Battlegrounds II

Battlegrounds II
By: Jeremy Fielder

After a one year absence, BattleGrounds returned to the competition circuit this past May, better than ever. The event was hosted by Tri-StateCrawlers, and held at Oakes Quarry Park which is located within the City of Fairborn, Ohio. The biggest news about BattleGrounds this year is not only was it back for more carnage, it also was in the form of being an Official USRCCA Sanctioned event qualifier. Event organizer Jeremy Fielder also enlisted the help of members from CentralKYCrawlers as well as members from SIRCC to help marshal and judge the event over the next 2 action packed days.

With the dedication of all 3 clubs, as well as Axial being an event sponsor, the event was a massive success. 90 registered drivers from 13 states jumped aboard to try their skills at shooting for that coveted top podium platform, as well as the Nationals invite. Mother Nature had other plans it seemed, dumping a very large amount of rain the Friday before the comp, and lasting well into the night. In light of this, the rain slightly affected attendance and did keep some drivers home for the weekend.

Saturday morning started off promptly at 7:00 am with everybody driving into the park and setting up their pit areas. People began charging batteries, tightening screws and coming up to the main tent for driver sign in and tech. After all the drivers had signed up, it was 8:00am and time for TwistedCreations to call for the drivers meeting. Once the meeting was over, all 4 courses for Saturday were opened and as Brian Parker says “It’s time to DO WORK Drivers!”

The event ran the free-crawl format, and it was the drivers’ responsibility to run all 4 courses in the allotted timeframe. The judges tried to keep things moving as fast as possible, but the courses were tougher than the BG staff had expected, due to the rain the night before. As the day went on though, the courses began to dry out and drivers were continuing to battle for those top 20 spots that transferred over to Sunday’s courses. The courses had closed with all drivers finished running by 5:00pm, then, the scores were tallied up. Going into Sunday’s event, Mike “rockshow” Rosenthal had a healthy, yet not unreachable, point lead over the competitors.

The top 5 going into Sunday were:

Mike Rosenthal “rockshow” – 26 points
Andy Zuber “CRSmacgyver” – 56 points
Nick Justice “BTF” – 57 points
Joe DuRard “joesbruiser” – 60 points
Doug Johnson “djohn” – 73 points

Bright and early Sunday morning, the top 20 drivers came back with their game faces on and ready to battle the last 3 courses. Since the weather had really cooperated and dried things up, it was time to kick the difficulty up on the courses. The rocks were bigger and the holes were deeper, so tire placement really mattered, or it would cost the driver the chance of a top 5 finish. With the event running so smooth and only having 20 drivers, all competitors were finished by 12:00pm and were ready for the announcement of the top 5 finalists who would have a shot at attempting the finals course. During the course of the day, Jeff Morgan “nitrojeff” had managed to drive himself into the top 5 by squeaking by Doug Johnson “djohn”.

The finals course had been isolated with caution tape since Friday afternoon, so nobody had laid eyes on what was in mind for this course. Finally, the course was revealed. The drivers were amazed at what had been laid out, and tried their best to tame the beast, but all fell just short. Joe DuRard was the closest, as he did make it up to the threshold of gate 10 and pointed out. Mike Rosenthal put on an equally impressive show, but points only allowed him to progress just past gate 7. Meanwhile, the 3 other drivers (Andy Zuber, Nick Justice, and Jeff Morgan) had either pointed or timed out on gate one, which was placed on top of a 10 foot vertical. When it was all said and done, and the dust settled, we had our top 5 set in stone. All that were involved in this event, be it driver or judge, had an amazing weekend of crawling and camaraderie. With BattleGrounds 2010 officially in the record books, planning for 2011 has already commenced.

Overall Top 5 Scores

Mike Rosenthal – 96 points
Joe DuRard – 97 points
Nick Justice – 149 points
Andy Zuber – 169 points
Jeff Morgan – 182 points

The highlights:

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See you next year!!

2010 Scale Nationals

The Montana Scale Designs (MSD) Scale Nationals was held this past weekend, May 28th-30th. This particular event concentrates more on the scale/realistic side of R/C, but these trucks can also still handle some moderate rock crawling and trail runs. The goal for this event is to build the most realistic truck you can while maintaining a decent level of off-road performance.

