A World Sport
A tether car world championship is equal parts
nationalistic competition, family reunion, equipment swap meet and advanced
Hosted every three years in Europe, Australia or the United States, the most
recent championship was held this summer in a suburb of Tallinn, Estonia, the
country's capital -- a world away from Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh, the site of
the previous meet in 2001.
To Americans, Estonia may seem a far-flung place to hold a sporting event. But
Estonians -- along with the Swedes and Germans -- dominate this sport, which is
well respected in all the former Soviet Union countries. Not only did Estonia
win the team trophy this year, but hundreds turned out to watch the three- day
"It was quite an event. ... The meet made the 6 o'clock news," said
Nicholas Tucci, 44, of Merrick, who attended as part of the U.S. team. The best
the Americans did was 10th place in one event; as a team, they finished 13th of
Estonia's dominance is the product of an educational tradition in which boys in
after-school technical programs were encouraged to work on miniature cars as a
way of developing engineers and machinists for the then Soviet Union, of which
Estonia was a part. Before the Soviet Union dissolved, more than 1,000
full-time government employees were assigned to coach and organize competitions
for tether racing.
"We Estonians act as a bridge between the racers of Europe, other western
nations and the former Soviet teams since our team speaks English, German and
Russian," said meet host, Tonu Sepp, 43, of Tallinn.
Although small in number, tether racers have a tight international community.
"We had this United Nations earlier than the big building in
Manhattan," said Werner Amend, 79, of Hameln, Germany.
"I love the camaraderie of people all over the world. It's all as simple
as that," added Dieter Hecht, 62, of Niedersachsen, Germany.
For more information about tether car racing at Cedar Creek Park, contact
Nicholas Tucci at 516-466- 0053 or go to www.amrca.com.
-- ANGELA M. MACROPOULOS
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