Axialfest 2012 Recap

The first annual Axialfest was held this past weekend, June 22 – 24th, in Cisco Grove, CA. This event was known in the past as the “Axial West Coast Championships”, aka AWCC. This year’s event was geared towards “scale adventure” more so than a full on “competition”. While there are many classes to run, and trophies to win, this year’s event had a little different format to it, by offering numerous scale classes to compete in. Brian Parker’s new competition format known as “G6″ is slowly taking  the country by storm. Parker and his group of Recon Crawlers set out to make this event all about driving your scale R/C truck on lengthy adventures. When I say lengthy adventures, I mean it. For example the first stage of the G6 challenge on Friday consisted of navigating 500 gates that were sporadically laid out in the woods surrounding Cisco Grove Campground, the base camp of our adventures for the weekend. These 500 gates are numbered and must be run in consecutive order. Sounds simple enough right? Well, it can be, if you can locate all the gates. Brain and his crew can be pretty creative when it comes to setting courses, and camouflaging gates. And keep in mind there are 3 stages to this G6 challenge, so 500 gates is only part of the 3 day adventure. In the end I believe some adventurists in attendance ran in excess of 1200 gates throughout the weekend. Here’s a run down from the event.

Axial base camp.

The mud pit, which would be used throughout the weekend.

 

Registration on Friday morning.

 

The Terra Cross track.

 

Competitors line up according to class for the start.

 

Brian Parker holds the driver’s meeting before releasing competitors out onto the course.

 

On to the action. A cool Crawlmaro replica made with a Wraith.

 

Brett Carlson from Bulu Productions made the trip down from Oregon to shoot a little video, as well as compete with his Wraith.

 

Driving out of a rollover will save time and penalty points if you don’t have a winch.

 

One of the challenges that had to be performed on this stage was a sled pull.

 

Here you can see the mud depth is keep scale for realism.

 

Teamwork is another key factor to making through all 500 gates. Competitors are allowed to help each other over obstacles if need be.

 

The start of day two’s Ultra Race. This was a class that required you to run the set course as fast as you can. If you are looking for a good fun cardio workout, this is the class for you.

 

The first turn was a bottle neck for the more densely populated classes.

 

Axial’s own Brandon Coonce took the holshot in his custom blue paneled Wraith.

 

Next class hits the ground running. This was the adventurist class if I remember right. This class wasn’t about speed, it was more about adventure. But, a quick start to get ahead of the competition is still a good idea until the group gets spread out on course.

 

Turn one mayhem.

 

Next class to depart for the starting area.

 

Turn one was a great vantage point again.

 

Ty Campbell from Tekin’s custom Wraith build hits the mud pit flying.

 

More turn one action.

 

Not very often you see a Gremlin sporting 54″ tires.

 

After all the classes got underway, I set out on foot with my camera to see what challenges lay ahead for our competitors. First driver I came across was my co-worker Brandon. He had a weird monstrosity strapped to the hood of his Wraith. I asked him as he went by what it was, and all I heard was something about a boat? Confused, I followed him up the trail for a bit until he hit a challenge section of the trail run. This challenge required those carrying kayaks or boats on their vehicles to launch their boats at the designated boat ramp, let the vessel float its way downstream to the designated pick-up zone, then recover your boat and load it back onto your rig before you continue on. Actually turned out to be very entertaining to watch, some boats sank in the “rapids” requiring the owner to tip toe their way out into the stream for a recovery. Here is where Brandon’s previously mentioned monstrosity/camp fabbed raft came into play. Constructed of a 2.2 Ripsaw tire, stock tire foam, Proline roof rack, Proline cooler and a little duct tape, this raft floated down the scale river like a champ!! Everyone was laughing as it floated by us.

 

A few other watercraft making their way downstream.

 

After completing a few hundred gates the trail leads the competitors back to base camp for a run through the mud pit.

 

Cupid’s set-up is looking pretty high-tech these days, he is now apparently sporting a compound bow!!

 

Meanwhile back at our campsite our XR10′s are still covered in shaving cream from the previous night’s “Rock Riot” event. It’s a long story………. click the link below the photo.

A little video of Brandon and I hitting the shaving cream pit first. Brandon had the honors of breaking trail, I am second. Listen to Parker laughing as we go through.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=474854405861643

 

Our guard dog watched over the Axial RV while we were away.

 

One of my favorite scale vehicles from the weekend.

 

A few random campsites that were set-up properly for the disco themed weekend.

