Hamiltonian Amy Stevenson was born with spina bifida. In 1988 when she was 8 years old, her father, Dave took her to the radio controlled car (RC) racing at Bristol Park, Hamilton clubs' off road track. On seeing how excited she was and after talking to her they sold the go kart and in July 1989 they went to the then local Kits N Bits model shop where they brought Amy's first RC car, a Monster Beetle.
The Monster Beetle was assembled and after that there was a lot of backyard practise. Amy attended Frankton Primary School and previously had not enjoyed the "show and tell" day in her class as not able to contribute much due to her physical limitations but that year armed with her Monster Beetle out on the school courts Amy instantly became the most popular kid in class. A massive confidence boost for her that has carried her through to this day.
Amy went to her very first race meeting on September 2 1989. In 1990 the local club started the successful Indoor Drivers' series. As well as racing Amy offered to help on the race computer having attended computing classes at CCS Disability Action.
In 1992 at the age of 12 Amy took over the computer as well as continuing to race. Around then she also helped the then President and Drivers Series Co-ordinator Doug Holmes with all the paperwork for the series including entry forms, race books, designing the posters and all the race day computer work. This included Friday night set-ups, early Saturday mornings and late evenings. Amy loved that she could contribute so much to her chosen sport.
1994 saw Touring cars enter the scene and Amy and Dave realised the need for a proper racetrack. Over the course of four months, father and daughter built the track and it was ready for the first round of the Drivers Series in June 1994. A couple of years later and the racing was moved to Claudelands Showgrounds. Amy continued with her heavy workload at race control for race nights for points rounds and the Drivers Series as well as running her Stock Truck. Finally, in 2010 she was able to put No 1 on the door having won herself.
In 2013 Amy took her first break from the computer in 20-plus years to recharge her batteries and not long after that her racetrack went into storage. She however continued to race. After her break from the computer, in 2015 Amy took a trip to Tauranga RC clubs' new indoor venue at Greerton Hall with her truck to have a go on carpet.
Soon after this visit however she was offering to run their race computer for them. Amy and her dad were involved in refreshing the track ready for the start of the 2016 season. In 2017 the Tauranga club moved to a bigger hall venue at Mount Maunganui. Amy was now running the meetings from race control and was also a committee member.
She was still racing in Hamilton but she was not enjoying their new venue as much as with her ground zero drivers view it was very difficult to gauge most parts of the track. So, in 2020 Amy moved her racing to Tauranga where she can see all of the racetrack. Along with being a committee member, Amy has also been club captain and has now taken over the president and secretary roles as well.
Another important part of Amy's involvement with RC racing has been her work on behalf of the NZRCA (NZ Radio Cars Association). Amy has served on the NZRCA Executive for 17 years as licence secretary having started in 2003. During the years she has officiated as chief timekeeper at national events in both the North Island and South Island and many other north island events. Over the time she has also trained many members to use the AMB timing system at events.
Amy has never missed a year's racing in 30 years. "I'm having lots of fun doing it," she says. "The respect that is shown for Amy and her commitment to RCC racing in a male dominated sport is awesome" says a proud Mum and Dad.
On Saturday, September 19 Amy was awarded life membership to NZRCA at Mount Maunganui. She is the second person to receive this honour and was presented this by the first life member Murray Macdonald.
A further life membership was given to Selwyn Duthie at the AGM later the same day. Members of the Amy's family including her Mum, Nita, Dad, Dave and Nana along with Tauranga club members were there to share the celebration with her. A worthy tribute and acknowledgement to a special person.