Words by: Maarten Van Praag

The beginning:



The very first seed of this story was planted, kind of accidentally, three decades ago. It was sometime in the early eighties during the times of Eastern European Communism and the Cold War. It was then that a couple of employees of the state owned truck manufacturer LIAZ first heard of “the Dakar” and got really excited about this marathon race. Being adventurous and stubborn, they decided to do something quite impossible – tried to persuade Viktor Korecky, LIAZ Director, that this really was a great idea. They actually bugged him long enough and somehow succeeded at the end!

Coincidentally at that same time, the strict regime was weakening and the comrades were looking for more opportunities to sell more socialists products abroad in order to support the falling economy. One of the ways to do this was export through the company called M.A.M Strager, based in France. From the sources I have, I know that Viktor Korecky must have been a bright and adventures guy as he managed to push this insane semi-official project through the governmental bureaucracy.

Of course, this is a very short version of the story and there were many others involved, but what is important, finally it was decided that LIAZ will participate in Dakar 1985.

This was not the end, as many would hope. Our small group of excited employees started to get quite worried as they woke up from a dream and started facing a number of responsibilities and real challenges, many of them that people who have not seen Communism could ever hardly imagine.

In short:

1) The project was kind of “not so official” = lack of funding, no real support from…anyone

2) The product (LIAZ trucks) was not exactly known for advancement and reliability = trouble guaranteed

3) They had no pieces of racing equipment available = not exactly an ideal starting point for participation in one of the toughest races in the world

4) They had questionable support from the factory = working mostly with leftover parts that they gathered

5) They only knew a real Dakar truck from a magazine = they knew nothing

6) They were forced to “volunteer” to do this themselves (“You came up with this, you do it approach”; most people thought they were insane and did not want to get dragged down… just in case it all fails) = unpaid nightshifts; free time and weekends gone

7) They were in an isolated country = no information, no travel allowed, no suppliers from abroad, bureaucracy, no real international cooperation except for M.A.M Strager (which really helped, in the end)

The race:

In the end, they managed to put together two trucks (#626 & #627) and selected 6 crew members, 5 Czechs and one Frenchman, supplied by M.A.M Strager. Support trucks as well as mechanics, as we know it from contemporary Dakar, were not included. The few testing sessions took place in the local fields. Without much attention from the public and media, something they appreciated just in case it goes wrong, they were finally ready to head towards Paris.

Their joy did not last long, however. They got stopped by the police right at the German border as nobody knew that trucks are not allowed on road in Germany during weekends and holiday…

Obviously, they were not allowed to continue, however, they were not even allowed to come back due to difficult paperwork and customs. The only option was to wait for the morning in the cabin. As it was an extremely cold winter night, they appreciated the fact the trucks were not stripped of heating. Not for long, however, the police were back and explained that idling is not allowed either…

The joy of racing did not, unfortunately, last long either. #627 soon lost rear dampers completely, both trucks suffered serious issues with steering and geometry of front wheels. The conditions appeared to be much worse than anticipated. On top of it, Allain Galland, the Frenchman from #626 started to seriously worry and decided to quit. #626 was out of the race due to an incomplete crew. #627 was falling apart but kept struggling through the challenges for another two weeks. At that point everyone present started regretting this stupid idea.

It must have been the power of will, combination of luck, and insanity that caused #627 to actually finish the race… and, in fact, placed 13th! In the end, this became a hugely unexpected stepping stone that many others followed in the coming years. Today, 31 years later, there are 17 Czech crews on the start of Dakar, many of them respected internationally. For many, Rally Dakar has become one of the national sports.

LINK: http://jardakar.rajce.idnes.cz/Dakar_85_LIAZ_627/ (personal collection from the co-driver, JAROSLAV JOKLIK)

My connection to the #627

The “spirit” of #627 quickly became famous. A poster in every boy’s room was at that time almost mandatory, they even started to make a small model kit that became a super-popular Christmas gift for every boy and young man. However, the #627 itself was forgotten and stayed parked in the courtyard behind the factory. This famous vehicle that survived the impossible was suddenly left there rusting.


