ULTRA 5K ENDURO HISTORY

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ULTRA 5K ENDURO HISTORY
Written by: Rodney Wills
Photos by: Tristan “TAZZ” Judkins and Rodney Wills

Driving a radio control vehicle from a “control area” or commonly known as a driver stand or even from a stationary position, has been the hobby standard. Axial’s stance on the subject is to not stand in one place, but to move with the vehicle, covering vast terrain with a variety of obstacles.

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Axial is already known for getting enthusiasts out on trail, and hiking behind their rigs over the desired terrain in the name of adventure during its annual customer appreciation event, AXIALFEST.

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With the launch of the AX90028  SCX10™ 2012 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 1/10th Scale vehicle in 2012, inspiration was further set in motion when we hiked across the Rubicon Trail for three days, driving an SCX10 to earn it’s “Trail Rated” merit badge. See the 5-part docs-blogs: RUBICON TREK.

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As Axial’s Global Marketing Director, and personally for myself, I want to change the game even more!  We planted the new structure at AXIALFEST2016. In conjunction with sponsor Altra Running, we put man and machine to the physical test through a closed course trail for a full-scale Ultra 5K Enduro!

But how did it go from hiking to running?
Rock racing is the most physically demanding and brutal motorsport, the most famous event being The ULTRA4 King of the Hammers in Johnson Valley, California. Yes, we are talking about the full size motorsport event with a global impact.

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Axial’s customer-base and product design are in large part a reflection of vehicles competing in the event, and vehicles that belong to the spectators of this iconic motorsport event! Even though Axial is known for “moving with the vehicle” there is one sub-sector of the hobby driving their R/C rock racing rigs from the traditional drivers stand, the other sector is driving their rigs along side of their scale trail counterparts, just at speed, thus running. Like at ULTRA4 King of the Hammers, it is the 4X4 trails that were turned into a competition course, a competition decided by who could drive the trails the fastest, thus Axial is mimicking the action and it’s why we call them Ultra Drivers.

“ULTRA DRIVER COMING THROUGH!”
For years within AXIALFEST, we’ve had the “Ultra Class” whose participants ran past all the adventurist class participants on the same trails. We traditionally ran the two classes at the same time, but as the event grew, the separation of the two classes was needed due to the two “attitudes” of the two class of drivers.

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One is chasing the checkered flag, the other is chasing scale adventure. When the adventurist drivers started hearing the phrase, “Ultra driver coming through!” that is when it dawned on me that these classes would eventully have to be separated. It’s like being in the desert and you get on a live race course and you know a 100mph trophy truck is approaching and you get that excited, yet uneasy feeling in your stomach! You know you need to get out of the way! While we all love racing, we also like our adventures and we do not want to see any race trucks on our adventure route. We want to see and experience something different  than being at a race, so we knew we had to separate the classes. Each adventurist deserves his own experience without race cars bumping them off the cliff while Ultra drivers are chasing their checkered flag.

THE ULTRA 5K ENDURO PLAYGROUND
The thought was, that if our Ultra Drivers want to be full size race vehicle drivers, then they need to train like them and get the full physical impact of driving a race vehicle. When you see drivers come over the finish line at the King of the Hammers, they are drenched with sweat and physically depleted, but they feel accomplished!

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Racing is physically demanding so the only way I knew to interject the physicality, is to build a race course specifically for the Ultra Class and turn them loose!

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ENDURO inˈd(y)o͝orō,enˈd(y)o͝orō/
A long-distance race, especially for motor vehicles, motorcycles, or bicycles, typically over rough terrain, designed to test endurance.

Regarding the course design, I grew up riding motorcycles in the woods of Alabama and the deserts of southern California, racing BMX and have done my fair share of mountain biking. These have all been influences on me, so I took elements from those and added it to our Ultra Course design. The idea was to give our Ultra drivers the ultimate “ENDURO” experience. But hey, I’m in marketing and the word enduro just sounds cool and I did not see it in use in our segment at that time.

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We’ve had that select few who just wanted to go fast, thus run fast as if it was some big checked flag affair, so if competition they seek, a 5K they will get! Adventure running is becoming very popular and is on the trajectory to be the most popular extreme sport in America according to Richard Burgunder’s editorial piece “Trail Running: Racing Towards the Top in Popularity”

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By mixing adventure running and King of the Hammers style driving, our Ultra Drivers will get the full physical impact. Case in point, Casey Currie is a prominent driver who races at King of the Hammers. He was in attendance at AXIALFEST2016 and competed in the Ultra Class. Afterwards at the awards ceremony, Casey stated, “that running in Ultra Class was like racing at King of the Hammers – PHYSICALLY!” That was authentic enough for me! With the demand of physically running through the woods while driving a R/C vehicle through the same course at the same time, this is a full capacity challenge making it a true ULTRA CLASS!

