Brushed vs. Brushless Motors

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Axial Racing RTR vehicles come with either two types of motors, brushed or brushless. To better understand why Axial offers the two different types, it’s helpful to know the key differences between the two designs. As you’d expect, both designs have their key differences and their advantages.

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Brushed
Brushed motors are the older technology of the motor world, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their advantages. The biggest advantage is low cost. Brushed motors simply deliver a lot of bang for very little buck. Brushed motors come in many versions; Axial uses a sealed end bell design with bronze brushings. This setup is highly robust. So, what makes a brushed motor brushed? In simplest terms, there are hard conductors (one positive and one negative) that brush up against the spinning commutator in the center of the motor with positive and negative magnets on the inside of the can. These brushes are a wear item as there is physical contact and the parts spin at an extremely high rate, but if the motor is kept dry and clean, it will last a very long time. Best of all, Axial’s brushed motors list for only $16 to $19, depending on the turn selected. Another advantage of brushed motors is its throttle response. Brushed motors provide excellent slow speed control making them a great choice for rock crawlers where precise driving is key.

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Brushless
Brushless motors are basically built in the opposite manner of brushed motors. If you have a good understanding of brushed motors, think of brushless motors as the inside out version. The magnets spin and the coils of wire are inside the wall of the motor’s can or main casing. They don’t require brushes, and are thus appropriately known as brushless. An advantage of brushless motors is that they have a much longer lifespan since the main wear components have been eliminated. Brushless motors, such as the Vanguard 3150KV, are also more efficient, so they can provide best use of power (more runtime) and make more power. Axial currently offers two brushless motors. One is 2900KV and the other is 3150KV. The higher the KV rating, the faster the motor will be. This is the opposite of how brushed motors are labeled. Brushless motors are typically led labeled in turns, and the larger the number of turns, the slower and more torquey the motors.

Make Your Own RC Vehicle Field Tool Pack

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When you’re enjoying a trail run with your SCX10 or other Axial vehicle, the last thing you want is for a simple problem to end your day early. Going home before the fun ends is, well, no fun at all. The key is to be prepared when your adventure takes you away from the workbench. And, being prepared doesn’t mean taking your whole arsenal of tools and spare parts with you. You can, in fact, pack light with a properly, and selectively, stocked field tool pack and still be more than ready for the typical field repair. Here’s what you should have on hand for your next off-road excursion.

Backpack
First things first, you need somewhere to put your gear. You don’t need to get fancy when picking a field tool pack. Any inexpensive daypack will do. You may even have one at the bottom of your closet. For an added measure of security, you can spray it will camping-style waterproofing, which help protect your items and also make it easier to clean.

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7mm Socket Driver
In addition to tightening the wheel nuts (you check those often, right?), a 7mm socket driver is essential for removing the wheels, which is essential for many repairs.

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1.5-, 2- and 2.5mm Wrenches
You could bring a half dozen or more wrenches with you, but that is hardly packing light. A complete set of wrenches doesn’t way that much by itself, but the idea is to have a pack that is so light that you don’t even know it’s there. The three most often used wrenches are the 1.5, 2, and 2.5mm wrenches. This will allow you to do everything from replace a driveshaft to swap in a steering knuckle.

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Needle-nose Pliers
Instead of bringing a bunch of socket wrenches, a pair of needle-nose pliers will allow you to grasp most nuts while that hex screws thread into. Long pliers will make it easier to get into tight spots.

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Little Extras
In addition to the above mentioned tools, it’s a good idea to have a few other items stowed away in your adventure pack. These include:
Cable ties
Extra battery
Assembled driveshaft
Body clips
Spur gear

Pick the Right Battery Charger

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A charger is one of the most important purchases you can make. As such, picking the right charger takes careful consideration. Price is important, but can’t be the only deciding factor.