 

Time for some Terra Cross action. The TC races had a little something for everyone. There were classes for the SCX10, Wraith and EXO. Each class had its own variation of the track to run. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. It was the definition of backyard racing!!

First up for the heat races were the SCX10s.

 

Next up, the Wraith class.

 

And the EXO heat races were last.

 

Winner of the SCX10 Terra Cross Race was Matt Soileau

 

Start of the Wraith finals.

 

Taking the first Wraith Terra Cross victory was Axial team driver Ryan Gerrish.

 

Start of the EXO finals

 

Steve Brown of Vanquish Products tries to get his RTR EXO out of Ty Campbell’s way. Ty was by far the fastest guy on the track.

 

After all the dust settled, Ty Campbell took the win in the EXO Terra Cross.

 

Congrats to all the winners, you guys earned it! Here are a few highlights from the awards ceremony.

 

The future of our sport.

 

The Hawaii club sent this autographed banner to the event with signatures from the Hawaii G6 thanking Axial for their support. Thanks guys!!

That wraps up the 2012 Axialfestivies. If you can find a way to attend one of these G6 events you won’t be disappointed, especially if you own a scale R/C truck. Don’t forget to pack spare batteries either, because you are going to need them.

Overland Expo 2012 – Expedition Vehicles

Axial Racing is always working to keep a close eye on the latest and greatest 4 wheel drive trends. As of late, there is a major buzz about the Overland and Expedition vehicle scene. This is actually quite different than the standard direction for Axial vehicles (generally considered hardcore crawlers), though seems to fit in quite well with what our customers prefer to do with their SCX10’s. With the RECON G6 Challenge events really starting to get some traction and many more “like” events popping up every weekend; this just may be the next direction for scale rigs. More and more consumers are taking to the hiking trail, and not just for a 10 minute session, but instead for all day excursions. This style of travel could be characterized by or described as your average full size four wheel drive event such as a Jeep Jamboree. Though generally speaking those events may take all day, but actually not cover a tremendous amount of ground. In our case, the Axial SCX10 enthusiasts are covering some serious distance, as if they are on an expedition.
Axial has been following this expedition scene for some time now, as many of you may remember the “Go Overland, Do Expedition” ad that Axial ran in magazines. Axial has also developed a media partnership with the world renowned “Overland Journal” magazine that really caters to that scene. If you have been out on the trail for hours, or have been out exploring without a trail for hours, you too are on your own scale expedition.

We decided to head out to Flagstaff, Arizona from May 18-May 20 2012 to participate in the Overland Expo event. This is the premier event in the USA dedicated to vehicle dependent travel and exploration. If you are into the expedition lifestyle, this is the place to be. The expedition community as a whole, is also very into RC, what better hobby to take on the road than your scale RC vehicle.

We contacted TJM and told them we would be heading to Arizona for the event, and they asked if we wanted to take their Overland Toyota Tacoma. How can we pass up driving this heavily equipped Toyota for the weekend? We couldn’t, and we did!

We set up a booth for Axial vehicles to be displayed and showed off throughout the weekend.

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Some of our partners were also on hand at the event displaying their goodies!
Check out Icon Vehicle Dynamics

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Overland Journal!

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We were quite pleased to see a few Axial based rigs and rigs with Axial components around the show, many told us they had them in their full size vehicles and kept them charged up while they were on the road!

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Even this guy’s RC car had an RC Car

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One of the coolest aspects of this show is the education you can get throughout the event. Almost non-stop there are different areas of discipline being discussed and debated. Experts from each respective field are on hand to lend their experiences to those wanting to learn.

The recovery school was one of the coolest things to see. These guys had some incredible equipment and techniques

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The Camel Trophy crew really stole the show. They brought ex-Camel Trophy vehicles as well as a tremendous amount of knowledge of how to make a road where there isn’t one.
Here are a few of the Camel Trophy Rigs…

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The camel trophy crew got to work showing people how to do some amazing things while in the middle of nowhere. For instance, they taught you how to make a bridge out of trees

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Of course they had to test it!!

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They also discussed very advanced self-extraction techniques using a winch without an anchor. They made an anchor from several smaller tree limbs that when used alone would not be sufficient

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The last one is tensioned with a single piece of wood.

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After doing several G6 events, I can see where some of this knowledge would really come in handy on the trail. Due to the amount of traffic at the Axial booth, it was hard to slip away and impossible to take any of the classes, but it is on the list of something we would like to do in the future.

