Tales From The Team: Joe Bornhorst, from MX to RC

“As some people know, and maybe some don’t, I spent my entire childhood and teenage years racing dirt bikes with my family. It got introduced to me at a very young age from my father, who also raced his entire life, and I took my first gate at the age of 4. Week in and week out, my family and I would load up and head to races all across Ohio.

Motocross, one of the most popular ways of introducing children to the world of motorsports…

I grew up with a track 5 minutes from my house and basically spent my entire childhood there. From weekday practice nights to weekend races, basically all that I wanted to do was ride. It all started out as fun and harmless but just like anything else I started to push my limits trying to go faster. I got away with it for most of my childhood but then at around the age of 10, injuries started to play a factor. There’s a couple sayings in motocross, “It’s not if you’re going to crash, it’s when” and “The faster you go, the harder you hit.” I never really understood those sayings too much until I was living them sitting in the hospital with broken bones and in pain. It began with a broken wrist, then a broken leg, and continued to get worse from there. The latest one that ended my motocross racing at the age of 17 was breaking my left leg/ankle that still bothers me to this day. Over 20 surgeries and approximately 17 broken bones later, I was introduced to the world of RC racing.

Joe tried his luck with many different sports until he settled with RC….. ?

When I first started attending the big races and got to see the big names run, I told myself that I was going to someday be one of them. I took all of the motocross background and racing knowledge and applied it to RC cars. Whether it was line selection, car control, reading the dirt, or even just watching video, I did everything I could to progress my driving as fast as possible. I tried to approach things from a good perspective and make the right decisions every step of the way. With the right people surrounding me, a lot of hard work done and money spent, I seemed to climb the ladder pretty quickly. I went from doing it privateer style to getting my first sponsorships in 2013, to now having a factory deal and racing for a living. It all became worth it when I started making the mains at the highest level. To me, the feeling that I get up on the drivers stand surrounded by the world’s best drivers is what it must be like sitting on the gate at a Supercross. You can’t buy that feeling, you have to earn it. And that’s what motivates me to keep coming back.

Joe’s car at the 2016 IFMAR World Championship in Las Vegas.

Obviously with having a dream of one day being a professional motocross racer to then getting it all taken away with an injury was hard. But the words that I now live by are “When one door closes, another one opens”. The moral to all of this is even if you get a curve ball thrown at you, keep your goals in sight and do everything in your power to make them happen in one way or another. Being a professional RC racer definitely isn’t exactly what I thought I would be doing when I was a kid, but one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t change one bit of my road to get here.”


-Joe Bornhorst