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Chemistry/Compatibility
There are charges that can charge a variety of battery chemestries, but the two most critical for use in RC are LiPo and NiMH. LiPo packs are currently the most popular and high performance technology. NiMH packs are older and heavier technology, but are less expensive. Both chemestries are still widely used, so it is recommended that you select a charger that can charge both chemestries. It is essential that you only use the specific mode for the battery type you wish to charge. A LiPo pack must only be charged in LiPo mode–no exceptions. Also, confirm that the charger uses the CC/CV style of charging for LiPo. CC/CV means the charger charges at a constant current, say 5 amps, until a nearly fully charged voltage level is reached and then switches to maintaining that voltage by fluctuating the current. CC/CV is the only charging method Axial recommends for LiPo packs. Same for NiMH. Even if you don’t own any LiPo packs, it is recommended that you purchase a LiPo capatable charger, so that you don’t have to purchase another charger when you do upgrade packs. Many people start off with NiMH packs to save money, but spend more money in the long run when they have to purchase a second charger. NiMH chargers do not command a strong resell value. It is also recommended that only a balance charger is used and that the pack (regardless of chemestry) is charged in a charging pouch.

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Power Source
Chargers can be powered by either AC (house current), DC (12V battery or outlet) or both (AC/DC). Obviously, the latter is the most versatile, but is often bulkier and more expensive. While there are a few AC-only chargers, most are either DC-only or AC/DC. DC-only chargers can be powered at home via a 12-volt power supply, but that requires a separate purchase and space on your bench or RC work area. The main advantages of DC-only chargers is that they tend to be compact and are less expensive. The specifications of the power supply correlate to the charge rate specifications of the charger (see below).

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Screens
Not all chargers have LED screens, but if your budget allows, a screen is highly recommended. The larger the screen the better as it allows for far more clear display of information with fewer cryptic abbreviations for data. Backlit screens aren’t essential, but make outdoor viewing especially better. Backlit displays are generally easier to read in all lighting conditions, but if you only plan to use your charger in a darker basement or garage type work area, it is a feature you could live without if need be.

Rates
Charge rate refers to the amperage (amps), a measurement of electrical current, a charger can deliver to a battery. The higher the amps, the less time it takes to charge. You cannot simply charge at the highest rate possible, however. NiMH packs should be charged at 5 amps or less. LiPo packs are recommended to be charged at 1C or 2C and to always be charged in balance mode with the battery in a charging bag/sack for safety. 1C is one times the battery’s capacity, which would equal 5 amps for a common 5000 mAh battery pack, 4 amps for a 4000 mAh pack, 3.2 amps for a 3200 mAh pack, etc. 2C is two times the capacity, and thus, a 10 amp charge rate for a 5000 mAh pack.

Knowing what size batteries you plan to charge most often will make picking the right charger much easier. The key (and sometimes harder information to find) is understanding how much power (watts) a charger’s power supply can deliver. This is especially important if you have an Axial Yeti, EXO Terra Buggy or an SCX10 equipped with the 3S-capable AE-5 speed control and you’re using, or plan to use, 3S LiPo packs, which are 11.1 volt packs and require significantly more power from a charger’s power supply to charge at the same rate used for a 2S (7.4V) pack. If a charger doesn’t have enough power (watts) it won’t be able to charge at the amperage level you want. This really isn’t a significant concern if you’re charging a few LiPo packs for a day’s worth of rock crawling, but if you are rock racing your Yeti and need to charge a 3S pack between rounds, it can be critical. If you have a charger with a 50W built-in power supply, it won’t be able to charge a 3S 5000 mAh LiPo pack at 5 amps. To calculate how many watts are needed, multiply the charge rate by the pack’s voltage. In the 3S 5000 mAh example, the equation is 5 amps multiplied by 11.1V for a wattage requirement of 55.5 watts (5×11.1=55.5). Technically, 11.1 is the nominal voltage and 12.6 is the fully charged voltage, so if 12.6 is used, the maximum wattage requirement is 63 watts.

