Second-generation racer Brian Blanchard (R) and his father,
Marcus, prepare for a heat at the 2015 Nats, en route to a
Q-500 National Championship. Photo by Santiago Panzardi.
Second-generation racer Alex Richmond (L) poses with his
father, Brian, before a heat at the 2016 Phoenix Q- 40 Classic.
Racer Neil Martin (L) stands beside his father, Mark, at the
2016 Billings MT race. This was Neil’s first race and Mark’s first
in more than 20 years.
The future of Pylon Racing
by Aaron “AJ” Seaholm
In early June, my son, Tagan, and I made our annual trek to the Billings Flying Mustangs (BFM) race in Billings, Montana. Special thanks go to the BFM club, Shane Elbert, Leon Elbert, and Allie
Russell for creating a great racing experience.
Tagan is now eight, the same age I was when my father, Earl, started
teaching me how to fly. The combination of this and seeing great
friends from 20-plus years ago—Mark Martin and Dick and Stephanie
Smith—had me reminiscing.
As I look back on 30-plus years of RC Pylon Racing, I realize how
much it has shaped my life. The experiences, memories, and people
have influenced my personality, my family, my friends, and my career.
RC Pylon has taught me how to win with humility and how to lose—
but not have to like it—as well as how to compete, how to be a part
of a team, and how to maintain composure during pressure-packed
I care deeply about this sport and want future generations to benefit
from it as I have. This column focuses on how we can propel RC Pylon
forward for future generations.
Elusive New Racers
Throughout the years, the pursuit of new racers has been a heavily
discussed topic. The debate has often raged over the best way to attract
and retain new blood. Despite our best efforts, new racers have proven
to be an elusive pursuit. We are not getting any younger and desperately
need to fill event registrations with new racers to sustain the sport.
At the Billings race, there were two first-time racers, Andy Pinney and
Neil Martin. I thought it would be helpful to understand what lured
them to Pylon Racing and use that knowledge to attract new racers
A.J. Seaholm: What is your RC biography?
Andy Pinney: I have been flying RC on and off for the last 16 years. I
have always had a fascination with anything that flies. I have my private
pilot’s license. The Billings race was my first RC competition. I have
always been in Montana at the Billings Flying Mustangs.
Neil Martin: Dad (Mark Martin) had me going to the flying field
[when I was] very young. He got me a trainer [when I was] 8-9 years
old. I flew trainers for a while, then got out of it starting in middle
school. I got back into flying [at] the end of high school and the
summers while in college. I got better and did it a lot more and moved
on to more advanced airplanes. I really like speed.
AJS: What made you attend your first race?
AP: Shane Elbert, the contest director. I had no idea what a Pylon
race was, but Shane encouraged me to get involved. I had not had any
exposure until a couple weeks before the Billings race.
NM: Dad raced when I was younger. He mentioned Billings was having
a race this summer, but I was working. A month later, after a couple
107 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2016