Hiking the Redonda Ridge with an SCX10 Trail Honcho

Hiking the  Redonda Ridge with an SCX10 Trail Honcho

Words & Photos: Rodney “GCRad1″ Wills

Hopefully you’ve read the lead-up stories:
Planning a SCX10 Hike over Redonda Ridge OHV Trail 1W17
Getting There – SCX10 Hike Over Redonda Ridge – Big Bear, California
 Axial AX90059 SCX10 II™ Trail Honcho 1/10th Scale Electric 4WD – RTR

All the planning is sorted, now we are about to do this thing! We wake up early, I think my alarm went off at 6:00am. Didn’t sleep that well, I think I was too excited.
Too much planning made for too much anticipation.
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It’s Wednesday Morning, October 25th, and I get myself physically prepared; Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Trail shoes, Stance Training Crew socks and Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes for cramp prevention as its going to be a warm day.
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I load the beloved SCX10 Trail Honcho into my ADV80 and we get ready to depart camp and make our way down to the the start of the trail just past Crab Flats Campground. We will start here (Google Map Link) at the Redonda Ridge 1W17 trail marker sign. Four of us will be walking the trail and John Schultz and ScottG will be taking the two vehicles back to camp awaiting our return to camp later this afternoon – evening.
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Last minute morning bits; I get my water bladder filled and of course I have my Hammer Nutrition Heed pre-mix going!
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John Schultz hooked me up! I have a magnetized hood so I don’t loose my body clips!
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Rather simple and rather simple silly cool! Schultz learned it from somewhere and we will make a little blog about it at a later date.
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Load in the first battery and mark the time of start.
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OFFICIAL START: 9:05am Wednesday October 25th, 2017
Axial Trail Honcho Hike Over Redonda Ridge OHV Trail 1W17 is now underway!!!Redonda Ridge Planning-7
This first portion of trail is actually down hill. Everyone is in good spirits!
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I can’t help it, I shoot photos of everything… even the trees. And the landscape! I love the textures and the colors. I’ve been known to “#textures” on my IG before. I can hear my buddy Jarod DeAnda laughing now, “your and your #texture hashtag.”
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Big Bear is a mix or a transitional point from the desert to the mountains, depending on your location on the mountain, you can get a mix of cactus and pine trees of which we will see both today along ridge route to Big Pine Flats.
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The SCX10 Trail Honcho doing what its suppose to do, trailing along.
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Still working our way down hill.
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The sun is warming up quickly, but luckily we still have some shade as we make our way down to the creek, but once over we are fully exposed and will be in “up hill mode!”
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Trails crossing… should put us right about here on Google Maps.

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Keep on mini truckin’ hehehe That’s funny! I know all the GMC dude’s rock the #TinyTrucks tag. I’m an og Mini-Truckin’ dude! I’m going to see if I can dig that old hat out!
We might upset some folks… hehehe
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BRAAAP! off the air craft landing strip shrapnel – the OG Sand Ladder aka Marston Mat. Know your overland-spec history yo! Look it up!
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We are almost to the creek crossing, more like stream crossing, but it is coming up soon.Redonda Ridge Planning-28
I’m usually the one hauling the video camera on these missions so it’s a bit strange for me to see my colleagues carrying the gear.
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It’s been at least a month since my previous crossing and the water level is going down quickly.
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Anthony Rivas got roped into hiking this trip with us and he is doing what he does best, directing some social media shots!
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Hey look! It’s not me on the vid-cam, it’s Scott Roberts doing the video camera action! While most people don’t see or know much about this man right here, he has worked here at Axial with me since 2011. Everything you see visually from Axial basically comes from this man or at least across his desk.
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We crossed over it at the creek crossing, the PCT runs along it through here making yet another appearance in my face! It keeps calling me… But not a full blown thru-hike, maybe just the SoCal weekend section hiking…
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The SCX10 Trail Honcho looks down on the PCT like, “I got this!”
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Who is a fan of desert tan, green eggs and ham mixed with DJ Red Alert.
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Since we left the creek crossing it has become very apparent that THE ASCENT IS ON!
The trail surface to this point has been mostly course sand mixed DG based.
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But as we continue on and up, rocks are starting to litter the trail.
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Also too, after the creek crossing, we are out of the tree cover and exposed to the sun.