Pre-Run Checks

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Have you ever heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? This is profoundly true when it comes to RC. A little prevention–a quick once over, really–will go a long way towards ensuring nothing goes wrong when you least want it to. Here are the items you’ll want to quickly check before hitting the trail.

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Wheels Nuts
It seems simple, but many people only tighten the nuts holding their wheels when doing maintenance that requires removing and reinstalling the wheels. Don’t wait until doing something where you have to take the wheels off to make sure they are properly tightened. Loose wheels can lead to ruined drive hexes and wheels.

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Wiring
The wiring on your Axial Racing vehicle needs to be secure. Cable tires should be used to make sure wires are kept away from moving and hot components such as driveshafts and the motor. While the wires should be kept slightly loose to allow for movement as the chassis twists, the wires shouldn’t be too loose that they can rub on obstacles that rise up into the chassis or get snagged on branches. Notice that the SCX10 is equipped with clips on the side of the chassis to keep the wires out of harm’s way and still allow the wires to move as needed.

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Gears and Slipper
While a visual check is best, taking the gear cover off can take more time than you’d like. The best tool for a pre-run gearing check is your ear. Hold your Axial vehicle while applying a small amount of throttle. Listen carefully for any grinding noise or anything but smooth gear engagement. Any excessive noise can mean there is debris in the teeth of the gears, a gear is damaged, or the gear mesh is off.

The slipper clutch is a wear item. Check to make sure that it hasn’t loosened. Occasionally after extreme use, a tighter setting will be needed to achieve the same results as when the parts are brand new. For complete maintenance, the parts (specifically the slipper pad AX30412) can be cleaned and replaced as needed, but before a run, slightly tightening the retaining nut can restore the desired amount of slip. A slipper that is too loose will often make a noticeable squeal. Only tighten the nut if you notice slippage. If the slipper is too tight, it won’t be able to protect your drivetrain.

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Shocks
Check for excessive buildup of grime on the shocks. Examine the shock caps and the bottom of the shock body. Dirt will naturally be attracted to these areas, especially where the shaft exits the shock body, but an excessive amount of accumulation can indicate a shock that has leaked out too much oil. A quick refill will most likely get you through the day, but a shock rebuild may be needed soon.

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Loose Screws
Before a run, quickly go through the vehicle and look for loose hardware. Check the steering knuckles where they attach to the axle C ends. Check the set screws for the driveshafts. Also, check where the C ends attach to the front axle tubes. Don’t over-tighten the hardware. You only need to make sure the screws are properly snug and aren’t loose.

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Transmitter Batteries
Don’t let transmitter batteries die at the worst time possible. Check and replace them before you go out. Axial transmitters use state-of-the-art 2.4GHz that has low current draw and only requires four AA batteries, so the batteries last a long time.

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Driveshafts
The Axial WB8 Wild Boar driveshafts are extremely strong and one of the most advanced designs offered, but they still must be periodically checked. Examine that the end pieces haven’t loosened and check that the splines have been twisted.

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Tires
Whether you use bead locks or glued tires on your Axial, check the beads on all four tires to make sure they are attached properly. If a bead lock has pulled apart, you will need to completely remove the retaining ring and reassemble. Glued tires can be re-glued with RC specific CA glue after being thoroughly cleaned with a cleaner such as rubbing alcohol.

Improve Crawler Performance

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Want your Axial Racing vehicle to be the king of hill? Of course you do. Follow these steps and you can take your SCX10, Deadbolt, or Wraith to the next level and dominate the competition.

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Tires
Your truck’s tires are its connection to the ground. If the tires don’t work, nothing else in your setup really matters. Tire considerations are size, compound, tread design, and foam insert. You can learn more about Axial Racing’s tires here and about choosing the right tires here. You can learn about gearing and how it relates to different tire sizes here.

