AXIALFEST 2015 Pre Drivers Meeting
Words and Photos by Matt Soileau
Welcome to the AXIALFEST 2015 pre-event drivers meeting. Think of this as one of the primers behind getting everyone ready to roll (no pun intended) on the AXIALFEST RECON G6 Challenge. If you have attended a RECON G6 event before, these key points will sound familiar and a good refresher. If this is your first time, these key points will be valuable information to keep you on the right track during the RECON G6 at AXIALFEST 2015.
First, lets start with the SCORE CARD for this year, we have a brand new one for the 2015 edition of AXIALFEST.
The new AXIALFEST 2015 SCORE CARD looks a little different for those who are familiar with previous ones. There are colored boxes for each stage section at AXIALFEST 2015. Make sure you mark in the proper location for each section of the stage. *Note that the Winch Penalty is for human powered winching only* If you have a powered winch on your vehicle or another vehicle pulls you out, there is no penalty. There are also locations for stamps and punches, including a place to take notes. Be keen on taking notes of anything out of the ordinary or unusual. We will have a separate blog post on all the details behind the SCORECARD to follow soon.
Also known as, No Hand of God. The No HOG rule means; Thou shall not touch your rig in an unscale fashion. If you roll your rig over while on trail, get your rig uprighted using a winch, tow strap, or assistance from a fellow RECON G6er.
When using a tow strap solo, use it in a scale winching fashion. This means pulling like the strap is attached to a winch. Flipping the truck over with your hand or foot is a violation of RECON G6 No HOG rules. Remember, the scale gods will be watching. Please don’t do the infamous Helicopter Winch were a driver uses their tow strap to lift and carry their rig to a new location. If you are lifting the tow strap up and or if your rig is in the air, you are doing it wrong. Think scale… would you put a winch line or tow strap at the top of a tree to extract your vehicle?
TRAIL MARKER DIRECTION
There will be a lot of trail markers around the Cisco Grove Campground. Don’t touch them with your rig, only drive through them. Touching them will result in a time penalty. Also, make sure you drive through them in the proper direction, which is passing through them with the numbered markers on the right side of the vehicle – PASSENGER SIDE.
Please do not be tempted into taking trail markers, signs with your favorite number or any signs as souvenirs. Missing trail markers ruins the experience for remaining G6ers, as they will not have a proper trail to follow. They seem so simple and inexpensive, but they are bloody expensive to create, time consuming to put together and will lead to increased fees at following AXIALFEST / RECON G6 events. Simply put, PLEASE don’t take the signs.
At AXIALFEST / RECON G6 events, water is referred to as “clear dirt.” Rigs may be driving through a fair amount of it at AXIALFEST. The general rule, water will be scale deep, which roughly translates to just above the axle. Waterproofing your electronics is not mandatory, but highly recommended. Drive smart and water should never be an issue, but make a slight error near water and your electronics could let out the magic smoke. Patience and looking at the trail as a chess game will usually reveal an easy path. Same time, as your rig is traveling in and around “clear dirt” your shoes will also be seeing the same terrain. Please wear appropriate outdoor footwear and or shoes you do not mind thrashing! Think about this before you wear your nice white DC’s out on trail.
DEEP WATER CROSSING
Yes, we will forever be inspired by the famous Camel Trophy Challenges and it has become a tradition at AXIALFEST to also include a deep water crossing. This can be achieved by building and using a device to float your truck safely from one side to the other. Fortunately, flotation devices do not need to be carried on course. They’ll be collected and staged awaiting for your arrival at the water crossing. Those without flotation devices can drive the long way around or take a ferry ride if you are lucky enough to catch it. Don’t forget to bring “good will fair! for the ferry-operator!” AND THE BIGGEST “DON’T FORGET”, turn off your rig’s ignition and radio while your pride and joy is floating across the water on a makeshift homemade raft. Yes, it happens! Just watch the 2013 AXIALFEST video and note the 13:20 mark of the video as the driver explains how his rig went into the drink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0qJK5ZBNmw
DRIVER CHALLENGE SECTIONS
Driving Challenges are generally roped off with a brightly colored ribbon. If you come to an obstacle that is cordoned off with ribbon, do not walk within the trail section as that section is for the passage of the rig only. No driver / pedestrian traffic within the boundaries.
You must walk outside the designated Driver Challenge Section. If you drive your rig into a situation requiring assistance within this Driver Challenge Section it will result in a hefty time penalty, so drive smart. Not fast, not wild. SMART = PATIENCE! Think CHESS MATCH! It’s you and your rig against Parker and his trail!
