• On your mark: Racers steady their Tamiya Mini 4WD models during a monthly race at Brooklyn’s Rui Yong Hobby. [credit:
    Gregory Leporati ]

At least once a month, an unassuming storefront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn transforms into a fierce battleground. Inside, a small crowd cheers and groans as miniature cars dart across a winding track, batteries buzzing as the tiny vehicles twist and turn like Formula 1 cars running through the streets of Monaco. On the final lap, one car speeds into a chicane and flips off the track as spectators gasp.

“This is like a chess match,” says Noel Lopez, the race’s champion. “You have no control after you place your car on the track, but that’s part of the fun.”

It’s just another race day at Rui Yong Hobby, a local shop in NYC that hosts monthly Tamiya Mini-Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) tournaments. The competitions regularly draw a group of 20 or more hobbyists hailing from all across the city and beyond, all itching to put their customized cars to the test.

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