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No History of IFMAR would be complete without a brief reference to what
actually led to the calling of the meeting in Geneva, where it was
agreed that a World R/C Association should be formed.
Ted Longshaw took part in the first l/8th scale R/C car meeting to be
held in England on Easter Monday 1971 and thereafter was involved with
the formation of the BRCA in the U.K., along the way getting very
enthusiastic about this exciting new hobby. This led to him taking part
the next year in the ROAR Open National Championship at the Briggs
Cunningham Museum in California.
Subsequently competing in the same Championships in '74 and '75, he
tried to persuade some of the U.S. racers to come over to Europe,
without success. He therefore suggested that he try to get some
Europeans together to come and race in California in 1977, if such a
race could be arranged. John Thorpe agreed that ROAR could use his
raceway and Ted set about organising the trip, through his position as
President of EFRA.
The first so called 1/8th World Championship therefore took place as
arranged but, in truth, apart from the 20+ Europeans, the rest of the
world was represented by ex-pats living in the U.S. It was suggested and
agreed by everyone there that the next W.C. should be in Europe in 1979
and it was left to EFRA to arrange everything.
Meanwhile, Monaco wanted to hold a W.C. in 1978. As it had been agreed
at the Thorpe Raceway that the next W.C. would be held in 1979, Monaco
compromised with EFRA and agreed to hold a so-called World Cup. Several
ROAR members came over and took part and went back to the U.S. with
memories, not of the racing, but more of the liberated views of European
women whilst sunning themselves at the poolside next to the track. (The
pool you all have seen on the T.V. during the full-size Monaco G.P.).
Cameras normally used to capture pictures of the latest modifications to
cars, were all suddenly fitted with telephoto lens and pointed in a
EFRA, meanwhile, decided that the application from the Geneva club in
Switzerland to host the World Championship had the most merit and it was
decided to hold the race there. Splendid pictures exist of the final of
this event and, even now, there is no doubt that there were more
spectators there than at any other R/C car race before or since!
Ted Longshaw called a meeting of all interested persons on the Monday
morning immediately following the race with the idea of creating a
world-controlling body that would not only establish uniform
construction rules but would also ensure that there was only one World
Championship that counted. (There were numerous clubs and organisations
starting to advertise that their next race was to be a W.C. and, had
this been allowed to continue, the whole prestige of a World Champion
title would have been completely devalued.)
At the meeting, which was attended by many well-known names, such as
Gene Husting (Associated), Ken McDowell (Parma), Keith Plested (PB
Racing), Pieter Bervoets (Serpent), etc. - around 30 people in all, it
was agreed that such an organisation should be set up. South Africa's
Wennie Bester suggested the name International Federation of Model Auto
Racing and it was agreed. (It was a
compromise to leave out any reference to R/C, as at that time, there was
a possibility that the existing round the pole cable racers might want
It was agreed that W.C.'s should be held every two years and rotate
alternately between the three blocs, i.e. it only came to your bloc once
every six years. As there was effectively only one class then, it was
thought that this would allow enthusiasts worldwide to meet every two
years. I don't think that even the most optimistic manufacturer there
thought that one day it would be as big as it is now and involve the
worldwide travelling that is now necessary.
Ted Lonsgshaw was proposed as President/Secretary by Gene Husting and
IFMAR was born and on its way.
To aid administration, it was suggested that it was made up of three
equal voting parts, roughly speaking, Europeans, Americans and the Far
East. Each would administer its own area and for W.C.'s would receive an
equal allocation of 40 places. (There was only one class racing then,
i.e. 1/8th I.C. circuit.)
Getting the Far East part of the equation to work proved quite a task
and the original setting up of FEMCA is another full story in itself.
Suffice it to say that it now works very well, with eleven member
countries, all under the guidance of John and Marian Grant who really
are quite indispensible.
Originally, the only time everyone actually got together to hold a
meeting was at the 1/8th W.C. Everyone was kept informed of what was
going on by a regular monthly newsleltter sent out by the
President/Secretary/Treasurer who, at that time, was a one-man
WHAT HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY FROM INAUGURATION IN 1979 UNTIL 1996.
1/8th World Championship in Geneva, (strictly speaking not yet really an
IFMAR event, for IFMAR was not yet born), was won by Phil Booth from
England driving a PB Racing car. Phil is now Development/Design
Engineer with Schumacher and is responsible for many of the new ideas
seen on these cars. He still retains his driving skills and recently was
part of the Schumacher team taking part in the annual PARIS 24 hour
First attempt at forming FEMCA in Hong Kong. Monaco "World Cup" won by
Phil Greeno from England, also driving a PB.
