Buxton boy pips mum to become radio controlled car racing European champion

A ten-year-old Buxton boy was crowned junior European champion in competitive radio-controlled car racing at an event in Austria last month – finishing just ahead of his mum in the final standings.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 12:46 pm

Harpur Hill Junior School pupil Alfie Jack Shilcock carried the flag for Team GB as they entered the arena of the 2022 EFRA Large Scale Offroad European Championships in Fehring, near the Hungarian border, on Monday, July 18.

After five days of humps, bumps and high-speed racing he walked away with the trophy having finishing 17th overall in a field of much more experienced drivers – the highest placed in his age group.

Mum Heidi, 32, who finished 18th, said: “It was the best thing ever to watch him race. When he crossed the line I cried happy tears – and I’ve never ever cried happy tears. The whole track was roaring for him.

Alfie Jack Shilcock stands proudly atop the podium.

“It’s the biggest competition we’ve got for our cars, there’s no world championship. It’s a huge achievement and one of the proudest moments of my life.”

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Fairfield resident Heidi, who works in security at Alton Towers, began racing smaller radio-controlled cars in 2017, having grown up in the world of motorsport watching dad Tracy and mum Mandy race real off-road cars.

Gradually she has progressed into bigger, more powerful models, and Alfie has followed in her footsteps since he was five. It is still very much a family affair as Tracy serves as mechanic for Alfie, and Mandy was ‘team mum’ out in Austria.

Alfie was slightly dumbstruck as he realised what he had achieved.

The cars are scaled down American stadium trucks, just under a metre-long, with a 29cc tuned engine, and Alfie is gradually learning how to ‘spanner’ them too.

Heidi said: “I’m proud that we do it as a whole family. I think other parents might have a heart attack letting children play around with them, but there are a few other juniors who have grown up around their parents racing.

“We have a bit friendly rivalry between us, but it’s just great fun to be able to race with him. I enjoy it so much and there’s always a bit of buzz in the crowd when we end up in the same heat.

She added: “You try to think it’s just another car on the track, but it’s always there in the back of your mind that you don’t want to take each other out on a corner.”

Competitors spent a week practicing and racing on a very challenging track.

“We go out with the aim just to enjoy it. I’ve instilled it in Alfie that it doesn’t matter how we do results-wise. There’s a real community element to it. I’ve made friends from all over the world. It’s important just to soak up every moment of the experience, although you do end up putting pressure on yourself in a big race.”

Alfie only began competitive driving in 2021 and at the start of this season secured a coveted spot alongside his mum with Team Losi Racing.

Next up are the national championships in Sussex over the weekend of August 13-14, where Heidi and Alfie will both be hoping to qualify for next year’s Euros in the Czech Republic.

For updates on his progress, follow the page facebook.com/AJshilcock.

Alfie's car in action

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Alfie with mum Heidi, right, and grandparents Tracy and Mandy Shilcock.