A couple years later, when the Iron Curtain was fresh history, this car attracted another semi-insane guy who decided to purchase it, take it all apart and build it again himself. He repeated the process again in 2014, just before the 30th anniversary of the race.

LINK: http://www.liaz.cz/liaz_dakar_85_opet_na_dakaru_2014.php (2nd renovation photo gallery)

On December 27, 2014 this legendary #627 stood on a square in Prague surrounded by people ready to depart to Paris. Jiri Moskal, the original driver, Tomas Pour, the owner, and his friend Vit Jezek, were ready for a memorial expedition to Dakar. The #627 went 15000 km before successfully returning home.






A Couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Pour who showed me the truck in detail and even gave me and my friend a ride. It was then when I decided that my next rig will be #627.





Wish me the best of luck!


Follow this link for Part 2: http://www.axialracing.com/blog_posts/1073915885

Installing a Snow Plow on Your SCX10


Words and photos by Tony Phalen

Being a SoCal native, I’ve never had a reason to build a RC vehicle with a snow plow attachment. After a move to Connecticut back in 2013, it occurred to me why a slew of snow-moving builds pop up in that latter months of the year. Funny thing is I never took advantage of this situation, that is, until I moved BACK to sunny Southern California in 2015. After seeing a bunch of videos on YouTube with guys plowing their front yards, a friend (in CT) hit me up wanting me to build a custom rig for her husband for his birthday.

The entire build was pretty awesome, but for this article I’m going to just run through the quick steps of attaching RC4WD’s plow unit on the SCX10 Ram Power Wagon.

Step 1

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10
My first step in any build is to lay out the parts so I know what I’m working with. We have our SCX10 and the parts from RC4WD’s Snow Plow unit – a pretty simple plow that comes almost completely assembled. A few extra pieces come with the kit to attach it to the frame rails on the SCX10. You’ll also need a spare servo, preferably one with a decent amount of torque.

Step 2

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10 The plow attaches to the SCX10 between the frame rails. To get to this area, we need to first remove the stock plastic cap. Two screws is all it takes, then give the plastic cap a good pull to remove it.

Step 3

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10 Assemble the bumper mount as shown. You’ll want to make sure the two mounting ‘tabs’ (red arrow) are tilted up; this angles the plow correctly once installed. Also take note of the flat area on the plow mounts (green arrow) – notice the flat spot is pointing down. I suggest using blue threadlocker on all the screws here to prevent them from falling out.

Step 4

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10 Time to install the servo, however before you do, I suggest removing all of the screws (one at a time) and re-installing with a dab of blue threadlocker. I also advise removing the plow blade entirely during the install.

Moving on – slide the servo into place and attach (don’t forget your blue threadlocker). Attach one end of the chain to the servo horn and the other end to the bottom plow pickup. Typically, servos come with the output shaft set at 90°, so let’s start by attaching the servo horn angled up a bit like the photo. We can adjust the ‘pull height’ after we have the entire unit installed. You can re-install the plow blade at this point.

Step 5

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10Attach the bumper mount assembly (from Step 3) to the plow assembly. The mount slides into ‘keyed’ slots in the back of the plow assembly. Blue threadlocker is suggested here.

Step 6

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10Slide the mounting tabs between the frame rails and secure with the button head screws. Again, blue threadlocker is suggested here as well.

Step 7

Installing a RC4WD Snow Plow on Your SCX10
Remove the receiver box top and feed the servo lead into the box. Axial uses a 3-channel Tactic radio system, so thankfully there is an open port for the plug – port 3. Re-install the receiver box top.

Now, before you head on out to remove some snow, we need to test the plow for proper operation. Turn the transmitter on, then plug in the battery and turn the SCX10 on. There are two buttons right under your thumb (on the transmitter) – one raises the plow, the other lowers it. Go ahead and give it a quick test. If the buttons raise and lower the plow, you’re good to go. If you want the plow to raise up more, you have 2 options; 1) remove the servo horn and angle it up more or 2), shorten the chain by changing the attachment points.

Good luck and happy plowing!


