Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck – NorCal Rock Racing – 2014 Finale


Axial Driver Jake Hallenbeck – NorCal Rock Racing – 2014 Finale

Words & photos: Michael Plunkett

With this being Nor Cal Rock Racing’s Championship race, we all knew that Jake being the defending 2013 Champion, might as well have a bull’s-eye on his back! Every team had one thing in mind, “beating Jake Hallenbeck!” As things were getting started and heat races were being randomly drawn, Jake found out he had been drawn to start in the back of the pack. Starting in the back forces Jake to work his way through slower traffic, which sometimes is a challenge in itself on a course like this.


With the two other power house teams of concern drawing the same heat race, this would give us an idea of how the rest of the day was going to go. Jake found himself being held up by certain drivers, slowing him down considerably. By the end of the race, Jake had worked his way up to finish 2nd behind his closest competitor in the points standings. This was going to be a showdown!



As the team was going over the car in the pits, Jake found out that they had a transmission cooler failure. Without a spare cooler, they decided to bypass the trans-cooler altogether and hope for the best.

Starting in the back of heat race 2 once again meant that Jake would have to rely on his skills to get him out in front to secure a better starting position for the main event. As the race started and Jake charged through the pack, he suffered a broken axle in the first rock pile. He maintained his pace the best he could to finish that heat in what appeared to be 4th place. Jake and his team quickly went to work pulling the axle, and in the meantime damaged the inner seal.


Fortunately, with Trail Gear’s large fill cap on their axles, they were able to get a pry bar in there so they could get the axle changed without having to pull the entire axle apart to put the seal housing back in. As it was, they finished with minutes to spare for the start of the main event!

When the teams lined up for the main event, I could see Jon Cagliero starting in the front row. Jon was only two points behind Jake in the points race. Jake was forced to start mid-pack and have to work his way through traffic once again! With the lineup in place and the sun in their eyes, the race for the Championship was about to begin!


From what I could see, Jake got a great hole shot and by the first and second rock pile he found himself in 3rd place. He drove the wheels off his bomber buggy and began to reel in the leaders…until his engine’s heating issue began to come back and haunt him. He was forced to pace himself for the longer main event so he could be in the hunt at the finish. He maintained his 3rd place position throughout the race until he got over taken by a car during a yellow flag.



Out of his control at that point, Jake knew he needed to gain that position back and get closer to the front for a chance to keep his lead in the points standings. With one lap to go, Jake overtook that 3rd position again but was running out of time to catch the leaders. When the race came to an end, Gary Ferravanti Sr. crossed the line first, followed by Jon Cagliero, and Jake finishing in 3rd and collecting another podium finish!


With the results of the race in place, it was time to figure out the point standings and who would be the 2014 Season Champion! With Jon Cagliero finishing the race in 2nd and Jake finishing in 3rd, it meant that they were tied in points for the 2014 season. With nothing in the rule book stating what to do in the case of a tie, John Goodby of Nor Cal Rock Racing decided to go with a motocross rule that states whoever crossed the finish line first between the two points leaders would be the new Champion.

Like the true Sportsman and Champion that Jake Hallenbeck is, he looked at Goodby and stated, “As long as you will assure me that this will be in the rule books in the future, I am good with that.” In the same breath, Jake asked John if he could deliver the Championship trophy to Jon Cagliero himself. Goodby agreed as long as he could be present. They together they delivered the trophy to Jon Cagliero and named him the 2014 Nor Cal Rock Racing Champion! It’s never easy in racing to except a 2nd place finish, but Jake did it with grace and style.


As the season concludes, I look forward to seeing if Jake can pick up new sponsors in the off season so he too can upgrade his rig to what most of the powerhouse rigs are running. Jake proves to me that you can stay on the podium with driving skills alone, but to be able to win races consistently you have to equal the playing field and run Independent Front Suspension with big horsepower!


