Mid Season Recap – Altra Scale Ultra Series pb. Axial

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Photos by: Chris Jones, Rodney Wills, Anthony Rivas and Justin Lunceford
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After a successful Altra Ultra 5k Enduro at the 2016 Axialfest, the Scale Ultra Race Series was born and took the budding new race format on the road. The two founding partners were back with Altra Footwear as the title sponsor of the series and Axial as the presenting series sponsor. Camelbak Hydration and SOR Racing also joined the sponsor list providing awesome podium and raffle prizes to make the series that much sweeter.

 

The following is the 2017 Mid-Season recap:

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Stop #1 Altra 5k Enduro at the King of the Hammers, Johnson Valley

With Axial as the host and the famous Johnson Valley as the landscape, event #1 headed to SoCal to share the course and the weekend with the race that inspired the creation of the Ultra 5k, King of the Hammers! Axial goes all out the week of KOH and after days of watching full and scale sized rock racing, the Scale Ultra drivers took to the scene to race the historic course.
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The KOH course was a perfect blend of speed and tech with wide open straights (on the same berms that the full size racers had ripped just hours before), sandy sections and a techy rock section that required constant attention. In true KOH style, the different sections stood alone and you could go as fast as your legs and your lungs could handle in the open sections with the rocky section slowing the flow and creating some exciting passes and tense “rubbing” and “racing”. Runners/Drivers came from all over California, Nevada and Utah to compete in stop #1 of the new ScaleUltra series and the action did not disappoint.
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Some familiar faces were in attendance with Axialfest Altra Hot Lap winner Jake Wright putting in some fast laps right from the start and was in the podium mix until a last lap mechanical stopped his efforts. An impressive showing, especially with the then unknown broken collarbone and shoulder injury he suffered after cartwheeling as co-driver in the full size race the day before. Axialfest 3rd place finisher, Casey Currie, came out to scope the scene but after an exhausting week of racing both UTV and Unlimited class, he opted to cheer on the action vs grabbing a remote. Altra Running’s Chris Jones was in attendance as well and set a blistering first lap time taking the Altra Hot Lap and the overall win.
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Top 3:
Chris Jones – Bomber
Ricky Morales – Bomber
Matt Wolfe – SCX10

The Axial Bomber was the rig of choice again this stop taking the majority of the fastest lap times but some built SCX10II rigs stole a spot on the podium and were in the mix throughout the event. Axial has been a major sponsor of the King of the Hammers over the years and we foresee the Ultra 5k continuing to be a part of Axial’s KOH efforts into the future.
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Stop #2 Altra Red Rock Ultra – St. George Ut
Sand Hollow State Park just outside of St. George Utah is one of the better rock crawling locations you may have never heard of. On any given weekend you may see a trail run lead by the Dixie 4X4 crew or even stumble upon a full on W.E. Rock comp taking advantage of the famous Utah red slick rock.
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This backdrop was the site for round 2 of the Scale Ultra series and ran on the edge of the Lake Powell-esque reservoir. A perfect blend of all out speed fire roads, technical slick rock sections and power sapping red sand tried drivers fitness and ability as they maneuvered around this high speed course for multiple laps.
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Race Host and Scale Ultra Series founder Chris Jones, left the course wide for “personal interpretation” with multiple riders opting for the less safe but much more thrilling “just send it” line options. This resulted in several rigs spending almost as much time in the air as on the ground.
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The field of talent for the Red Rock 5k was 2nd only to the Altra Ultra Enduro at AXIALFEST2016 with several of the normal characters making the trip out. The 801RC boys in the Salt Lake area do these longer Ultra style events quite often and quickly showed they came to play putting two on the podium and filling the top 10. The 2nd place finisher from AXIALFEST2016, Mike Thompson, debuted his new Altra-Spec Bomber, just finished up hours before race start. He had a strong finish in the top 10, further proving the difficulty of both the course and the speed of the competitors.
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The Axial Bomber showed once again it was made for this style of racing taking the entire podium and the majority of the top 10 spots. The creativity and different builds were fun to see as these pure race machines ripped around the slick rock paradise.
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When the dust settled and heart rates hit their max it was Jake Wright who ended the day with the win. After a string of mechanical’s kept him off the podium in events past, Jake could not be stopped on this day with the Altra Running / ScaleUltra.com Offroad Team driver finishing with the fastest lap and the overall victory.
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Top 3:
Jake Wright – Bomber
Cole Hokanson – Bomber
Thomas “Chewy” Blackburn – Bomber

