Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck Rocks Utah Ultra4 race



Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck Rocks Utah Ultra4 race

2014 American Rock Sports Challenge, Toole, UT

words and photos by: Mike Plunkett


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)


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).


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.


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.


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.



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.


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!


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.


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…


Yeti Pre-run Checklist – Read Before You Run


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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!!

Axialfest 2014 – Report By Skeeno


Well it was that time of year again, Axialfest Time!  Did you make it out?  The Skeenos did, and it was an awesome way to spend Father’s Day Weekend.  Skeeno Jr and I had another great time.  If you didn’t make it, you better make plans for next year.

Here’s how it went down around the Skeenos.


First thing was that Axialfest 2014 fell a week earlier than usual.  For me, that meant I had to do a little preplanning, since I would be working up until Friday when Axialfest started.  I didn’t want to be rushed to set up camp the day of the event, so I met Mr. Parker up at Cisco Grove after work one day and set up camp a little early.


Red Rocket kept an eye on G Camp during the week while I was at work.  Thanks Red Rocket.  You did a stellar job.

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For the rest of the week, it was a little hard to focus on work knowing good times were just around the corner. Finally, Friday came and I was able to sneak away from work early, scoop up Skeeno Jr. and head up to Axialfest 2014.  These signs made it easy to find the new location at Cisco Grove Campground.


First thing I saw was Mr. Tree strutting around. He was actually prepping the mud pit. Sweet shoes big boy.


Since the buckets were heavy, Tree got some assistance from Mini Meeks.


I walked around G Central and saw lots of familiar faces. Here I saw Bender, Rodney, and Sam Trujillo of Rock Armor chatting.


I also saw Anthony Rivas.  He is a huge part of the G Crew, Parker’s right hand man.  He was actually smiling.  It must have been because the craziness hadn’t started yet.


A few people were still driving on the Trials Course.  Here a Toyota runs through the Axial Alley.

DSCF1006Axial Alley was a popular spot to run.

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Before the start of the the G6, I had some business to conduct.  I was the official cook of the G Crew for Axialfest. I had this view for every meal.


4 pounds of Tri Tip should keep the G Crew happy.


My cooking must have been ok, because the G Crew seemed to enjoy it.  Rivas didn’t get to eat with us because he was tasked with manning G Central all weekend.  Don’t worry, we sent him up a plate.

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Skeeno Jr hustled to get her new G6 Jeep ready for Stage One. It was its first real usage other than street testing back home.

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Turnout was pretty impressive.  I mean, it’s always a good turnout, but Axialfest 2014 shattered attendance records.  Could we see 500 next year?  I think so.



After the driver’s meeting it was go time. First stage was a night run, so you better have packed your LEDs.


It was a little crowded for a minute until the drivers spread out. Skeeno Jr. was anxious to get some real wheel time in.

DSCF1049Skeeno Jr’s new G6 Jeep did awesome on its inaugural run. She ran it completely stock with a 55T motor and 2S Lipo. It did AWESOME and finished without any issues. This G6 Jeep is the Bomb!


It did so well, Skeeno Jr. had to slow down and wait for some slower traffic.


That’s Trail Marker 216.  Stage one had 500 for the Adventurists and 1000 for the Ultras.  That is maximum drive time.  I hope you remembered to pack some extra batteries.

DSCF1080Here’s Skeeno Jr. steering clear of the river.  Her ESC isn’t waterproof…yet.


Stage 1 went late into the night.


Good morning, time for breakfast burritos.

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There’s that mud pit.  Some people were a little scared to get dirty.


Don’t worry, he took the first run a little slow, but then he got her dirty.

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Others were so eager to fling some mud that they flung themselves.

DSCF1021Old Blue Bastard is never afraid of getting a little muddy.


The bridges on the Trails Challenge were quite challenging.  You needed your A-game to pull some of these lines.

DSCF1047This suspension bridge bucked off everyone.


