JONESVILLE — After several years of sitting empty, the property at the old Jonesville Library is now full of life, starting with a national HO scale electric slot car event.
“There seemed to be a niche in the Elkin/Jonesville area for slot car racing being that the area is rich with history of motor racing,” said Bill Taylor, founder of the Foothills HO Racing Association.
The FHORA, one of many similar organizations across the country, builds and races HO scale electric slot cars.
“With the HO scale, you can have more in less space,” said Taylor, although the two large tracks take up a significant amount of space.
“We had a large track like this in our home in Ohio,” said Taylor, who has traveled extensively for competitions. “You can travel to several races as far away as from here to the San Francisco, California, area.
“There’s a little race called the Fray in Ferndale. It usually draws over 100 racers every year. On the East Coast, there’s the ECHOR in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area once a year that’s fun to attend. Even here in North Carolina, you have a group called the Southern Sportsman racing series, which is a traveling series between mostly South Carolina, North Carolina and West Virginia.”
The Southern Sportsman was the first race to be run on the FHORA tracks as a prelude to the Foothills 400, which was run the first weekend in April.
“We had 18 racers show up for our Foothills 400 this year, and we had them from as far away the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Dayton, Ohio, area,” said Taylor, who also hosted individuals from Virginia and South Carolina as well as throughout North Carolina.
“One of the people from Claremont deemed it a national race,” said Taylor, “so I guess North Carolina now has a national race and I think as the race goes on there’ll be more turn out. You can expect up to 40 or more racers.”
“Now that we have a national race, we need to get the club up and running,” said Taylor’s wife, Beanie, who will be managing the building.
At 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Foothills HO Racing Association will hold an organizational meeting to help introduce HO scale electric slot car racing and to establish guidelines for the club.
Guided tours will be available from noon to 1 p.m. for those who are interested in learning more about plans for the building with the opportunity to try the tracks after the meeting.
“It’s a good family activity,” said Bill Taylor, describing the benefits of racing including learning about scientific principles and engineering especially for those who build the cars.
“It’s easy to do depending on what level you want to get involved with. All ages can participate. All genders can participate,” said Bill Taylor.
“It’s one of those things where you can be exactly as involved as you want to be,” said Beanie. “Some folks love to build the cars, so they’ll take care of that for their partner who might like to just run them. I don’t care as much for that part, but I love the travel and socializing. I’ve been to Gettysburg twice thanks to slot cars, and we recently had a guest who spent her day touring our area. You never know what benefits can come out of any hobby.”
“The camaraderie and fellowship of it, meeting new people and making new friends [is a significant benefit],” said Bill Taylor, who appreciates the healthy competition and helping rival drivers. “There’s a lot of things that you can learn like teamwork.”
To be a part of the Foothills HO Racing Association team, call 336-426-4133 or go to www.facebook.com/groups/804093503091643/.