On to AXIALFEST2017!
With the Scale Ultra Series event 1 and 2 now complete, we head to the most prestigious stop on the series, AXIALFEST! Since the debut of last year there are more questions than answers about who will contend for the title and the un-official World Championship of Scale Ultra 5k. With more drivers entering, (rumors from the Axial camp say 140+), special “Altra-Spec” builds popping up everywhere and more and more scale drivers increasing their exercise routines to prep, its going to be an exciting race to see! Will the rock racers reign supreme? Will fitness beat out pure clean driving? Add in the fact that Casey Currie has been physically training as he is returning to compete in the Ultra 5K Enduro to better his podium finish from last year! He said it best, “this is as close as it gets to the physical demands of full size motorsports!”  What secrets does Cisco Grove hold this year? Only time will tell…

While the R/C might be scale, the physical is full size!

The SCX10 II – Making High School Dreams a Reality

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The 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Watching the livestream of the release of Axial’s new SCX10 II platform brought back flooding memories of my high school days. I lusted, dreamed, and tried to finagle a way that somehow, someway I could own that Cherokee. My dad worked at a Jeep dealership so I had spent many a days walking the lot, reading the brochure, picking out option parts, changing my mind, and then picking different parts and accessories. I had the entire build down to the lug nuts and blinker bulbs picked out, dreaming and wishing it would be in my driveway one day.

Throughout high school, I spent many weekends working on my buddy Alan’s ’89 bright yellow Cherokee. It had 33” BFG Mud Terrains and a custom suspension created à la carte with parts from multiple brands; I will still never forget installing the formerly awesome Tereflex Revolver rear shackles. We had a silly fascination with articulation and slamming wheels into the wells to get that super coveted “tuck” (A dream still being chased after by Axial’s own John Schultz). Instead of chasing girls and going for ice cream, we were chasing bolts and building wheeler dreams. It was a blast wheeling in his Jeep and it fueled my desire even more to have a Cherokee of my own.

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Pulling the SCX10 II RTR out of the box was like looking into the dreams of my high school self. Almost every part replicated is the way I was going to build mine. The gray was so close to the factory Metallic Silver, the black beadlocks, black bumpers and the BFG All Terrains; deja vu to 2002. I couldn’t hold back the stupid grin I had across my face as I looked over this rad new machine. My gawking was so intense my wife even commented, “Are you going to drive it or just look at it?”

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I had watched how it performed at AXIALFEST this summer and I was excited to see how it would perform on my local stomping grounds. I grabbed a battery and headed for the granite slabs of Northern Utah. Out of the box, it’s an amazing rig with turning, climbing, looks, etc. I was in love after just the first climb. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do as I never ended up owning a Cherokee but I have never lost the love and admiration for the XJ. Thank you Axial for allowing me to take a journey down memory lane.

More info on the Axial Jeep Cherokee RTR can be found here:

AX90047 – SCX10 II™ 2000 Jeep® Cherokee 1/10th Scale Electric 4WD – RTR

The Cave on Utah 89

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On the scenic 89 highway that runs through southern Utah, there is a well used link between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, two hot spots for lovers of red rocks. Underneath and often missed is a sandstone cave, out of sight and out of mind from the masses. With Wraith in tow, we set off to explore the slickrock tube.

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The man cut tunnel has been made natural again from the inconsistent but significant Southern Utah flooding and has crafted a perfect blend of off camber slick rock.

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Whether down the center or on either side, multiple lines are open for interpretation.

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The center gets quite dark so lights are a must have and provided just enough light to guide both the vehicle and the pilot.

