Axial held it’s first AWCC Qualifier this past weekend in the hills of Escondido, CA at scenic Lake Wohlford. This is the first of five events taking place over the next few months. The top 10 drivers from each of the five events will get automatic invites to the Axial West Coast Championships on June 25th-27th at Cisco Grove, CA.
Rain was threatening to make this first event a soggy one, but the Rock Gods smiled upon us by giving us a beautiful sunny day. Comp ring leader, Brian Parker, was out on the rocks at 6 a.m. sharp setting up courses in the dark. Brian sets up what I would consider national caliber comp courses. A quick walk-through of the 5 courses told everyone in attendance it was time to get serious if they wanted a shot at a podium spot, regardless of the class you signed up for. Brian has an eye for setting comp courses like no one I’ve ever seen. Not only are the gates challenging, getting from gate to gate was just as big of a challenge. If you didn’t go scope out the courses a little to figure out your lines beforehand, you probably weren’t going to do very well. You and your rig had to be at the top of your game to even finish these courses and if you did finish, you either had no time left or had to eat a gate or two to get there.
Here’s a few highlights from the mayhem:
Setting everything up first thing in the morning
Don Hughes patiently waits his turn in the tech line
Sunshine was a welcomed sight after nearly 5 straight days of rain
Dealing with gates like these all day gave new meaning to the term “Do work driver.”
Don Clark and his tuber throwing down
Me on course #3
Kacie Vess and her Sportsman class AX10
Jess Downing working course #4
The Axial superhero showed up about mid day to pass out free swag and keep competitors in check
Nabil Jamali has his rig blessed by Axial Man before starting his next course
Don’t ask, I have no idea
Axial’s own Brandon Coonce working course #2
Me working gate #2 on course #5
Brandon on course #5
The local wildlife was even checking out the comp
More shots of Brandon Coonce, Josh Theide and myself
This section was more technical than difficult and consumed a lot of time if you weren’t careful dropping in
The finish gate on course #3
Josh working course #3
Axial Man trying to point the line out to me
This ledge was impassable by most without taking a gate
2.2 Sportsman Class winners, 1st place Matt Doyle, 2nd place Kacie Vess, 3rd place Bryce McDougall
2.2 Shafty Class winners, 1st place Jake Wright, 2nd place Nabil Jamali, 3rd place Chris Dahl (not pictured)
Overall 2.2 winners, 1st place Jake Wright, 2nd place Jon Privett, 3rd place Don Clark
All in all this event was an absolute blast. Nice weather, good people, awesome location, great support from sponsors, etc., made for a memorable event. If you couldn’t make this first round of the AWCCQ Series, make it a point to attend one of the other 4 because you won’t be disappointed.
Here is a sweet video shot at the first event thanks to Lisa Budvarson.