Words and Photos by Chris Jones
There is no question, scale R/C lovers have an affinity for the outdoors. Camping, fishing, biking, the list goes on, the bottom line is we get out there and enjoy nature. Axial has been working with Cannondale and WTB athletes on various events and trips over the past few years and that relationship has blossomed into a rad new announcement; Axial is now a key partner of the new Cannondale – 360Fly elite Mountain Bike team. As the official sponsor of “off the bike activity,” the race vehicle and riders will be stocked with a fleet of SCX10s to enjoy between their MTB racing. Always looking to spread the scale love, the Axial crew stopped by the team camp in St. George, Utah to meet the riders and take them on a crawler adventure in the incredible desert terrain.
The Cannondale – 360Fly team is made up of 5 North Americans, the 4 Americans; Evelyn Dong, Alex Grant, Keegan Swenson and Tinker Juarez and the current Canadian National Champion, Raphael Gagne.
All you OG BMX fans may recognize this guy, Mr. Tinker Juarez. After shredding BMX tracks for years, his prowess earned him a spot in the ABA Hall of Fame and groomed him for a 2nd racing career in distance Mountain Biking. At age 55, the National Champion and Olympic athlete hasn’t slowed down at all, still taking podiums away from young guns on any given weekend. Tinker was super excited when he heard Axial was a sponsor and is looking forward to spending time off the bike scale crawling with his son.
Keegan Swenson was part of the posse on a MTB/Crawler video trip with Cannondale Athletes and Axial last fall and has been hooked ever since. When he isn’t training to add another National Championship jersey to his wall, the 22 year old has been spending his days crawling his Deadbolt SCX10 all over Utah, Colorado, and California. He has already graced the podium once already this year and is one of the bright young stars of US Cross Country MTB.
Alex Grant was introduced to scale crawling this summer after the Cannondale Sales Meeting (http://www.axialracing.com/blog_posts/1073911789) and spent the summer crawling all over Southern Utah. He has started the season with incredible fitness already taking two wins, including the Fat Bike National Championship.
Evelyn Dong may be the only female on the team but she has a track record of putting guys (and fellow lady competitors) in the hurt locker as she blasts race courses across the US. Team camp was her first experience with RC crawling and just like she races, she mashes the throttle! After some big results in her last two years of racing, look for Evelyn to be on the podium all season long.
Raphael Gagne was arguably the hottest thing in North American mountain biking last year, basically winning or gracing the podium in almost every race he entered. He will take that momentum and his fresh Canadian National Champion jersey back on the road this year to defend his multiple titles. Raphael is new to crawling and we are excited to see what kind of terrain he gets into as he crawls all over Canada.
Teamwork makes the dream work… The mechanics work on the rigs before the team hits the dirt. “We are excited to have the Axial rigs on the trucks because we will get to drive them almost more than the riders!”
Altra shoes are the official casual and training shoe of the team and are the Title Sponsor for the Ultra event at AXIALFEST 2016 this July in Cisco Grove, California.
Official Press Release from Cannondale:
Cannondale – we pride ourselves in making the most kickass, cutting edge frames in cycling.
360FLY - Design and create 360° cameras and technology that inspire people to capture, share and experience their lives in immersive, interactive 360° video. Our passion and unrelenting pursuit of innovation have led us to redefine what is possible in video, virtual reality and visual storytelling.
SUGOI – Since 1987, Bred in British Columbia, Canada from towering granite peaks and verdant coastal rain forests, SUGOI’s designs and creates performance apparel that doesn’t just meet high standards, it sets them.
Cannondale 360fly, powered by SUGOI will also be supported by these important partners:
Altra Shoes: The official casual and podium shoe.
Axial Racing: The official RC Car of The Cannondale 360Fly, providing “off the bike fun” for the team and support staff
Wilderness Trail Bikes: For tires, saddles, and grips
ENVE: For wheels, handlebars, and seatposts
Stages Cycling: For Hollowgram crank arm based power meters