For the love of racing
Dawson Silenzi, left, and Mark Silenzi with their cars, sponsored by The Blue Star Restaurant. Photo by: Bill Potrecz
Mark Silenzi and his son Dawson Silenzi spend countless hours racing each year but never get behind the wheel of a car.
The Silenzis have been racing Salvas MUDboss model cars for about a year and have fallen in love with the activity.
The duo received the cars as Christmas presents last year and quickly took to the hobby which sees model cars race on both indoor carpet and outdoor overall dirt tracks.
“We got into it because we’re really big dirt racing fans and we loved the cars from Merrittville,” said Mark Silezni, a 47-year-old Welland resident. “It’s the closest thing to that without spending a fortune.
“It keeps you going. It’s something that we like to do and it’s a night out and it’s fun to be with your son.”
Dawson, a 19-year-old supply chain and operation management student at Niagara College, also enjoys the social aspect of the hobby.
“It’s a good bunch of guys. It’s more like a club,” he said. “Everybody there is fun and good to get along with.”
The duo also enjoys tinkering with the cars, which can cost up to about $1,000 and can reach speeds of about 65 kilometres per hour.
“They are pretty advanced and there is a lot of work you have to do on them and maintaining them,” said Mark Silenzi, a Casino Niagara Employee. “The shocks are all oil-filled so you have to maintain them and change the oil and clean motors and change and tighten things.
“A good motor really helps. They get tired after a while.”
The motors are powered by batteries which give about 30 minutes of racing. Each racer carries about five batteries and chargers. A normal night of racing and practice is about 300 laps.
The Silenzis run for fun each Wednesday at The Seaway Mall in the old Target store and also racing more competitively.
That’s where things get serious.
“If you run an actual event the cars all have to be the same,” Mark Silenzi explained. “They check specs on batteries and tires.
“The set up is huge. Trying to get the car to go around and hook up and trying different sized shocks and making adjustments in steering.”
The Silenzis have run at local tracks in St. Catharines and Vineland and well as on a circuit in New York State.
“We run for points and prizes and some run for money,” Mark said.
The father/son racing duo plan to continue racing for the foreseeable future — Dawson already has three cars — although they do admit they sometimes get strange looks when they tell their friends what they do for fun.
“Some people think it’s cool and other people think it’s just a toy,” Mark laughed.
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