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The R/C community has never been physical…
Since 2011, Axial has organized events that have gotten people out hiking through the woods in pursuit of driving their R/C vehicles over challenging terrain. Yes, we are hiking and driving at the same time, complete with backpacks and hiking amenities. We have helped change the role-play of R/C, meaning most see R/C as a hobby where you stand in one place and drive your vehicle, whereas we are getting our R/C community in motion! We have seen our event t-shirt sizes dropping over the past six years and that is simply awesome! If we can help create paths to physicality while pursuing a hobby, what’s not to like!? Over the years, attendance has been on the rise right along with the fitness of our attendees!

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Why the Axial RR10 Bomber for Ultra 5K Enduro?
Randy Slawson is PHYSICALLY FIT!
HIS BOMBER FABRICATION CHASSIS IS AWESOME!
The Axial version makes a great spec-car for the Ultra 5K Enduro class as it’s not about having tons of modifications. You do have to run as fast as your rig and we want to see the athletic side of this Ultra-minded R/C enthusiast!

ACORA Family Fun BBQ 2016

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October 21st – 23rd 2016

In true family fun attitude, ACORA puts on a BBQ that is supported by family and friends. The event is held at Azusa Canyon (San Gabriel Valley OHV) with approval from the US Forest Service. Vendors from the off-road industry have joined in to support the event and were set to move in Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The volunteers of the event were also welcomed to roll-in Friday and camp for the weekend.

First up on Saturday was the Renegade Rock Runners RC Club hosting an adventure run that was styled after the best in the west AXIALFEST. Several people showed up to have some fun on the course for the day and enjoy the gates that the club laid down. Later that day the club also hosted a sled pull and sumo fight for the RC cars.

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As Saturday progressed it was time to drop the cones on the course for the full scale amateur rock crawl competition taking place on Sunday. We spent a couple hours getting the preliminary courses set up for each of the classes (Stock, Modified, Open).

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20161022_173551The competition format this year was a simplified version of the W.E. Rock Rules; there is no point violation for reverse. Another change we made this year was to have the competitors run course 1 and then upon finishing head to the back of the line to run course 2. The courses were designed to give them the opportunity to think outside the box to avoid hitting the cones and achieve the lowest score. Once everyone was finished the scores would be calculated to show the top five from each class and they will be given the opportunity to run in the shootout course. In the shootout the 1st guys run the risk of losing the top podium if the other competitor have a better run. This means that you need to have a clean run in order to retain your top standing.

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Stock: (No Shootout)
1st – Jason Konczak
2nd – Jamie Duncanson
3rd – Tyler Soderman
4th – Brandon Burdett

Mod:
1st – Steven Soliz
2nd – Brandon Barberena
3rd – Jeff Chapman
4th – Marclino Sanchez
5th – Adam Mark

Open:
1st – John Rocha
2nd – James Williams
3rd – Chris Miller
4th – James Gibson
5th – Brandon Cortez

We set up a Shootout course for each class and the competitors were ready to go. They got a few minutes to all walk the course and then it was game on. The courses were longer and designed to challenge the driver and the spotter even more. When it was all said and done, the leaders were able to maintain their top spot.

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14691980_10155372860352995_4204352989583091178_oFinal Standings at the ACORA Amateur Rock Crawl

Stock: (No Shootout)
1st – Jason Konczak
2nd – Jamie Duncanson
3rd – Tyler Soderman

Mod:
1st – Steven Soliz
2nd – Brandon Barberena
3rd – Marclino Sanchez

Open:
1st – John Rocha
2nd – James Williams
3rd – Chris Miller

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Willys Jeep CJ-3B – Generations of Adventure

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Adventure comes in many forms. In this case it’s coming from a generational perspective of a family’s love and appreciation for a Willys Jeep CJ-3B. It carries the torch of adventure as it gets handed down through two generations. It all begins with a Father’s appreciation for family adventures. Next is choosing a vehicle that the family sedan simply could not travel to or get far enough away from. Insert Willys Jeep CJ-3B here. Add in a lifted teardrop trailer that’s been outfitted with numerous creature comforts for extended family vacations into the unknown. As time rolls on, the son becomes of driving age and the Willy’s Jeep is handed down with title in hand and the intent of continual exploration. Ownership will never change hands, nor will it ever be for sale. This Willys Jeep CJ-3B, with extended rear quarter panels and tear-drop trailer companion, will continue on in original form acting as that surviving example of a time when simplicity was key. This is where the electronic necessities of today are forgotten and the spirit of adventure is embraced. Go camp anywhere and embrace the spirit of adventure.

