RD’s Adventures – 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers – Part I

Since I first attended King of the Hammers in 2009 I have always wanted to compete in the event and test my skills. There has been a lot of history and stories built out of this event since it started in 2008. I have been fortunate through recent years to really work on improving my navigation and spotting skills and have become friends with several of the other competitors, including some of those OG13 (Original Racer) guys. Now I am finally getting my opportunity with George Kane, to be the co-driver in his race car. I don’t know what sparked George’s interest in getting a race car, or the details that laid the foundation for it to be built for the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers event on Feb 3-10, but at some point Johnny suggested to George that I would be an excellent choice for the Co-Dog seat in his custom built Poison Spyder Venom 2 racing chassis. As I talked to George about the opportunity and expressed my confidence in what was taking place, we were quickly developing a great line of communication and were excited about working together as a team. So the team, Holy Moly Racing, was formed with a core of 3 people, George Kane, Randall Davis and John Rocha. George and I made some quick plans to take his Class 1 desert car out to get our in-car communications established and spend some quality driver/co-driver time together out at Johnson Valley OHV. We had been wheeling together at other events in the past, but it was always just for leisure and not for competition. Johnny started getting busy and focused on the fabrication he was going to be facing soon, and getting his crew at Road Race Motorsports ready for what was coming down the project pipeline. And so it was on!!!… Holy Moly Racing was going to bring it full force. I was set on making the most of this opportunity and I took on a few duties to help-out in the ways that I knew I could.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, RD’s Adventures – 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers Part II, as I write about the build and preparation of the race cars, and what really went on during the build.
Here are a some pictures I’ve taken from past events:

Agent00111 Stop Motion Axial Wraith Video Build

Our buddy Agent00111 performed his first-ever kit built and also got creative and did his first-ever iStoMotion video at the same time! THANK YOU JASON!!!

From Agent00111:
“I have to say, I’m pretty impressed, from someone who has never built anything RC before, it was as easy to assemble as it was. The manual with the pictures was very helpful and clear.

So the build isn’t tedious, but the stop frame animation was (over 3200+ frames…. move a screw, snap.. move it again, snap…etc). It’s my first time doing stop animation, and I’m not really an animator or artsy type so it’s a bit rough around the edges.”

Rallye Aicha des Gazelles – Worlds Toughest?

As fans of Axial, you may well know that we love adventures… and especially with our participation within the RECON Crawlers G6 Adventure Challenges. Thus, in the spirit of Adventure Challenges of all kinds, I came across an event that is at the very root of “hardcore adventure” and I place this event atop of the pile next to the likes of Dakar, Baja 1000, King Of Hammers, etc.

The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles is limited to the use of a tried & true, old-school paper-maps and sighting compass’s as the only tools allowed for navigation! Yes, the same old tools of navigation we all learned to use in Boy Scouts. BUT, the big major factor difference in this multi-day event itself.. it is an ALL-GIRLS race! Or “Gazelles” as they are called on the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles site.

The Gazelles have to reach the predefined check points along their course in the least number of kilometres, rather than in the least amount of time. They may choose to drive around a mountain or to cross over it, to drive through the dunes or to avoid them…

They are provided with a “Road Book” for the day’s course. This extremely succinct document contains only the geographic coordinates, headings and distances of the day’s check points and finish line. With the help of a compass and a 1:100,000 scale map, they plot their route and plan their itinerary. One course, designed specifically for the capacities of Crossover vehicles, is reserved for the exclusive use of this type of vehicle.

Dividing the vehicles among different courses makes it harder for them to follow each other, which is strictly prohibited during the competition.
The competition begins at dawn, with successive starts by the minute. An average day of competition is 10 to 13 hours long.

The rankings are obtained by calculating the extra kilometres driven (distance driven between check points minus distance as the crow flies) and penalty kilometres for any check points not reached.
The winning team is that with the least number of kilometres.

