Brentwood RC Raceway Autism Awareness Meet

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On the day of publication (2nd April) it’s World Autism Awareness Day and the week prior was World Autism Awareness Week. Autism isn’t really something I’ve covered in this blog before as it falls out of my area of knowledge being a neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects a lot of people though! More than 1 in 100! It also is what’s known as a ‘spectrum disorder’ so whereas autism may be quite evident in some people in others it is very subtle. This can make diagnosing the disorder and understanding those with the condition quite difficult which is why autism awareness week is so important! So we can all learn to accept and understand those with it a little better.

People on the autistic spectrum often see the world differently than we do; at it’s most basic level they can find people a little difficult to read and don’t always pick up on subtle facial and vocal hints which makes more complex social interactions like sarcasm a bit confusing. People with autism can also be overwhelmed by the world around them when there’s too much going on. Shopping centres for instance, where there is lots of noise and its’ crowded can be a bit too much to take on.

For every negative of being on the autistic spectrum there is a positive trait to counter it. Autistic people are often very passionate about a topic and want to truly master their area of interest, be that train time tables or nuclear physics. They are often incredibly intelligent in their specific field. They are also very truthful which can sometimes come across as being a bit blunt but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to hear. They really aren’t judgemental and won’t play head games in friendships and relationships either and let’s be honest, there’s no way that’s a bad trait!

Samantha Townsend, who attends Brentwood RC, has a son who is on the autistic spectrum and approached Simon and the Brentwood RC team to put on a fundraiser. To say they went above and beyond the call of duty was an understatement! It was one of the best night’s racing I think I’ve ever had! Of any scale and any formula!

The cars to be raced were 1300 stock cars and post 1990 unlimited bangers. 80 bangers, yes 80, turned up for a night of carnage along with 17 juniors and 48 1300 stock cars. That would be a great turn out at a full size banger meet never mind an RC meet. I don’t think in my time racing and drifting I’ve ever been to a busier RC event.

The bangers are always nicely decorated too! Many sporting the Autism Awareness puzzle pieces in their liveries.


This acronym is really cool.


Sheri’s puzzle Granada estate really stood out! Car of the meet in my opinion. Must have taken ages to paint!


Being a bit of an airhead I’d painted my Supra long before it was announced that we were going to be raising money for Autism Awareness. I’d painted my Supra as a rolling billboard for the King of The Ring competitions. Something came of that though and Simon got in touch with me, to get in touch with Adam, to donate a couple of tickets for King of the Ring to the raffle!


The raffle was amazing! 50 prizes were donated from various companies, people and organisations ranging from Easter eggs to body shells and even a long wheel based banger chassis.  Tickets were not only sold at the meet but online too and it proved to be a huge success!

All in all, between the raffle and entry tickets, Brentwood RC raised just under £1900 for autism awareness which is mind blowing! The club will then top that up to £2000. That’s a lot of money for charity raised in one night! Congratulations to all the winners and a big well done to Sam, Simon and the rest of the team for raising such a huge amount of money!

For me the racing went really well in the 1300s and not well in the bangers.

In the 1300s there were 10 cars in my heats. Each heat would be run to 40 laps. In my first heat I placed 7th with 31 laps, heat 2 I placed 7th again with 29 laps and in heat 3 I placed 6th with 33 laps. This got into the ‘C’ final (A being he fastest and E being the slowest) in which I placed 5th with 32 laps.

The bangers didn’t go as well. In the first race the screw that holds the servo saver to the servo backed off rendering me without steering leading to my first DNF. The 2nd race, in a field of 27, I placed 14th with 26 laps. The third race I DNF’d again when the grub screw holding the pinion to the spur gear backed out and I lost power. Somehow my 14th got me to the B final (A-C in the bangers) but dipstick here didn’t tighten the grub screw to it’s flat bit on the motor armature, so as soon as I put power down the motor span and the gears didn’t DNF again! Despite the silly breakages though I had fun with the bangers. I’m looking forward to giving them another go at the all Jap meet in May! The Supra didn’t take too much of a pounding so that will be back out for that meeting.


All in all it was a really, really fun meet. Plenty of cars, plenty of crashing and plenty of money raised for charity.

I’d also like to say thanks to Midge’s RC Shells and Spares, the shop based at Brentwood RC. They not only stocked the bits I needed to fix my banger at a really good price, but Midge also kept aside this MG 1300 shell for me.


All ready for the next time out!


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By Richard Francis

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