This is Eric of Hong Kong Mini 4wd Association (HKM4A). Popularity of Mini 4wd has been growing rapidly throughout these 2 years. The highest rank of a Hong Kong racer got is number 3 of the world in 2014. Back in 2006, there were only Empress Speedway and HKM4A working for Mini 4wd. At that time, the number of active racers were around 100. 9 years later, the estimated number of active racers in Hong Kong is around 1500 or more. The number of stores with tracks grew from like 10 to 40, while the highest number was 70. Most of them are located at the industrial buildings. Mini 4wd has become so much more accessible and tracks are everywhere. But then, together with the popularity, other issues flow on the water as well:
– Replica parts (especially HG carbon)
– Crazy 「buy low sell high」 action from the speculators
– Racers are losing interest
The replica parts can be seen as the result of speculators』 action. The speculators』 buy and sell technique made the supply of the valuable parts very low and unstable, racers had to pay a ridiculous high price for a good manufactured part. So the replica is the solution, especially for young racers. It is not a bad thing to see competitors of Mini 4wd manufacturing, but then there is a big argument between groups about the race regulation. While most prefer following the official Tamiya regulation, some groups suggest allowing limited number of replica parts. As the 3D printing technology is getting more advanced and popular, this argument will become a more serious issue in the future.
Another issue is how to keep racer’s passion. Currently there is no rank or grading in mini 4wd world, personally I believe that developing a rank or grading system will help racers stay because they will have a sense of belonging to the motorsport. Cash prize of race may be an intuitive but then some research has proved that cash prize does not help participants stay in long-term. Many stores are hosting different types of race to keep racer’s interest, that is a good start but we need to have a more developed system to recognize the racer’s effort. That’s why we are working closely to the stores.
Feel free to leave a comment or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions.