Lim's pursuit of excellence
Brian Lim is no stranger when it comes to the RC scene in Brunei. Lim is one of the fastest drivers in the Sultanate, constantly in the pursuit of the top spot of the podium in any race he joins. He also has a string of impressive performances in regional races held in Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, among others. His 35 years in the hobby have provided him with a wealth of experience in the industry. What sets Lim apart from other racers is his lifelong pursuit of knowledge... knowledge which he applies to every aspect of his life.
BruRC talks to Lim about his journey from an RC fledgling to one of the top racers in Brunei.
Brian Lim (L) receives his winner's trophy during a recent race in Brunei.
BruRC: How did you get into RC?
Lim: My first exposure to RC was probably around 1985. I was in Primary six at that time, maybe around 11 or 12 years old. I did not have much money so my friend hooked me up with a second hand Tamiya Wild Willy. I was ecstatic when I got it.
Lim's first RC car was a Tamiya Wild Willy in 1985. That car is long gone but he managed to get his hands on two units when they were re-released by Tamiya.
BruRC: What is your favourite class of RC to run and what is your favourite car?
Lim: My favourite class is 1/8 scale Nitro Buggy and my favourite cars are the Kyosho Inferno buggies, especially the Mp9 Tki4 and the MP10. At present I have two Mp10 and three Mp9 Tki3 kits. I like the Kyosho buggies because of their top notch performance.
The car may not be as durable as some of the other brands but this is because the MP9 and MP10 are geared towards intermediate and professional drivers. These cars have a no-compromise approach when it comes to performance. Durability takes a backseat to performance here.
The Kyosho Mp9 and Mp10 buggies are Lim's favourite cars.
BruRC: Do you drive other brands?
Lim: My belief is that you should not be blinded by the brand wars. There is no harm trying other brands if you got the finances to do so. Only then can you personally learn about each car's strengths and weaknesses and make an educated choice on what to drive. You will be missing out if you just blindly follow and drive one brand.
There is no harm trying other brands if you got the finances to do so. Only then can you personally learn about each car's strengths and weaknesses and make an educated choice on what to drive.
I buy a lot of the cars from the other brands to try and learn from them. I study the strengths and weaknesses of each brand. I do not limit myself to just running one car as I feel that this might prevent you from widening and improving your knowledge and experience.
Brian makes it a point to try buggies from a variety of brands to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the different platforms.
BruRC: What sort of knowledge can you get from driving other cars?
Lim: For example, I found that the current Losi Eight-X Elite buggy is designed to cater to all categories of racers. The way the car is built and the materials used are centered more towards providing durability.
The current Xray car, meanwhile, does not seem to be holding up to its reputation. The quality does not feel as good as before. It borrows the designs from a lot of the other brands so I feel the current car is lacking in innovation and ingenuity. My feeling is that Xray may be focusing more of their efforts on their electric 1/10 scale cars so they are not putting in as much time and effort on their 1/8 scale buggies.
This is a Team Losi body signed by Adam Drake gifted to Lim as a birthday present.
BruRC: So why the Kyosho?
Lim: I recently raced overseas in the Philippines and had the opportunity to mingle with the country's top racer (Cholo Digos). He has the same conclusion as I do with regards to the Kyosho buggies. He also tried out a lot of cars such as Sworkz, Mugen, Hot Bodies but in the end he still came back to Kyosho.
We agreed that Kyosho cannot be beat performance wise but some brands are just more durable. Kyosho designs their race spec cars for performance while other brands put more thought into coming up with innovative designs and technology that allows their cars to take harder hits and impact. These cars can suit a variety of driving styles and skill level, from beginners to pros but I prefer the Kyosho which provides the best performance.
BruRC: What do you think of the current situation with the RC scene in Brunei?
Lim: From my experience, the toughest thing about racing in Brunei is finding enough committed racers to improve the racing in a certain class. Most RC racers in Brunei race many different classes. Sometimes we get fewer participation because of this. Some racers may be busy competing in another class on a certain race day or they may be busy preparing or focusing on a different class at the time. It also doesn't help that nitro buggy is one of the more expensive classes to run.
BruRC: What other RCs do you run?
Lim: I race all the 1/8 scale classes. I don't go for 1/10 scale. I race nitro buggy and on-road GP but right now I am putting more focus on nitro buggy. I enjoy all types of RCs... in fact there is just one type of RC I have no interest in and that is boats. I don't like the thought of needing to go near crocodile infested waters. I run planes, drones, racing cars and sometimes even venture into crawler territories.
BruRC: How can a driver improve when it comes to racing?
Lim: It always comes down to the fundamentals when you talk about going faster. Not just driving fundamentals but also ensuring your car is working properly. Everything has to be smooth. The arms, drivetrain shouldn't be binding. Always refresh your shock and diff oils. When you go to a new track, always stick to a basic set up and move on from there.
You do not need the best engine to be fast but you need a reliable engine. As long as you tune it properly and it doesn't flame out. Don't expect to be able to go fast immediately, you need to learn how to drive your car first. Understand your car and your engine. Get help from others if you need. Ask experienced drivers for tips. These are things you need to do if you want to improve your race results.
Lim needs a larger trophy cabinet.
BruRC: Going forward, what would you like to see develop in Brunei's RC scene?
Lim: I hope that we will get a proper off road track that is supported by the Brunei Government in the future. We don't need much. Just a plot of land with running water and electricity. We can build and maintain the track ourselves. We are currently running at the Tungku Link track in front of the Guan Hock Lee hobby shop but we cannot fence it and there are feral dogs there. This makes it difficult for us to maintain the track and run our cars.
Having a proper track that is backed by the Government also allows us to invite drivers from other countries to join our races. Racers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam have all expressed interests in flying to Brunei and competing in our events but we need a good facility before we can invite them. They will be spending a lot of money to come here so we need to make it worth their time and finances.
BruRC: What advice can you give to those getting into the hobby?
Lim: My advice to all those getting into the hobby... the priority is to have fun but there is a lot of life lessons that can be learned as well. RC is not all about spending money and having a good time. This hobby teaches you how to confront and overcome difficulties. If you want to progress and improve, you need to put in the work. Practice and ask for advice. It teaches you to be disciplined and helps you develop a more positive character and personality.
RC is not all about spending money and having a good time. This hobby teaches you how to confront and overcome difficulties.
This applies to your daily life as well. Apply what you have learned in this hobby to become a better person. Whenever you encounter difficulties or make mistakes, you will need to learn and correct your mistakes. Keep practicing and working hard in whatever you do and one day, you will make it.