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Craig Harris – Interview

(MRC)   Hi Craig thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, we thought we’d kick off the release of MicroRCracer.com by having a quick Q&A with you.

(CR) – No problem I love the new site. Micro racing is starting a whole new chapter in its life right now, going from strength to strength. This new site feels like somewhat of a talisman for the fresh new faces breathing some real enthusiasm into the scene.

(MRC) Fresh off the back of your win of the BRCA National Series, some said it was a long time coming how did you feel when you crossed the line at Hinkley and knew you’d finally taken the crown?

(CR) – Yes, I’ve let Phil have it all his own way for far too long haven’t I? The Carisma GTB has changed that for me though, I feel like the car was built for me, it suits my driving style perfectly.

The race itself was very intense and  became a straight fight between Andy Jones and myself for the whole 5 minutes, whichever one of us won that battle won the title so you can imagine the tension. Luckily I had got the better of my nerves all day as I needed the extra point from TQ to make the Series win. I was so “in the zone” I didn’t even realise the race had finished, I kept going until I heard the computer call race over. At that point my legs nearly buckled underneath me in pure exultation, by that point Andy Jones was already leaning across the rostrum to be the first to congratulate me on the victory.

(MRC) – You’ve been in and around the RC world for quite a number of years now, it was your parents that got you into RC at a young age right?

(cr) – Yes, it’s all my parents fault. My dad got into model making after a motorcycle crash, before I was born, this swiftly developed into a passion for radio controlled models. My parents started racing Off Shore RC power boats which they would chase around a course in a full size power boat, it was soon evident that Mum was the better driver and wasn’t long before Mum and Dad became quite a formidable team with Mum on the sticks and Dad on the spanners. I was part of this team for a while as Mum didn’t stop racing even when she was pregnant with me. They were still competing just 4 weeks before I was born and took part in a race off shore at Penarth with my Dad kneeling behind her in the chase boat hanging on to her to make sure she didn’t do me a mischief.

I have literally grown up with RC boat and car racers as part of my extended family and all my childhood holidays were racing something RC somewhere in the country. By the age of 7 I had my own Tamiya Holiday Buggy and was competing at my local club (which my parents ran) Gwent Model Club. Mum and me kept our enthusiasm for 10th off road and we would go racing together all over Wales and England. Mum was pretty quick and ruthless on the track, quite capable of making regional A finals even in the 1/10th off road hay days of the late 80’s – early 90’s, she was my RC mentor for many years and definitely a massive influence on how to win races today.

(MRC) – Do you race any other classes?

(cr) – I have raced all sorts over the last 30 years, boats and cars, but 10th off road has always been the constant in my RC lifetime.

I currently actively race 1/10th off-road 2wd and 4wd (RC10B5m + X-11), Micro 4wd (Carisma GTB)  and GT12 (Supastox)

(MRC) – How did you get into Micro Racing?

(cr)- I came across a promotional video from the legendary WORM club in Weston-Super-Mare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqU0fFKnRe0 , the crazy things they were doing got my attention instantly, it looked totally manic and I had to have a go! I took a trip over there and met the section Chairman Cris Oxley aswell as Micro royalty Dan and Si Osborne who gave me a good idea of what car I wanted and what radio gear I needed. I got that car, an LRP Shark ST, the following day and was back the next week with it to cause utter mahem! A little over a week later I took on the National series and the rest is history.

(MRC) – What do you do for a living?

(cr) – I run my own RC car based business, Thumbs Designs. We manufacture hop up parts, mainly for the GTB but we are rapidly growing our range to include parts for other micro and 1/10th cars. We also produce custom paint jobs, stickers and racewear.

(MRC) – You have been sponsored by Carisma since 2010 and are their UK Team Captain, are there any drivers out that you are keep an eye on for the future?

(CR) – There are several youngsters showing a lot of skill around the micro scene at the moment. It is great to see as they are the future of this game and we need to do all we can to encourage them.

Two have stood out for me this season for different reasons. Harry Redstone has shown a great eye for detail and maturity rarely seen in an under 16, his eagerness to learn everything about himself and his car has impressed me greatly, this guy is a thinker and will soon have the skills and experience to back up his tactical approach, I think we’ll see this guy knocking on the back door of the A next season . The other possesses a rare natural talent to drive a car to the absolute edge of it’s capability, Ben Young is the scenes Cool Kid, he has come on leaps and bounds this year. He has gone from being quick for half a lap to stringing several super fast laps together aswell as developing some impressive setup knowledge, once he reins in his youthful exuberance and puts together a clean run he will be seriously quick!

(mrc) Certainly one to watch there then!

(MRC) –being as you are Team Captain for Carisma and chief designer at ThumbsDesigns.com are there any exciting new developments coming our way in the next 12 months that we can get excited about?

(cr) – Thumbs Designs and Carisma Racing are always working on new parts, some make it through R&D and onto the shelves, others don’t. Products like the weight kits, fine tune shock towers,  heavy duty drag link and upgrade Layshaft kit to stop the belt pulleys stripping have been revolutionary for some people. These are all parts that Thumbs Designs has worked with the Carisma team drivers to bring to you.

You can expect to see a few more parts filter through from Carisma and Thumbs Designs before next season like the all gear diff for the GTB, a new unit made with 4 planetary gears in a traditional cross design. These have been designed to be retain oil (and they work really well) Some other nice parts on the way from Carisma include aluminium wishbone hangers, Titanium Nitride hinge pins and Titanium Nitride shock shafts.

We also have a back stop for the aluminium hexes coming soon, this will stop the drive pins from bending and also pushes the width of the car all the way to the maximum 205mm when using the Carisma alumium wheel hexes.

(MRC) – It’s the off season for Micros now, how are you going to get your micro fix over the summer?

(cr) –  We are lucky at my local club Caldicot RC Racers to have a huge following for the micro off roaders. We race indoors every Friday night all year so it is the perfect club to race Micros as you get to race them every week if you wish.

(MRC) – Are you able to go into any further details about the MicroX as we know you were heavily involved with the last one?

(cr) – I am currently in talks with several major players in the Micro scene to make sure this event happens again in the UK in 2014, we also hope to expand the MicroX phenomena and captivate a few more countries with the magic of micro.

(MRC) – Fingers crossed then!

(MRC) – Cheers Craig, good luck for next season, and good luck at the MicroX  later on this year 😉

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