SEVEN DIFFERENT TRAILS OF AXIALFEST / RECON G6
With so many drivers expected for AXIALFEST, there will be seven different trails to challenge the drivers. Each trail will be labeled A, B, C, D, E, F and G. At check in, drivers will be given their starting trail assignment, AKA: Run Group. Drivers will complete the stage they were assigned and then proceed, alphabetically, through all the remaining stages. For example: If you are assigned to start the event on Trail C, you will complete C, followed by D, E, F and then over to A, and finish on B. Also, Trail G is for ULTRA classes only. So if you are running in an either ULTRA 1.9 or ULTRA 2.2 you will run Trail G and A and B and C and D and E and then F. And maybe back to G AGAIN… Can you say power bars & electrolyte mix!
There is a high possibility of 100+ drivers starting all at the same time as you. There will be many drivers on each of the trails and crowds are to be expected at bottlenecked obstacles. Patience is going to be your best friend here. Relax and enjoy the day, get to know your trail neighbor and offer assistance. It is your option to take the Trail Marker penalty and move on or practice your selfie stick and revel in the camaraderie experience embraced within the RECON G6 family. Remember, It’s you and your rig vs. Parker and his trails. #AXIALFEST2015 #RECONG6 #AxialAdventures
Helping each other on the Trails in not mandatory, but highly recommended. Don’t feel obligated to lend a tow strap or parts or tools to others, but remember that you may need some assistance down the trail. The golden rule applies to AXIALFEST etiquette; Treat others how you would like to be treated. The Trail Gods such as Mark Smith could be watching over us.
Who is Mark Smith?
Mark A. Smith was a towering figure in 4×4 history. He pioneered the sport as one of the first drivers to traverse the mighty Rubicon Trail. He founded Jeep® Jamboree USA and brought the wonders of responsible off-roading to the world. He worked with Jeep brand engineers for decades, helping to improve the off-road capabilities of all Jeep vehicles. He has had a significant influence on everything the Jeep brand stands for. The Jeep family salutes Mark and all that he did for us. His spirit will live on.
Slower drivers please allow faster drivers to pass. You may hear, “ULTRA DRIVER COMING THROUGH!” If you do, please stop, pull over and let these drivers pass. ULTRA DRIVERS, THIS DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BUMP – KNOCK or DRIVE OVER over any ADVENTURIST! They are not in your Ultra-Race! They are there to smell the butterflies, so please me mindful of their experience as well! Trail gods and note pads will be in action and you don’t want this infraction reflected upon you.
Obstacles: It’s ok to attempt to overcome an obstacle without winching or strap assistance, but be mindful of the trucks behind you. The general rule is to try an obstacle 3-times before letting the next person attempt it. If a line is piling up, pull over and let others pass. You can resume your persistence once the obstacle frees of traffic. It is your option to take the Trail Marker penalty and move on.
TRAIL SIDE REPAIR
Trail repairs are allowed. It is totally fine to pick up a broken rig to repair.
This is not a violation of the NO HOG rule. But please read the fine print:
Please move your rig out of the way of others passing through on the trail. *You may want to make a note on your score card as to what trail you are on, trail markers you are between and what is the issue. Then make the required repair out of the way of others and then return your rig to the exact location and position it was in when you picked it up. For example: If you break a mechanical part, pick up your rig and go make the repair. This could include a trip back to camp if you do not have the part with you. When you are finished, put your rig back down exactly where it was. But, if you rolled your rig upside down and the result was broken mechanical issue, you will need to place the rig back in it’s upside down position at the place of incident and proceed to get yourself unstuck or right sided up. Its all apart of the experience. *Remember that part about making a note first before you started working on your rig? This information will be helpful to yourself if you have to make a trip back to camp. You will have a note to remind you what trail & section you will re-start your journey.
Keep your eye out for things that look out of the ordinary.
There are often toy animals, toy cars, dolls, gold coins, poker chips, and etc. littering the trail. Sometimes they are easy to spot, sometimes they are a little more difficult to spot. If you find such, make a note on your score card noting  What you found.  The Trail Letter  Between what Trail Markers the object was found.  Place item/s on your rig and bring them back to G-Central. Most times you will be rewarded with a time bonus. Since this is AXIALFEST, Trail Treasures may mean a prize back at G-Central. Keep your eyes peeled.
As stated before, the RECON G6 Trail’s at AXIALFEST can be quite long. Expect a walk of several miles long and several hours in length. You will need to make sure you have everything with you on the trail. Highly recommended is a backpack with snacks, water, parts, and tools. You don’t want to be two miles from camp and need a screw driver. That’s a long walk to make a trail repair.
And remember, Finishing A RECON G6 IS LIKE WINNING A RECON G6!
Especially at AXIALFEST 2015! Do Work, Drivers!
*BONUS NOTE – AWARDS CEREMONY!
Make sure you bring a camp chair and a stick of firewood to Axialfest 2015. Camp chairs and firewood is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED at the Awards Ceremony. We recommend your comfiest camp chair. There are so many prizes and awards, the awards ceremony will not be over in 30 minutes.