Here is a list of parts used in this article:

AX90037 SCX10™ Ram Power Wagon 1/10th Scale Electric 4WD – RTR
Z-X0007 RC4WD Blade Snow Plow
36645 Hitec D‑645MW 32‑bit, High Speed, Metal Gear Servo

1981 M934 6X6 5-TON CAMPER


The Meeks Family Five Ton Camper

The Ultimate Overland Adventure Vehicle?

Words and Photos by Matt ‘Skeeno’ Soileau


If you have been to AXIALFEST or have attended any Axial events, you know that RC and outdoors go hand in hand.  Many Axial enthusiasts also dabble in exploring, hiking, fishing, hunting, OHVs, bicycling, and camping.


And many of those Axial enthusiasts also own vehicles such as RVs or camping trailers, so it’s common to see them together at Axial events. But, nothing could prepare me for the massive awesomeness that the Meeks family brought out to the 2015 RECON G6 Birthday Bash.


Chris Meeks has been an avid fan of Axial products for many, many years.  He not only competed in all the Axial West Coast Championships, but he was also a judge.


As soon as I saw him, I immediately asked him to give me a quick tour of his newly acquired family adventure wagon. This is what i learned about this massive 5 ton behemoth.


It started life as a 1981 M934 6×6 5 Ton Military vehicle.  It has full time four wheel drive to the rear wheels with 6×6 on demand. It also has an air-shifted, two speed transfer case for stump pulling duties.


Under the hood hides a 250 Cummins 855ci, non turbo diesel mated to an Allison five speed automatic transmission.


Don’t expect to get anywhere to quickly.  Weighing in near 30,000 lbs, Chris informed me that the 5 Ton tops out just over 50 mph.


Hiding under the chassis are the old, reliable, Rockwell 5 Ton axles


Putting the power to the ground are these massive 48″ Michelins.  It’s crazy how small they look when mounted on the truck.


Even though it sits so high off the ground, it’s still equipped with the deep water fording kit.  That snorkel is almost 8 feet off the ground.


Steps make getting mounted into the cab easier, but it’s still a task for us smaller people.


Upon opening the door, you’re greeted with bare bones military comfort.


I see an AXIALFEST credential laying on the floor.  Where do you keep yours?


This makes me think of Indiana Jones for some reason.


Thank god for no clutch. I don’t think my leg would be man enough.


Phweew, and air brakes.


Out back, under the stars to the expansible van box, sits the the old extension cord.  This would be hooked to the generator trailer when used in a military theater.


Inside, the rear box opens to a massive 17′x14′ communications headquarters. That’s 238 sq.ft. of potential.  It’s still bare bones, but you can see Chris has a huge, blank canvas to start his camper build.  That’s a queen sized bed sitting in there.


Above the bed sits the old military heaters.  Chris told me he hasn’t had a chance to test them, so he wasn’t using them on this day.


He had a small 1500 watt electric heater in use. He said it did a fairly adequate
job, but he will be looking for a better heating solution if the stock heaters don’t work out.


The other side has a small cabinet pulling kitchen duty.  We discussed his vision to turn the comm box into a full functioning living space for his family while out exploring.  Bunk beds for the kids and a better kitchen and storage space are currently in the works.


His wife expressed a desire to have a full functioning bathroom with toilet and shower. Since a happy wife makes a happy life, I’m sure that’s in the plans as well.  But if not, he can always pick up this little guy for his wife.

Now, who’s gonna be the first to make a scale replica of this?



Given the opportunity to paint up a few SCORE® Retro Trophy Truck® bodies for the up coming body release, Axial staff nabbed a few bodies and took some creative liberty and ran with it. Lets be honest, wouldn’t have you? And from the looks of it each body has its own unique flare ranging from an old school Las Vegas race truck flare to budget Trophy Truck® with multi colored fender panels. Despite all the differences, all chose to use the full roll cage assembly for full effect. Here is a closer look into each vehicle.


Brandon’s Retro Truck Build
Contrasting colors with a fair amount of flare, more Rasta less Retro.






Randall’s Retro Truck Build
The Every Man’s Trophy Truck.