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The crew said there was suppose to be a picnic table set up at this GPS point location. Something about pre-paid Amazon air drone delivery service…
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I keep on trucking as I want to get the SCX10 Trail Honcho into rockier conditions!
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The crew finally gives up in protest about the picnic table. “We are canceling our PayPal payment!” The sun laughs and turns up the temperature and add some incline for good measure.
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See! Cactus… on the edge of the forest!
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At the one shade spot…
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We see deer tracks.
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Little ones…Redonda Ridge Planning-51
Hey guys, where you at?
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Carrying on our climb dance!
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Climbing… It’s what the SCX10 Trail Honcho eats for breakfast.
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Climbing… It’s what the SCX10 Trail Honcho dream about before breakfast. Redonda Ridge Planning-59
Climbing… It’s what the SCX10 Trail Honcho does at high noon.
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Climbing… It’s what the SCX10 Trail Honcho does just for fun!
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We make the first major climb for what seems like two hours straight…
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but we finally reach a little plato of earth… Redonda Ridge Planning-67 Redonda Ridge Planning-68
POSER SHOTS! Scroll back up three images…. The guys are asking if the trail goes up over those hills.. “The trail looks like it goes over…” I ignore or I think I said, “yea, naa, I think it cuts around to the right out of sight… Time to roll!”
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From our moment of flat perch, we get to see down this little canyon and its cool to see the small batches of trees. Feels like some wilderness to me!  Redonda Ridge Planning-71
“Therezzz GOLD IN DEM DAR HILLS!!! FOOLS GOLD YO!!!” I gotta’keep the spirits high!
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It’s cool to see the terrain change.
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More #texture change.
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I think this is my favorite shot of the trip. I saw the setting as I was walking up to the crest, stopped, snapped one photo and said, “Yep! Leave it chance and see how the “film” comes out!” Came out all right…
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As the SCX10 Trail Honcho takes in the view, I check the spot to see what it looks like from the front. It’s not as cool of a shot but see that trail we are coming up! Yes sir, we are doing this thing!
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I circle back around to verify the animal footprints. Small one here, but I did see some larger “kitty cat” prints earlier, most  likely a healthy bobcat.
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The Axial SCX10 Trail Honcho is its proper surroundings.
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Trail Honcho bossing the moto trail, but the gnar lay ahead.Redonda Ridge Planning-83
I nicknamed this “scary bush.” Especially if we was coming through here at night.
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The tree is still wearing it’s charred skin from the Butler Peak fire of which I think was back in 2007.
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Did I ever tell you that I actually like shooting photos? But just look at that trail! It’s an “ALL BRAAAP!” section! But wait…
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Now we are getting into some gnar! It’s not easy to get a 2D photo to show the dynamic perspective of hills and their steepness, but take note of Scott Roberts walking ahead, you get a little since of the angle here.
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Maybe this will give you a perspective… Rest stop! SR & Rivas taking a breather, because they can see what lays ahead… ANOTHER HILL!Redonda Ridge Planning-91
The Trail Honcho is upholding it’s SCX10 heritage and just eats up each mile regardless of steepness.
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Meanwhile the steepness is eating up my crew. “Look SR, we have to climb that hill, that other hill behind that and then that other one way back there…”
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Kinda’ spectacular out here!
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Interesting how the cross section view of this tree’s rings looks like four trees in one.
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The SCX10 Trail Honcho just churning out the climbs.
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This trail has obviously been here for a while and been well “knobby traveled” but you have to wonder, who did it first? Who cut this trail? Was it an Indian foot path before? One day I need to stop into Malcolm Smith Motorsports and ask Malcolm directly as this trail is called the Malcolm Smith Trail. But there is very little historical information about this trail online.Redonda Ridge Planning-99
Same photo as the one preceding this one, but I wanted to show the ridge of which we traveled. We’re kinda’ out here! Yes, civilization is just over the mountain the in the background, but your still out here… We haven’t seen anyone else all day… and I like that.
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The SCX10 Trail Honcho takes the hard line just for fun I however will walk the easy path.
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More gnar please.