Here is the story:

 

Source: Petrolicious

Grassroots Competitions

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No events near you? No worries. You don’t need a hobby shop or RC club in your town to get in on the fun of RC competition. Don’t join in on the action, start the action. Check out these alternative ways to get competitive with your Axial vehicle. One bit of advice before you tear off: keep the rules simple and the focus on fun.

Backyard Racing

Rock racing is growing quickly, but not every hobby shop has a course. Most hobby shops don’t have traditional race tracks. If you want to race your Yeti across more than the lawn, the best solution might be to to make your own rock racing course. If fact, it’s far easier to make a rock racing course than race track. You’re really only limited by your imagination. The whole course doesn’t need to be rocks. Collect a few wheelbarrows full of rocks of varying sizes to create the rock section. Use dirt to build ramps up onto the rocks. Use a little more dirt to fill in the bigger holes and gaps in the rock piles and you’ll be good to go. Like desert races such as the Baja 1000, a race like the full-size King of the Hammers doesn’t have clearly defined lanes, so don’t worry about creating and grooming a whole track layout. Make your rock section and mix it up with the go-fast sections. A few cones placed around your yard can search as gates that have to be raced through in a certain order. Your homegrown King of the Hammers doesn’t have to be in your backyard. Scout out local parks. Many have rocky sections of naturally exposed rock or areas filled in with rocks. To keep it safe, make sure you’re away from other people.

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Truck Pulls

While they are extremely cool, you don’t need an official pulling sled with a moving weight box. A dead weight box is easily made out of wood and good old fashioned tug-o-wars are a lot of fun. Dead weight pulls are best on smooth, level dirt. Make sure you’re prepared to groom the track as needed to keep it fair. Dead weight pulls can work two ways. You can load a box with a modest amount of weight such as one or two bricks and time each truck to see how fast they can pull the weight 10’ to 12’. The key is to use a weight most if not all of the vehicles will be able to get a full pull with. The other way is to start with more weight, measure the distance of pull and add weight for the vehicles that do get full pulls. Generally, the first method works best with a dead weight sled. When doing simple tug-o-war contest, pavement actually works best. On loose dirt, both vehicles often end up in a wheel spinning stalemate. Make sure you practice commonsense safety measures when having a tug-o-war.

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DIY Scale Rock Crawling Comps

If there isn’t a scale club near you or if the local outfits aren’t offering what you want, you can host your own competitions. You might find out you’re not alone. One example of DIY scale competitions done right comes from the east coast. Eric Bresnahan of Connecticut and a couple friends started building a course on a dirt mound out in the woods. As their course grew, so did the crowds. Now, 40 people sign up for 1.9-tire based class. They have to cap the classes to keep the day manageable. And, they keep the rules simple and focus on having fun. As a result, hours after announcing a new comp has been added to the calendar, the classes fill to capacity. Many hobby shops and clubs wished they had that problem. The courses are carved into the dirt with a shovel, rocks and some manmade obstacles are added as needed and the whole thing is again only limited by their imagination. The group has also made good use of social media to grow. Almost all of the club’s communication is done via Facebook. As long as you’re extremely careful and exercise common sense safety measures, social media is a good way to find other people interested in RC competition.

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Alternative Racing

There are a lot of times when things are done a certain way simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. RC racing is often a perfect example of this. Many people stop racing just because they’re bored. Sometimes the focus is far too much on the competition and not on the fun. Nothing changes because people are so used to doing it a certain way. Nothing changes and racers disappear. Some inventive racers in southern California have come up with an interesting twist on the racing format. Two changes make for a very different racing experience. First, after each race, the running order is reversed. Finish first and you’re going to the back of the pack. In a big field, it pays to not break away if you don’t want to have to contend with trying work your way through the entire field on the next race. The second twist in the program is each race goes in a different direction. Talk about really mixing things up. They also allow you to jump in at the start of any race. It doesn’t matter if you missed the first three races. Again, the focus is on fun, not determining who’s the world champion.