Axialfest 2012 Skeeno Report

Cisco Grove, CA • June 22-24, 2012
Photos: Matthew “Skeeno” Soileau

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday crawling was a cottage industry fad in the R/C world.  I remember attending the first Axial West Coast Championship back in 2007.  It was then I met Matt Kearney of Axial and spied the prototype Axial AX10 for the first time. After seeing that beauty, I knew I was in for the long haul.

Six years later, Axial is still here and the Axial West Coast Championship has morphed into AXIALFEST, a fan appreciation event aimed at thanking the customers who made Axial the #1 name in the R/C Crawling World.  While what most see as a singular act under one name, the game of “crawling” has grown into different disciplines consisting of rock racing, overland adventure and of course the namesake – crawling.

But, gone is the drama due to massive “wait time” and tension of a competition with 15-minutes of total drive time over the course of a weekend. With Axialfest, it is a festival devoted to maximum fun with maximum drive time for the Axial fan!

Too simple to be true, right?

To resolve my temptation to doubt, Axial again teamed up with the madman, Brian Parker and his RECON Crawlers crew, so I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this was going to be another epic event.  I eagerly awaited the arrival of AXIALFEST on the weekend of June 22-24.

I was so excited, I packed up my gear and headed up a day early.

Once up to beautiful Cisco Grove, CA in the High Sierra’s, I quickly got busy readying my home for the next four days of fury.

After making sure everything was in order, I snuggled up in the loving embrace of my 45 year old tent trailer and waited for Friday morning to arrive.  Yes, that is orange shag.

The next morning a belly of Java and cinnamon rolls started my day.

AXIALFEST featured four events; the Rock Riot, RECON G6 Challenge, EXO Terra Cross, and the Ultimate Team Adventure Challenge. No matter  which Axial kit you brought, there was more than enough fun to be had.


The first event of the AXIALFEST was the Rock Riot.  The Rock Riot is unlike the traditional competition in that there is no time limit and participants score themselves.  It is based on the honor system. It was a perfect event at this fan event because it allowed drivers to make countless laps on the courses.  The format allows beginners plenty of drive time to learn the art of crawling while giving seasoned crawlers constant challenges and chances to better their driving, all while doing away with waiting in long lines all day.  All Axial vehicles could be run, so many ran their comp-built XR-10s first and then played with their SCX-10s and Wraiths on the courses as well.  This gave drivers the most bang for their buck as far as drive time goes. At traditional competitions drivers might see 15-20 minutes of drive time total throughout the day. The Rock Riot format gives competitors about an hour of run time just for this particular course, and there were multiple courses to be run.

The Rock Riot took place in two stages, Stage 1 in the morning and after an afternoon break, Round 2 of the Rock Riot began at dusk. Drivers were challenged by the darkness.  Glow sticks marked the gates.  It featured more of a playful feel than Round 1.  Novelties such as a shaving cream filled crevasse and glow in the dark Toxic Creek made driving interesting.

Every single one of the trucks you see in the pictures is being driven on course.  There was no waiting in lines.  Slower drivers merely allowed the faster drivers to play through like golfers on the links.

Brian Parker of RECON [center] explaining the Rock Riot in detail.  Here Parker enjoys the action with Bender [left] and Sumquak [right].

Brandon Coonce and Brad “Bender” Dumont of Axial getting their first taste of the Rock Riot flavor.

Alien crawling?

No lights were allowed in the Toxic Creek for the drivers. I snuck in with a media pass just to show you what the drivers encountered.

The smell of Barbasol is strong in this one.


The G6 Challenge is the heart and soul of the AXIALFEST.  The G6 is a semi-timed event where drivers have to navigate their rigs through trail markers. There were several classes; 1.9 Adventurist, 2.2 Adventurist, and Ultra.  I say semi-timed because there are so many time bonuses that it is impossible to really tell who is going to win.  The Ultra class is the only class where drivers are allowed to sprint the entire time.  It is the cardio class. The Adventure class is about driving clean and having fun.

The G6 Challenge was ran in three stages, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday night.  The daylight stages featured many challenges such as a sled pull, kite flying, darts, archery, boat float, winch skill, and probably a few more. Each daylight stage was 500 trail markers long.  Some drivers were on the courses for over three hours at a time.  The night stage had more of a party feel and was dubbed ‘Boogie Nights’.  Drivers that decorated their bodies and rigs received time bonuses.  The night stage was shorter than the day stages, so drivers could get back to G-Central for some disco action.

The line for G6 check in was a bit lengthy. Brad and Stuart of RECON moved them through as quickly as they could. This would be the only line of waiting…

This is the calm before the storm.  Drivers lined up according to class;  Ultra made up the front row as they will be sprinting, 2.2/Wraith’s for the second batch and 1.9′s for the third wave.

The Undertaker brought his quarter to pay the bridge toll.

The Wraiths lead the way.

There was a bit of ‘Follow the Leader’ action until the 1.9 class separated.

All the way from Hawaii, Disturbin’ Tha Peace flew up to gets his G6 on!

Mike Pham is G6in and he knows it.

The G6 is perfect for families with young ones. This guy has got his eye out for the next trail marker.

Team work is allowed and encouraged.  These two use a tow cable and winch to help each other up a dugout obstacle.

Is that trail marker 392?!  Only another hundred or so to go. I hope you packed some extra batteries, water and snacks.

It wouldn’t be a Parker course without some mud and water.

One of the Driver’s Challenges was to fly a kite tethered to your truck.  How does Parker come up with there ideas? Ty from Tekin completed his run with ease.

Dan Wilson ready to complete the Pull Pal Winching Skill Section.

Dean Hsiao gets ready to float his canoe down the creek.

The dance floor waiting for some dancers.

Miss D in the G spirit!


In between the G6 stages, the EXO Terra Cross was held.  This was like an off-road club race with SCX10s, Wraiths, and the new EXO. A track was set up and each class raced two qualifying heats and a main.  Transponders recorded laps while the drivers raced.  This event turned out to be a hoot to watch.  There was lots of dust flying everywhere.  Those EXO buggies can really lay down the roost.

Is that a gas pump on the Terra Cross course?

Double hood jump.

Flying EXOs!

Thanks for crashing, so I could win.

Is that the fast line?


The Ultimate Team Adventure Challenge, or UTAC, was a new concept for RC.  It combined the adventure of the G6 with the orienteering skills of geocaching.  Teams are made up of three rigs with specific titles & duties; Team Director, Team Navigator, and Team Support vehicle.  The support vehicle pulled a trailer that included a magnet and magnifying glass to be used on course. Teams were given a set of coordinates and were told to go locate the caches.  Each cache contained instructions for teams to follow.

This may be the coolest SCX10 of all time.  This VW Transporter was a support vehicle for a UTAC team.

Here Team pulled a cache out of a tube with their magnet and is ready to follow some instructions.

At the end of the UTAC, teams used their wilderness skills to light a fire.  The goal was to have the fire burn the string.


AXIALFEST 2012 was a huge success.  Drivers drove more in three days than most will ever drive in their lifetimes and many memories were made.  Smiles were worn by all participants even when things did not go their way.  Drivers supported each other and true RC camaraderie was seen throughout the event.  The only thing the AXIALFEST is missing is even more days. Next year let’s make it a whole week.


Can you find yourself?


Let us know your thoughts – Axialfest 2013?