I know its about SA drifters and getting to know more about our local drifters, however I think we need to show our respects to an RC drifter/enthusiasts borderline fanatic who has given us a whole bunch of information over the years. I am talking about Russell, well more commonly known as Mr RE-Xtreme. That's right, the website many of us have landed on for setup tips; inspiration pics for builds and chassis information, we now get to tap into Russell's brain and see how much RC drifting means to him.

Russell Gander


Tell us a bit about you and how you ended up RC drifting?
Well, it goes way back. My father owned a hobby store when I was growing up.
I had plastic model cars and RC cars. (lexan body building is part of that)
I used to race on road 1/12 scale, so to pay for that, I used to build Tamiya's range of Frog and Grasshopper etc for customers that didn't wanted a Ready to Run version.
Child labor! haha.

The drifting side, I had moved to Japan in 2002 and was following D1 and doing photography etc.
I was living in Tokyo, surrounded by real race cars and my own FD3s RX7.
But I couldn't get to the track as often as I liked due to money constraints.

A couple of friends (foreigners) had very basic Yokomo Drift Packages
We used to meet once a month at Daikoku Futo Parking Area and we would just play a bit. And of course on the street.

My second stint in Japan. I had been through 3 real rx7s and a couple of MX5 in my real garage.
But again that was way too expensive. Sold the last rx7 and sold all my cars about the time of the big Tsunami in Japan.
There was a period where I didn't have a real car, and I started to do RC more seriously.

How long have you been drifting for and which period of your RC drifting “career” is your favourite?
I guess I started drifting in about 2009 properly.
The period from about a year ago 2016 until now is the best.
RC has become very scale oriented and the long drift trains just keep getting better.
I can't really call it a career because I like the Fun/scale side of RC (coming from a real car and scale modelling background)

How often do you drift a week?
Twice a week is enough. But if someone invites me for a session, I usually can't say no.

Between Awd and Rwd, which of the two do you prefer?
I tried RWD from the beginning, around 2012 but no-one could explain the theory to me.
I was totally into High CS 4WD with stupid ratios around 4.5 : 1 but it was too much angle. Now I call it "hovercraft" style.
It took trial and error to find that magic RWD formula.
But from that moment in about 2014 I've been 100% RWD and changed all my 4wd DRBs to my own RWD DRB-REW (Rear Drive Evolution Weight-Shift).
Rotary guys will know the REW reference as Rotary Engine tWin turbo. A link to history.

As a kid growing up, what form of motorsport were you most interested in?
I loved rally. Escorts, Bluebirds, Celicas. WRC Group B OMG!!!
When I got my first car. Celica TA22, I was always in the forest on dirt roads.
For some reason the BMW M1 Support Races for F1 were always crazy exciting too. Sliding monsters.

How many Rc Drift tracks have you drifted on and which one did you like the most? And in what country was it?
I've been on about 7 or Eight in Australia over a long period and about 20 or so in Japan.
There are 3 that are absolute favourites right now.
Japan's "NEO Drift Stage" because of the Diorama setting, super inviting.
But it's hard to compare, I think after that there are 4 or 5 that you can't separate. They are all different.

Do you still get as excited about rc drifting like you did when you first started?
Excited? NO, not as much, I remember MAX-ONE in Japan, I couldn't wait to get to the track and would spend ALL day there.
These days, when I'm in the middle of a train and there is quality, tight proximity challenging drift. That's when I feel the mood.
I try to pass on as many skills as I can to our other locals.

Any advice to those who want to get into Rc drifting?
Buy MST or Yokomo to start. RMX-2.0 looks like the perfect flexible starting point. YD-2 still needs a little work.
You also need to spend on responsive smooth electronics more than the chassis.
I equate RC to Golf. Costs are similar. Difficulty is Similar.

For those who have not yet landed on RE-Xtreme blog , you can find it over here:
Put aside enough time because it sure is a rabbit hole and you will end up spending the whole day simply taking in the sheer amount of information on there.

Thank You Russell for the years of time and effort invested in this ever evolving hobby of ours. You certainly one of the guys that is always willing to share and help grow this sport.