This kit didn’t need the Pull Pal RW60 to get up the hill climb even though this hill was steep and silty.

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I saw some sweet custom 1:10 Trasharoos.  Do you have monogrammed accessories on your kit?

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Of course the Bautista Terror was at Axialfest.  It goes to all RECON G6 events.  It’s also known as the Driveshaft Killer. It’s claimed more than one of mine.


Stage 2 took us back down by the river.


Lunch time, Beer Brat, anyone?


Skeeno Jr. and I kept seeing these Yetis.  They were a little creepy. Turns out that the Yetis were a promotional gimmick for the new Axial YETI. I’m sure you’ve seen it.  If you haven’t, go check it out here:


Stage 3 of the RECON G6 was a treasure hunt to capture a Yeti.  Successful hunters got a sneek peek before the Yeti was announced to the public.  Here, a lucky G6er drives his Yeti back to G Central.

DSCF1075One thing I love about Axialfest and all the RECON G6 events is the families that come out.  How many times have you seen daughters come out to drive an RC car?  How about whole families?  It’s quite common at Axialfest.

DSCF1084 (2)The Meeks are old RECON G6ers from the 2.2 comp days. Now the whole clan comes out to drive.  How cool is that?


Here’s another Mother/Daughter combo. Cassie’s daughter was a little camera shy.

DSCF1089Hold up, what is this?  Many vendors made their way up to enjoy and support Axialfest, but Werty Made Products did it right. They brought a movie projector and inflatable hot tub to relax in after a long day of driving.

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The rocks down at the river were slickery from years of polishing.  Once your tires were wet, these simple climbs became difficult.

DSCF1102Even if you couldn’t make an obstacle, there was always someone to lend a hand.  Here a driver gets a little tug over a tough patch.


There’s HoyFab’s 6×6 waiting its turn.  When you are trail running, sometimes you have to be patient.

DSCF1081Dropping in down by the river.  Slick rock and sand is a nasty combination.

DSCF4015Down at RPP’s Rattle Snake Creek, some drivers had to call for help if they didn’t pack a raft.


Luckily, CKRC gave free rides to anyone in need.

DSCF4003Skeeno Jr. wasn’t skeerd, she jumped right in and pulled her kit to the safety of the far bank.


After the river crossing, Skeeno Jr. panned for a little gold.  She found a nice nugget and put it in her scale Trasharoo.


After sitting in the hot tub all night, Werty considers sitting in the stream. That, or he was taking some pictures of his trucks.


Stage 3 and still smiling.  Axialfest must be a lasting good time.


Well that just about wraps up the Skeeno report.  Another year and another Axialfest in the books. It was a great time seeing old friends, making new friends, and making memories with my daughter.  Skeeno Jr. and I are already counting down the days until Axialfest 2015.


The Driver of the Day Awards were waiting back at G Central.  Did you get one?  Look for a complete report on winners in an upcoming blog.

Jeeping with Casey Currie at EJS2014


Casey Currie is an absolute Jeep fanatic. Anyone who follows Casey can see this plain as day, though until you spend a few days with him, you can’t truly know how bad he has it. All hours of the night, in the worst weather conditions, regardless of what is going on or what time it is, Casey is ready to go wheeling. At this years’ EJS, we jumped in the Axial grocery getter, soccer mom mall crawler, whatever you want to call it, and headed out to meet with Casey. He said he had both of his JKs and he was ready to have some Moab fun.




Upon arrival, we see that Casey wasted no time modifying both of his Jeeps. His full size rig was all decked out. We also noticed his Scale JK was equipped with Vanquish Currie Rock Jock axles, Vanquish Rigid Industries light bar, Vanquish front dig, RC4WD Warn Winch. He chose the 55t Axial motor running on 3s for smooth crawling. Once we arrived on Hell’s revenge, he immediately jumped out of his full size JK and started attacking the rock with his SCX10.


Casey always immediately goes for the “Man’s Line”



We just had to get some video to share with you, check it out!