The crew from AMain Hobbies started coming to AXIALFEST in 2016.
This year they brought a video camera to capture what they saw!
Hit the preview screen below or hit the link here – two trails to get you to eight minutes worth of the good stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cixpvxgGZY&t=305s
Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 4
Photos by Matt Soileau and Michael Morris
So, Here it is, Part 4 of the Axialfest 2017 Skeeno Report! Day 4 consisted of Rock Racing and the Awards Ceremony and Raffle. If you somehow missed reports 1-2-3, please pop back; Report Part-1, Report Part-2, Report Part-3. Let’s take a look at what went down on the final day of Axialfest 2017.
Scott Kerkes was still going strong teching rigs on Day 4.
He must be the undisputed tech champion of Axialfest 2017.
Scott has a special way with the little ones as well. Here he reminds this little guy that Fast is Slow, so don’t try to win the race at the start.
Pham was all teched and checked and ready to race. This is what he was waiting for all week, the Rock Races! I think he podiumed in every class last year. We’ll have to see if he could repeat that performance this year.
Anthony Rivas was ready to count racers and laps. See that paper in his hands? That must mean something official.
Looks like this crew is ready to rumble.
Hold up, is that a Yeti and Yeti Jr? It’s like a father/son team.
The Axiallet haircut was pretty cool, but an Axial tattoo? That’s dedication. Raise your hand if you have an Axial tattoo. Free entry to Axialfest 2018 next year if you show them your tattoo by September 20th.
Jawn Shulzz was race director. Here he gives the drivers meeting.
Rules are pretty simple, fastest to three laps wins and goes to the mains…oh and no turn marshals, so don’t flip over.
The Mod Squad, RC Driver’s Greg V, Hemistorm, and Scale Builder Guild’s Matt Kett, ready to catch all the action.
First up are the littles. This has to be my favorite class. They get so excited. It’s pure youthful fun.
You never can tell where the rigs are headed when the little’s are behind the trigger.
You can always tell a female driver. I think pink is the mandatory color.
See, pink shirt. And pink shoes.
Pink shirt, Little Tazzette, yup, my theory seems to be true,
These must all be guys, I don’t see any pink. Wait a minute, is that a pink shirt back there?
The Littles attracted quite a crowd.
Everyone likes watching the Littles. They also came to check out the Bigs aka the Olds.
After the Littles was the Little Biggers. Oh, no! A rolled rig! I hope he can work it out, because, remember, there were no marshals to right your rig.
The Little Biggers gave the Olds a run for their money.
One wrong move and your race could end quickly.
Once the Olds got one track, the racing became even more intense.
Hey, there’s Pham. One of the 5 or 6 classes he raced in. I lost track, but you can count his face in the podium shots.
Pham again? It seemed like he was in every shot, because, well, he was in every race.
Finally, a shot without Pham.
No Pham, but that’s his truck. Oh wait, I think I see his dome in the background.
I see Sheriff Barton back there pointing out the leaders.
Dang, another shot of Pham. I’m starting to think he paid me to post so many photos of him. I better check my paypal and see if I got funds.
Let’s end this with a picture without the Pham in it. You can see the winners of the Rock Racing below during the Awards Ceremony.
After Rock Racing, the Award Ceremony area was getting set up. I snuck in to take a look behind the scenes.
Nice, a free set of the world’s best RC shoe, the Altra Lone Peaks!
Dang, that’s a lot of trophies. Notice the custom ones in the foreground. That’s because we added some last minute classes to the Concourse. Next year, there will be even more new classes added.
Sheriff Shawn was all smiles, even though his ankles were not smiling. Word on the street is that he got robotic ankles, so he’d be ready for Axialfest 2018.
Before people could enter the Awards Ceremony and raffle, they had to get raffle tickets. Cici, Cathy, and Mike are ready to rock.
Here’s a table of swag to grab after getting your raffle tickets.
People were eager to get good seats. They started lining up early.
Waiting to wait, good thing they brought chairs.
Finally, the gates opened and the masses flowed in…
…and down to the arena.
I see your shaka, hang loose my friend.
Spots filled up fast. I hope you brought a chair, or you were sitting on the ground.
What is this? A Honda Mugen engine? What could that be in?
Oh dang! An Axial 1:1 Comp Buggy. Sorry, I got distracted, back to the ceremony.
I like to cruise the arena and see who I can spot. Here’s Dan the Man, Old Dan, Dollar Dash Champ, Dan Wilson of Team Vanquish.
My Wheelers for the Wounded buddy, Mr. L.D.
Hey, Crawler Fab with their sweet puppy.
He looks tired. I wonder if he walked all the Scale Trails. That would have been over 10 miles!
Chris Cru Jones of Altra fame. I can’t thank him enough for turning me on to Altras, truly my favorite shoe of all time. I have three pairs now, and have my eye on more.
Mike Bier with Root Bier and Ginger Bier, I know that last nickname needs work. I’ll think of something better for Axialfest 2018.
Team Voodoo in the house!
All the way from Hong Kong for the second year in a row, Jason Tsang of Boom Racing.
Marc Bettencourt of Crawl4Cure. They have a new location this year. Go check it out: https://www.facebook.com/events/1099973673456868/
Is that Little JJ on top of big JJ’s Jeep?
I’m not sure, but pretty girls always get their pictures taken. It’s a rule somewhere.
OMG, OMG, OMG! It’s Two Chainz Scalerz!
A-Main had the whole front row on lock.
Finally, let’s get this party started. Oh no, Jahn Shuls has the mic. This will be a while.
I decided to check out the raffle swag. Dang, that’s a full table.
I took a long time to give out all this swag.
Oh Snapple, I see the A-Main/JRC creations. Sweet!
And the Kona bike from Pedal’s Bike Shop and are those RTRs and kits behind it? If only I didn’t have one of those orange STAFF shirts, maybe I could win one.
Dang, that crowd is HUGE! See if you can see yourself here: Axialfest Attendees Group Shot
Wait, I think I see Jon Shults calling us up. I wonder what he wants.
Oh, group shot to thank all the hard working volunteers of Axialfest. Look how many people give up their hard earned vacation days to volunteer. Without them, Axialfest wouldn’t run so smoothly, so remember to thank the STAFF shirts when you see them next year. Thanks ya’ll’s.
Finally, I think we’re ready to start.
Wait, why is Rivas up there? He hates attention.
SURPRISE! Last year Rodney Wills caught the ol’dusty eyes when he was surprised with a special Vanquish thank you. This year it was Rivas who caught the dusty eyes.
Rivas has been volunteering for lots of Axial events for years, and when they found out he lost his RC stuff in a vehicle theft, wheels were put in motion.
I’m not sure how many hands were part of making this happen, but Vanquish was definitely a big part again. Full Vanquish set up on this SCX10 with custom Rivas Concepts paint on the body.
OK, finally, let’s give some trucks away. These two took home the A-Main/Judd Rummage trucks.
Lucky Ducks! I’m mega jealous.
Hold on, pause again for 2CS to pass out tickets to the kids. Special SCX10-2 just for kids only.
This took a while. I was amazed at how many kiddos were at Axialfest.
Speaking of kids, this guy won one of the many Canyon Coolers. These things are amazing and the owner is a great guy. I definitely recommend them, just for their customer support.
Hold up, if that the winner of the 2CS rig?
Yes, yes it is! Congrats young lady. See you on the trails next year.
On to the winners of the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. Sadly, it wasn’t me. But, I’m back in action and ready for next year. 1st: THE Jake Wright, 2nd Mikey Thompson, 3rd Kyle Listul
From the 801, Katie Murphy was the fastest female. She gave me a run until my servo died. Skeeno Jr. has her sights set on her title next year.
Rock Racing Winners, see how many Phams you can count.
Kids 10 & Under
Before I say goodbye and see you next year, let me show you my mysterious camp mate one last time. Here he is, Mr. Cory Shafer with Shawn Barton. on Sunday morning as I drove home. Fitting shirt that Shawn is wearing. They spent long hours and many days making Axialfest a success. I barley saw Cory at all. He came in after midnight and was gone before the sun came up every morning. I think he got less than three hours of sleep a night.
So, that wraps up Skeeno’s Axialfest 2017 Report. You better start making plans for Axialfest 2018, because you know it’s going to be even bigger and better. It is every year.
Words: Matt Soileau aka The SKEENO’naterrater
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt Soileau
Friday events included the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro and the inaugural AXIALFEST parade. I also got out to check out lots of trail action. Let’s go see check out day 3 of AXIALFEST 2017.