If you are like us, chances are you want to see some inspiration for future builds, check out some of these awesome expedition rigs

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For more information on the Overland Expo please visit their site here.
To get the lowdown on the whole expedition scene the best places to go for info is
Expedition Portal and the Overland Journal.

Axial “SCX10JK” – Currie RockJock 60 Axles

As you all know we have been working very closely with our firends at Rebel Off Road to build the ultimate Jeep JK trail rig. As we were going down the list of the must have accessories and modifications, Bond mentioned the drive train. We secured the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for it’s trail ready reputation. For all intended purposes the standard Jeep JK drive train would suit our needs just fine. The standard Jeep JK Dana 44 axles are well prepared to accept abuse on the trail and deliver the desired relaibility. Bond quickly reminded us that we consulted him and the talented Rebel staff to help to make the “Ultimate Jeep JK Trail Rig”. In order to get the increased reliablilty and ability to one day move up to the sticky compound Maxxis tires he suggested we consider upgrading the axles to the Currie RockJock 60 models.

After a tremendous amount of research and many conversations with the world renowned Currie family, we decided to pull the trigger and secure some of the most beefy axles available for the Jeep JK on the planet. These axles would offer several advantages over the standard axles, which is quite amazing because the standard Dana equipment is far from something to complain about. Taking a moment to dip into some specs on these axles really helped us to see where the major differences are. First and foremost these axles are huge! Huge in the sense that the axle housings themselves are 5″ wider than standard in the front, and 4″ wider than standard in the rear. This alone should help a lot with stability on the trail. Let’s take a look at these housings on the day we picked them up from Currie

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One of the most striking differences between these and the standard axles is the angle of the diff covers. They are kicked back and the covers almost sit on top of the housings. This allows extreme rock crawlers to mash their way through rocks without having to worry about puncturing the diff cover, spilling out all the oil and halting all forward movement.

Here they are, loaded in the back of my truck and ready to be delivered to Rebel. I have to admit, I really wanted to get lost and find myself at my house trying to generate a “good” reason why the housings fell out of my truck and landed under my own Jeep :)

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You can really notice another significant difference with these housings in the above picture. The center sections are cast in a manner that adds a significant amount of extra ground clearance to your trail rig. They are called high pinion housings, that have a special set of gears that allow the pinion gear to come in at a much higher location on the ring gear. That extra gounnd clearance is sure to come in handy on the trail.

The next major difference you will notice is the spindles, these are basically off of a 1 ton truck. They carry some massive u-joints and axle shafts, making the entire drivetrain virtually bullet proof!

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The guys at Currie really keep their ear to the ground and their finger on the proverbial pulse of the Jeep world. They know that Jeep has sold over 600,000 Jeep JKs and decide to make a RockJock system that bolts right into the Jeep Wrangler. This means that all the factory brake components work with the exception of the front rotors (which are included with the axles) and the rear rotors which need to be drilled to the new 5.5 wheel pattern. They simply developed a bracket to adapt the standard calipers, making installation a breeze.

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After dropping off all of the components at Rebel Off Road, I had to hit the road to a trade show in Arizona. As luck would have it, the Rebel guys were on a mission to get the axles installed in the SCX10JK. This is not abnormal for these guys, they dont like having things sitting around the shop for more than a few days. This also means I missed the step by step install of the housings. In this case an axle housing install as direct fit as this one requires little explanation.

I did get lucky enough to secure some images of the Jeep out on the trail testing out the new hard parts. As suspected the Axles worked flawlessly, and really increased the Jeeps stability especially on side hill obsticles. The reliability was as expected, complete perfection!

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After the session out in the mountains the SCX10JK was brought back into the Rebel shop for inspection. It is always best to bring your rig in for a complete inspection and maintenance after really putting it through its paces. This was also a great oppertunity to check out how the RockJock housings were holding up to their extreme duties.
As expected, there were a few scratches and scrapes, but no damage requiring repair.

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There is one key feature of the RockJock housings I haven’t mentioned yet, and that is the integrated skid plate system on the center section of the housing. This part is one of the coolest features on the axles. The skid plate allows the housing to easily slide over obsticles it comes into contact with. The skid plate will see some wear and tear over time, but then it can be replaced keeping the meat of the housing in perfect condition throughout its life of service.

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All in all, Axial is extremely pleased to be running the Currie RockJock axles. We are also looking forward to learning more about the Curries and their long heritage in motorsport. From what we have seen and experienced thus far, this is a family and a company who truly embody the spirit of the four wheel drive enthusiast. For a little more insight on Currie Enterprises and their business, check out this video from their youtube page, very cool guys!

