel of parkland so a public racetrack can be constructed.

“It’s really clean fun and it teaches respect and responsibility,” RC racer Dave Peterson said.

The proposal was brought to the city council during its June 9 regular meeting. With a half-dozen RC trucks beside his feet, Tim Verdick, owner of RC Hobbies, asked that the city set aside a plot of land in the Water Reuse Park or Carrie Blake Park in order to build a raceway consisting of three tracks.

“We don’t necessarily need money from the city, just a place to do it and we’ll do the rest,” Verdick said.

Verdick, who has been flying radio controlled airplanes since he was 10, came into RC cars late in life. It wasn’t until he opened his shop that he saw the demand.

“The majority of the business is cars and car parts and so forth, and so now I have a few. They’re a lot of fun,” Verdick said.

According to Verdick, the closest public track is in Tacoma. Area hobbyists usually race in their backyards, on public streets or in parking lots at night.

“It’s kind of wherever you can find a place,” Verdick said.

In two weeks, Verdick was able to obtain 150 signatures on a petition requesting a public raceway be built in Sequim. The raceway Verdick envisions would require 200 square feet and have one large oval track and two tracks with more terrain and jumps for larger vehicles.

“To have a track that actually had nice turns, nice dirt to run in and jumps and so forth, a structure you could practice on and get better and better, it would be more challenging than just out willy-nilly wherever,” Verdick explained, adding that the track would be dirt and about the only man-made addition would be an elevated drivers’ stand.

Verdick said that the Water Reuse Park is the perfect spot because it’s centrally located.

Verdick was directed by the city council to bring his proposal to the parks board. Many of the board’s members said they were concerned about the cars’ noise levels and how that would affect other visitors.

“They’re definitely not silent,” Verdick said, adding that restrictions could be made about when gas-fueled RC cars are allowed. Gas-fueled RC vehicles tend to be louder than their electric counterparts.

Although no approval was given, Verdick was directed by the parks board to work with the city’s planning department to come up with a proposed location.

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