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Running the Athletics by remote control

20 Mar 06 13:06
Davin Jones and Glenn Hamilton with their powerful remote control cars.

Davin Jones and Glenn Hamilton with their powerful remote control cars.

The competitors might be centre stage at the Athletics, but occasionally a small mechanical ‘toy’ can steal the show.

Few in the crowd would disagree that Davin Jones and Glenn Hamilton must have one of the most unusual jobs in the arena. The pair drive a powerful remote control car in the centre of the MCG to pick up and return competitors’ javelins.

After the javelin is pulled from the ground by an official, it is fitted into a custom-made holder on the remote control car and the boys drive the car and javelin back.

“I guess it beats walking to pick up the javelin,” Davin said. “We also collect the discus and hammers for the athletes.”

Davin, who owns a hobby shop in Dandenong, has been pairing up with Glenn to entertain One Day International Cricket fans at the MCG for a few years, racing small stunt cars in the middle of the ground during drink breaks.

“The cricket has been a big hit, so we were asked if we wanted to help out with the Athletics,” Davin said.

Powered by a 27cc two-stroke engine similar to a whipper snipper, the pair had to modify the main cars for the Commonwealth Games and increase their power to carry heavy and awkward objects, while at the same time reducing their noise to avoid interfering with athletes.

“We’ve had to adapt the muffler to reduce the noise, get the centre of balance right on the cars, and install front disc brakes to improve their stopping ability due to the extra weight,” Davin said.

The boys have both been racing remote control cars for more than 10 years, and Glenn has given the main cars the special name of ‘MPCGRVs’, “which stands for Multi-Purpose Commonwealth Games Return Vehicles.”

Glenn said the smaller, fluorescent-coloured cars were used for crowd entertainment before competition started.

The pair can also be seen in action at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre some nights racing remote control boats in the main pool prior to events, also to the joy, and envy, of the crowd.

- United, the Volunteers' newspaper

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