[This is a sponsored article with RC Paragon Universal.]
Toy cars were often found in my house during my childhood. My brother and I had a large box of Hot Wheels Cars, and would also race our AA battery cars around our living room.
As we grew up though, we also grew out of these interests, but for some people, this hobby continues into adulthood. Some may even only discover this interest in adulthood.
Others even take it one step further, by immersing themselves in the remote control (RC) cars community, which is a more serious take on toy car modification and racing.
Small but mighty
RC car competitions are played in three different categories:
- Competitive racing;
- Leisure bashing.
To elaborate, competitive racing is usually categorised based on skill levels, the scale of RC cars, and types of surfaces such as dirt, astroturf, and on-road, to name a few.
These tracks are specifically made for RC car racers to test their abilities in manoeuvring through the tracks, with some examples being the Kota Raja on-road track, Putrajaya P6 off-road track, and more.
Meanwhile, speedrunning is where things get serious for RC racers. It challenges a racer’s modification abilities and capabilities in keeping control of their cars at high speeds.
Fun fact: Within Malaysia’s RC cars community, the current national record for speedrunning was set in 2022, when a competitor managed to get their toy car speeding from 0km/h to 260km/h on a track that was under 1km long. According to Malaysian hobbyists, it was a feat that put Malaysia on the map for the global RC community.
Leisure bashing, on the other hand, is where most players start. Bashing in RC generally means racing without rules or regulations, where wrecks from high jumps aren’t something to be avoided, but something to laugh about.
After all, RC owners learn how to repair and maintain their cars by breaking parts and replacing them.
As exciting as this hobby is though, there’s still a lack of awareness about it, according to Eugene Yong, who founded RC Paragon Universal (RC Paragon).
From hobby to livelihood
Starting with an interest in drones and cars, Eugene got into the world of RC cars in 2016 when he was still an undergraduate student.
At the time, RC cars were known as a “rich man’s hobby”, where options were few, and the market was heavily monopolised by a couple of big resellers, according to him.
“Racers needed to spend a lot for trial-and-error as well as to test different component combinations in their application to achieve the best performance. However, education on battery performance still remained extremely low,” he elaborated.
Hence, he launched his own RC car business in 2017, named RC Paragon. The aim was to offer the most options for lithium-polymer (lipo) batteries, giving customers the best bang for their buck.
Eugene credited his past experiences as a producer and manager for events across South Africa, Singapore, India, and Malaysia as factors that contributed to the growth of his business.
The role he played in the events industry provided him with the skills he needed to constructively manage a business and optimise his resources.
RC Paragon then rose as a common name amongst RC racers in 2020 amidst the pandemic, which contributed to the founder’s ability to later build his showroom.
Driven to fuel the community
In September 2022, RC Paragon set up a physical store in Shah Alam, which Eugene claims is the first RC car store with a showroom concept in Malaysia.
RC Paragon’s store showcases various types of brands, cars, power stations, and more, that cater to different types of customers, whether beginners or experts.
It houses more than 150 models of lipo batteries, which Eugene believes makes it the biggest selection available in Malaysia.
In the showroom, car hobbyists can also test and modify RC cars in-store, supported by personnel who are equipped with the knowledge to recommend the best fit for customers’ needs.
Of course, running a physical showroom to sell RC cars and their components can come with high capital and operational expenses compared to running an online store.
It’s why Eugene understands that he took an extremely risky approach to put up the first RC showroom in Malaysia.
But he’s confident that it’s the way to go in building RC Paragon’s branding and strengthening customers’ confidence.
Eugene said that RC Paragon will soon provide professional equipment for racers to measure and analyse the performance of their RC cars.
Since opening the showroom, he reported that customers have included regulars who have been dealing with the brand since its warehouse days.
With new RC tracks and spots available within Klang Valley and other states too, he anticipates more people taking part in this hobby.
“We hope this can potentially be a new attraction amongst to-do activities for tourists from other states in the future,” the RC car enthusiast envisioned.
To continue contributing to the growth of the hobby, he shared that RC Paragon’s ultimate goal is to launch other showrooms based in Penang and Johor, which will also cater to their existing customer bases in the northern and southern regions.
Featured Image Credit: Eugene Yong, founder of RC Paragon Universal