Jake Wright Takes the Win at ECC 2012

Team Axial driver Jake Wright made the long trek down to Alabama from southern California with his XR10 for the 2012 East Coast Championships, aka ECC. ECC usually brings in drivers from all over the US to compete for the east coast crown. After a long hard fought battle with talented drivers from around the country, Axial’s very own Jake Wright managed to take the win and the cash prize back to California with him. Congrats Jake!! We are proud to have you on the team!!

dsc_3487a

dsc_3483a

Photos courtesy of Ryan Bean.

OCRCRC – Comp One / 2012 Series

Orange County Radio Controlled Rock Crawlers (OCRCRC) held their first event of the 2012 calender year this past weekend. Winners of this series will get an invite to the SoCal Regionals later in the 2012 year. Winners of the SoCal Regionals event will get invites to the 2012 USRCCA Nationals. So, it is the beginning of a long road to the 2012 Nationals.

Being located in Orange County, Ca., we have access to limited terrain, and part of that terrain is man made. For the first stop of this series we hit up a local wash that is lined with concrete and rocks. There are some tough lines in this area, and there is traction for days, which allows the course designers to set some pretty crazy lines. While walking the courses before I ran I saw a few gates that made me go hmmmm. But, all gates were possible if you could find the right line through. The sun was shining and the weather forecast was calling for 80 degree temps, so the stage was set for a great day of competition.

Here are a few highlights from the event:

I set-up course one, which was a technical 20 gate marathon. The first few gates had some tough spots that you had to negotiate slowly in order to clear them without any penalties. Then, after gate 6 you had a series of technical off camber, as well as descending obstacles to clear. The last couple gates were easy if you found the proper approach.

Brandon volunteered to run my 20 gate course first, and who was I to deny him that pleasure. Of course him and his XR10 made it look easy as usual.

ocrcrc-006

ocrcrc-014

ocrcrc-016

OCRCRC club member/starter Tyler Schuldt broke his leg recently, so he competed on crutches all day. Not an east task in this terrain. On this particular course you had to stand inside a circle and let your spotter guide you through the course. This was the only course that played into his favor.

ocrcrc-059

ocrcrc-056

Brandon spotting for Tyler.

ocrcrc-058

ocrcrc-071

A few random shots.

ocrcrc-041

ocrcrc-047

ocrcrc-055

ocrcrc-089

I spy some shafty axles, a man after my own heart!

ocrcrc-091

ocrcrc-094

ocrcrc-096

Jake Wright’s latest custom build with XR10 axles.

ocrcrc-104

ocrcrc-112

ocrcrc-114

Don Hughes attempts the 20 gate marathon course with his XR10.

ocrcrc-130

ocrcrc-126

ocrcrc-123

ocrcrc-137

ocrcrc-155

More random goodness…….

ocrcrc-162

ocrcrc-173

ocrcrc-186

This off camber gate forced you to blip the throttle on the way through in order to clear the lower gate.

ocrcrc-193

Another blip was needed here……..

ocrcrc-217

……..and here.

ocrcrc-229

ocrcrc-234

ocrcrc-259

More blip action.

ocrcrc-267

ocrcrc-268

ocrcrc-269

ocrcrc-275

ocrcrc-282

Here’s how the top 3 finished:

1st Rich B. -101

2nd Chris D. -88

3rd Jake W. -76

Congrats guys, see you at the next event!!

Jake Wright Wins 2012 Copper State Crawloff

The first big USRCCA nationals qualifier of 2012 was held this past weekend in Tucson, Arizona. Competitors from all over the southwest gathered for a shot at a national invite for the 2012 Nationals of R/C Rock Crawling. Team Axial driver Jake Wright made the trek down from southern California, with his XR10 and a handful of other SoCal locals, to test their grit against some of the best in the southwest. After the hard fought scores were tallied up, Jake and his XR10 were victorious by a slim 8 points. Axial would like to congratulate Jake on his win, and thank him for being part of our team. Way to go man!!

A few shots of Jake and his XR10 in action at a recent San Diego competition.

wraith-kit-038

wraith-kit-086

wraith-kit-095

Axial’s Coverage of the 2011 Nationals

Axial attended the 2011 USRCCA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada this past weekend. This is the biggest R/C crawling competition of the year. In order to compete at this event you must either win the qualifying series in your area, or sign up for the last chance qualifier (LCQ), and hope you make the cut into the main event. This event is in it’s sixth year, and still building momentum. Here’s a few highlights from this year’s competition.