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CG
Lowering your crawler’s center of gravity (CG) should be a priority. Look at your Axial Racing vehicle from the side and imagine a horizontal line going the length of the vehicle. Your center of gravity may be above or below the line depending on your setup. A vehicle with too much weight above this imaginary line will be top heavy and its off-road performance will suffer. The lower your center of gravity, the better. If you add scale accessories to your vehicle, the CG may be raised and your vehicle may be more tippy. The easiest way to significantly lower your CG is switch to aluminum wheels and to add Axial Racing’s aluminum knuckles and C-hubs.

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Weight Distribution
Much like CG, weight distribution greatly impacts performance. In addition to making sure your vehicle’s CG is as low as possible, moving weight forward will significantly improve your vehicle’s climbing ability. You can learn how to move the battery on an SCX10 here. The aluminum knuckles and C-hubs mentioned above also add weight to the forward portion of the vehicle and improve weight distribution.

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Durability
The steering components on your Axial Racing vehicle take the brunt of the abuse you subject the vehicle to. The above mentioned Axial Racing aluminum knuckles and C-hubs that help with CG and weight distribution do even more for increasing durability. Add in an Axial Racing aluminum servo horn and your steering will be able to take an impressive amount of abuse. A metal gear servo is also recommended for a completely bulletproof steering system.

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Steering Throw
Axial Racing aluminum knuckles have been mentioned numerous times already, but another benefit is their design offers increased steering throw. To really exploit the design of the knuckles, Axial Racing universal axles will allow for a substantial increase in steering. The universal axles are also more durable than the stock parts.

RECON G6 Presents Cantina For the Con G6

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RECON G6 Presents the

CANTINA FOR THE CON G6

Loon Lake, California

Entrance to the World Famous Rubicon Trail

By: Matthew “Skeeno” Soileau

Every year the Rubicon Trail Foundation holds its fundraiser to support its efforts To Enhance the Future Health and Use of the Rubicon Trail while Ensuring Responsible Motorized Year-round Trail Access. Last year RECON G6 attended and it was such a hit that it was asked to return to provide another RECON G6 for the event. The G Train packed up and made the trip. The Skeenos tagged along to see what the Cantina For The Con was all about.

DSCF0002We got charged up the night before.  You gotta be prepared for a RECON G6.  Don’t show up with one battery, because you will need more than one.

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We got an early start. The drive was about three hours from Skeeno Central.

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When we finally arrived, we were a little surprised at the size of Loon Lake. This was my first trip to the Rubicon in about 20 years.

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The water looked pretty inviting. I kinda wanted to jump in.

DSCF0332Just when I thought we might be lost, I looked over the edge of the road and spotted this. It looked like we had found the right spot.

DSCF0324Yup, that’s the sign we were looking for.

DSCF0329See that little guy down there? That’s Parker getting ready. He’s setting up the trail markers.

DSCF0305EZ-UPs, this had to be the place. I think I see the RECON G6/ Axial tent.

DSCF0316The parking lot was filled with tons of cool 1:1s. Parker made me include this picture. He loves Yotas.

DSCF0323I personally preferred the 1:1s that had a little more personality.  This old Jeep caught my eye.

DSCF0321Lots of the rigs were loaded for camping.

DSCF0317Speaking of camping, this sweet overland trailer was a raffle prize.  I wonder which lucky duck got to take this bad boy home.

DSCF0322This GM product had a bit of rock rash. I could see its owner wasn’t afraid to use it properly.

DSCF0319Here’s a map of the Rubicon Trail. It included all the major features of the trail.

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1:10 emulates 1:1, just like in RC, in the 1:1 world, you can build or you can buy.

DSCF0313Once I turned into the Spillway area, I saw what everyone came for, the Cantina. You could get tacos and nachos. All proceeds went to the Rubicon Trail Foundation. It’s a tasty way to support the World Famous Rubicon Trail and ensure it stays open for many more generations of off-roaders to enjoy.

DSCF0235The beautiful and charming RC Chick was manning the RECON G6 tent when I showed up.

DSCF0236I also saw an old friend, Werty. He runs WertyMade Products. He wanted to make sure I put his picture in this blog to prove he’s a big deal in the RC world.

