After a successful Altra Ultra 5k Enduro at the 2016 Axialfest, the Scale Ultra Race Series was born and took the budding new race format on the road. The two founding partners were back with Altra Footwear as the title sponsor of the series and Axial as the presenting series sponsor. Camelbak Hydration and SOR Racing also joined the sponsor list providing awesome podium and raffle prizes to make the series that much sweeter.
The following is the 2017 Mid-Season recap:
With Axial as the host and the famous Johnson Valley as the landscape, event #1 headed to SoCal to share the course and the weekend with the race that inspired the creation of the Ultra 5k, King of the Hammers! Axial goes all out the week of KOH and after days of watching full and scale sized rock racing, the Scale Ultra drivers took to the scene to race the historic course.
The KOH course was a perfect blend of speed and tech with wide open straights (on the same berms that the full size racers had ripped just hours before), sandy sections and a techy rock section that required constant attention. In true KOH style, the different sections stood alone and you could go as fast as your legs and your lungs could handle in the open sections with the rocky section slowing the flow and creating some exciting passes and tense “rubbing” and “racing”. Runners/Drivers came from all over California, Nevada and Utah to compete in stop #1 of the new ScaleUltra series and the action did not disappoint.
Some familiar faces were in attendance with Axialfest Altra Hot Lap winner Jake Wright putting in some fast laps right from the start and was in the podium mix until a last lap mechanical stopped his efforts. An impressive showing, especially with the then unknown broken collarbone and shoulder injury he suffered after cartwheeling as co-driver in the full size race the day before. Axialfest 3rd place finisher, Casey Currie, came out to scope the scene but after an exhausting week of racing both UTV and Unlimited class, he opted to cheer on the action vs grabbing a remote. Altra Running’s Chris Jones was in attendance as well and set a blistering first lap time taking the Altra Hot Lap and the overall win.
The Axial Bomber was the rig of choice again this stop taking the majority of the fastest lap times but some built SCX10II rigs stole a spot on the podium and were in the mix throughout the event. Axial has been a major sponsor of the King of the Hammers over the years and we foresee the Ultra 5k continuing to be a part of Axial’s KOH efforts into the future.
Stop #2 Altra Red Rock Ultra – St. George Ut
Sand Hollow State Park just outside of St. George Utah is one of the better rock crawling locations you may have never heard of. On any given weekend you may see a trail run lead by the Dixie 4X4 crew or even stumble upon a full on W.E. Rock comp taking advantage of the famous Utah red slick rock.
This backdrop was the site for round 2 of the Scale Ultra series and ran on the edge of the Lake Powell-esque reservoir. A perfect blend of all out speed fire roads, technical slick rock sections and power sapping red sand tried drivers fitness and ability as they maneuvered around this high speed course for multiple laps.
Race Host and Scale Ultra Series founder Chris Jones, left the course wide for “personal interpretation” with multiple riders opting for the less safe but much more thrilling “just send it” line options. This resulted in several rigs spending almost as much time in the air as on the ground.
The field of talent for the Red Rock 5k was 2nd only to the Altra Ultra Enduro at AXIALFEST2016 with several of the normal characters making the trip out. The 801RC boys in the Salt Lake area do these longer Ultra style events quite often and quickly showed they came to play putting two on the podium and filling the top 10. The 2nd place finisher from AXIALFEST2016, Mike Thompson, debuted his new Altra-Spec Bomber, just finished up hours before race start. He had a strong finish in the top 10, further proving the difficulty of both the course and the speed of the competitors.
The Axial Bomber showed once again it was made for this style of racing taking the entire podium and the majority of the top 10 spots. The creativity and different builds were fun to see as these pure race machines ripped around the slick rock paradise.
When the dust settled and heart rates hit their max it was Jake Wright who ended the day with the win. After a string of mechanical’s kept him off the podium in events past, Jake could not be stopped on this day with the Altra Running / ScaleUltra.com Offroad Team driver finishing with the fastest lap and the overall victory.
Jake Wright – Bomber
Cole Hokanson – Bomber
Thomas “Chewy” Blackburn – Bomber
On to AXIALFEST2017!
With the Scale Ultra Series event 1 and 2 now complete, we head to the most prestigious stop on the series, AXIALFEST! Since the debut of last year there are more questions than answers about who will contend for the title and the un-official World Championship of Scale Ultra 5k. With more drivers entering, (rumors from the Axial camp say 140+), special “Altra-Spec” builds popping up everywhere and more and more scale drivers increasing their exercise routines to prep, its going to be an exciting race to see! Will the rock racers reign supreme? Will fitness beat out pure clean driving? Add in the fact that Casey Currie has been physically training as he is returning to compete in the Ultra 5K Enduro to better his podium finish from last year! He said it best, “this is as close as it gets to the physical demands of full size motorsports!” What secrets does Cisco Grove hold this year? Only time will tell…
While the R/C might be scale, the physical is full size!