Home / Interviews / Phil Sleigh Interview – Finally we caught up with him.

Phil Sleigh Interview – Finally we caught up with him.

Thanks for taking the time out for a few mins to answer a few questions for the site, we know you are a busy boy at the moment getting everything ready for the start of the 2014/15 BRCA Micro National Season.

    1. So who introduced you to the world of small car racing and what was the Tamiya that got you into racing?

I must have been about 8 years old and I distinctly remember badgering my parents for a year or so before they eventually gave in and got me a very basic RC toy. Within a few months I was totally hooked and looking for something bigger and better. What came next was my first introduction into 1/10 off road, in the shape of a Kyosho Rocky (sorry no Tamiya’s here!) – chain driven with a mono front shock. I’ve probably still got it somewhere.

      1. Who has been your biggest inspiration in the world of RC racing for you now and as a younger up and coming racer?fyu

As a youngster it would probably have to be the extremely quick local guys within the midlands area. At the time I got into competitive racing I was lucky enough to have an extremely well supported championship series (Border Counties League) at clubs all less than an hours drive. This championship would often have team drivers in attendance such as Steve Haynes, Steve Harris, Matt Needham to name but few. They were the ‘yard stick’ and to get close their times was a great achievement back then. Oh and one Tony Bishop would always be in contention for the top spot too.

As for now, it would have to be Craig Drescher. Whilst he’s not doing a huge amount of racing these days he is obviously still heavily involved in the industry with his role at Associated/CML. Craig has always had time to chat, offer advise and generally help improve performances on track and based on his driving ability and knowledge gained from so many National and European titles, you know he will always give sound advise.

      1. When you’re not racing small cars what other things take your time or are you all about getting the cars ready for their next outing.

Free time? What that? Since the arrival of our daughter last April it’s been none stop. I honestly don’t get as much time as I’d like to prep cars ready for race meeting, but I make do with the time I get and prioritise the important things to make sure I’m on top of everything.

My normal routine will be to strip & rebuild shocks and check diffs (rebuilding if required). The great thing about the Micro class is they are very low maintenance and even more so with the geared diffs most manufacturers are now offering.

As for none RC related interests, then it’d have to be F1! Over the past few years we’ve done a few fly away F1 races (Singapore & Abu Dhabi) and given a couple more years I’m sure we’ll be back out visiting more new circuits (Monza or Texas maybe)942617_10201515749076727_977254378_n


      1. You also race 1/10th cars at National level there, do you think we will ever be looking at running 2 day events in the Micro nationals?

I think we’re a few years off that yet, but should the numbers rise to a regular 100+, then I think there’s mileage in a change of race format. It would probably need to take a similar style to MicroX (more qualifying and 3 finals for all).

The biggest hurdle we have in Micro racing at National level currently is we’re starting to push a lot of our regular venues to capacity. Great on one hand, but if to accommodate more racers we change venues then we risk loosing regulars from the long standing clubs (catch 22). It will certainly be interesting to see the uptake of entries for our two new clubs this season (Torbay & Watford)

      1. What’s your best 10th result?

In order they’d have to be;

  1. 2009 2WD National win at Talywain at my first competitive outdoor race for X-Factory.losi
  2. 2009 2WD National series overall position in the same year, finishing on joint points with Ellis Stafford but loosing out on count back.
  3. 2005 2WD European A-Final in France. It was a hugely satisfying result as I’d built a one off rear end for my Losi XXX-BK2 and to know it worked was extremely rewarding. My parents also managed to watch the race in person, having been in France on holiday and travelled over for finals day.

There are loads of others and it’s not until you start to recall them that you realise all the good times that have been had over the years of competitive racing (21 years to be precise)

      1. This is your first year as Chairman of the BRCA Micro Committee, where do you see the section heading over the next 12/24 months? Is there anything in particular that you want to steer the scene towards?

I think our main focus needs to be on steadily increasing entry numbers. We have seen increases over the past 2-3 years and this needs to be sustained. I’d also like to improve our identity and profile as a section within the BRCA as a whole. They have a huge amount to offer us in the way of PR outside of our own little bubble and this needs to be tapped where possible. Initial steps to raise our profile are already taking shape with Shaun Thompson joining as our new section PRO. Shaun has jumped straight it the role and already produced a great report from MicroX which has been published not only online but in RRCi magazine too.

      1. Are there any racers that we need to be keeping an eye on this year?

There a few new faces to the Micro section already making an appearance at MicroX. One to watch for potential early A finals will be Chris Bowater, who is making the jump across from 1/10 during the winter. I was also very impressed by two new juniors at MicroX and they were Ben Young and Moly Brindle. Both showed excellent ability at an early age and also confidence on track against seasoned racers.

      1. Micro X, good wasn’t it?!

Each year I think it’ll be hard to beat the last, but yet again the bar was raised. The Caldicot club laid on a great track yet again, in fact probably the best I’ve raced at that venue, offering close racing across all the range of abilities. The 8 car heats/finals were an inspired choice and gave everyone just that little bit more track space. The two banked sections were the standout features for me, and extremely rewarding when you could hold full throttle from the start if the first to the end of the second.

This year I felt there was a little less grip when compared to previous years, but if anything it enhanced the track as you had to be more precise with the throttle input.

I would also just like to add a huge thanks to the whole crew at Caldicot for hosting the event and I hope you guys have already booked the venue for next year.phil

      1. Why green?

The green came about years ago when I had a pair of bodyshells painted by a local Telford racers Andrew Funge (the very same MicroX 4th place finisher!) the general theme of those shells (AE B3 & TTech P8) was based on Masami’s iconic design. The green did get canned for a few years but was then resurrected when I had some Losi shells painted by Pidge Paint (the one and only Lee Martin), in fact it’s that Losi shell that I used in 2005 to make the Euro’s A-Final.

Since then the design has evolved over several iterations but the common thing has been the element of green.

The current design is a Thumbs Designs masterpiece created by Craig Harris at the tail end of last years Micro season.

      1. You are possibly one of the most well groomed chaps on the Micro scene, always clean shaven and rarely appearing to be a little worse for wear unlike your other committee members. What is your secret?

I have always seen any sponsored driver (irrespective of level) as the ambassador for their sponsor(s) and whilst achieving great wins is one form of promotion, the other is offering support and knowledge to fellow racers when you’re trackside. It could be as simplest as giving them a part for their broken car, offering setup advise, or just congratulating them after a great result.  At the end of the day, we’re the face of our sponsor so need to do our best to promote their products.

As for my fellow committee members, they just have a low threshold for alcohol! Oh, and I’m not as young as I once was and the blurry eyes in the morning ruin my practice.

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