All in all, in two years of racing the Ultra4 class, Jake has achieved a Nor Cal Championship, a tie for another Nor Cal Championship, The Ultra4 Racing series Rookie of the Year Award, and is still in contention in the 2014 Ultra4 Racing Series on driving ability alone. If given the Independent Front Suspension and the horsepower other teams are running, in my opinion, Jake Hallenbeck would be a force to be reckoned with!

2014 King Of The Hammers has Great Results for Currie Racing


Johnson Valley, CA. 2-10-14 – Casey Currie returned for the 2014 Griffin King of the Hammers this past weekend, expectations for a win may not have been met, but the odds of finishing the race were on Curries side. The week long event took place in Johnson Valley, CA where over 40,000 off-road/rock crawling enthusiasts flocked to watch 158 entries take their chance at the 150 mile brutal course.

After Curries 3rd place finish in Wednesdays UTV race, he helped his uncle, John Currie prepare for Thursdays Every Man Challenge. John qualified 1st for the race. Just miles into the start of the race, John gained a significant lead on the other competitors and continued to hold that lead all the way to the finish.

“We make sure that racing is fun for our entire family and it was great to see my Uncle as well as my brother finish on the podium.” Stated Casey Currie. “Knowing that my uncle won the EMC in the same vehicle I raced on Friday solidified my concerns on being a top competitor for the King of the Hammers race.”

Casey qualified the #88 Ultra 4 truck in the 44th starting position. The race began at 8am sharp and once on the course, Currie set a steady pace for the first lap. The first lap of the race consisted of dry lake-beds, sand washes and dunes. Currie finished the lap with no major issues and came into the main pit physically in the 20th position.

Laps 2 and 3 were more demanding and difficult with the course making its way through Clawhammer, Wrecking Ball, Chocolate Thunder and more. These laps would take there toll on numerous Ultra 4’s. Some out of the race, others rolled over and giving it all they have to get back on all fours. Currie and co-rider, Oren managed to make the right decision when making their way up the waterfalls.

“It is important to have a co-rider with you that is smart, calm and can assess the situation. This is just what Oren does.” Said Currie.

As Currie made his way up “Backdoor” one of the hardest obstacles of the course, Oren had the challenge of guiding Currie up the slippery rocks. Other stuck vehicles would block the best lines and another vehicle would roll on its lid right next to them. This would be the only part of the course that would set the team back on time, but it wasn’t long before they made their way to the top and continued towards the finish.

In ten hours and 50 minutes, Currie and Oren crossed the finish line. Once at the finish the celebration was well deserved as the team got the results of a 14th place finish. This was worth celebrating since the #88 Ultra 4 was the first vehicle to come in that had only 14inches of travel, where as all the other finished had 20inches.

“We couldn’t be happier with our finish. It was a long day out there and the course was rough. The ruts were huge and dealing with other stuck competitors was a challenge. There is always the chance that they can take you out as well. Finishing in the top 15 out 158 speaks volumes of our team and the vehicle. Big thanks to everyone who puts this race together and on a great week of racing.” Stated Currie.

Be sure to follow Casey on all his social media outlets:



Axialert: Official Axial Facebook Page


Hello everyone,

As Social Media is all the rage… OK, way of life now… We did as many early adopters do and started a FaceBook page at the early onset. Since then and after widespread adaptation, FaceBook developed the more business oriented page for company’s. So without further ado, Axial presents the official Axial Company FaceBook page:

THE OFFICIAL Axial Company Page:

SO, what this means is that on July 28th, 2011 our “friends” page will be going away and we will no longer populate this page with information as our attention will focus just on the one company page mentioned above.


The RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Las Vegas 2011

The RECON G6 CHALLENGE “Gamblers Paradise” Las Vegas
Date: April 2nd, 2011
Location: Some N.E. hillside outside Las Vegas, Nevada
Words: Rodney “GCRad1” Wills
Images: Brandon Coonce & Rodney Wills

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (116)

The year Twenty-Eleven has barely started and the RECON Crew has already and totally changed the game of having R/C fun in a friendly environment!

