Satiating the burning need for speed

Daniel Lim

Tamiya Mini 4WD has been a hobby for generations since its creation in 1986, and has since seen a robust and tight-knit community grow across the world, with Brunei Darussalam being no exception.

The Mini 4WD is a series created by Tamiya, a Japanese manufacturer of plastic model kits that primarily focusses on 1:32 scale build-it-yourself kits powered by single electric motors, paired with two AA batteries.

Devoid of any other control mechanism, these Tamiya Mini 4WD are mostly played on circuit slot tracks in, where smaller wheel bearings on the sides of the car ensure it follows the track at blistering speed.

Throw in a couple of overpasses and obstacles such as jumps onto the circuit, and a full-fledged competitive scene can be created to satisfy a speed junkie’s need to push his vehicle to the limits.

Local group Team Tanoshi, comprising Tamiya Mini 4WD enthusiasts based in the Belait District, organised a Mini Tamiya 4WD Tournament at the NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd Showroom in Kuala Belait recently. They competed against enthusiasts from across the nation to determine who ruled the circuit.

Racers hold up their Tamiya Mini 4WD vehicles during the tournament. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
A race in action

Team Tanoshi members and tournament organiser Muhd Hidayatullah bin Haji Ismail said, “The history behind the Team Tanoshi’s formation dates back to early 2014, where friends started to gather and play Tamiya. Most of them were from Bandar, which led to the growth of the hobby and the formation of the team in the Belait District.”

Muhd Hidayatullah said challenges stem not only from the obstacles and circuit layouts (which can significantly change how one competes on the track), but also how each individual tunes his Tamiya Mini 4WD, which could make all the difference.

He said, “I think the draw is the challenge of racing, in competing against each other,” adding that that competitions generate interest and keep the sport alive.

Participant Asmandi bin Haji Jaman, a Tamiya Mini 4WD veteran with over 20 years experience competing in regional and international competitions, shared his passion for the sport.

“I have represented Brunei in Jakarta and Surabaya, which culminated in Japan in the Tamiya Mini 4WD World Championship.”

He noted how the sport has changed over the years, having started with home-made tracks to supplement the low supply of original tracks that were hard to find back in the day, to tournament regulation tracks as well as vehicles and parts, as they became more widely available as the sport continues to grow.

“While the sport may look simple from afar, it is anything but. There are challenges for each competition. The layout is different, which can present challenges of its own. From there, we can change the settings of each Tamiya Mini 4WD, and that makes a difference,” he said.