Real or RC? Across the way from us, I spotted this 1:1 SCX10-2 XJ, or should I say the inspiration for it. Note the license plate. Does it look like the Axial version? Peep the blog post: Building the full size SCX10XJ: Part 1 It’s very cool to come to AXIALFEST and see this kind of stuff in person!
There was also this OG SCX10-1 JK replica on the other side of my campsite. Axial fans even love to scale out their 1:1s!
Friday morning, bright and early at 7 a.m. was check in for the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. I got up and made sure I was fueled for the race. This was my first time running a 5K, so I was a little nervous. My breakfast choice is more for calming my nerves!
Our breakfast must have smelled pretty good, because this little bugger was drawn over by the smell all the way down in D camp. Actually, this is Nate Hart, an old RC nerd from Reno, former A-Main Hobbies tech support guy, and fellow bike nerd. I’ve know Nate since he was a little 12 year old grommet. Great to see him at AXIALFEST.
Here I am all kitted out with orange Altra Lone Peaks, orange striped socks, and orange shirt. I heard if your kit matched your rig you’d get a time bonus. #KitMatchesRig It might be a thing…
Chris Cru Jones of Altra Running was all smiles, after all, this event was partially his creation along with Rodney Wills. You can read about the origins of the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro here: ULTRA 5K ENDURO HISTORY
Chris got busy getting our buddies from the 801 crew signed up. These guys are one of the most progressive clubs in the scene!
Cassie Currie was already checked in and getting his batteries ready. Matt Kearney and Jaime Seymour don’t look as enthused about being up at 7 in the morning. Late night trail runs maybe… ?
RCDriver’s Greg Vogel, #rodneysaiditwasok Wills, and the Judkins were all smiles and ready to watch the action.
Mike Thompson was getting some scale shots with the scale banners from scaleultra.com. Check them out for more Altra Ultra 5Ks.
After I got my race bib, I lined up in the correct spot. Racers started in numerical order, so I started in 47th place. By the way, that sweet wrap on my Bomber was done by Jay at S.O.R. He did lots of rigs for AXIALFEST participants!
I’d like to say that this is me finishing the Altra 5K, but sadly this is just me on lap 3 or 4. I DNF’ed halfway through lap 5. I needed 6 laps to complete the race. #SadFace
A stripped servo was my personal gremlin. Now, I want that new Tekin servo even more! Hey Ty@Tekin, hint, hint, wink, wink.
Turns out, the DNF was a semi-good thing. It allowed me to take some photos of the other competitors that I otherwise would not have had time for.
Here, Ben Thomas hooks the corner at the Start/Finish line. Rodney, Cathy and Mike Morris were the official visual lap-counters relaying bib numbers and “line-crossed” to Scott G on the computer. This system is very much the same for MTB and cross country races. AXIALFEST has a lot of progression of R/C all around us with these types of events and we are very stoked to be apart of it all!
Jason from Pedals bike shop mobs his SCX10-2. He was able to finish the race with this mostly stock rig, so don’t think you need to upgrade to race.
Hey look, the Phaminator, Phamtastic, Mike Pham gets a brief second to stand static as we are always on the move during the the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. I guess Chris and Jawn did convince him to participate!
This young lady was jamming. We diced it up for a while until my servo gave up on me. Her stock RR10 Bomber finished. She was our one and only female competitor this year.
I expect to see more ladies joining her next year! I know Skeeno Jr is ready.
Anthony Dianda set some impressive lap times with his stock SCX10-2. Are you catching the theme here? Stock is good for the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. Stock is good… At least you should try it so you know where the base line is. It’s that old 4X4 rule of thumb, learn to drive it stock, know your rig and when you modify you will know the full effect (full value) of the performance addition or if it’s truly an addition… #Dollar2PerformanceValue
CKRC’s Alec Van Den Brink makes his way thought the dry creek.
On the other side of the road, the creek was still flowing, yet just two weeks prior this trail was completely under water due to the amount of rainfall, snow pack melt earlier in the year.
The section behind the pavilion was both fun and frustrating. These rocks were difficult to navigate, but it made the racing exciting with lots of drivers trying to drive around or over one another. It was also a moment of respite from our running flat out! The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is both technical driving and physically demanding! Just like a 1:1 KOH rig! Have your ever watched the live feed of King Of The Hammers as the drivers come across the finish line? They are WIPED OUT looking!
Battery changes are almost a must when racing for over 3 miles flat out! I personally swapped a battery every lap and half. I was running 2200mah batteries. I might need to rethink my mah rating to save some pit stops next year. #mahpermile
All the coolest people race the Altra 5K. Here Ryan Gerrish from DSPro comes out of the Bottoms.
Ben Thomas’s headband was working overtime here.
Tony Mazza was in it to win it. He passed me at least once.
Not sure who #39 was, but he was kind enough to pose for me in the middle of the race.
Team Voodoo coming through!
Here’s Mr. Van Den Brink sprinting in to the finish. If you want to see more of the AXIALFEST Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, check out this blog post: Athletic RC Adventure Mashup – Inside the Axialfest Altra Ultra 5K Enduro
After the Altra 5K Enduro, I was a little hungry. Lucky for me, Starkey’s Food Truck was back with the bomb pizzas and sushi! Yes, I said sushi and so should you!!!
Wood fired pizza oven! This is the real deal!!!
Team MRB’s Franky Testa shows off the goodness…mmmmm.
After lunch, I headed out on some trails to check out the trail action. The river was finally flowing again this year. With temps in the 90s, the water was looking really tempting.
The rocks down at the river are slippery smooth. The scattered sand makes them even more challenging.
Some awesome rocks and lines over here.
Looks like this guy remembered his neck cooler, anything to try to keep cool.
I caught the 801 Crew celebrating a birthday. I think it was the Utah gang, I see Mikey T and THE Jake Wright in there. Forgive me if it’s not.
We all sang him happy birthday. He was so pumped, he threw his rig in the air.
One of the cool things I noticed this year was some new features cut into Hell’s Highway.
It made the long walk down the hot road a little more interesting.
I don’t know who cut all these features into Hell’s Highway, but BRAVO! Great idea and I appreciated your hard work. It couldn’t have been easy moving all that dirt and rock.
Best part of Hell’s Highway for me was not having to walk it. I brought my putt-putt again this year. The old CT70 makes catching all the action A LOT easier. I did catch old Putt-Putt ogling this DRZ400. Think he’d trade me for a lightly modified CT70 turned 125?
Dad and son about to conquer Hell’s Highway. AXIALFEST is great family binding time.
Can’t be an AXIALFEST without at least one trip up and down The Slab.
I caught Butte County Scalers over behind The Slab. This is a popular spot because of the water. See how pretty it was back behind The Slab this year? It was great to have some water running again.
Down the way, I ran into Papa Don Hughes trying out this teeter-totter.
It teerered, but it needed a little persuasion to totter. I think that rock was blocking it.
I Trail? A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I? That’s 9 Trails!?!? Actually, there were 11 trails. 10 scale trails plus the Altra Ultra 5K trail that opened after the 5K was finished. Not sure how many miles of trails there were, but I hope you pack some mega mah when you come to Axialfest. Who is tracking their miles hiked at AXIALFEST? STRAVA anyone?
I caught up with this crew up front by the gate.
Let me tell you a little secret, sometimes I miss some shots and ask guys to drive lines again, so I can get better pictures. I felt like a huge jerk when I re-positioned that silver rig up there and accidentally pulled apart part his roll ball. I apologized profusely. I hope I didn’t bum out his AXIALFEST participant. Sorry again, good sir!
Of course, up by the campground’s main entrance is the Welcome to Cisco Grove sign. Looks like it needed some maintenance. I caught this little guy working on it…or maybe he was posting up a garage sale sign.
Around the corner and through A camp, I ran into Werty Jr. He was piloting his dad’s RC wagon. He told me his dad was just back across the bridge, so I turned around to say hello.
Ol’ WERTY really wanted to show off his short wheel base leaf spring conversion he had just finished up.
Stock Axial frame rails? Nicely done, Werty! If you want those parts, I’m sure he’ll make you up a set as well. PS: Rodney said he wants to commandeer a set!