Jamie’s Retro Truck Build
Look familiar? If you watched “On the Loose in Baja” then you’ve certainly seen this truck. Classic Ford Racing color scheme.






John’s Retro Truck Build
And then there is te classic Retro Trophy Truck paint scheme littered with bass boat gold flake that screams early SCORE race days.






And just in case you missed “On the Loose in Baja”…

On the Loose in BajaWhat do you do when you’re in Mexico for the Score International Baja 1000 with you’ve a couple Yeti Trophy Trucks at your disposal… Let loose and have a great time.

Posted by Axial Racing on Sunday, December 20, 2015

How To Make an AXIALFEST Swag Bag Soft Top


AXIALFEST2015 Swag Bag Soft Top

Words and Photos by Matthew ‘Skeeno’ Soileau


Do you have a swag bag laying around from AXIALFEST2015 that you aren’t quite sure what to do with?  I have a project for you that you can easily complete in an hour or two.


It’s the AXIALFEST2015 Swag Bag Soft Top. If you don’t have an AXIALFEST2015 Swag Bag, go find some fabric. I noticed that my wife’s reusable grocery bags seem to be made from the same material, and they come in different colors.  So, go see if you have some if you want to try a different color combination.

DSCF0132 This sweet soft top that I spotted at the RECON G6 Birthday Bash #5 is the inspiration for this how-to blog.  You can see here that this guy got extra fancy with a plastic rear window made from sheet protectors and the AXIALFEST logos sewn on.

IMAG01414Don’t worry, you won’t need a sewing machine for my version.  You only need a few things that you probably have laying around your shop; a pen, paper, scissors, and a hook and loop strap.


Step one: Trace out the top of your cage.  On my G6 Jeep/Deadbolt cage, I’m only covering the top, so no rear window is needed.


The trace doesn’t have to be perfect, just a rough estimate.


Cut it out and give it a quick test fit.

IMAG01413 I liked one side of my template, but the other side didn’t match.


I figured out that I could fold a paper in half and trace the good side.


Then, I gave it a quick trim and…


Wala, a symmetrical template.


Once you are happy with your template, move on to step two.


Step two: Trace out your template onto your AXIALFEST2015 Swag Bag.  I used the side without the logos.  Looks like there is enough material to do at least one more should you need to start over or make a second one. You want your material to be larger than your template, so you can fold it over your roll cage.


The point of no return.  I have now cut up my AXIALFEST2015 Swag Bag.


Step Three:  I had to figure out how to attach the top.  I thought of zip ties, but wanted a snug fit.  I wanted it removable, so I thought a hook and loop strap might work.  I tested my industrial strength stick-on hook and loop strap on a test piece of fabric.  It stuck amazingly well.  So, I cut strips of this.


I placed the hook and loop strap on the underside parts of the roll cage where I wanted the top to cover. It was at this point that I figured out it was smart to remove the cage from the lexan body. You might want to remove your cage before starting the template.


Then, I placed the matching side of the hook and loop strap and pulled the backing.


I started by folding over the front and back first.  Make sure to pull them tight before you stick the fabric to the strap.


Then, I did the same for the sides.


I flipped it over to see how it was looking, not bad.


Then I did the rear sides.  I had to start making some cuts to fit around the cage back here.


Not looking too shabby.


Step four: Fold and trim the excess material around all the down tubes.


I pulled off my top to trim it easier.   I looks a little hacked, but you can’t see it when installed.


Folding over the material on the corners and down tubes helps keep the top looking clean and hides the rough edges. I takes a little finagling, and I had to detach and reattach a few times to get it right.


So there it is, an easy project to protect your scale driver from the sun and rain. Go get to work and post your photos on the AXIALFEST2016 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1623366397951597/


Looks like Alien Gee-Six is wishing he had a top.  Now, if I can figure out how to make one that he can stick his gigantic head through…

KrawlFest 2 – Belleview, Florida



Rise and shine! I have a flight to catch.


Once again Dominic takes me to McCarran International Airport here in Las Vegas.