A 1/8th I.C. IFMAR World Championship was held in Indiannapolis which
was won by probably the only driver from the original 1977 race still
capable to-day of making the A main at a World Championship, Arturo
Carbonell. Art is now part of the Serpent organisation in the U.S.A.
First 1/l2th W. C. It had been decided to run this electric race in
alternate years to the 1/8th I.C. Associated Electrics won and started
their domination of Electric R/C racing W.C. titles.
The 1/8th Circuit W.C., back in EFRA this year, was held at the Carnoux
track, a superb purpose-built facility, now, unfortunately, no more. The
race remains memorable now, more for the disputed result, (there was no
electronic timing in those days) and the resultant Court case, than for
the superb presentation of the whole event, which is a pity. IFMAR
though learned something, especially the President, who ended up being
sued in the French courts for approximately 250,000 pounds damages. This
lesson resulted in the first version of the World Championship Contract,
now refined several times, between the promotor and IFMAR. This dispute
also has another interesting story in that it reinforced the
determination of a young University scholar in Holland to perfect a way
of automatically timing and counting the laps on R/C cars. He used the
project as part of his studies to obtain his degree in Electronics. He
is now responsible for the timing equipment used at almost every major
motorised race you see on T.V. There may be advertisements showing
various clock and watchmakers, but the signals that feed their equipment
all come from the same source that originally started out trying to stop
arguments at R/C car races about how many laps each car had achieved.
This most successful of businessmen is Pieter Bervoets' brother, Fons.
The first 1/10th Off-road W.C. Electric racing was now getting very big
in the U.S.A. and this first event was held at the very heart of the
most active area in the world at that time, Del-Mar, California.
Associated Electrics were instrumental in helping this along and one
began to hear more and more a name that is now a legend in R/C car
racing and motor building in particular, MIKE REEDY. Mike was asked to
head up the Electric Section of IFMAR and served as Vice-President until
last year. He played a big part in forming the rules that now govern all
Electric racing, whatever scale, and is still part of the ROAR
FEMCA, at the third attempt, was now up and running successfully and
hosted its first W.C. event, the 1/8th track event in Tokyo. Mike
Reedy, in his position as Vice-President of IFMAR, acted as Race
Director and says he lost count of the number of approval dockets he
signed during the race. Suffice it to say that it was a well-run race
enjoyed by everyone who was lucky to be there.
World Championships continued, alternating each year. Bi-Annual General
Meetings came and went, more countries joined. At the 1987 1/8th Race in
Holland, EFRA pushed for a fourth non-voting to be formed, comprising
countries outside the geographical areas of the existing blocs. In
1986, the first 1/8th I.C. Off-road W.C. was held in France and in 1992,
at Ranch Pit Shop, California, the first 1/10th Electric Circuit W.C.
was organised. There are now five different IFMAR W.C.'s (soon to be
six with 1/10th I.C.) and Ted's original ideas, some of them
incorporated in the first paragraphs of the Constitution, have been
realised. The first clause, even today, is that IFMAR exists to promote
international friendship. The other prime reason stated at the formation
that there should only ever be one recognised World Champion of any
particular class, has also been achieved. Without IFMAR, R/C car racing
could have ended up like boxing with a myriad of titles, none of them
recognised by everyone. As it is today, an IFMAR World Championship is
truly just that. In 1995, at the Bi-AGM held at the 1/8th W.C. in
Phuket, Thailand, Ted stepped down, was appointed Hon. Life President
and handed over to the new President, John Grant and Marian Grant was
IFMAR today is a professional organisation, using volunteers who give
their time but do receive something towards their expenses.
It has its own legal advisor and the Hon. Life President is also
available, if needed, at any time.
A total of 42 countries worldwide are members through their various
There are two Sections within IFMAR - one for I.C. classes and one for
electric classes. Rules are formulated. Dates, venues and driver
allocations are all agreed for W.C. events.
The chief Referee is now appointed by IFMAR and Race Directors, Official
Time-Keepers, etc. etc. are all approved before they are appointed to
ensure smooth running of the events.
All in all, from very humble beginnings, IFMAR has grown up into an
organisation firmly guiding the sport into the future.