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The SCX10 Trail Honcho FINALLY runs out of gas! It would… just feet from a nice shady flat area.
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Good thing I have my Schizzle-magnets! I’m a fan! Thanks John!
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Battery #2 loaded and battery #1 marked with the elapse time.Redonda Ridge Planning-108
Just a few more feet and my view looks like this and I join the crew in the shade.
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While I’ve been self-fueling all along, we take a static moment to enjoy our nutrition bars.
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Time to roll!
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With another crest of a hill reveals another view!
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And then more climbing!!!
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While spectacular, the views keep showing those climbs… Redonda Ridge Planning-116
Here you get a little sense of the climb as you can see the crew pushing on.
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I like this shot! I think it shows a bit more of the hill but the view is spectacular!
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But the climb has a summit and a summit reveals more.. See that little trail thread? Talk about onion layers! Redonda Ridge Planning-122
We take a moment in the shade.
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I know you guys are on the Altra Trail Running shoe tip, but are you on the Trial Gator tip? I’m diggin my shoe gators! As goofy looking as they are, they’re total function! With the small gravel-DG-dirt, the gators are perfect for keeping all that stuff out of my shoes!
Get some! https://www.altrarunning.com/gear/men

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SCX10 Trail Honcho is back in the trail saddle.
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The sun is starting to throw the long shadows…Redonda Ridge Planning-125
The team is working to push themselves forward as elevation and the rate of steepness has not given in!
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We start to get into another step section, but its been steep all along. I guess it’s more like a steep chute.
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ou sorta’ get a sense of steepness from this view, but regardless I’m just shooting it for the view, the memory, the way the sun is flaring.
Just as I drop the camera back to my side, I’m having to get after this little section. I actually start to wonder if I can actually make this section! I won’t say I am nervous yet as I know I can trail blaze the SCX10 Trail Honcho around if I have to, but it will be limited space to do so. I stay in the trough or chute of a trail and work the rig through the boulder and then in the deep heavy granular sand or DG – decomposed granite. The combination of having to use wheel speed to push up hill in the DG while also the tires dig down and find bite on the rocks below… I hear it… Wait, what? I don’t want to hear that!!!
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After we diagnose the issue, Tony takes my tools and jumps into action so I can
document the wrench action.
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Again, dig the magnet trick as we can drop the screws here on the underside and the body clips are on the top side.
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As suspected, idler gear gone fishing for the afternoon.
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We fish out what debris we can in preparation to install a new gear.  Redonda Ridge Planning-128g
We install a metal idler gear Mr. AX31585 Redonda Ridge Planning-128h
Field repair is almost complete!
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Buttoning it all back together and we will be back in action in moments!

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Now we are back in action and started where we pulled off and it’s the start of
the nasty climbs!
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As you can see, there is a cleaner easier path to take, but what is the fun in that?!
I came here to put the rig through its paces on the rugged trail of the Redonda Ridge.
I could have just stayed home and drove circles around in the parking lot, but that is not my idea of fun! Being out here is fun, while it is both grueling on my body and the SCX10 Trail Honcho. But it’s worth it as it’s an additional layer of testing.Redonda Ridge Planning-131
These climbs also showcase some scenic views!
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Photos never seem to capture the true steepness of a hill, but looking at ScottR and Rivas as they make their way up, shows a bit of how steep this section truly is. When I begin to question if I will be able to drive a section due to the steepness, I really start looking creative driving lines!  Redonda Ridge Planning-134a
When you see motorcycle parts on the ground, you know its a tough section.
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But we are “still not out of the woods” yet, insert “rocks” in place of woods. Yes, we are still in the woods, with rocks strewn about! hehehe   Redonda Ridge Planning-138
Rivas making his way up. The team has come to the conclusion that there is no end in hills, they just keep rolling at us. Only to discover around each bend, more hill!
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And more hill it is!
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The lighting from the sun is just awesome! We are within the “golden hour” and I could sit on this hillside and shoot till dark!
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But, I only snap off a couple and keep moving as I knew we have at least a mile or two further to go and we will be hiking in the dark.
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The sun is is about to drop behind the mountains and the ground bush on our mountain is blocking some of that light, but we finally made it through that section! Redonda Ridge Planning-143  Redonda Ridge Planning-145
You just want a lounge chair and a big dinner as this is the perfect wide-screen!
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But we must keep going, the SCX10 Trail Honcho marches on!Redonda Ridge Planning-147
Another big boulder garden! Who plants these things?!
Who would want these things to grown like this?
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The SCX10 Trail Honcho makes no worries of such matters and see’s only the playground in mother nature’s garden of rocks.  Redonda Ridge Planning-150
WHAT?! A moment of downhill or even flatness is a happy moment!