To get the history on the Axial “SCX10JK”, please check out the following links! Be sure to check back often, as we will continue to build up the SCX10JK and fine tune it for maximum performance!

Axial “SCX10JK” tested – Moab, Utah for Easter Jeep Safari 2012

The Full Size Connection

Axial 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited

Axial Visits Rebel Off Road

Axial “SCX10JK” – Icon Suspension

Axial “SCX10JK” Armor – Poison Spyder Crusher Flares and Crusher Corners

Axial “SCX10JK” Armor – Poison Spyder Rocker Armor and Rocker Knockers

Axial “SCX10JK” Armor – Skid Plates from Rebel Off Road

Axial “SCX10JK” Walker Evans Wheels – Maxxis Tires – Rebel Roof Rack

Axial “SCX10JK” Armor – Poison Spyder Front and Rear Bumpers – TJM Winch

20th Annual Big Bear Jeep Jamboree USA – May 10-12, 2012 – Recap

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

It is an absolute honor to be invited to join the Inland Empire 4 Wheelers club as a trail guide for the 20th Annual Big Bear Jeep Jamboree USA. The club has been the host of this event since the first ever Big Bear Jeep Jamboree 20 years ago and still has active members that were at the first event. The event keeps getting better every year and the attendance keeps growing. This year with just a few vehicles shy of a sell out it was sure to bring some large trail groups and a lot of smiling faces. You could tell by all the participants that were at the drivers meeting Friday Morning that they were ready to hit the trails and get their adventure on.

Everyone that gathered for the meeting was able to enjoy the insightful comic, George “P-Diddy” Biddlecomb, educate them on treading lightly and other helpful 4-wheeling tips, like proper tire pressure and proper tire placement, for the first time off-roaders.

Blue Group Trail Leader: Mike Moore
Mid-Gunner: Rob Rogers
Tail Gunner: Randall Davis

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

Day 1:
I made it a point to get a group shot of everyone in our Blue Group so that we could look back and reflect on the new friends we met and the good times that we were about to have on trail. This picture is at the Old Baldwin Mine as we were on our way too run Little John Bull and John Bull 3N10.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

Some rigs are so big they just don’t need a spotter’s help. I took this opportunity to get a drink of water and watch Trail Guide, Rob Rogers, run over the rocks at the John bull Rock Garden.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

Axial’s VP, Jeff Johns, was able to get after the rocks as well and make some quick work of the entrance. And then the others followed.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

Here’s a few pics from a spot that used to be a tree squeeze. You can see that the tree on the passenger side of the vehicles has fallen…. This line used to be a Jeep top biter… but now… not so much.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree Day 1

It is great to see how perfect strangers get comfortable and become friends on the trail as the day goes on.

Day 2:
On our way to the next trail of the day, Holcomb Creek 3N93, we stopped by the dam to hear a little history from our Trail Leader, Mike More. He is well educated about Big Bear history and it was great to hear what he had to say about the area and it’s history.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

Another group shot, but this time I tricked them all into playing a little Simon Says, I never said Simon Says. It is great to see how we develop friendships from Day 1 to Day 2. And it is even better to be able to share the good times and smiles with each of the participants.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

Getting on trail of Holcomb Creek is a nice little drive from Fawnskin, CA out the 3N14 to the turn off for 3N93. The first challenge you get to is a dandy of a right hand turn into a bed of big boulders. After a good bit of spotting for each of the rigs we were all though and moving on.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

The best part of Holcomb Creek Trail is the rock garden that is about half way down the trail. Back in 2006 this was one of the most picturesque places on Holcomb Creek…. but the fires of Big Bear left this area ravaged and desolate looking. It is still a challenge to get through and the trickle of water has kept it just muddy enough to prevent any real good traction. There are plenty of challenging rocks to choose to drive over or around and it makes it perfect for all levels of drivers to step-up and test their skills a little more than normal.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

The bottom of Holcomb Creek has the last big challange we would face, again, and choose the rocks we want to drive over…. we found one that was a pretty good rock for posing and some of the participants chose to to do just that.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

And what would a day of wheeling be without breakage!!! We we had our fair share this time. One participant broke a sway-bar mount, another broke T-case shifter linkage, both were fixed. We also had control arm mount failure and Front Axle U-Joint failure a snapped rear track bar. The day was full of mechanical hardware challanges but not one of them left us discouraged….. we were determined to continue to have a good time and raise the bar for trail adventure. With the major breakage occuring to my rig and the fortunately prepared participant, we were able to see first hand how awesome and benifical the Hobert protable welding system is to have on trail. And then later got to witness it in action again making a brace for the rear track bar that broke on another rig. We were able to handle all the repairs on trail and get everyone back to the the Elks Lodge safely…not really in a timely manner, but in-time for dinner.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

With another Jeep Jamboree in the books and another experience under my belt, I am excited and delighted at what I was able to be a part of. The response we got from every participant in our group was positive and they left with more Jeeping knowledge than they had before.