DSCF0230After checking in, all the drivers posed for this group shot. Thanks to Elio and Rivas for arranging them so neatly.

DSCF0232DSCF0240Of course, Parker had to explain the special rules and features of this RECON G6 to the drivers.

DSCF0245No H.O.G. (Hand Of God) is the most important rule. Keep it scale.

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The first part of the RECON G6 was a few laps in the spillway to show off how cool RC is.

DSCF0251The crowd was a little surprised to see so many RC trucks cruising by.

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DSCF0252It’s always fun to see the little ones driving. Here Skeeno Jr drives with some of her contemporaries.

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After a few laps around, we made our way up and out of the spillway.

DSCF0261I was trying out my new Deadbolt body.  This thing is cool.

DSCF0262This bridge led to the fun stuff.

DSCF0264This guy takes his Falken G6 Jeep to the top of the spillway.

DSCF0266There were some boulders to drive under.

DSCF0268This guy tried to copy my style by jumping off a ledge. It’s not quite scale but was effective for me. He didn’t fare as well. He needed to do some trail repairs after his ill-fated jump. I don’t recommend this technique unless you carry lots of parts at a RECON G6.

DSCF0269These little rocks proved challenging for Skeeno Jr.

DSCF0270Strike a pose.

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RC Chick drove with us all day.  Here she used the Pull Pal RW60, the official land anchor of the RECON G6, to get up a nasty steep crack.

DSCF0274RECON G6′s can be long walks. Be prepared with water and snacks and don’t be afraid to take a pit stop to rest along the way.

DSCF0278You have to dip your tires if there is water nearby, it’s a RECON G6 rule.

DSCF0282This was the scariest part of the RECON G6. I saw a couple kits take a tumble into the water down there. Skeeno Jr and RC Chick took it slow.

DSCF0286Once away from the lake, the terrain greened up a bit.

DSCF0288It was definitely a scenic walk/drive.

DSCF0295Elio and Dan W showed up and loaned me a battery. Thanks guys for helping me finish. Remember, Finishing a RECON G6 is like Winning a RECON G6.

DSCF0297Crack attack.

DSCF0303The new owners of CKRC Crawlers came out. Jason Copeland and his wife Dena are super friendly.

DSCF0306This might be the youngest RECON G6er. I didn’t catch her age, but she followed Parker around all day looking for candy.

DSCF0307There was a Yeti sighting by G Central.

DSCF0308Skeeno Jr hasn’t had a Parker Pickup in a while. She was excited to win her BPC limiting straps.

DSCF0310The Drivers of the Day took home some cool skulls for trophies.  Skeeno Jr put hers on her Pit Bull finishing tag.

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Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck – NorCal Rock Racing – 2014 Finale

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Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck – NorCal Rock Racing – 2014 Finale

Words & photos: Michael Plunkett

With this being Nor Cal Rock Racing’s Championship race, we all knew that Jake being the defending 2013 Champion, might as well have a bull’s-eye on his back! Every team had one thing in mind, “beating Jake Hallenbeck!” As things were getting started and heat races were being randomly drawn, Jake found out he had been drawn to start in the back of the pack. Starting in the back forces Jake to work his way through slower traffic, which sometimes is a challenge in itself on a course like this.

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With the two other power house teams of concern drawing the same heat race, this would give us an idea of how the rest of the day was going to go. Jake found himself being held up by certain drivers, slowing him down considerably. By the end of the race, Jake had worked his way up to finish 2nd behind his closest competitor in the points standings. This was going to be a showdown!

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As the team was going over the car in the pits, Jake found out that they had a transmission cooler failure. Without a spare cooler, they decided to bypass the trans-cooler altogether and hope for the best.

Starting in the back of heat race 2 once again meant that Jake would have to rely on his skills to get him out in front to secure a better starting position for the main event. As the race started and Jake charged through the pack, he suffered a broken axle in the first rock pile. He maintained his pace the best he could to finish that heat in what appeared to be 4th place. Jake and his team quickly went to work pulling the axle, and in the meantime damaged the inner seal.

