This year at the Axial West Coast Championships we decided to add a scale event to the itinerary. We wanted it to be a fun event, instead of a really serious competition. So, we came up with a few different events/challenges for this particular competition. We borrowed a few events from the Top Truck Challenge, and added our own twist to them. We also wanted to have a couple of scale style trail runs set-up so we cover the whole spectrum of what hardcore scaling is all about……………………….realistic obstacles that are fun to drive. Here is a run down on the first annual “Scale Challenge” and the obstacles we encountered.
Axial also went ahead and added a scale “show and shine” for this event too. All the scalers that signed up for the scale challenge also showed off their rigs before the competition began in a contours style event. Here’s a group shot of all the competitors.
Axial team driver Ryan Gerrish won the scale show and shine with his newest creation. Actually, Ryan ended up taking 1st and 2nd in the show and shine. If you have ever seen one of his creations in person, you would understand why. The time and thought Ryan puts into his rigs is second to none. Congrats Ryan!
The first obstacle was a 10-12 ft long soupy mess of northern California mud, over an old cut up slip and slide water tarp. The slip and slide base made it difficult to get traction, momentum was key to making clean passes. The pit also gradually sloped making the mud deeper near the exit. For this event the field had to make 2 passes through the pit, total combined time of both runs was tallied. Most competitors had at least one full run. As the competition progressed the mud pit became a little more difficult. A few competitors had clean first runs, but couldn’t finish their second pass due to rollovers or stoppage of progress.
The pit before the competition got started.
The second obstacle was a combination of rocks and mud in the beginning, with another slip and slide base, then more mud and small logs at the end. The course was also tightly lined with boundaries that you couldn’t touch at any time without taking a time penalty. Many rigs struggled with the first 3 feet of the rocks and mud. One big rock was extremely tough to clear as it wanted to roll you on your side if you weren’t very careful. Once on your side it was nearly impossible to drive out under your own power due to perfect placement of the rocks, boundaries and a very slippery base. Numerous vehicles required a tow from a fellow competitor in order to finish the course.
The first half of the obstacle.
The second half of the obstacle after a 90 degree right hand turn coming out of the rocks.
For this obstacle competitors and their trucks had to pull an R/C tank on a flat dirt grade for the first half of the course, then transfer onto a loose dirt hillside to the full pull banner. I don’t think anyone made a full pull but there were many trucks that came very close. Power and a smooth trigger finger were key to finishing near the top.
The next 3 obstacles were various trail runs that had a mix of high speed sections, extremely technical sections, 5 minute time bonus sections, rocks, snow, sand, trees, bridges, etc. The bonus sections were very technical, requiring you to slow down and really pay attention to tire placement. But, they were all negotiable if you knew your rig and were very careful.
Trail Obstacle One
This trail run was the longest of the three. It started out on pavement then dropped you down a slight grade to a 10′ x 20′ foot snow field lined with boundaries. After the snow you chased your rig down a dirt path to a technical off camber, wet, sandy shoreline down by the river. Once clear of the river bank you headed back away from the river up a loose sandy trail through the woods to a tightly grouped set of trees which required numerous back-ups to clear. From there it was on to the first time bonus section, a steep slippery bridge leading up to a fallen tree. The exit off the bridge and onto the tree trunk was the toughest section by far. It required a few reverses and perfect placement of the driver’s side front tire to hook a small section of the tree in order not to fall off. Once safely on the tree you had to drive down to the base and drop off onto another bridge. From there it was an easy sprint back to the road and the finish line.
We staggered the competitors on course by about 30 second intervals. So, there were numerous people on course at the same time as you. You had to weave your way through if you caught up to the guy in front of you. Here I caught up with Brandon stuck on a stick in the sand. He couldn’t go forward or reverse. I tried to give him a quick push from the side as I passed through, but his truck didn’t move. All I could do was yell “sorry, you are on your own” as I drove away. I think this picture was taken right at the moment I told him he was on his own, judging by the look on his face. Sorry Brandon!!
Trail Obstacle Two
Trail two was pretty much a hardcore rock crawl course. It started out with a few steep technical climbs, then dropped you into a trench/canyon full of jagged rocks and dirt. Once free of the canyon you had to climb onto a big boulder with gates at the top. Most rigs needed one reverse to clear the gate cleanly. The trail then headed up to the time bonus section. This section started out with a steep climb up a huge slab of rock. Once on top you had to descend down into a very tight area lined with boundary markers. Numerous slow reverses were needed to get lined up with the next climb properly without taking a time penalty. Next you had to drive down a very steep narrow canyon, that left rigs on there lid at the bottom. After a roll over recovery you had to drive up another steep face with loose dirt all over the base, which made it difficult to maintain traction. Once you cleared this gate it was a race back to the finish line about 50 feet away.
Trail Obstacle Three
This trail was another hard rock crawl course, but with a twist. It was set in a semi shallow creek bed with lots of deep holes. Tire placement was critical yet again in order not to get caught in one of the deeper water holes. You started out up on the bank of the stream and drove down into the creek and across to the other side. After a hard right you then crossed the creek again and drove up the right side in the water to the next obstacle, a short climb that required a little throttle to bump over it. Once clear of this set of gates you had a deep water hole on your left to clear before the next rocky climb. You then had to negotiate another climb out of a water hole to zig zag your way to the top. A tight U turn waited for you at the top of the last climb. Then it was time to descend down the opposite side of the creek to a dirt hill climb out of the stream and around a set of trees. After clearing the trees you dropped back into the water and carefully negotiated the last couple descents down to the finish line.
Here’s a video showing most of my run on Trail course #3
The top 5 finishers
1st Brad Dumont
2nd Ryan Gerrish
3rd Brandon Coonce
4th Scott Hughes
5th Justin Halbohm
No one, aside from Axial, really knew going into this event that the winner would receive a certificate for a new XR10 comp crawler. Since Axial employees and team drivers weren’t eligible for the grand prize, the kit was awarded to the 5th place finisher Justin Halbohm. Congrats to him for an impressive showing.
The first inaugural “Axial Scale Challenge” was a great addition to the Axial West Coast Championship Finals from the feedback we have received from the competitors. I think this event may need to be a permanent addition to the AWCC finals.