Ok, here was one of the coolest features at AXIALFEST. The 50/50 grinding rail on the CKRC Trail. Speeds on this were insane. But one of the coolest videos was one where the dude slid down the rail and at the bottom, pinned it and jumped over his buddy! Can anyone find and send us a link to that video? Think it was on IG.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and 5K. Yup, 11 trails. Luckily, there were these signs all over to direct you in the right direction to find them all.
Dang, these two Jeeps are still kissing?
I had heard rumors of all kinds of scale buildings and whatnots all over the Scale Trails, so I went on a mission to find some. I’m sure I missed plenty, but here are some that I did find.
On the way in I saw these guys coming out.
General rule is if it’s not yours, don’t touch it. Volunteers work long, hard hours building these fun displays, so it’s best to leave them alone, so everyone can enjoy them.
Cabin? Old Mill? What do you think it is?
Hmm, gated. What does that sign say?
No way! An Area 51? Could there be aliens at AXIALFEST?
Holy moly! A UFO crash site! And I see at least three green guys. If they are green, they must be Axial fans.
An old log cabin.
Another mine shaft.
Not really scale, but there was this bridge I caught a couple Axialfesters driving over.
A Mercantile. I wonder if they sell Axial parts.
Scale Cisco Grove was back.
I love this building, so awesome. It’s a replica of Cisco Grove’s main office!
A little bit of everything over here, EZ-Up, picnic table, water wheel, cabins.
The A-Main Jeeps was packed to the gills and ready to hit the trails.
Must be a bad neighborhood if they have to post wanted signs. Recognize any faces? I see #rodneysaiditwayok Wills up there.
Wait, another mercantile? Looks like I got here just in time to foil a robbery. They had the owner all tied up. I guess it is was a bad neighborhood.
Good thing I ran into R. Lee Ermey. I sent him over to handle those idiots in the mercantile.
Since it was hot, and since there was water, I decided to take a little wade to cool off my tootsies over at the Golden Nerd Bridge.
There was lots of action over here.
Everyone wanted to conquer these scary, but fun obstacles.
It’s a little nerve wracking when you can’t quite see what your rig is doing near water 50 feet away.
Some Axialfesters, like Heather O’Connor, also decided to wade next to their rigs. See Mike in the background?
He pulled out his boat and we got a little scale speed boating action going.
When will Axial release a boat? What kind of boat should Axial produce?
See, that’s a long drive across.
I didn’t see many speed demons blasting across these bridges.
There were lots of families enjoying the cool water.
Some even offered to escort trucks across in case any accidentally decided they were amphibious.
Dang this day seems long, must be that getting up at 7am thing. Anyway, I headed back for dinner and couldn’t resist checking out the Knight Customs Toyota display again. I thought this was a brilliant way to see all his parts in action.
Finally, food. Tacos was the treat. Can’t eat too many tacos.
Tonight was carne asada night. What’s your favorite camp food?
After dinner it was the First Annual AXIALFEST Parade. I stopped by Mike Bier’s camp on the way to the parade. He was showing off his Go Hard jersey from the Grinduro mountain bike race. The Grinduro is sort of an AXIALFEST of the MTB world, part race, part party, and total celebration of MTB.
This jersey is awarded to the rider who goes the hardest each night and finishes the best the following day. Mike Bier has the skills to do both. You can check out the Grinduro here: https://grinduro.com/
That’s a long line. Can we make it even longer next year?
I knew Two Chainz Scalerz would be at the parade.
Wait, what? Are those 8-ohm house speakers up there? Did he carry those relics on Fordyce?
Go time! Best of Show Concourse winner, Todd Pearson, got the honor of leading the parade with his amazing military build.
Around the corner, Matt Wolfe set up this flaming Arch de’ AXIALFEST.
See the flames shooting out the top?
I see the Pro Line guys stopped to shoot some video. They always have great video recaps of AXIALFEST. Look for them on their YouTube page.
This good looking crew was a set up and ready to watch the parade.
After the parade, I was ready to hit the sack. This was my longest day at AXIALFEST and my feet and body were ready for some rest. I needed to recharge, because tomorrow would be another long day of fun at AXIALFEST.
In Part 4 of the Skeeno AXIALFEST 2017 Report, I will be covering Rock Racing and the Awards Ceremony and Raffle on the final day of AXIALFEST 2017.
Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 2
Words: Matt “Skeeno” Soileau
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt “Skeeno” Soileau
I’m sure you’ve read Part-1 of the Skeeno Report. In Part-1, Wednesday of AXIALFEST 2017 report, I saw registration and tech and visited lots of vendors. This Part-2 post will cover my second day at AXIALFEST 2017, Thursday, July 13.
I saw more vendors, more people on trail, and lots of great builds as I helped judge the concourse. So, without further ado, let’s go!
I told you I’d get back out after I ate that bacon. Here’s me cooking up breakfast for Mike and myself.
We called it the Conglomerate; fresh eggs from my chickens, bacon, hash browns, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheese. Mmmmm.
So, yesterday was registration. Here’s what was in the swag bags this year. Lots of goodness in there.
My trail tracker didn’t get much use. I was busy with my AXIALFEST duties, so I only ran the Altra 5K Enduro this year. If Joe Ferguson makes it down from Canada or Marcos Rojas makes it up from Costa Rica next year, I will make it a point to get some trails in with them. If Chris Scheurer from Austria comes, Daniel Siegl and I will make him another nice warm cup of bacon grease.
I updated my patch rack when I got home. Who has all of these?
I’m starting to get a good collection of AXIALFEST memorabilia.
How’s your collection coming along? Sorry, I’ve been lucky enough to be in the inside…
I might need to build a new closet or trophy room just to hold all my AXIALFEST swag. Sadly, my older AXIALFEST shirts got a case of the mildews and tatters, so Mrs. Skeeno tossed them when I wasn’t looking.
Alright, enough reminiscing about past AXIALFEST’s. Right next to Camp Skeeno, Canyon Coolers snuck in overnight and set up shop. They had lots of product to display and a comfy couch to relax on.
A couple spots from Canyon Coolers, I saw this beast from Rebel OffRoad.
Much want in this thing!
I’m very jealous of the Rebel Off Road crew. I’d love to overland in that.
Vanquish Products also must have snuck in after hours because here I spotted old Bobby T manning the booth. Bob Tarvin has been an Axial fan since way back. He’s also a pretty amazing photographer.
Down at the Pro Line Racing tent, Paul was giving swag away. Not to be greedy, I scored this XXXL sweatshirt for our friend, Mr. Tree. What did you get from the Pro Line booth as I heard all kinds of cool items flowed from this claim?
Speaking of “claims” Pro Line also had this scale mine out for photos.
Remember S.O.R. Racing that was next to Pro Line? Well, here’s the downtube wrap he made for my bike. He can make custom vinyl for just about anything. Hit up Jay Kendall if you need some custom work. Sorry my bike is a little dirty.
I had to go for a ride as soon as I got back. Also, yes, I do still run a 2X crank, so what. I heard Rodney still has a triple in his collection.
Over at Tekin, they had some old and some new on display. I love Tekin. I run the RX8 in my Altra Bomber. It wasn’t the ESCs and motors that caught my eye this year….it was the servos.
Hold up! New servos from Tekin? I can say that these are amazing just from what I heard! Infinitely adjustable endpoints that are programmable. Just pop on your servo horn and go. No more lining up the center. Also, it’s almost like there are no gears, they are sooooo smooooooth. Maybe they mount directly to the motor. They tried to explain it all to me, but I’m not a electronics nerd, so I’m not sure. But, I am sure that I want, want, want one of these for my Altra Bomber. Ty, if your reading this, feel free to send me one.
Ty, can you hear me back there!
Here’s why Gigabit Games rules. They like goats, I have goats. A match made in heaven.
Boom Racing was also back with a huge display.
Jason Tsang wanted to make sure I got it all in, so I took two pictures.
Knights Customs was back and with much coolness on display. No not James, the product! OK, James, your cool too..
Knight Customs make so many amazing accessories. That Pull Pal is available fully folding with a custom mount. It was… truly amazing. He also had the new Bug Out Racks available.
Knights Customs had these genius displays with clear bodies.
Knights Customs also brought out their scale shop. Check out the scale Axial boxes.
Pedals had their Kona Big Kahuna on display. Some lucky Axialfester took this home on Sunday. If you live in SoCal and need a bike, go talk to Pedals. They will hook you up!, just mention #AXIALFEST2017!!!
I finally caught the great Ryan Gerrish at the DSPRO booth photo! He’s another Axial OG from way back-time-machine, from the stone age comp crawling days. He was a fellow judge of the concourse, as well.