2012 Big Bear Jeep Jamboree

For additional information, check out these sites.
Website: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/
Event Schedule: http://jeepjamboreeusa.com/forms/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeepjamboreeusa
Inland Empire 4 Wheeler’s: http://www.ie4w.com/

Tire Cutting 101

When it comes to scale trail runs, mud bogging, competition crawling and racing, tires are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle. Without proper traction it can be tough to hold your intended line in the rocks or around the track. Having multiple sets of tires in your arsenal is always a good idea in order to be prepared for any and all conditions. But, for the budget crawler, basher and racer having numerous sets of tires and wheels isn’t always a feasible option. There are ways to improve your existing tires and wheels though, and all it requires is a little time at the work bench. For this tire cutting article we will show you a few ways to get more traction out of your stock or existing tires, with little to no money out of your pocket. There are numerous ways to cut tires for better performance. Siping, read cutting, tires is a technology used in the 1:1 off-road world for everything from rock crawling to baja, mud bogging and even full size monster trucks. Tire cutting can be used to get better forward bite, better lateral bite, and even help to avoid mud from packing into certain tread patterns. You can also cut the side wall lugs to soften up the overall feel of the tires carcass as well. There are many aspects to this technology/art form.

A good example to start with for the scale crawlers is the stock R40 compound Axial Ripsaw tires that are original equipment on the RTR Wraith and new RTR Ridgecrest. These tires have a great tread pattern with aggressive lugs for hardcore off road terrain. But, the compound on these is quite a bit harder than the softer R35 Axial Ripsaw tires. Here are a few different methods you can use to get the most out of your stock RTR Ripsaw tires. Only tools needed are a good pair of small wire cutters, a Dremel with a cutoff wheel and a little bit of your time.

Wire cutters used.

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Dremel and cutoff wheel used.

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A stock uncut tire before we get started.

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First thing I wanted to improve upon was forward bite, and the ability to clean sticky mud out of the tire lugs. The tires I am using for this article will be bolted up to a 2.2 scaler/rock racer which will see a wide variety of terrain. I started by cutting the smaller rows of lugs completely out of the tires for a super aggressive tread pattern that will have the ability to shed mud and wet dirt, using a small pair of wire cutters. This cut will also soften the carcass up and allow for more forward bite in technical rock sections, similar to airing a 1:1 tire down for more grip and better ride. If your wire cutters are too small to span the entire lug you are trying to remove, you can cut half of the lug and slide the cutters along the base of the lug for a second cut as needed. I had to use this method on the biggest lugs.

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Next cut the smaller center lugs out on the same row.

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Here is how that same tire looks when the first round of cutting is complete.

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A profile shot after the first round with the wire cutters.

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A photo of all the lugs removed from the 4 tires.

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Next I want to improve the tires performance on the rocks in off camber situations. To do this I will use my Dremel and cut the existing tire grooves in the center lugs down to the tire’s carcass. Here you can see it grooves before I modify them.

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Position the Dremel over the lug to be cut and follow the existing groove to make it deeper.

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Keep your RPMs on the Dremel high enough to cut the lug without bogging the motor down. Gently apply pressure until the cutoff wheel cuts the full depth of the lug. Be careful not to go too deep and cut all the way through the tire, take your time and be patient. You can also do this to the outer lugs if you find you need more bite, or sidewall flex. Another way to get more flex out of your tires is to open up the breather holes in the wheels. I drilled out the existing breather holes in these wheels to twice the stock diameter.

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Finished tire

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Here’s a few shots to show the overall look on my “Project Backyard Basher Ridgecrest.” These tires really give it a lot more aggressive look, similar to what you would see on the “Rock Bouncers” from down in the southeast.

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Following these tips will improve overall performance on the stock RTR Ripsaw tires as well as other tires on the market, especially if they are molded in a firm rubber compound.