2011 Axial/MSD Scale Nationals: Class 1 and 3

Axial teamed up again this year with Montana Scale Designs (MSD) to be the title sponsor of the 2011 MSD Scale Nationals in Helena, Montana. For those that may be new to the “Scale Nationals”, it is basically a hardcore competition for scale R/C rock crawling vehicles. Unlike the standard 2.2 competitions, these rigs are built to be as realistic as possible. Guys spent countless hours building these custom one off trucks, then show up in Montana to compete with some of the best builders/drivers in the country. These trucks are then put through a 3 day torture test to see which driver and vehicle can prevail/survive the weekend.

The setting for this years event was similar to last year, but with more water obstacles mixed in. If you have never attended the scale nationals, building waterproof vehicles is a must. Every year there is usually a fair share of water and mud to negotiate out on course, which is half the fun. This year was no different, there were many natural “scale” waterfalls integrated into the comp courses. Weather forecast for the weekend was rain too, so that just added to the mud and water levels.

The weekend started off for me and my companions at 6am sharp Friday morning when we met in the parking lot of our hotel, showered and ready to roll. From there we grabbed some coffee and supplies for the day, then hit the road for the short 15 minute drive to the comp site. We pulled into the comp site as rain and drizzle fell from the sky. Dark gray clouds assured us it would be a wet one, but the temps were warmer then expected which was nice. On Friday we ran 2 classes, the class one vehicles (aka the Street Class) and the class 3 vehicles (aka the Modified Class). For more info on the different classes and rules check out the scale rules thread on RCC. Here’s a rundown of the competition from Friday.

Competitors wait in line to have their trucks inspected to make sure they meet the rules.


One of the endless custom builds at scale nats this year.


Driver’s meeting


Event organizer Ben Palmer goes over the itinerary for the day.

A few course shots, there were a handful of bridges set-up for drivers to negotiate as well.



Bulu production’s Brett Carlson was on hand shooting video all weekend. Brett produced a full blown DVD of the event last year for sale to the public, which was awesome. Brett will also be doing a DVD of this year’s event as well.

Here’s a short teaser video that Brett edited together from this year’s event.

Axial team driver Dean Hsiao from northern California winching his custom class 3 rig up a slippery rock face.

Minnesota’s Ryan Overbye getting ready to start his first course of the day. Ryan was one of many that ran all 5 classes this year.


Andy Brooks made the trip out from Ohio with several cool custom rigs. Here’s his custom “Hack-a-lac” build in action.


This off-camber rock face was extremely slippery. Many competitors ended up sliding into one of the gates, if they didn’t fall off the rock, because of the total lack of traction. Ripsaw tires excelled here, Andy walked through this set of gates with zero drama.

Class one rigs awaiting their turn on the courses.

Class one Hummer doing work.


Once the day was done and all the scores turned in, everyone headed over to Ben Palmer’s shop for awards and some general mischief.

Ben starts the award announcements.

The Class one winners
Congrats to Team Axial Driver Patrick Norton from Texas for winning Class one. Also would like to thank team driver Zach Chatelain as well, for his 5th place finish. Great job guys!
1. Patrick Norton
2. Luis Muzquiz
3. Jerry Norton
4. Lance Parker
5. Zach Chatelain

The Class three winners
1. Luis Muzquiz
2. Lance Parker
3. John Ripplinger (Chad Hand pictured)
4. Devlin Shipley
5. Larry Lawther

That pretty much covers day one. Keep an eye for the next installment, Class 2 and the Axial Spec Class. Followed up by the Top Truck Challenge coverage. Who is ready rumble, and get really muddy?!?

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