RC4WD was all set up today. They had lots of their accessories on Axial rigs to check out first hand and in person!
I made it back over to the Two Chainz Scalerz campsite to get some pictures.
The lighting was better today. Half-cast shadow over two half-cocked TCSZ’erz.
Here’s some more shots of the waterfall in nice lighting for dramatic effect.
This Hilux was enjoying the cool water in the July heat.
Behind the water feature was the church and cemetery.
These headstones were awesome. V. Terra, died of a broken link. That dude tried to square up on backdoor and got gangked. He had it coming… So the towns people said…
The ‘motel’ had lots of business all weekend.
I just noticed that guy sitting on the blacksmith. That’s some strong metal work to support him.
While I was taking pictures, I noticed Two Chainz Scalerz passing out some limited edition trail swag to these junior Axialfesters.
Did you get one of these necklaces? Have you ever been lucky enough to be blessed by 2CS?
Lunchtime! Tacos at the Axial camp. Pastor was my flavor of choice.
Spotted this vintage tent trailer after lunch. Thought it was a Sherwood like mine for a second. Turns out it was a Heilite.
I also spotted this little motorcycle tent trailer out in the campground. I love tent trailers.
I almost thought Rodney got the Yakima RTT for his ADV80 along with a new paint job. Turns out it wasn’t Rodney’s Land Cruiser, but #rodneysaiditwasok with him.
It was getting close to concourse judging, so I had to get over to the pavilion. Lots of rigs were already staged.
Participation quadrupled this year! There were TONS of amazing builds in here.
It really made judging a difficult task. My brain was starting to hurt from all the coolness…
or was it that taco? No, not the Tacoma, but the taco-taco, loco… This concours action has gone loco, thats for sho! And for show!
Lighting made it difficult for me and my cheap point and shoot camera to get good pictures. I got a few good ones and my buddy Mike took some as well. So, here’s a few of my favorites. I loved this cab-over build by Ben Thomas.
This Bronco was another one of my favorites. My first real 1:1 wheeling trips were in Broncos, so they are dear to my heart. This one had unbelievable detail.
Bad shot of this amazing 70-Series Land Cruiser truck built by Todd Norton. I love this thing. Also, that 3 wheeled thing next to it was really unique.
2CS’erz had lots of builds entered. They are the kings of scale after all.
Eliott, aka Coleman, was checking out all the builds and live streaming the judging.
Chris Zemek drove all the way from Texas to display his work truck and trailer.
That TV worked and played movies. This set up was A….A…..A…..Awesome.
I bet you thought I was going to say amazing.
Hawaiian style! Check the stretch on the wheels. Or is that new school JDM style?
I’m always inspired by the FC builds. One day I’ll get mine built.
Here’s the A-Main / Judd Rummage entry. Look at all the cool accessories.
Here’s another A-Main creation. Word on the street is Matt Hauck built this.
Scale By Chris had some amazing monster truck entries. While I didn’t get a great shot of this rig, it was a translucent red body and very very CLEAN!
Scale By Chris also entered this crazy show truck Blazer. It went straight out on the trails after the awards.
I like the Dead Bolts because they remind me of Broncos.
These custom fender wells caught my eye. I dig the stickers in there. SoCal pre-runner style meets inland empire bro’sive meets this new stretch tire look… no crime in being creatively different! Catching eyeballs is the name of the game!
The judging was difficult and took a while for all the judges to get their input. Luckily, #rodneysaiditwasok to grease the judges. That’s why all my friends won. Here is Rodney (on crutches) talking to the participants for this class and delivering the verdict. Schultz was stoked he didn’t have to deliver this news as competition WAS SO STIFF!!!
Ok, just kidding. Not all my friends won, but all that won are my new friends, because making new friends is ALL PART OF AXIALFEST! If you want to take a closer better look at all the amazing rigs and winners of the concourse, check out this blog: Axialfest 2017 Concourse
On the way out I talked to this guy. He scratch built this Shasta trailer set up. It was pretty amazing, but unfortunately, there wasn’t a class that quite fit it. Look for more classes next year. It’s going to just keep growing!
Look how scale that interior is.
All that judging made me hungry, so we headed back to camp for a little snack-snack.
Right when we about to finish off our snacks, a little bird flew over and told us we were missing the Monster Jam. Mike and I dropped our glasses and ran over to the park.
Elio was on the mic directing the Monster Jam. We iz in troublez now!
I’m not sure what the rules were or how they set up the brackets, but I saw some fun racing and jumping carnage.
Some people played it safe…
…and others let it all loose. All the racers seemed to have a great time.
The action was fast and really testing my camera. I really yearned for a better camera to capture the action.
Even Tristan aka Tazz, aka “Photos By Tristan, the camera master, was being challenged with all the speed and jumping. But rumor is, he’s jumped to the dark side – CANON! And #rodneysaiditwasok Even with working with a new camera, I’m still sure his images turned out better than mine. Can’t wait to see a massive Photos By Tristan Photo Blog here on the Axial Blog! Hint Hint RODNEY!
Looks like SBChris is getting serious here. Lining up his truck like a golfer.
Even the kids got in on the action. Heck! All week, kids are the action at AXIALFEST!
Don’t forget to bring your SMT10 next year. I’m sure the Monster Truck races will be bigger and better next year. The racing is just too fun to watch.
After the races, I wandered the campground and spotted the infamous Charlie Sue, aka SwankySu, aka Mr. Hobby Wing, aka Charlie Suangka. It’s always good to see Chucky and his crew.
Next to Mr. Suangka was RichDog51. If you haven’t watched his AXIALFEST videos on YouTube get over there right after you finish reading this blog.
Hold up, it’s Mike Bier, aka Mark Weir the legendary Mountain Bike racer. Let me tell you, he is a mega RC nerd. He has two tracks at his house for racing. It was great talking to him about bikes and RC.
It was also fun watching his son shoot mosquitoes with the Bug-A-Salt rifle.
It was getting late, so we headed over for some dinner. Mmmmmmmac and cheese. Also, the BBQ was delicious. It’s good to eat with the Axial crew.
Cute dogs seemed popular this year. I’m not sure what breed this one was, but it don’t think it ever touched the ground. Here, an unidentified AXIALFEST Staff member gets some cuddles.
It had been a long day and I was tired, but the CKRC Dollar Dash was in effect again this year.
So, we headed over for a bit to watch the action. $1 per run. Best time wins. Touch the ribbon and you DQ.
Is that Coleman live streaming again?
Team MRB member Russ gets his game face on here.
Well, I was tired, so I retired early. I didn’t get and pictures of Dan W of Team Old Guys. He won the Dollar Dash again this year with a time of 35.2 seconds and took home a cool $153 for his driving skills. Please bring your dollars next year and take this guy down. His bragging is beginning to hurt my ears. Yes, I think he won last year too!? DW, true or false?
So, that was my second day of Axialfest 2017. I’ll leave you with this one last photo of Casey / ScalerFab and her cute puppy. See you in Part 3 for everything that went down in front of my lens on Friday of AXIALFEST 2107.
Text: Matt SKEENO Soileau
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt Soileau
You all know the deal. July is AXIALFEST time; the annual gathering of all Axial fans to Cisco Grove, California for the world’s largest gathering of scale RC enthusiasts. This year AXIALFEST expanded to five days, starting on Wednesday and ending on Sunday. Of course, I made my 10th consecutive trip to play, visit, and help out. Here’s what I saw on my five day adventure at AXIALFEST 2017.
Part 1 of the Skeeno Report covers Day 1, Wednesday, July 12 of AXIALFEST 2017.
Mike and I met up early Wednesday morning and packed up all our stuff. We packed pretty heavy. He and I both brought our tent trailers this year.
Since we were staying for five days, we had to make sure we would be eating right. Luckily, Axial is making these sweet mini fridges. I got a prototype. Look for them to be in production by AXIALFEST 3018. I will be doing some seriously long-term testing…
A look inside shows they left room for hearty breakfast and dinner supplies. I didn’t need much lunch food, because I’m working on my bike diet and ate with the rest of the Axial staff.
There was a fire next to I-80 near the Reno city limits, so we anticipated lots of traffic delays, but that didn’t happen. We got to Cisco Grove around 7a.m. The camp office was closed, so we proceeded to the Axial motorhome.