Thursday was the first day of competition. There were 75+ drivers total signed up for LCQ, and all of them were hoping for a chance to make the main event on Saturday. The competition was about to get very tight.

The driver’s meeting on LCQ morning.

nats-2011-002

Shortly after the driver’s meeting, courses were open and the competition was underway.

nats-2011-011

nats-2011-017

Team Axial driver Dean Hsiao in attack mode.

nats-2011-042

nats-2011-047

nats-2011-049

nats-2011-052

Team Vanquish and Team Axial driver Brian Parker doing work!

nats-2011-070

Looks like Brian drove his XR10 to Vegas from Reno by the looks of those tires.

nats-2011-063

There were plenty of XR10 based rigs to watch, with many different set-ups.

nats-2011-075

The view from the top of the rocks.

nats-2011-080

nats-2011-088

Me and my sombrero working it.

nats-2011-119

nats-2011-102

nats-2011-122

nats-2011-127

nats-2011-129

nats-2011-195

A view of the top course, as drivers await their turn.

nats-2011-134

Team Axial driver Jake Wright working his custom XR10.

nats-2011-145

nats-2011-146

nats-2011-149

Axial’s good friend Yoshiaki Kataoka made the trek all the way from Japan with 6 of his closet crawler companions to compete in this year’s event. This is the fourth year Yoshiaki has made the trip to the US for this event.

nats-2011-180

nats-2011-185

dsc_7267a

nats-2011-157

nats-2011-160

nats-2011-161

nats-2011-162

nats-2011-166

nats-2011-169

nats-2011-171

nats-2011-174

nats-2011-179

Scott Hughes squirreling his way through one of the tougher gates.

nats-2011-214

nats-2011-221

nats-2011-229

After the main event Saturday, only 5 would make the finals on Sunday out of 101 drivers.

The talented 5 are……..

1st Brian Lorenz -111

2nd Scott Hughes -110

3rd Joel Gatlin -100

4th Nabil Jamali -99

5th Darwin James -97

Jason Hensel conducts the drivers meeting on Sunday morning.

nats-2011-234

The event was broadcasted live over the internet so anyone that couldn’t attend this competition could watch from home by logging onto www.rccrawler.com

nats-2011-232

Bulu Production’s Brett Carlson gives me the stink eye, as he records the drivers meeting.

nats-2011-235

After the driver’s meeting the top 5 took to the finals course in hopes of pulling off the victory for that “2011 National Championship” title. Driver order was picked randomly out of a hat. Once the driver’s name was called, they had 30 seconds to start the course………….no pressure!!

Joel Gatlin was chosen first.

nats-2011-385

nats-2011-386

This off camber gate was tough to negotiate, as soon as you approached it, your rig would start to unload. Most drivers quickly got on the throttle as their rig started to roll. But, the lip after the gate made it tough to get progress with the rear tires because it would instantly flip you off the obstacle as soon as your front tires touched it.

nats-2011-395

nats-2011-402

Next up was Brian Lorenz.

nats-2011-405

nats-2011-406

nats-2011-412

That same off camber gate bites another competitor.

nats-2011-416

Scott Hughes was chosen to go 3rd.

nats-2011-418

nats-2011-431

That nasty off camber gate looking straight on. Scott and I had decided before the top five started that the best way through this gate cleanly, was to back down below it first, then drive up through. Worked like a charm!

nats-2011-443

nats-2011-452

nats-2011-472

Nabil Jamali’s name was drawn next.

nats-2011-544

nats-2011-545

nats-2011-548

nats-2011-549

nats-2011-551

Darwin James was lucky enough to be the last driver to run.

nats-2011-557

nats-2011-558

nats-2011-559

nats-2011-562

And the winners are………..

1st place Brian Lorenz

nats-2011-651

2nd place Scott Hughes

nats-2011-645

3rd place Nabil Jamali

nats-2011-640

That wraps up the 2011 Nationals coverage. Keep an eye out for details on next year’s event. Special thanks to Steven Kautz, Mark Reel and Jeff Johns for helping me take photos.

