Wesley van Helmond is 17 years old and belongs to the 30 best 1/10 electric buggy racers in the world. He is preparing his trip to Huntington Beach California for the Reedy International Off-Road Race of Champions 2016. Wesley is TLR Team Driver from the Netherlands and it's an honor that this is all happening on such a young age. Wesley is also the first Dutch driver who received an invitation for this race.
His trip is fully financed by crowdfunding. Friends, family, Horizon Hobby, Team Orion and RedRC made this trip possible for Wesley and he is very grateful for all the support he's getting. Wesley will stay in California for 2 weeks. First week of his stay all the practices (and recovering of his jetlag...) are on the program. That's needed because he has not much experience on hard packed dirt tracks as used in the US. And there is also an other challenge because the Reedy Race means a combination of 2WD and 4WD. Wesley is the King of 2WD in Europe but 4WD has less his priority. And almost all tracks in Europe are carpet or astro so his biggest challenge is to get his TLR 22 3.0 and TLR 22-4 on rails and getting used to these new conditions. The second week is 'Reedy-Week' with all the races from January 21-24.
The media circus has started in the Netherlands. This week he showed up in one of the biggest daily newspapers with a great article. He was also 'On Air' at a local radio station together with his younger brother Dominique (TLR driver in 4WD class). And last but not least, tonight he was broadcasted on television via 'Hart van Nederland' where they call him the Max Verstappen of RC Racing. This broadcast is viewed by more than a million viewers daily on the Dutch television channel SBS6. That's what we call promotion!
Hereby the SBS6 broadcast with family Van Helmond. Our apologies for the viewers who don't understand Dutch ;-)
Wesley takes all these opportunities to explain why RC Racing is so much fun and how he has grown as a respected RC driver. He started on the age of 4 while his dad Joey was driving competition. Now everything has changed and Joey is his mechanic. The whole family is addicted to RC racing and they travel all around Europe to participate within the biggest races. Last year Wesley became Junior European Champion and deserved a position in the Worlds TOP 30 with that victory in the pocket.
"Wesley is like Max Verstappen in RC Racing. Fast, disciplined and inspirational!"by SBS6 TV Station, Hart van Nederland
With all these stories and promotions last week Wesley succeeded in making the Dutch people more involved and familiar with RC Racing. Wesley has grown as a multi talent and understand his responsibilities as a Team Driver. He is truly inspirational for many RC enthousiasts and that's what is all about when you are a contracted driver in the world of RC.
It's the first time that Wesley travels to such a big race without his parents Joey and Danielle. For the family van Helmond the upcoming weeks will be very exciting. The worldwide TLR team is like a family and everybody will take care of Wesley during his adventure. Under supervision of TLR Team Manager Kevin Gahan the team can perform at it's maximum. Names as Ryan Maifield, Dakotah Phend and Dustin Evans are also driving in the invitational class so Wesley is surrounded by some really cool RC Legends. Wesley didn't make this trip all by his self, friend Koen Middelkoop will also travel to California to support Wesley. Upcoming weeks will be amazing for both Dutchies.
The Reedy Race concept
Since the mid 80's the Reedy Race has grown as the biggest RC race in the world. This event was an idea by Mike Reedy who wanted to celebrate his birthday in the best way he knew, organize an RC event with the best racers. This is why this race has 2 classes, an open class and an invitational class. The best racers in the world received an invitation by Mike to come over and everybody travelled to California for years now. In 2011 Mike Reedy lost his battle against the Parkinson's disease but this race is still his idea, his format and his dream.
For the Pro drivers this race is one of the most important. It is a great honor when you are getting an invitation. Doing a good job at the Reedy's can mean a jumpstart in the career of any RC driver. There are examples of drivers which became a fulltime professional driver since their winning at the OCRC Raceway.
Driving this race didn't mean you have to be the fastest. Mostly the smartest guy wins the Reedy. The combination of 2WD and 4WD makes it a challenge for every driver to win this race. But when the driver succeeded his goal to win this race a career in the world of RC is almost guaranteed. Winning Reedy is winning the World title!
Besides the invitational class there is also an Open Class. Every racer in the world can participate at the Reedy race. With 300 entries in the open class and 30 invitational entries this event is one of the biggest races in the world.
For Team Losi Racing this race is very important. With the brand new TLR 22 3.0 electric buggy everybody is expecting much from the team. Last edition of the Reedy Race was a big victory for TLR Factory Driver Ryan Maifield. The best thing the team can think about is doing the same in the 2016 edition of this race.
For now we wish Wesley the best of luck with all the necessary preparations and we will keep a hotline with Wesley during his trip. Just to let you all know his progress and experiences!