I’ve been in the same location for last five or six AXIALFEST events, so it was easy to find. I was slated to share with Anthony of Rivas Concepts, but I don’t think he ever sleeps.
There’s Camp Skeeno all set up and ready. Mike’s trailer made a nice sun block in the afternoon.
Inside you can see I settle for nothing but the finest orange shag and 50 year old canvas. Ignore that heater. July was extra hot this year, so there was no need for that.
Once we got set up, I did head over to the camp office to check in and see how things were going. Next to the office is this cool scale area…
There were already some rigs out on the trails and it was only 9 a.m. on a Wednesday!
I spotted several groups getting early morning trail runs in.
This guy was topping off his tank before heading out.
I caught the office ladies off guard and they vehemently protested their photo being taken.
Once they found out I was the world famous Skeeno, they begged me to take their photo. Ok, that might be a lie, but they did tell me 430 campsites were sold for AXIALFEST 2017. That’s 80 more than AXIALFEST 2016! They also said that at least 400-campers had checked into the campgrounds on MONDAY! This tells me that AXIALFEST is becoming a WEEK LONG EVENT VACATION for a lot of RC enthusiast!
I spotted this RC sticker bombed cruiser as I was leaving.
I’m sure Rodney would approve of the basket on the front that was used to haul his SCX102 around in. Remember that cute little dog for later.
I headed up to registration, but it was still early and while all the banners and barriers were up and ready, nobody was to be found. Again, technically the event is not open yet, so understandable. But you can see signs that a lot of work has already been happening.
I jumped on the CT70 and cruised around to check out some campsites.
Last year was #yearofthebridges and the bridges returned this year with the addition of the Golden Gate bridge, fitting for this years theme #ProspectorFever
This hobbit seemed friendly, but I don’t think that screen door is keeping any flies out.
First thing I spotted in A-Camp was Zotti’s Bagz. If you need a scale sleeping bag, hit her up. She’s got lots of colors and styles to choose from.
A-Camp is the location of the very first AXIALFEST’s. It’s mostly tent camping and there were already lots of people set up and ready. I had heard that many were coming up even earlier next year for AXIALFEST 2018, but I didn’t expect to see the campground so full Wednesday morning this year!
The paper lanterns in this campsite were a nice touch. Customization is the key to a good campsite.
Speaking of custom, this roof top tent on a tear drop is pretty custom.
I kept running into groups out trailing. Will AXIALFEST start on Tuesday next year?
These guys had a full tarp city. I’m not sure what was behind the curtain. It might have been Oz.
The Down with the Sickness crew had more canopies up than I could count.
These guys roll DEEP.
I’m not sure how many rigs the DWTS crew brought up, but here Big Country poses with 22! And this doesn’t even count the ones that were already out on the trails.
Speaking of Sickness, check out this sick haircut. I thinks it’s called the Axiallet; business in the front…
…and party in the back.
This young lady came up with the group from Monterrey Bay. She was extra proud of her pink wheels and cage.
I’m not sure what was going down in this campsite, but I counted eight or so Power Wheels.
This 16 window bus was my favorite. I wanted to take it out for a spin, but the owners weren’t around to ask permission.
The minimalist award goes to this guy. One step up from sleeping in the car. I admired his style.
I caught the Strider Bikes crew headed out to get on trail.
I headed back to see what Mike was up to. He had just finished setting his trailer up and handed me a pint to toast to our start of AXIALFEST 2017.
After our toast, I headed back over to registration. Things were starting to pick up. Registration would be opening soon, so we had to get everything organized and ready.
I spotted Chris Cru Jones of Altra and Juan Schultz discussing adjustments to the Altra 5K Enduro course.
Miss Cathy and Mister Matt didn’t have time for pictures. There were hundreds of swag bags to organize.
Here’s Cathy getting the hats ready.
Do you have an AXIALFEST 2017 hat?
How about these special limited edition AXIALFEST hats? They didn’t even have my name on one of these! OUTRAGE! hehehe I will protest!
If your last name starts with an L, M, N, O, or P, your score card and lanyard was in those boxes. This is one station of the many for AXIALFEST 2017.
Steve Miles, now you are famous. That’s your score card.
I’m glad Scott G doesn’t work in quality control with those peepers.
OK, here’s where we knew things were getting serious. Cathy started to hand out the STAFF shirts. Head of Security, Shawn Barton gets the pick of the litter as Anthony of Rivas Concepts waits patiently.
Scott Kerkes was the face of calm. This wasn’t his first rodeo. He was ready to get his tech on all week. I think that is Brad Perry telling ScottK, Rodney said it was OK, gimmie the keys to Jeff’s Jeep! I know this dope spot…
Cathy and Cici were all smiles once registration was ready to be open. Let the party begin!
The line formed and went smoothly. The Axial crew has their system down!
It’s amazing how quickly the hundreds of participants can move through tech and registration.
I’m not sure why, but Chris from SBC seems to always be one of the first in line.
Remember the cute doggy earlier? I think that’s sticker bomb cruiser guy with his trail buddy.
If you didn’t print it and sign it at home, there were extra liability waivers at registration.
Someone got a little creative with the chalk. Is that a Deadbolt?
Before the registration and swag tent was the tech area. There guys worked at a fevers pitch to get everyone checked out.
They tried their best to keep the line moving at a good pace.
Matt Kett from Scale Builders Guild was all smiles. See Scott Kerkes teching like a champ? He kept it up all weekend.
Axial’s R&D VP, Matt Kearney even got his hands dirty in the Tech Booth. Applying stickers is tough!
Carts and wagons were a popular option for many that brought multiple rigs to get tech’ed and checked.
American Flyers. Those are some American classics.
When you have lots of gear, it’s way easier to pull than carry.
This young lady somehow levitated against this tree.
The trusty EMT’s happily assisted anyone with medical needs, mostly dehydration and heat issues is what I heard. Drink your water, people! With ELECTROLYTES!!! This message is “Rodney Approved” Electrolyte Replenishment – Why It’s SO IMPORTANT and HOW TO DO IT RIGHT!
There were lots of cool 1:1s hanging around AXIALFEST 2017 as well!
Now, there were TONS of VENDORS at AXIALFEST 2017 too! Many had swag to give away and deals on products. Here’s a few that I spoke with.
Hitec was there. They not only had their servos on display, but also some sweet chargers. I might need to upgrade my old units for one of their all in one units. They were impressive.
Super Shafty came all the way from upstate New York! They had a climb ramp for people to try for raffles. I saw lots of flips and a few jumps.
Super Shafty had lots of products on display as well as some fun decorations, but their product is way serious!
Gigabit Off-Road had the coolest stickers, but maybe that’s because Mrs. Skeeno loves goats. I caught them here before they were finished setting up.
Phoenix Design LEDs was here again.
Corey Shafer was my campmate, but we didn’t see him much. I think he and Rivas share the same sleep pattern. Here, he briefly chills with Dan Huff in the Phoenix Designs booth.
Green shirt, back to work…
A Main Hobbies had this amazing Axial SCX10 with Jeep FC body fully built and kitted as an overlander on display. They gave it away on Saturday night during the AXIALFEST awards ceremony!
Judd Rummage was commissioned by A Main Hobby to design and build this rig and trailer combo and it was unbelievable.
There were so many details on this that I couldn’t even begin to tell you about them all.
Blow up these pictures and just stare. OK, I’ll point out my favorite part, the Honda Trail 50 hiding in the trailer.
Cody Waggoner and Jesse Haines from Team Lasernut came out. Cody’s been an Axial fan since the first Axial West Coast Championship in 2007. They are both top competitors in the 1:1 crawler scene.
Hummer Portals seem to be all the rage in 1:1 crawling now. Jesse Haines brought out his comp crawler for everyone to ogle over!
He gets an amazing amount of steering out of those things.
Cody also brought out his comp buggy. Some lucky ducks got to take it for a spin. I think Jay Kendall from SOR was one of the lucky ones. I got to drive it last year. You can check it out here: AF16P1
Ty from Tekin is an AXIALFEST veteran from way back. He brought out the big tent this year. I still remember when he drove his Subaru Impreza down. Times sure have changed.
Ty built this 6X6 with custom 3D printed body built on a custom SCX10 chassis. It was pretty incredible.
Speaking of incredible, the Two Chainz Scalerz crew brought out their amazing scale features again.
This year it was a waterfall with a working water wheel…oh, and scale water tower.
There was a scale town behind it, but I had bad lighting, so I decided to come back later.