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Fortunately, with Trail Gear’s large fill cap on their axles, they were able to get a pry bar in there so they could get the axle changed without having to pull the entire axle apart to put the seal housing back in. As it was, they finished with minutes to spare for the start of the main event!

When the teams lined up for the main event, I could see Jon Cagliero starting in the front row. Jon was only two points behind Jake in the points race. Jake was forced to start mid-pack and have to work his way through traffic once again! With the lineup in place and the sun in their eyes, the race for the Championship was about to begin!

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From what I could see, Jake got a great hole shot and by the first and second rock pile he found himself in 3rd place. He drove the wheels off his bomber buggy and began to reel in the leaders…until his engine’s heating issue began to come back and haunt him. He was forced to pace himself for the longer main event so he could be in the hunt at the finish. He maintained his 3rd place position throughout the race until he got over taken by a car during a yellow flag.

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Out of his control at that point, Jake knew he needed to gain that position back and get closer to the front for a chance to keep his lead in the points standings. With one lap to go, Jake overtook that 3rd position again but was running out of time to catch the leaders. When the race came to an end, Gary Ferravanti Sr. crossed the line first, followed by Jon Cagliero, and Jake finishing in 3rd and collecting another podium finish!

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With the results of the race in place, it was time to figure out the point standings and who would be the 2014 Season Champion! With Jon Cagliero finishing the race in 2nd and Jake finishing in 3rd, it meant that they were tied in points for the 2014 season. With nothing in the rule book stating what to do in the case of a tie, John Goodby of Nor Cal Rock Racing decided to go with a motocross rule that states whoever crossed the finish line first between the two points leaders would be the new Champion.

Like the true Sportsman and Champion that Jake Hallenbeck is, he looked at Goodby and stated, “As long as you will assure me that this will be in the rule books in the future, I am good with that.” In the same breath, Jake asked John if he could deliver the Championship trophy to Jon Cagliero himself. Goodby agreed as long as he could be present. They together they delivered the trophy to Jon Cagliero and named him the 2014 Nor Cal Rock Racing Champion! It’s never easy in racing to except a 2nd place finish, but Jake did it with grace and style.

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As the season concludes, I look forward to seeing if Jake can pick up new sponsors in the off season so he too can upgrade his rig to what most of the powerhouse rigs are running. Jake proves to me that you can stay on the podium with driving skills alone, but to be able to win races consistently you have to equal the playing field and run Independent Front Suspension with big horsepower!

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All in all, in two years of racing the Ultra4 class, Jake has achieved a Nor Cal Championship, a tie for another Nor Cal Championship, The Ultra4 Racing series Rookie of the Year Award, and is still in contention in the 2014 Ultra4 Racing Series on driving ability alone. If given the Independent Front Suspension and the horsepower other teams are running, in my opinion, Jake Hallenbeck would be a force to be reckoned with!

Scale Wheeling in Moab, Utah at EJS2014

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Every spring Axial heads out to beautiful Moab, Utah for Easter Jeep Safari. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth to enjoy outdoor activities. If you are into Jeeping, RC adventure crawling, mountain biking, hiking, or just plain amazing scenery, then Moab should be atop your list of places to visit and enjoy. For the entire week preceding Easter Sunday, the who’s who in the 4×4 industry converge on this little town to share their latest off-road equipment, and their time with their clients and friends from within and outside of the community.

For Corporate Jeep, their week begins the weekend before, where they publicly unveil their Jeep concepts for the year. The “Underground” teams of engineers get to take their dreamt up creations, share them with the world’s press and test them in the ultimate mecca for 4wd enthusiasts. These are the vehicles that we all drool over, and wish we had a 1/10 scale body to mount on our SCX10. Even if we can’t have the bodies yet, we can still take inspiration from their creations. This year had some very cool vehicles, check them out here

In downtown Moab on Wednesday night, Axial builds the Jeep R/C adventure course. This event is put on by Jeep as a customer appreciation night for all the loyal Jeep fans. Part of the lot is set aside for the Axial crew to come in and build a fun demo course. All you have to do is wait in line and you get to try your hand at some scale Jeeping in Moab! This year’s course was a little simpler than previous years, though the man-made obstacles were very cool!