Check out this video preview:

How To Use A Map & Compass – just incase you forgot:

Axial EXO Status

Dear Axial fans, enthusiasts and potential customers,

We wish to express our sincerest apology for the delay of the AX90015 Axial EXO™ Terra Buggy.  We are working very closely with our global distribution partners in ensuring the EXO reaches retailers by March 13, 2012. At Axial, we hold ourselves to the highest quality standards possible. Our decision to delay the delivery of the EXO to market was made to assure you get the best brand experience possible.

Again, we are sorry for the delay and we are always very thankful for you choosing Axial as your product brand of choice.


FOFF SCX10 in 100th Issue of RC Driver

RC Driver magazine has hit a milestone…………….their 100th issue is about to hit newstands. Axial would like to congratulate them on this historic feat, way to go guys!! One vehicle that is featured in this special 100th edition magazine is a custom formula offroad SCX10 that I built a few months back. I sent a sneak peek photo of this rig to Ty Giebel, the man behind this article, while it was in the build process. I instantly got a message back saying he wanted to do an article for RC Driver featuring this Rat Rod FOFF in a future edition of the magazine. It was tough to finish the build, knowing that the first squeeze of the trigger wasn’t going to be made by my hand. But, in end I couldn’t turn him down as I knew he would truly do this rig justice with a spectacular article and photos. Here’s a few teaser photos of the new 100th issue, and this Rat Rod FOFF build. There is more to come on this particular rig, but for now this will have to hold you over. If you want to see more, look for this issue at your local newstand.

Cover shot.


Cover page for article.


Last couple shots.



Brandon’s Formula Offroad Build: Part 3: Insight into the AR60 Axle Design

See Part 2 of the build HERE.
See Part 1 of the build HERE.

Wanted to share the latest updates to my Formula Offroad build. When I first built this rig using AX10 axles the Wraith™ had just hit the market. At the time I thought it would be great to have those new AR60 axles found in the Wraith™ underneath my Formula Offroad rig. Well its been long enough, time to get it done!

But first, I will explain a few of the advantages of the AR60 axles for this application.

Axial R&D developed the new AR60 axles for a few reason’s. First, we wanted the Wraith™ to perform well at higher speeds. Speed isn’t all about straight line performance, stability is important as well. The AX10 axles with some wideners would not have cut it. To increase handling ability at speeds we needed to utilize a design with proper scrub radius. So what is Scrub radius and why is it so important for handling? Scrub Radius is determined by the kingpin location on the steering knuckles and hubs. Draw an imaginary line to the ground through the kingpin screws and ideally that imaginary line lands close to the center of the tire to achieve the ideal scrub radius.

Ideal, or zero scrub radius occurs when the kingpin line meets the ground at the center of the tire.

Here is a pic I found to help explain Scrub Radius (aka pivot angle radius):

Now lets take a look at the AR60 axle by drawing a similar diagram.

The Blue line is the imaginary line I mentioned above. The screws this imaginary line travels through are the kingpin screws. The red “X” at the bottom of the tire is the location that the kingpin line meets the ground. You can see this very close to the center of the tire therefore the scrub radius is minimal.

On 1:1 cars you want this scrub radius to be as close to zero as possible. Vehicles with a large scrub radius require powerful steering systems to move the tire when steering. Cars with zero scrub radius can usually be driven without power steering. So this brings us to another important reason to reduce scrub radius. The larger the scrub radius the higher the torque required to steer it, therefore you need a stronger steering servo on your RC car. Keeping the scrub radius to a minimum will let your steering servo work at its full potential and use the steering torque efficiently.

Lets look at my old setup using the AX10 axles and a wide offset wheel to achieve the width I wanted. Keep in mind that this is extreme due to the wheels I was using. Axial’s current products that utilize the AX10 axle do not exhibit this large scrub radius.

Here you can see the distance from the center of the tire where it meets the ground is a good distance away from the red X. This creates a very large scrub radius.

There are few other important things to note when looking at the comparisons above. See how the imaginary line through the kingpin screws is at an incline on the AR60 axle? This is due to the inclined kingpin screws compared to the vertical kingpin screws on the AX10 axles. This inclined kingpin design was originally used on the XR10 competition Rock Crawler. It effectively moves the imaginary line closer to the center of the tire. The extra width of the AR60 axle and the incline kingpin angle both work together to increase handling, stability, and steering efficiency.