But, I couldn’t help myself from checking out the scale cemetery. Each headstone had a members name and epitaph. My favorite was Dan W, old guys can only rule so long.
I caught Coleman from Extreme Scale Performance. Have you participated in his weekly Axial Scale Wars? Did you catch his live stream of AXIALFEST?
Proline had their scale garage and junk yard out for people to take pictures with.
Lots of amazing details in there.
Elio and Tristan’s Jeeps are either kissing or fighting. I’m not sure.
Jawn Shuhls and Chris Cru Jones were trying to talk Pham Bam into running the Altra 5K.
JavaGoGo bumped the techno and made some delicious beverages. The Funky Monkey was worth it.
There’s the Giga Crew all set up.
Jason from Pedals Bike Shop of Riversidea, Ca delivered Rodney Wills to AXIALFEST after a little accident that left Rodney cruzing on crutch-mobile status. Jason is a KONA Bikes dealer and together they donated a Kona Big Kahuna 27.5+ bike to the raffle pile! I see Jason read my Bomber build blog and stole my orange wheels idea.
Prairie City representing California State Parks came out to play and also talk about their awesome OHV facilities. Check them out at http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1221
Toyzuki had their rigs on display. I was fascinated by their chassis kit that allowed the easy swapping of regular and overdrive gearing with the use of a transfer case. It’s genius.
My other favorite thing at Toyzuki was this custom VW Thing.
I love the Type 181. I spotted this almost immediately.
Hailing from the east coast, Brazen also had a small booth set up.
Note Rodney on crutches…
Forester coming through! Subiworks brought their cool Subaru Forester. Check out the ground clearance, custom front bumper with winch and Rigid lighting.
It also had these really cool RotopaX mounts built into the window openings.
This was my first spotting of #rodneysaiditwasok which became the phrase of AXIALFEST 2017. Something happened online and it spread like wildfire! Did you get your limited edition RSIWO shirt from SBG?
Of course CKRC was on site with their fully stocked hobby shop.
CKRC also had some limited edition giveaways as well as a customer appreciation dinner and their infamous Dollar Dash on Thursday night after the Concours event.
Next to CKRC was the start of their trail. There were lots of scale buildings on this course.
Hemistorm came all the way from the other side of the planet to visit AXIALFEST with Castle Creations! I had the pleasure of judging with him during the Concourse event.
Hmmm, sensored motors from Castle? I’m listening…
Vanquish’s Dan W photobombs the Proline guys.
Not only did Proline bring their scale junkyard, but also this amazing scale shop.
Next to Proline was S.O.R. Graphics, not sore, but eS Oh aRe Graphics.
Jay Kendall was a little camera shy, but he is super friendly. He did the amazing wrap on my Altra 5K Bomber and even hooked my bike up with a custom sticker/wrap. Hit him up at www.stuckonracinggraphics.com
Some top brass from Rigid Industries brought giveway swag, prizes for the awards ceremony raffle and they brought their SCX10s to get their scale trail action on!
It’s all a blurr now, but at some point in the day Jaime Seymour made some of the most amazing hamburgers ever cooked at AXIALFEST!
GFE – Grumpy Fast Eddy of Fast Eddy Bearings is another veteran AXIALFEST supporter and he still yelled at everyone to get off his lawn. I’m waiting for the time lapse video to come out. I’m in there somewhere around 2:24am.
Random sighting of “Brokenib” aka Chris Goris. He’s another long time AXIALFEST participant!
RCP Crawlers are one of the OG RC Crawler shops and still make parts from some old school rigs that we used before Axial was around.
Team KNK came all the way out from Ohio with loads of their hardware kits. If you need screws, bolts, washers, etc. They are your go to.
RC4WD had all their good stuff on display. I caught them before they were fully set up here, but this tracked SCX10 had me dreaming of this set up on an FC Jeep. I’ll be back later…
I heard people screaming, “Bear!” I was a little afraid, but it turned out to be this adorable Pomeranian puppy at the Scaler Fab booth. Dang, he is CUTE.
Scaler Fab had all their bumbers and other wares available.
Last but not least was RPP Hobby.
It wouldn’t be AXIALFEST withouth RPP Hobbies. They brought out their super-shop-tent-set out again to AXIALFEST 2017.
I’m not sure when they slept, because their tent aka mobile hobby shop was packed every time I walked by.
RPP Hobby also had a their trail start right by their booth.
They also had a photo booth for AXIALFEST’ers to take scale photos at.
So, that’s just a small taste of AXIALFEST 2017. It was a blurry fast day and I missed lots of things. Luckily, I had four more days to come back and catch more action.
So, keep your eyes out for Part-2 of the Skeeno Report coming soon, right after I eat this bacon. And I promise to try not to use the word amazing in any more blogs.
The Concourse event at this year’s AXIALFEST2017 was absolutely amazing! The builders are getting so much more creative than previous years that it’s making it near impossible to pick a winner.
In the end, though, the judges did have to crown the best of the best, so here’s the pictures of the winner’s rigs. We’ve also added a small gallery at the bottom with some additional pictures.
Best of Axial Heritage Winner: Patrick Jurica
Best of Adventure Trailer Winner: Matt Alley
Best of Work Trailer Winner: Chris Zemek
Best of Adventurist Winner: Dan Huff
Best of Monster Truck Winner: Jim Prestwood
Best of Daily Driver Winner: Troy Olsen
Best of D’Raison Winner: Jackson Hall
Best of Trophy Truck Winner: Jason Philo (right)
BEST OF SHOW Winner: Todd Pearson
If you didn’t get a chance to attend AXIALFEST2017, you certainly missed out on a fantastic event! Along with all the other amazing activities, the Rock Racing portion of the show was by far one of the most popular!
The Rock Racers were sorted into 8 different classes, allowing drivers of different ages and vehicle types to compete against each other. The classes were:
RR1] Rock Race 10-Under Kids Class – 1.9 & 2.2 Combined
RR2] Rock Race 11-15 Kids Class – 1.9 & 2.2 Combined
RR3] Rock Race 1.9 Factory SCX10 Class
RR4] Rock Race 1.9 Frame Rail Class
RR5] Rock Race Factory Bomber Class
RR6] Rock Race Wraith – OPEN Class
RR7] Rock Race 2.2 Tube Chassis Class
RR8] Rock Race EXO/Bomber – OPEN Class
RR9] Rock Race 2.2 Tube Chassis Class
For a detailed description of all the classes, see our post here ROCK RACING RULES – AXIALFEST 2017.
After the dust had settled, 9 winners had been crowned champions of the AXIALFEST2017 Rock Racing, well, race!
Rock Race 10-Under Kids Class – 1.9 & 2.2 Combined
1st Place – Simon Kirsch
2nd Place – Joe Zuniga
3rd Place – Andrew Pena
Rock Race 11-15 Kids Class – 1.9 & 2.2 Combined
1st Place – Kason Ernest
2nd Place – Hunt Parr
3rd Place – Ethan Mulhollen
Rock Race 1.9 Factory SCX10 Class
1st Place – Michael Pham
2nd Place – Paul Russell
3rd Place – Bryan Kautz
Rock Race 1.9 Frame Rail Class
1st Place – Michael Pham
2nd Place – Angelo Lanford
3rd Place – Brian Richards
Rock Race Factory Bomber Class
1st Place – Dominique Judkins
2nd Place – Harley Judkins
3rd Place – Saphira Judkins
Rock Race Wraith – OPEN Class
1st Place – Spencer Bell
2nd Place – Mason Dunievitz
3rd Place – Michael Pham
Rock Race 2.2 Tube Chassis Class
1st Place – Michael Pham
2nd Place – Rich Bolts
3rd Place – Danny Ensor
Rock Race EXO/Bomber – OPEN Class
1st Place – Jake Wright
2nd Place – Mike Thompson
3rd Place – Chris Duran
Rock Race YETI Class
1st Place – Michael Pham
2nd Place – Devlin Shipley
3rd Place – Ben Thomas
Here are some other links to posts regarding AXIALFEST2017.
• Thank You – AXIALFEST2017
This page has downloadable group photos as well as a list of every name that pre-registered for the event!
• Off-Road Dave’s First Time Account of AXIALFEST 2017
A detailed look of David “Off-Road Dave” Miller’s first adventure to AXIALFEST2017.
• Athletic RC Adventure Mashup – Inside the Axialfest Altra Ultra 5K Enduro
An inside look at the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro written by RC Driver’s Greg Vogel.