At first glance, pictures and videos of this class will fool most people into thinking they are the real thing. The attention to detail and endless hours put into these rigs will amaze just about anyone. There were 4 different classes you could potentially enter this year. The first class was the “Street Class” – these vehicles usually run 1.9 wheels/tires and resemble something you would see cruising down the highway in the real world.  The Second class, “Trail Class”, includes vehicles that resemble a hardcore off-road rig that would be towed on a trailer to the trail head (because they are not street legal). The third class was called the “Spec Class”, this was a new addition to the scale nationals in 2010. This year Axial donated 5 RTR Honchos for this class.  Basically, the Honchos were in the judges hands all weekend. If you signed up for the spec class, the judge handed you a RTR with a fresh battery and you had to drive it as is when it was your turn. With bone stock trucks at every course, the Spec class quickly turned into a driver’s class, because no rig had any advantage over the others. They were all the same trucks and they stayed at the same courses all day. Finally, the last class of the weekend was the “Top Truck Challenge”. To enter this event you had to be voted in by members of www.rccrawler.com via a public poll. This event is based on a real 1:1 competition that is basically a torture test for any vehicle. Here’s a few highlights from the weekend.

Day one:

First day we ran the Street Class and the Spec Class. The weather wasn’t cooperating at all, cold temps and rain were in the forecast all day. That didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits though, because everyone showed up with a smile on their faces.

A quick view of the comp site.

Rig tech.

Too many cool rigs to check out.

Andy Brooks driving his custom 1.9 Pajero on course #4.

The Spec Class.

Random shots.

Top 5 shootout in Street Class:
Brett Thorne navigates his custom Bronco build through the finals course.

Lance Parker driving his custom Jeep tuber through a tight set of gates.

Cody Cook negotiates gate one on the finals course.

Axial team driver Zach Chatelain and his custom Unimog made the finals course look easy.

Ryan Gerrish gets some help from fellow competitor Brett Thorne to clear this gate.

Trail Class:
Here’s a few highlights from the trail class on Day 2. Weather forecast was about the same as the first morning, chilly with rain.

Rig tech.

“Guido” and his handler Chris Ladd from Colorado get ready to start course 2.

Me on course 2 with my newly acquired rental thanks to Ben Palmer.

Ryan Overbye on course 1.

Hold your line driver!

More random shots.

Top 5 shootout in Trail Class:
Jim Hand working his custom SCX10 Honcho through the finals course.

Utah’s Matt Davis made short work of the finals course.

Zach Chatelain works his Tacoma tuber through an off camber section.

Devlin Shipley driving his custom Jeep tuber.

Marty Mann works the finals course.

After the competition was done we all went back to the MSD shop for the trophy presentation.

Street Class Winners:
1st Ryan Gerrish
2nd Cody Cook
3rd Zach Chatelain
4th Lance Parker
5th Brett Thorne

Spec Class Winners:
1st Ryan Gerrish
2nd Ryan Overbye
3rd Zach Chatelain
4th Scott Schoenfelder
5th Lance Parker

Trail Class Winners:
1st Marty Mann
2nd Devlin Shipley
3rd Zach Chatelain
4th Matt Davis
5th Jim Hand

TTC coverage:
The players.

Axial team driver Dean Hsiao negotiating the “Frame Twister” obstacle course.

Dean’s lunch was actually in that cooler.

Chris Ladd takes a turn at the Twister.

Andy Brooks dropping in.

A few shots from the “Rock Crawl” course.

Utah’s Brett Thorne attacks the “Mud Pit” obstacle.

More mud action.

Ryan Gerrish squeaked out the win with a 3.0 second pass, peppering every camera there with mud on his way down the pit.

The “Obstacle Course” was a series of gates laid out on the forest floor. While not super hard to negotiate, you had to memorize the course in order not to miss a gate and ruin your overall time.

Tim Samuels maneuvers his custom Bronco tuber through the obstacle course. Tim was also the one of the main men behind the whole Scale Nationals this year. Tim put in endless hours designing/setting up courses, teching rigs, judging, etc. Thanks a bunch for all your hard work Tim!

Chris T came down from Canada to compete with his custom hardbody Jeep.

Next obstacle was the “Hill Climb”, although I didn’t get many pictures from that event because I was trying to fix my winch.

“Sled Pull” was next. Too bad I was still working on my winch and didn’t get a single picture.

The last obstacle was the “Tank Trap”. This was the best event in my opinion, driving underwater is just fun. And there was a hole in this stream that swallowed every rig, winching was mandatory for sure. Lucky for me my Futaba 4PK never skipped a beat, even when the receiver was completely submerged under water.

Here are the results:
1st Zach Chatelain
2nd Tim Samuels
3rd Brett Thorne
4th Ryan Gerrish
5th Matt Davis
6th Brad Dumont
7th Dean Hsiao
8th Andy Brooks
9th Chris Ladd
10th Chris T

The 2010 TTC Competitors.

That wraps it up for this year’s Scale Nationals. Axial would like to thank Ben Palmer, owner of Montana Scale Designs and The Hobby Garage for putting this event on. I would also like to thank everyone that helped out with this event from judges and volunteers to sponsors. Without the support of everyone in this community events like this would never happen. See you all in 2011.