Axial XR10 Delivers 1-2 Punch at 2011 USRCCA Nationals

Axial recently attended the 2011 USRCCA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event brings in the best drivers from around the world to compete for a chance to be the top R/C crawler on the planet. This year for the main event there were over 100 crawlers battling it out for that one top spot. After a long hot day of incredibly tight competition two XR10′s were standing at the top of the podium. Axial would like to congratulate Brian “Burbo” Lorenz (left) for his first place finish, and Scott “Squirrel” Hughes (right) for taking the top 2 positions this year with their XR10′s. Way to do work drivers!!

nats-2011-685

Wraith Tuning Tips

The Wraith is a very capable rig out of the box. But, as usual, there are ways to improve it’s performance to make it even better. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your Wraith with minimal cash out of pocket, and a little time/effort spent at the workbench.

wraith

Soften up the suspension:

The Wraith’s suspension is a little stiff out of the box, if you plan on just bashing with it as is. If you add scale accessories, a driver figure, spare tire, use a standard 6 cell stick pack, etc. it is probably about right. I left my Wraith pretty much stock, and found myself wanting a little bit softer suspension for those high speed rocky sections of trail. First thing I did was grab two packages of our “black” super soft comp shock springs, Part# AX30223 x 2. I rebuilt all four shocks using our 30wt oil, our 3 hole shock pistons and soft springs. If you don’t have 3 hole pistons, you can drill the existing holes out in the standard 2 hole pistons so they are just a tad bigger. Making this modification almost converts the Wraith to a “droop” suspension set-up, meaning there is very little “up” travel to the shocks, it’s almost all “down” travel. Under the it’s own weight sitting on a shelf, my shocks sit about mid-way into their overall stroke. How is that better you ask? This made my Wraith a lot more stable at speeds, as it lowered the overall center of gravity. This mod also helps it floats over rocks at full speed a lot better too, because the shocks can cycle through their travel more efficiently. As the tires come off the ground at speed the shocks extend under the weight of the axles, which will help absorb that next bump in the trail. If I had to suggest only one modification to a fellow Wraith owner, this would be the tip I give them. It makes a huge difference in how the Wraith handles at speed and over jumps.

The springs.

wroncho-123

The shock ride height after making this mod.

wroncho-126

Aluminum servo horn:

Another great mod is going to an aluminum servo horn on the steering servo, that is compatible with Futaba servos. Using an aluminum arm instead of plastic is a lot more durable, and helps your steering track a little straighter in the rough stuff at speeds. The plastic steering linkage will still flex enough in hard crashes to protect your servo. Plus, the stock Wraith servo has metal gears which most RTR’s don’t have.

Steel ball studs:

For performance reasons, I like to replace any plastic ball studs with steel. Ball studs are the pivot points that allow your links to cycle through their travel. The steel ball studs will smooth out the motion on your suspension and steering links. Over time dirt will work it’s way into either set-up and wear parts out. But, with steel ball studs the dirt is less likely to hinder link movement. This mod works very well when done alongside the shock rebuilding tips I mentioned earlier. All you will need is 4 packages of our steel ball studs/flanged balls, Part# AXA1331 x 4. I don’t have a link for these, but your local hobby shop or online retailer can get the correct parts with that number.

The ball studs/flange balls.

wroncho-121

Taking time to make these few adjustments will make a pretty big difference in how a Wraith performs, especially at speed on rough terrain. Happy Trails!!

AWCC Rock Candy Winner – Becky Barger

Team Axial driver Becky Barger walks away with the Rock Candy win at the 2011 Axial West Coast Championship Finals in Cisco Grove, Ca with her Axial XR10. Congrats to Becky for her win, we are proud to have you on the team.

A few shots of Becky on course doing work!

Becky Barger AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA

Becky Barger AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA

Most competitors rolled while driving off this ledge.

Becky Barger AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA

Becky was quick enough to give her truck a little throttle when the front tires touched down, which helped her rig land on all 4 wheels. Nice driving!

Becky Barger AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA

Becky Barger AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA

Rock Candy girls, Mindy Howe (left) and Jess Downing (right), present Becky with her 1st place trophy.

Becky Barger AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA

Keep an eye on this girl at Nationals in September, she will be on her game as usual representing the state of Colorado.