Words and photos by: Greg Vogel
A lineup of radio control rock rigs sit behind a start/finish line. Batteries are charged, hardware has been checked, the rigs have been built to withstand a true torture test and the radios are on ready race. Where are the drivers? They’re stretching their muscles, tightening their Altra running shoes, making certain their backpacks are prepped with spare parts and of course water for hydration. Ah… What?! This is what the start of the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro looks like during Axialfest where drivers are put through the ultimate RC integrated sporting test. Not only preparing their bodies and mind for a 5K adventure run through some gnarly terrain, but also preparing their mind and RC machines to run to the grueling gauntlet as well.
The Altra Ultra 5K is the brainchild of Rodney Wills of Axial Racing who is constantly searching for new and exciting ways for Axial owners to enjoy their vehicles in their intended habitat and beyond. Rodney who is well known among Axialfest attendees has a broad range of interests and uses them to his advantage to create new experiences and the 5K may be one of the greatest RC event innovations in the history of the sport. Rodney was able to meld the sport of adventure running with adventure rock racing and based on the growth of attendees at the 2017 event over its inception a year prior, this has all the makings of being something big and here to stay.
Everything that happens at Axialfest is a team effort made up of Axial employees and enthusiastic volunteers. The Altra Ultra course at Axialfest is carefully scoped out weeks in advance and is set up before participants arrive.
Obstacles- If you enter the Altra Ultra, you’re in for a lot more than just the asphalt starting grid. Throughout the course, you’ll encounter terrain that will test your abilities both mentally and physically. On the trail you may navigate man-made jumps, rocks, logs, dirt, uphill terrain, water hazards, drainage piping to drive or crawl through. Yes, both you and your Axial rig will go through these tests. Not just once, but a number of times such as the six laps to complete the 5K run in the 2017 event.
Markers- To determine the course boundaries, red and green streamer tape is used to define the course for the runners. Volunteers or marshals are positioned at strategic points to help assist participants in running the proper direction, to make sure that vehicle rollover/ recovery rules are followed and to make race directors aware of those who drop out or stop for repair.
RC Needs- A wide variety of Axial based vehicles hit the trail from stock out of the box Axial SCX10 II XJ’s to original SCX10’s, Wraiths and Bombers. Many drivers obviously spent hours prepping their rigs to withstand abuse with parts from Axial supporting aftermarket companies. Some participants however were in it for the fun and are there challenging themselves to simply finish with the vehicle they have. This is what is so exciting to see. Although some are in the race for its competitive aspects, many are there to enjoy this event and race toward their own goals to establish their personal best time. But if you are the type itching to compete among the top runners, the Axial Bomber seemed to be the machine of choice to start with.
Athlete Needs- Proper equipment is a must for the runner/ driver too. Be prepared to work on your machine if necessary. Have a small tool kit and a small box of essential parts. A backpack is of course in order too, to carry these items and a means of hydration. Axial was kind enough to provide water at certain points on the trail, but a leisurely stop to grab water adds seconds to your time. Many runners used Camelbak packs for hydration and those backpacks were also used to secure equipment. The equipment needs don’t end there, proper clothing is a must. Sure, it was a bit chilly in the early morning at Cisco Grove, but the day comes in quickly with the heat and as you run, you’ll heat up too. Wear shorts, and an athletic sweat wicking shirt so your body doesn’t overtemp like a nitro engine leaned out. Perhaps the most important item for preparedness is having the right footwear and the main sponsor of the event is a favorite among the participants. Ten of the top eleven finishers were sporting Altra Running footwear designed specifically for adventure running.
If you want to go for the cash and prizes… ok, maybe just prizes, you’re going to have to start preparing months in advance. In a discussion with this year’s winner Jake Wright, he discussed spending lots of time training by running everyday and eating healthy. He also spent time practicing with his rig and making sure he knew its handling traits. At the event, you will want to pace yourself, know your limits and the limits of your machine. Going full wick from the start might result in tiring yourself out too soon. You’ll need to consider conserving your rigs energy too, as battery change stops take time. Ripping on your rig at full throttle isn’t considered the best strategy. Full throttle bursts will use up more power than a consistent speed. Those full throttle runs where your machine becomes a spec in your sight might not be the best strategy either. By the time you catch up you may have realized your machine is not in the best position to tackle an obstacle, resulting in time lost for you to stop, back up and attack the course line from a new angle.
The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is not a free-for-all such as the exciting adventure trails at Axialfest. Each participant checks in at the Altra timing station and receives a number badge to wear. At the start of the event, runners will pair up to run on their own clock. Runners will start the race in increments ten seconds apart to give proper spacing rather than risking a massive pile up of bodies and machines in the first turn or obstacle. Each lap, a staff member positioned at the start finish line will call out the participants number as does the participant to insure their lap has been recorded by an official. Timing and laps are monitored by staff and they will let you know when the 5K has been completed. The looks on the faces of participants who were told they had one lap to go when they thought they had finished was pretty entertaining for spectators.
The start of the Enduro is pure excitement, pure adrenaline, hooting and hollering, laughs and friendly bets being passed among those ramping up for the event. Through lap one those same enthusiastic people trek their way through the trail generally with a look of excitement on their faces, some with concentration as they try to memorize mistakes and map out perfect lines so they know what to do next lap. But as they hit that second lap, it’s evident that a wave of seriousness is setting in. No longer is this a fun jaunt, this is a mission. The terrain is changing and breathing is a bit heavier. On lap three, beads of sweat trickling down runners faces is evident and layers of clothes worn in the chilly early morning have been tossed to a friend encouraging their favorite driver alongside the road. Lap four brings on concern. “Is the rig going to hold up? Did I use enough locktite on the screws crosses the mind of many. Am I going to have to change the battery soon. I think I need some water.” These questions repeat over and over in the drivers minds. Then it’s on to lap five and as runners pass the line, their faces drop as the timer tells them there’s one lap to go. This is it, time to push your body, time to drive smart. The course has dramatically changed, your mind is racing. This is “The Push!” Time to make it happen, gather up every last ounce of energy, put your trust in your machine and finish the race strong to reach your goal; which for some is pure bragging rights that they conquered the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro.
For each and every person that starts the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, there is a deserved sense of pride, especially for this year’s first female competitor, Katie Murphy. And for those that finish, there is a real sense of accomplishment. For those who treated this race as a professional event, there is even more at the finish line. The top three finishers at this years Axialfest went home with a big bounty that is rather impressive in terms of event prizes. The top three each received an Axialfest 2017 themed Prospector Pan labeled with their finishing order and a gift certificate towards a new pair of Altra Running shoes. And each received a unique prize such as full-scale BFGoodrich tires, Method Race Wheels and a Magnaflow exhaust. Where else do you find prizes like this in the RC world? Congratulations to the 2017 top three: 1st Jake Wright, 2nd Mike Thompson, 3rd Kyle Listul!
ARE YOU IN?
The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is not for everyone. Or is it? In true Axial fashion, everyone is encouraged to participate and there are some competitive adventurous types who give it a try and leave the race when they reach their limit. At Axialfest 2017 rumblings of modifying the program was overheard to accommodate those who want to push the limits more. Perhaps the program can be modified too to accommodate different age brackets with varying distances? One wild rumor circulated John Schultz would head to Cisco Grove even earlier to build several Ultra courses (Rodney said it was okay.) Keep in mind, anything can happen at Axialfest, a new twist, a new challenge, the unknown is why so many are drawn here. What is known is that the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is an amazing event that delivers participants more than just a chance to drive an RC car, you get a memorable experience. So are you in? Follow Axial on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the Axial-blog as well as ScaleUltra.com for upcoming Altra Ultra 5K Enduro event announcements.
Words & Photos: David “Off-Road Dave” Miller
It all started in Ohio. Well, the thought started between me and my good friend Nick in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ohio is later. This was the season we were going to hit comps. As many comps as we could. Not to win, but to learn. To become better at choosing lines. To meet up with other scalers from around the Midwest. To learn better set ups and tuning on our rigs. Nick started searching comps. We started talking about which ones we might be able to get out to. Then AxialFest started popping up on social media. “Axialfest man, let’s do it. ” We were both serious.
