Zul: Practice makes perfect
Mohamad Zulhilmi first got exposed to the RC Hobby approximately 25 years ago. What started out as an evening watching his brother's friends race around a parking lot has culminated into a passion for the hobby that has lasted over two decades. Zul's commitment and determination to constantly learn about the hobby saw him win top honours last year when he was crowned champion of the 2019 RC Passion Oneten EP Touring Car series. BruRC sits down with the man himself to document Zul's journey to the top of Brunei's RC scene.
BruRC: Can you provide more information about yourself?
Zul: My name is Mohamad Zulhilmi. I am 36 years old and I have been involved in the RC hobby since I was 11. I am enthusiastic about everything related to RC. I love to make new friends, share ideas and knowledge related to RC with my fellow drivers.
BruRC: When did you get into RC and how did your RC journey start?
Zul: I first got an RC car around 1995 when I was 11 years old. During that time, my brother brought me to watch his friends race their RC cars in a parking lot. It was very exciting watching them drive their nitro cars with the loud exhaust. I mustered up the courage to ask my brother to support my first step into the hobby by shouldering half of the price of the RC car.
A week later, we went to Guan Hock Lee at Menglait and bought a Kyosho Pure Ten nitro. It came with a nice red Mercedes E190 body shell. I initially ran the car just for fun and bashed around with my brother and cousins. I took a break from the hobby for about five years before returning in 2012. I decided to be more serious and active with the hobby and shifted my focus to 1/10 EP touring. It was also around this time where I participated in my first local race which was the 1/10 Modified class organised by the HH Series.
BruRC: What is your favorite class to play?
Zul: I compete in many different classes such as 1/10 GP touring, M-chassis, Drift, Mini-Z and EP touring Non-Boost. But my favorite to race in is the 1/10 EP Touring Mod class and Quad FPV. Both classes excite me and put me on the edge. They make you sweat and increase your pulse. The pressure and excitement is always there when you drive or fly.
BruRC:. What are you currently driving and why did you choose this car?
Zul: I am currently driving the Yokomo BD9 with the mid-motor conversion. I chose Yokomo because it offers a high-quality and high-performance package and the brand is very well-known in the industry. The car feels great. It is fast and suits my driving style.
The car improved when i converted it to mid-motor. I immediately felt the changes and knew that it was what I was searching for. The conversion improved its response, handling and steering. The chassis is so balanced. The car is easy to drive, stable in the corners, consistent across every lap but changes direction on a dime. I love it!!
Zul's current weapon of choice is a Yokomo BD9 with a mid-motor conversion.
BruRC: Do you drive or have you driven other cars?
Zul: I've driven and raced the cars from XRAY and VBC Racing. The two cars have their own personalities and provide different experiences and characteristics in terms of handling and quality. XRAY offers a premium car with a high quality chassis that is both agile and robust. The car is very stable and responsive. It is easy to find a setup that works but the kit is expensive. I recommend this car to those with no budget constraints.
VBC Racing, meanwhile, is a more affordable chassis. It is lightweight, runs smooth and is fast in corners. The car is competitive once you find the right set up. I recommend this car to newcomers or drivers on a limited budget. You will not regret it.
Don’t push yourself to get high end equipment if you have a limited budget. Don’t be shy to use what you have. RC hobby is about making new friends and sharing ideas while enjoying the hobby. The most important aspect is that you are eager to learn and gain more knowledge.
BruRC: You won the RC Passion Oneten EP touring series last year, can you share some of your experience?
Zul: Last year was an amazing experience for me. I did not expect to win the RC Passion EP series. I had a hard time keeping up with the best drivers Brunei has to offer. Many of them have more experience and are better at driving than me.
Having to race against them had a huge impact on how I managed my pressure, consistency and focus. Praise to God, I managed good results with the effort and dedication put into the series. All the practice, car maintenance and positive thinking paid off. All of these were important factors that led to me winning the series. I became more confident, motivated, and passionate about RC following last year's win.
BruRC: What is the secret to going fast in RC?
Zul: The key to speed does not come from the car or equipment but from your own efforts to practice and improve. Practicing allows you to hone your driving skills to gain more speed and consistency. As you practice and improve, you will start to understand and hunt for a better racing line. You will also start learning how to find the right setup and proper gearing for your car. As a result, you will gain more knowledge in racing your RC so keep practicing and never give up.
Zul has tasted success in Brunei's RC racing scene including winning the 2019 edition of the RC Passion Oneten Series.
BruRC: What advice can you give newcomers to the hobby?
Zul: Don’t push yourself to get high end equipment if you have a limited budget. Don’t be shy to use what you have. RC hobby is about making new friends and sharing ideas while enjoying the hobby. The most important aspect is that you are eager to learn and gain more knowledge.
Start with a slower car, keep practicing and improving. Join races, racing will broaden your experience and help you learn to manage the pressure of racing. Do not be afraid to ask for help or tips from the other drivers. This is the best way for you to gain more knowledge.
BruRC: What progress would you like to see when it comes to RC in Brunei?
Zul: I would like to say thank you to the Brunei Government for providing a proper and amazing facility for RC racing in Brunei, we are truly grateful. It will be good to see more youngsters pick up this hobby. This hobby will train your technical knowledge and skills. It also improves your social skills. It is a better way to spend your time as opposed to being glued to your phone.
I hope the RC scene in Brunei will grow to the same level as in other countries where racing an RC car is not just a hobby but a legitimate career. At the same time, I would like to see more people having fun with their RCs apart from just competing. This will make the hobby more welcoming to newcomers where everyone can play, share and grow together as one RC community.
I would also like to say thank you to RC Passion and Kawan Ria Enterprise for supporting me throughout the series. Also, to my friends who never stopped sharing information and advice, not only in RC but in other aspects of life as well.
I wish everyone health, patience, and strength during this Covid-19 pandemic. I hope we will be able to get back on the track soon.