I am flying out of the new section of the airport, so I have a tram ride.  I dread this terminal, I was once removed from the plane on this side. Flying with your RC as carry on doesn’t seem to be an issue most of the time. That particular day, it was an issue.


Once I arrived at RRW in Belleview, it was windy and cold. I believe the high was foretasted to be 42 degrees.


Onsite food vendors added hot chocolate to the menu.


Wow there are lots of cars, about 5 rows deep and at least 15 cars wide. Looking like a good turnout for the annual KrawlFest event.


I see lots of people and where there are lots of people, there are usually lots of trucks. Lets check it out.


This Axial Wraith looking scale and ready for action, I dig the driver.


Hmmm… Semi, JK, or Chevy?

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I am seeing more and more rusted paint jobs. This one looks great!


Check out this Land Cruiser. You would never guess the entire front clip is off another body and mated to an Axial Deadbolt. Impressive work!


Plenty of Axial bombers on hand. Ready to run or trailered in.

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Speaking of trailers, check out this set up. The aluminum trailer is well crafted with aluminum.


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This trailer was ultra cool. Working winch and lights set it off.

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This old school combo was eye catching.

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Another old school ride I spotted was this Axial based CGR Bronco.


These guys are lined up for the 6 hour endurance.


Hare are the brave souls who are going to take on this 340 flagged course for 6 hours. How many laps will they complete?


As the rest of the scale class line up, I am seeing all kinds of cool rigs!

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I am sure most of you have seen crew cabs, but look at this beast. Still in the process of being built I am told.

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How’s this for a throwback body? Not too many of these guys running around, Axial B-17 Betty.


It’s always in the details, like this hood scoop hiding the body pins on this Axial Honcho.


This 6×6 Jeep still in its building stages looks to have a great start.


When I think Florida, this is not what I imagine, warm clothes and everyone bundled up. Hats off to the drivers, they came to drive no matter what the conditions.


While the drivers meeting was going on, I spotted these two relics. On the left is an original Axial B-17 Betty. The one on the right takes me back to my 2.2 days, traveling the country for comps, the Axial AX10.

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People have gathered to start. With 154 drivers, you were given different starting sections, courses were A,B,C,D, and the scale run at the top.


Drivers are off and RRW KrawlFest 2 is under way!


How cool are the custom made bolt on fenders?

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Almost immediately these drivers we greeted by some wet Florida sand.

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Florida must have a stash of old bodies, This CGR Bronco is hard to find.


The rain from the previous day made some of the obstacles a little slick.

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There was a little mud and water, but nothing major.


Another Axial B-17 Betty on course, the wet sand clinging to those 2.2 Rock Lizards.

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The Axial Deadbolt head and working lights really set this truck off.


This 80′s body style ford about halfway through course A.

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This SCX10 based Toyota had the 4 banger wound up tight to makes it’s way up this sandy climb.


This Axial Jeep JK is all scaled out, car seats and all!

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The Jeep Nukizers teamed up to take on the KrawlFest trails.


The dents add to the scale realism of this Axial Honcho.


There was some water left over from the previous days rain.


Its cool to see the different takes on builds with the Jeep Nukizer body.


This Axial Wraith based Toyota loaded and ready for action.


The Casey Currie Edition JK and Jeep G6 in their natural elements.


This Axial AX10 made short work of this climb. The wet sand adds a new element to driving.


This Chevy reminds me of something I would see on any off road trail run.


How about this Pinked out Axial RR10 Bomber? There was a good number of these new Bombers on trail.

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Despite loosing a lower screw on the knuckle, this Jeep JK pushed on.

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This section seemed to be a favorite of the scale drivers. Something here for everyone on this trail run.

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I think there is 6×6 scale movement going on. I am seeing more and more at events. This one came to drive.

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The Axial Dodge Ram Power Wagon carefully maneuvering this section, trying not to end up like the Ford in the back ground.

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As the drivers came in off stage sporting battle scars, they geared up for some side by side flat land racing.


What’s a race without some mud?


Axial Yetis seemed to float across the mud section.