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Just after the official Jeep BBQ event, the Axial staff heads off to the “Secret Spot” as it is affectionately called. There is really no secret about it, as it is located right off the main road on the way to steel bender. This spot, however, is absolutely perfect for some scale wheeling. This is the one time of the year that Axial gets a chance to spend some time with all their “Full size” marketing partners. So at about 9 pm, somewhere in the neighborhood of a half million dollars’ worth of Jeeps turn up for a little scale adventure crawl!

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After a brief safety chat regarding the cliffs we were about to crawl next to, we fired up the Rigid duallys (powered by 3S lipos of course) and shot a quick group pic before hitting the trail…..

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In all, there were 22 of us representing Axial, Poison Spyder, Currie Enterprises, Icon Vehicle Dynamics, Raceline Wheels, CRC, Pull Pal, Rigid Industries and Savvy Offroad. There is something about enjoying this hobby with this iconic group of guys that can’t be beat. This was probably the time of our lives, certainly when it came to our R/C Careers. We were amazed at how much transferred over from full size to scale. Some of the guys had never driven an R/C vehicle before and picked it up right away. We assume it helped having 20 of their closest friends there helping (Heckling).
Check out a few of the shots we were able to catch throughout the evening and during the rest of the week ….…

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The new Vanquish lights for the RC Jeeps are amazing!! These babies are stupid bright!

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The guys at Poison Spyder put together an awesome little video of the nights action, check it out here!

We were able to get out and do a little full size wheeling with the guys from Icon Vehicle Dynamics. They were kind enough to allow the Axial Grocery getter to come along for a little Hell’s Revenge adventure..
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Here is a cool test shot we did with Icon Vehicle dynamics

Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck Rocks Utah Ultra4 race

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Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck Rocks Utah Ultra4 race

2014 American Rock Sports Challenge, Toole, UT

words and photos by: Mike Plunkett

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As usual , when Jake Hallenbeck of Marked Motorsports shows up to the track in the Axial sponsored
Bomber car. Everyone recognizes how well the car has been prepped just by the way it looks.
After the prep is all complete, Jake and his boys spend hours detailing the car for every event, and it
shows! ( I’ve even witnessed him washing it between heat races)

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Fridays Practice went smoothly. While most of the teams spent all their time trying to perfect times through their
favorite lines. Jake, I noticed, spent most of his time driving alternate lines in the event of a course pile-up.
Racing rarely comes without issues so planning ahead is sometimes key. (Great tactics if you ask me).

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Qualifying started out as expected until Jake had an axle break half way through the course slowing them considerably. He finished the coarse with a time of 2:07 minutes qualifying them 15th overall.

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With the days activities coming to a close the rain started coming down heavily. They were forced to make an axle swap in less than ideal conditions. The team was able to get the axle completed that evening so they could get rested and wait to find out where they would be placed for saturday’s prelims.

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It rained most of the night but by Saturday morning the sun was shinning. The nights rain made a muddy mess
of the track! It was some of the worst I have ever seen at an Ultra4 race! Luckily, Jake and the team found themselves in the 5th prelim of the day. This meant the mud had dried out only “slightly” making the track a little easier to navigate. And I do mean “slightly” as Jakes bomber is pictured. (Below) The mud was some of the worst i have ever seen at an ultra4 race. The race cars were unrecognizable to most.

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Lining up 5th in the prelims would mean he would have to charge to the front to gain a better starting position
for the main event. As prelim 5 unfolded, traffic in the rocks worsened. They also found themselves battling a power issue from the motor that they thought was cured from the previous race! They sercombed and were able to finish 4th in their heat race guaranteeing them a spot in the main event. Not the starting position they were shooting for, but a spot in the main none the less.