When Axial R&D started looking into Kingpin Inclination during the design of the XR10 competition Rock Crawler we found that the 1:1 automotive industry settled on an inclined kingpin angle of 7-9 degrees. Anything more and the contact patch of the tire is decreased during steering. The XR10 and AR60 axles utilize 8 degrees of kingpin inclination.

Another example of kingpin inclination can be seen on a Dana 44 Axle, its always cool to see real world 1:1 technology trickle down into the RC industry.

The second major design focus on the AR60 axles was strength. The Wraith™ was designed to handle more more speed and larger tires than any previous Axial product. The AR60 axle utilizes a 1 piece molded axle housing with thicker axle tubes. By removing the seam of the 2 piece axle housing and increasing the thickness the strength increase is substantial.

The third major design focus of the AR60 axle was adjustability. Some key adjustable features include:

  • The AR60 axle can easily be flipped for a left or right offset pumpkin. The offset pumpkin allows for more clearance under a larger area of the axle and properly aligns the axle output with the transmission output to create a more efficient drivetrain.
  • The lower link/shock mounts can be flipped to adjust height and anti-squat.
  • Remove the diff cover and you can access the ring and pinion. Again this can also be flipped to keep the same rotation when you flip the axle housing to change the offset of the pumpkin.
  • Caster angle can be changed in 18* increments to drastically change driving/handling characteristics.
  • Upper 4 link truss is designed to be modular and act as a true truss to stiffen the axle housing.

Here is a exploded view showing the removal of the ring gear. Again Axial R&D took inspiration from 1:1 axles and the accessibility of the ring & pinion. It never gets old having to tear into an AR60 axle, its just too cool the way it comes apart and the diff cover gives you access to the axle internals.

Flipping the axles is also very easy. For this part of my Formula Offroad build I opted to install them flipped when compared to the Wraith. This was done to keep the transmission in the same orientation. If the AR60 axles did not have the capability to easily be flipped I would have been forced to rethink my whole build. The current transmission position allows me to run a full size 2 or 3S lipo pack under the hood. Once the axles were flipped all I had to do was flip the differentials inside the axle to correct the rotation. This extra adjustment is a great feature for changing the rotation to accommodate electronics or fighting torque twist.

Along with flipping the axles, the lower link/shock mounts can be flipped to further fine tune the suspension. Anti-squat characteristics are determined by the location of the links at the chassis and the axle. Triangulation and link separation is key when setting up a 4 link suspension, the AR60 axles give you that extra adjustability needed with the lower link mounts. Take a look at the image below, the green line running through the center of the axle helps to show the difference when the link mounts are flipped (link mounts shown in blue). If you need to replace a lower link mount its an easy part to change out that does not require the entire AR60 axle housing to be replaced. Axial also sells a machined aluminum lower link mount AX30830.

Here are a few initial build pictures of the AR60 axles underneath my Formula Offroad rig. Because this is a custom build I did have to make some slight adjustments to bolt on the AR60 axles and still utilize the full stroke of the shocks without interfering. I will update this post with some more detailed photos soon.

I also opted to upgrade the driveshafts to the new AX30794 WB8 versions. The new WB8 driveshafts utilize a CV style joint that is rebuild-able.

The wheels are the new Axial 2.2/3.0 Narrow Raceline Renegade for the EXO Terra Buggy. Tires are Pro-Line SC Slingshots.

More build pics coming soon! Also need to get some electronics sorted out. Stay tuned, thanks for looking!

Not sure what Formula Offroad RC’s are all about? Check out the RCCrawler.com Formula Offroad Forum HERE

Want to see a FOFF RC in action? Check out Bender’s video HERE

Congrats to Daniel Riley for winning the “Best Amateur Video Contest” on the Radio Control Show

Check out this cool video Daniel Riley made of his Axial Wraith shredding it up! He submitted this video to the Radio Control Show over at RC Car Action for their annual Amateur video contest, and won 1st Place!! The contest featured tons of user created videos that were narrowed down to five finalists. Through online voting Daniel and his Axial Wraith came out on top! Well done Daniel!!