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Only to be defused by another uphill climb as Tony makes more reveling with his headlamp that we will be engulfed by darkness on the backside of this climb.
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Everyone is beat tired, but the view is magical.
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Battery change time!
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There is both excitement and angst in the air from the crew. The hills are behind us, the darkness is ahead of us.

Maybe the last climb? Redonda Ridge Planning-172
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Hike team headlamps streaking by.Redonda Ridge Planning-174
The SCX10 Trail Honcho awaits the last of the team to pass for the final view of darkness and the final decent to the trail gate at Crab Flats. The end is near, just ahead down a dark mountainside with ZERO moon light. We make our way down and ScottG is awaiting us, with lights on in the rig, we can see how much further we have and the excitement builds for the team!  “GET US OFF THIS TRAIL!” is what a think I heard! Redonda Ridge Planning-181
WE ARE HERE – WE ARE HERE – WE ARE HERE!!!Redonda Ridge Planning-184
We extract the third and final battery out of the SCX10 Trail Honcho and mark the times.

OFFICIAL FINISH: 7:30PM Wednesday October 25th, 2017

Total mileage: 9.68 mile / Total Elapse Time: 10-hrs & 25-mins
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This trip epic, awesome, fun, grueling and was a big learning curve!
The crew will forever remember this trip! Redonda Ridge Planning-185
That’s a wrap! Spark Arresters Required!

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Back at camp, ScottG aka “BKGriller” makes HAMBURGERS for the HUNGRY!!!

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[L2R] Tony Phalen (cam-2), ScottR (cam-1), Rodney Wills (SCX10 Pilot), John Schultz (team basecamp & rig prep), Anthony Rivas of Rivas Concepts (guest & social documentary) ScottG (team basecamp & trail transpo & chief).

See the rig:
Axial AX90059 SCX10 II™ Trail Honcho 1/10th Scale Electric 4WD – RTR

Planning a SCX10 Hike over Redonda Ridge OHV Trail 1W17
Getting There – An SCX10 Hike Over Redonda Ridge
Axial AX90059 SCX10 II™ Trail Honcho 1/10th Scale Electric 4WD – RTR
About the Author: Redonda Ridge Planning-191
Rodney Wills may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he was more than compensated for it by being able to grow up behind the wheel. At eight years old he started driving heavy equipment on his uncle’s farm. Flouting child labor laws, his uncle would put him to work; he would get him started and jump off the tractor, and have Rodney cut and plow fields. The uncle found Rodney a willing employee. Now, while he did not engage in any tractor races, the seed had been planted (literally); the passion for driving already raced through his veins.

Later on in Alabama, Rodney would drive his father’s old pickup truck. As young teenagers sometimes do, he would sneak the truck out to splash in the mud on the local country back roads. Rodney did not limit himself to four-wheel rides, however. Motorcycles were always apart of family life and Rodney had started riding at age five. Racing came at age six on the dirt oval flat track at Talladega. Trail riding was an everyday thing in the backyard woods and local mountains.

Magazines would introduce Rodney to skateboarding and then BMX in 1977. Normal by today standards but then in rural Alabama, Rodney was way ahead of his peers. Just like his hobbies, his life went in the order of Art, Music, and Cars. His passions led him to the California College of Arts and Crafts after two years at the Atlanta College of Arts and Crafts. After achieving a bachelors degree of art in graphic design, Rodney went on to work ten years in the snow, skate and surf industry through his art, working for the famous O’Neill wetsuit company. Next came music as the art director for the car audio speaker manufacturer Image Dynamics. That led to Rodney starting the import car culture lifestyle magazine, TMRm’zine [1996-2000]. This magazine put the “lifestyle” label on the import market that has now grown to enormous proportions in the automotive industry. For the next 10-years Rodney worked in magazine publishing. During a meeting between colleagues, Wills was helping an event promoter make his event better, which lead to a more in-depth connection to the R/C industry pulling Rodney in to work for HPI Racing [2006-2010]. Since 2010, Rodney has worked for Axial as Global Marketing Director coming up with wacky ideas such as this.