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Cannondale/360Fly MTB Team Camp

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Words and Photos by Chris Jones

There is no question, scale R/C lovers have an affinity for the outdoors. Camping, fishing, biking, the list goes on, the bottom line is we get out there and enjoy nature. Axial has been working with Cannondale and WTB athletes on various events and trips over the past few years and that relationship has blossomed into a rad new announcement; Axial is now a key partner of the new Cannondale – 360Fly elite Mountain Bike team. As the official sponsor of “off the bike activity,” the race vehicle and riders will be stocked with a fleet of SCX10s to enjoy between their MTB racing.  Always looking to spread the scale love, the Axial crew stopped by the team camp in St. George, Utah to meet the riders and take them on a crawler adventure in the incredible desert terrain.

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The Cannondale – 360Fly team is made up of 5 North Americans, the 4 Americans; Evelyn Dong, Alex Grant, Keegan Swenson and Tinker Juarez and the current Canadian National Champion, Raphael Gagne.

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All you OG BMX fans may recognize this guy, Mr. Tinker Juarez. After shredding BMX tracks for years, his prowess earned him a spot in the ABA Hall of Fame and groomed him for a 2nd racing career in distance Mountain Biking. At age 55, the National Champion and Olympic athlete hasn’t slowed down at all, still taking podiums away from young guns on any given weekend. Tinker was super excited when he heard Axial was a sponsor and is looking forward to spending time off the bike scale crawling with his son.

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Keegan Swenson was part of the posse on a MTB/Crawler video trip with Cannondale Athletes and Axial last fall and has been hooked ever since. When he isn’t training to add another National Championship jersey to his wall, the 22 year old has been spending his days crawling his Deadbolt SCX10 all over Utah, Colorado, and California. He has already graced the podium once already this year and is one of the bright young stars of US Cross Country MTB.

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Alex Grant was introduced to scale crawling this summer after the Cannondale Sales Meeting (http://www.axialracing.com/blog_posts/1073911789) and spent the summer crawling all over Southern Utah. He has started the season with incredible fitness already taking two wins, including the Fat Bike National Championship.

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Evelyn Dong may be the only female on the team but she has a track record of putting guys (and fellow lady competitors) in the hurt locker as she blasts race courses across the US. Team camp was her first experience with RC crawling and just like she races, she mashes the throttle! After some big results in her last two years of racing, look for Evelyn to be on the podium all season long.

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Raphael Gagne was arguably the hottest thing in North American mountain biking last year, basically winning or gracing the podium in almost every race he entered. He will take that momentum and his fresh Canadian National Champion jersey back on the road this year to defend his multiple titles. Raphael is new to crawling and we are excited to see what kind of terrain he gets into as he crawls all over Canada.

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Teamwork makes the dream work… The mechanics work on the rigs before the team hits the dirt. “We are excited to have the Axial rigs on the trucks because we will get to drive them almost more than the riders!”

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Altra shoes are the official casual and training shoe of the team and are the Title Sponsor for the Ultra event at AXIALFEST 2016 this July in Cisco Grove, California.

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Official Press Release from Cannondale:

http://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/News/News/2016/02-February/360fly%20Announcement.aspx

Cannondale – we pride ourselves in making the most kickass, cutting edge frames in cycling.

http://www.cannondale.com/en/USA

360FLY - Design and create 360° cameras and technology that inspire people to capture, share and experience their lives in immersive, interactive 360° video. Our passion and unrelenting pursuit of innovation have led us to redefine what is possible in video, virtual reality and visual storytelling.

https://360fly.com

SUGOI – Since 1987, Bred in British Columbia, Canada from towering granite peaks and verdant coastal rain forests, SUGOI’s designs and creates performance apparel that doesn’t just meet high standards, it sets them.

http://us-store.sugoi.com

Cannondale 360fly, powered by SUGOI will also be supported by these important partners:

Altra Shoes: The official casual and podium shoe.

www.Altrarunning.com

Axial Racing: The official RC Car of The Cannondale 360Fly, providing “off the bike fun” for the team and support staff

http://www.axialracing.com

Wilderness Trail Bikes: For tires, saddles, and grips

http://www.wtb.com

ENVE: For wheels, handlebars, and seatposts

http://enve.com

Shimano: For components and shoes

http://bike.shimano.com

Stages Cycling: For Hollowgram crank arm based power meters

http://stagescycling.com