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With a few hours to the main event the team decided to clean up the mud acquired during the race. They also dug into the car once again in search of their power loss issue. Checking codes, temperatures of each cylinders, wiring, fuel pumps, and anything else they could have missed.

Based on their prelim times the line up was set for the main event. Jake and Co-dog Bernie found themselves to be starting 10th off the line. He knew he needed to be closer to the front to be within striking distance of those over powered IFS cars and have a chance at a podium finish.

As the main race began things started out as expected. Those IFS cars took off in a blistering pace, forcing Jake to push the car that much harder. Running a fast, yet consistent race was keeping him in the hunt, but at this pace he also found the cars power issues were still there and it was running hot at over 250 degrees!

I have been photographing and watching Jake since he started Ultra4 just a little over a year ago. Jake is known for waiting for drivers ahead to make mistakes and then pouncing. Could he hold out long enough and wait for those powerhouses to make a mistake? The mistakes were beginning to unfold but without the engine power, and what appeared to be some slower lap times, I wasnt sure if it was going to happen this time.

All of a sudden he began to run the buggy hard! It was time to pounce and see where the cards stacked. I scrambled to run around the track and get photos and thats when things got rather confusing! One leader rolled, another lost his lead and was forced to run on a flat front tire, teams were being slowed for recovery vehicles, and in general, I don’t think anyone knew what position they were in anymore!

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When the checkered flag was thrown, we all knew Loren Healy had won but we were being told Jake was running in 2nd or 3rd? By the time I arrived at the podium officials had spent several minutes of checking the electronic transponders and sorting things out. Dave Cole of Ultra4 announced Jake finished 4th behind Loren Healy, Jason Scherer, and Erik Miller in that order.

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Considering the issues they had and a couple hundred horsepower shy of what the leaders were running, it ended up being a pretty good weekend for the Axial sponsored team! Im proud of Jake and his Marked Motorsports team for staying smooth and consistent as he does so well. Jake, you can run with most anyone! Good job you guys…

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Yeti Pre-run Checklist – Read Before You Run

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Now that the Axial Yeti is hitting hobby store shelves, we are hearing of more “Yeti sightings” being recorded! That being said we wanted to take a few minutes to help you get familiar with this new platform! First and foremost, let’s go over what to look for when you first pull it out of the box. As with any new RTR R/C vehicle, you should check everything over carefully before installing a battery and heading off to your local bash spot. RTR means “ready to run”, but even then there are certain things you should check before actually running your new “RTR” R/C. For this blog post we will cover unboxing your new Yeti, and what to look for before driving it for the first time.

Checklist:

1. Check and make sure the wheel nuts are properly torqued down on all four corners of the vehicle after you pull it out of the box. No need to get crazy and over tighten them, just make sure they are good and snug.

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2. Adjust the height of the battery tray to fit the battery packs you have, or that you plan on running.You want to make sure the battery is held firmly in place so it can’t move around while you are driving. If the battery can move around in the chassis while you are driving the Yeti, it can cause erratic or inconsistent handling.

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3. Next we added a little foam to the battery tray to stop the battery from sliding back and forth after you have adjusted the height in the previous step. We cut up an old tire foam and used a little at both ends of the battery. Shoe Goo can be used to hold the foam in place so it stays put during battery changes.

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4. Check all drive shaft set screws prior to your first run to ensure they are tight. You will also want to check these after your first battery pack as well, just to make sure they are still properly seated.

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For the front output, turn the front tires to the passenger side. Then, you can access the set screw from the driver’s side with a long 2mm driver as shown.

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This covers the initial inspection before you run your Yeti for the first time. Taking a few minutes to go over this list, as well as giving the entire vehicle a quick visual check, will definitely give you a better experience. We will have more maintenance tips and tricks coming soon as well! Stay tuned!!