Then life happened and neither of us could make it. So we started looking at other big events we could hit. This is where Ohio comes into play. Team KNK Hardware TTC. It was on our radar. I made plans to go. Now keep in mind, I manage a business and have an amazing wife and 6 kids, so me making plans to travel out of state to play with tiny trucks isn’t super high on the priority list. I was given the ok by Amanda (my love) and the owner of the business I run. “Dude, I’m going to KNK you are too!!” Yeah, my buddy couldn’t make it. I was bummed. I planned on going solo and after a few posts on Facebook, my buddy Kevin said “I’ll go bro!” Now I had a co-pilot.
So, fast forward. We run KNK. It was amazing. I find out I’m a team driver for my favorite electronics company , Castle RC. I also end up taking 1st place in one of my classes beating the one and only, John Schultz. Like, what? Kate, my team manager says “we need you at AXIALFEST!” OK, so wow, this could be real as in this could really happen! I might just be making it there. Then my new friend, Rodney Wills says, “I want you to shoot AxialFest.” So yeah, how could I not go now. That’s two real big signs saying your dumb not to dude… I get home (after several hours and Starbucks iced coffees) and I’m excited about everything. I tell Amanda I won first!! They want me at AXIALFEST in July!! So blah blah blah, scheduling, family, blah blah BUT ITS ON!!!
Let’s skip to Thursday July 13th.
I arrive at the Reno airport and have a kid named Elvis from Reno picking me up. Chris aka Hemistorm set up the ride for me. This kid is a maniac. Toyota Tundra, mountain roads, and fast driving to make it to the concourse at Axialfest. He and his friend built this wicked RESQ1 replica for the big show. 200 hours spent on it. Crazy, right? We have to be there like an hour ago. As we are flying by the seat of our pants I can’t take my eyes off the mountains. The mountains are EVERYWHERE out here. Back home we have tallish buildings, so these Sierra Nevada mountains are blowing my mind, like seriously blowing my mind!
The anticipation of arriving at Cisco Grove campground is weighing heavy on my mind too. I am excited to see people and tiny trucks. We make it and I need to head to the Castle booth first. Elvis gets me there in one piece. (Whew) and I meet up with Kate and Chris. Now, I haven’t eaten since the night before, high elevation, and overloaded with being at the one and only AXIALFEST. Needless to say, I felt a bit strange. Not all there but, you know, there. Jody from the Renegade rock Runners shows up and lets me know my spot at their campsite is ready. I hang out at Castle for a while and help out with programming esc’s and customers.
I take a walk around and see that the online shops I order from are here. I can get what I need (let’s face it, what I want) now. NOW!!! No shipping time. Get that stuff now and go build!!!! Awesome. So RPP is where I went. B-Line YO!! Scooped some new F9′s for the 10 II along with all the Vanquish fixings. I head over to A camp and meet up the RRR guys. Now if you don’t know the RENEGADE ROCK RUNNERS, you should. These guys are top tier A + human beings. Only one of them knew me. They took me in, fed me, gave me a bed to sleep in, helped work on my rig, you name it. The are in this for the love. The passion. Man, the passion I felt through out my time at AxialFest. That’s the thing… It’s the essence of what we do with these things. Yeah, they are toys. We all get that. It’s the people with passion that make them so much more than toys. Every manufacturer, every club, every retailer I spoke with had that fire. They love what they do and the love to share it. Axial, these guys are passion. These guys are love. These guys make adventure happen. That’s what this whole thing has been.
Ever since I decided to go to KNK TTC I have been on an adventure. I didn’t realize that until I spent a few hours talking with Rodney Wills. I met him simply because he is inquisitive. He wants to know. He wants to know what makes you tick. I love that about him. He uses the word adventure with a passion unlike I have ever seen. Dude is sort of the RC equivalent of Indiana Jones.
OK, back to my story here.
I head back to Castle with my rig to help some more. After a short while I got antsy and needed to find a trail. First one is Trail-A. I mean, ABC’s man! Only seems logical. The beginning is pretty basic. Cool scale building and easy trailing. Then you hit the rock. It gets awesome fast. After about 50 gates I take a break from looking down at my truck. I stretch a little and realize that the mountain I am on is surrounded by much bigger mountains and it is breath taking. It truly put a tear in my eye. Axial picked an astonishing place to hold their event. I cannot describe accurately enough how amazing Cisco Grove really is. To top it off I am playing with my tiny truck alongside hundreds of other people! You can’t beat that. I continue on Trail-A through the trees, rocks, brush, dirt, and hot sun all the way to the last 5 gates. My battery dies. In all the excitement I didn’t think to grab extra batteries or even tools. Either way it was a great way to start my trail runs at AxialFest.
That night I went on a run on Trail-G with the Renegade Rock Runners. I’ve never ran at night so my rig wasn’t prepared. You know, ROCK LIGHTS! (I fixed that the following day with Gearhead RC lights from RPP) but fortunately for me on this first night run, the Renegade boys had plenty of light to keep me on trail. Trail-G would become my favorite trail maybe because it was my first with such the experience… but the terrain and company was more than I could have ever asked for. There were a lot of tiny trucks on that trail that night. You could see off into the distance headlamps and LED lights on ridges up high and down low. The entire trail experience was really fun. The Axial team made the gates wide so you could pick your line which gave everyone the ability to go hard or soft on their rigs. I had to choose the most difficult lines. Like most people I want to see what my rig can do. The end of Trail-G was kind of crazy. It was like a downhill slide of sand. Needless to say, we did some skiing to make it down. At the bottom there was another crew of guys digging hard into the sand with their rigs. It was cool to watch. The rock lights and dust along with the dark made it a bit of a spectacle. With Trail-G over we head back to camp and rest up.
The following day was a blur. There was the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. Man, I couldn’t believe how hard these guys and gals worked to make forward progression on the designated course! It was impressive to say the least. Michael Pham is one of the guys that had my interest. He pushed himself to the breaking point and kept going. He’s a champ in my mind. Everyone was crazy, really! I mean, cars jumping on each other, flips, flops, (one dude had on flip flops), running, sweating, and focus. All of the competitors get a salute from me. Hats off!! After all of the excitement I went back to camp to take a breather and hang out with my new friends.
The last day was rock racing, raffles, drawings, and awards. The awards ceremony held by Axial was glorious. It wasn’t because of the gifts or awards. It was the hundreds and hundreds of people that drive tiny trucks gathered in one place for the first time since I arrived. So many families, friends, kids and purely awesome people all there for one reason. The reason you ask? Because, Axial. Jeff Johns, Rodney Wills, John Schultz, and the whole Axial family. Axial has found me new friends, adventures, fun, and love. They might not know it, but because of them, so many people have connected who might not have ever connected without them. Thank you Axial. Not for your rigs but for that piece of the puzzle that so many have used to connect to one another. I will never forget 2017.
Thank you Castle (Kate and Chris) for making this trip happen.
AXIAL would like to thank each and everyone of you for attending AXIALFEST 2017!
John John Anderson
Richy Barra Jr.
David Castillo Jr.
Chris De Graaf
Franz De La Vega
Liam De La Vega
Etienne De Lange
Donny Fleming (BentMetaL Customs)
Robert Garcia jr
Jennifer Ann Giusti
Luen (Frank) Hsing
John “BADGER” Hubbard
Richard “Richdog51″ Kinyon
Tee Jay Larsen
Carrie Mc Callum
John JJ Mendiola
Andy Jr Palacios
Truong Giang Pham
Michelle L Ribeau
Jose Luis Sanchez
Andre “BC Race” Sims
Jay (John) Smith
Loren St. Clair
John J. Szczech
John W. Szczech
Alec Van Den Brink
Jose Zuniga Jr
We would also like to thank these fine sponsors as well!
A-Main, Altra Running Shoes, AZU4RC, BFGoodrich Tires, Boom Racing, BPC Custom Chassis, Brazen Scale RC, California State Parks, Canyon Coolers, Castle Creations, CKRC Hobbies, CompetitionX, FastEddy Bearings, Gigabit Offroad, HiTec, KLP Hobby, Knight Customs, Kona Bicycles, Magnaflow, Method Race Wheels, Pedals Bike Shop< Phoenix Design, Pro-Line Racing, R/C Country, RC Driver, RC4WD, RCCrawler.com, R/C Country, RCP Crawlers, Rigid Industries, Rivas Concepts, RPP Hobby, Rugged Radios, Scale Builder’s Guild, ScalerFab, SOR Graphics, sPOD, Super Shafty, Team KNK Hardware, Team G Speed-LCG, Tekin, Toyzuki’s Fabrication, Tower Hobbies, Two Chainz Scalerz and last but not least, Vanquish Products!