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Drivers raced their scale trucks they just used out on the main course. Always a blast to watch the races. This segued into the raffle portion of the event.


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A few lucky drivers walked away with some Axial bodies.


This lucky driver walked away with an Axial Wraith Spawn.


These two were super excited to be walking away with the Axial Ram Power Wagon RTR.


This driver taking home the Axial Yeti Score Trophy Truck! The re-start button on stadium trucks, so much fun to drive. After many other prizes and trophies, they were onto a night run.


A night stage is just an entirely different experience.


Some very cool night scale trailing led by their truck lights.


As the last few trucks rolled in on this chilly Florida night, I said some good byes and headed for the hotel. I had a flight to catch back to warmer weather in Las Vegas, NV. Until the next adventure, keep it scale and enjoy the ride!

Axial R/C Inc. Teams With SCORE International 2016 – Official R/C Vehicles


(Mission Viejo, CA) February 9, 2016.

Axial R/C Inc., A subsidiary of Hobbico Inc., is proud to announce Axial as the Official R/C Vehicles of the Baja 500, Baja 1000 and SCORE International.

So much focus in the R/C industry is placed on short course off road racing. It makes perfect sense, as it is easy to gather lots of people into a confined area to experience off road racing vehicles. What many people don’t know is that short course off road racing was born in the desert. What short course promoters are attempting to do is bring desert racing to the masses. What is lost in this process is the adventure. In true Axial style, we are all about chasing adventure. In this case, Axial R/C has partnered with SCORE International to support further growth of the off road racing that started it all.

The Baja 500 and Baja 1000 are two of the most recognizable off road racing events on the planet. The machines, the people and the experiences of these and all of SCORE’s events are the inspiration for many of today’s off road enthusiasts. Axial fans and consumers are driven by adventure, getting out there and experiencing the relationship of man and machine in the wild. Axial will be taking an in depth look at what drives all of these individuals to push themselves and their machines to the absolute limit to conquer Baja.

Axial will continue to support the world’s premier desert racing championship through sponsorship of the series, helping to bring the off-road action to your living room through extensive CBS Sports coverage. Axial will also continue to support its Yeti Trophy Truck RTR vehicle as it grows in popularity amongst enthusiasts world wide.

Get your passport ready and make an adventure of it as the SCORE INTERNATIONAL  2016 event schedule is posted: http://score-international.com/2016-race-schedule/


Feb. 25-28 30th Bud Light SCORE SAN FELIPE 250
San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
(one loop, Approx. 250 miles)

April 14-17 2nd Bud Light SCORE BAJA SUR 500
La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
(one loop, Approx. 500 total miles)

June 1-5 48th Bud Light SCORE BAJA 500
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
(one loop, Approx. 500 miles)

presented by Rosarito Beach
Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico
(15-16–mile loop, multi-lap, two-day race)

Nov. 16-20 49th Bud Light SCORE BAJA 1000
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
(One Loop, Approx. 800 miles)

About Axial
Founded in 2005, Axial R/C, Inc. has quickly became a global brand leader of hobby grade radio controlled products as Axial is a company of enthusiasts for enthusiasts. We manufacture chassis and accessory products predominantly for the Rock Crawling and Overland Adventure segments, with design emphasis on rugged construction and scale realism. Axial is regularly involved in local and national events which allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of R/C culture, thus earning us awards year after year, including “Best Truck”, “Most Innovative”, “Best Engineered Product of the Year”, and “People’s Choice.” For more information on Axial and Axial products please visit www.axialracing.comtwitter.com/axialracingfacebook.com/axialincyoutube.com/axialvideos

About SCORE International
The World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, SCORE International was founded in 1973 by the late motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson and continues today under the ownership and director of former SCORE Trophy Truck racing champion Roger Norman. The five-race, internationally-televised SCORE World Desert Championship features 35 Pro and six Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. The series is televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network with international syndication for each of the one-hour programs. The flagship event of the SCORE World Desert Championship is the iconic SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races. The 2015 SCORE Baja 1000 will air as a two-hour special on the CBS Sports Network. For more information regarding SCORE International, visit www.score-international.com