Bob 'Bullet' Light's Long Winning RC Race Career
A tribute to Bob from Nathan Dean: Click HERE!
As I have gotten older, the more I understand about capturing history, especially people who set a high (and fast!) standard for those following. While remote control car racing is not a life changing event (some will disagree with me!), RC racing is an important teaching tool, especially when growing up as you develop hand/eye coordination, learn to work and adapt with groups of strangers and friends in a competitive environment, and development of mechanical/electrical skills, all of which are valuable to have throughout your life, no matter the age. There are many other benefits, but you get the idea of what I mean.
Bob 'Bullet' Light is a RC champion not as well known in this decade (a nickname not PC at this time, but comes from the era of TV when 'faster than a speeding bullet' meant something positive and reaaaaly quick!). But Bob helped make the RC hobby blossom in the early eighties in the Midwest, sparked the interest which brought many other people into the sport. And he prepared all the racers in this part of the US what to expect when traveling out of town. If you could 'stay on the same lap' with Bob racing 1/12 scale or 1/10th scale oval on the tracks in OKC, you would be competitive wherever you went!
Bob was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He started RC racing in 1980, at the local Armory on polished concrete running 1/12th scale GT. Using an Associated 12E car powered by 4 cell Ni-Cad packs with brushed motors, and using a box radio (hard to even find a picture now), Bob soon was winning almost every local event he entered.
In 1982, Trinity's (www.teamtrinity.com) Ernie Provetti saw what Bob could offer when getting 'the good stuff', and made him the second hired/paid driver right after Joel Johnson was brought on board. Bob's first big race with Trinity was at the 1982 1/12th scale nationals (Indianapolis, IN), making the A Main and finishing 9th. Bob was paid expenses in the beginning, and in about 1987 started receiving a monthly stipend and expenses with the 'good stuff'. Everyone wanted to have Trinity as their sponsor with their motor and battery tech; Bob and Joel got it at every national event!
After that first national event, Bob was near impossible to beat in local and regional races when in his favorite classes of 1/12 scale onroad and oval racing. Keeping track of the many wins in the Midwest was not possible and he continued to place well in the A mains at many national events with Trinity. Going forward, he just counted the national championships he won!
Bob became a competitive regular at the US Indoor Championship in Cleveland (this race has been held for 40 consecutive years, until 2020) every Fall for more than 10 years where he made the A Main almost every year, but never won. This was a tough event and Bob's share of luck would turn sour with radio problems or other issues every year it seemed.
In 1986 came Bob's first national TQ in the ROAR 1/12 scale National championship. He went on to be invited as one of the US representatives to the IFMAR World Championship, where he finished 6th in the same year.
In 1987, Bob became 1/10 US On-Road Champion and followed it up in 1988 as 1/10th ROAR On-Road National Champion. In 1989 he was again 1/10 US On-Road Champion AND Speedworks Sportsman Cup Invitational Champion.
Bob's focus was becoming more oval oriented by 1989 and his national wins continued with NORRCA Sprint Car Dirt Oval Championship in 1990 and was runner up in the 1990 NORRCA 4 Wheel Drive National Championship (two feet behind the winner, the announcer call the race finished one lap too early).
During early 1991, Bob had enough of constant travel and the demands of being elsewhere every weekend and decided to have more control of his schedule, and left Trinity. Bob was not finished national racing and I was fortunate to have him join Power Products, along with James Brown and Gary OBrien. Eventually, Power Products and Specialized RC joined to offer battery packs and modified motors, and later simply Power Products again.
Bob was back on track hard in 1992 where he competed, TQ and won the NORCCA Paved Oval Nationals Enduro class (LARGE asphalt paved oval, 400 laps, Pine Bluff, AR). Then on to the 1992 NORRCA Dirt Oval National where Bob was TQ and won in open Sprint (with the new Custom Works dirt Sprint 'Enforcer'). Due to time contraints as he transitioned to a new job, Bob had one big race and repeated the win in 1993 at the 400 Lap Enduro in Pine Bluff.
Was Bob done in 1993 at national events? Mostly, as Power Products and team, including Bob, took a 20 year sabbatical from regular RC races. James and Louise Brown continued as a track owners/hobby shop for 20+ years (Competition RC, OKC) and Gary won several NORRCA off road national champions, finished by opening his own RC track and hobby shop.
Bob started racing regularly again about 2010, still competitive in dirt oval. Bob continues to race on and off in RC and spends a lot of time iRacing.