The G6 Challenges first started in January with “Erzberg” and “Folsom G6 Blues,” February saw “Love of Rock” and “Folsom G6 Blues part Duex,” then March brought on the “Maddness.” Finally, April was not fooling around with “Gamblers Paradise!” All in all, six events of G-six’ism this year!

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The casual bystander would view the landscape for a G6 Challenge as beautiful to view from a distance but would not consider the terrain and environment as “friendly,” but for the adventure G6’ers, the rougher and less traveled, the better! But what is this G6 Challenge that has Trail Honcho’s in a frenzy to adventure into the unknown?

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The Gamblers Paradise Edition of the G6 Challenge was actually a “no gamble – all win” event with spectacular al la natural landscape, awesome weather and course design on the Scalers’ list of paradise-type terrain! Yes, this event was EPIC for the adventure enthusiast!

While on a previous G6 Challenge in Reno, I did a little sample driving as I spent most of my time filming and shooting photos. I had such a blast with the little time I drove my rig at the “Maddness” event, that this time I wanted more seat-time! Jeff Johns [Axial President] and myself went out to participate in this event from start to finish. With two very stock SCX10’s in hand, we wanted to get the full flavor of fun and a full-day of seat-time… ok, steering-walking time. Either way, it was the adventure of the unknown we were chasing!

Here is Jeff just past #20-Trail Marker into the 100-TM course:
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RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (158)
The G6 Challenge events are comprised of three trails ranging from 50 to 200 course markers- pretty much however many Brian Parker feels like putting in that day, but with heavy emphasis on “challenge” as in the most challenging courses set in natural terrain. At G6 Challenge events, two guys work together as “trail buddies.” The mission is that one person drives his rig and the other guy goes along as “co-pilot” alerting the driver to course directions while scoring his driver. Once the driver finishes a trail, the participants switch duties for the same course and repeat for the other trails. Yes, this is the honor system with nine million ways to seek the gray area. But hey, this is the very reason we are seeing a flip as the other side coin has nine million rules to follow. At the end of the day, we currently only need/want general guidelines for some wild style adventure fun!!!

Jeff Johns, Axial President getting his G6 ON! Yes, our president is also an enthusiast!

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Jeff and I being first time G6’ers, we were also trail-buddies and driving showroom bone-stockers! Can we make it any harder!? From a participant standpoint, it is very easy to show up and run at one of these events! As the event was getting underway, I couldn’t hold back my urge to snap a couple of shots of the other adventure seekers as Jeff was making ready his SCX10 murdered-out Honcho. OK. So his rig is not that stock, he has custom flat black paint and a couple of scale accessories.
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RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (201)
It dawned on me that while I understood the rules, I was not familiar with the score keeping process and in just a few moments we would be out on a trail, clock ticking and no way of returning to G6 base-camp to ask about rules and scoring, so I made a quick inquiry about rules right as Jeff approached the start line. Talk about cutting it close!
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“Rules – EASY! Don’t hit trail markers and don’t hit boundaries. Have FUN!,” stated Stewart G. with assistance from Brad Bailey while starting other G6’ers out onto the three trails simultaneously. OK, so that is (I hope) rather simple, I thought and we started our adventure in the “deep-end of the pool” with the 100-trail marker course!

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StewartG [center] of RECON, the man behind the digital clocks and all things keeping up with Brian Parker [right].

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The coolest thing about participating in the “chase of adventure” at a G6 Challenge is that it is not about the podium finish. It’s about the massive amount of seat-time driving and possibly surviving the unknown unscathed and then, sharing stories at the end of the day- “How in the heck did you clean TM-24 on the 100-course?” “Did you see that Bender-6X walk-it!” “Did you get passed by the Swanson Swagger!?”

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented by Axial - Las Vegas, Nevada 2011

WELL. Let me tell you! I personally witnessed the “Swanson Swagger!” I got passed on the 100-course by the man himself, Mr. Tom “Swagger” Swanson, somewhere after TM-66 and before TM-75 on the radical terrain of the 100-course. I was in disbelief, but the “rumor” is in fact true! “The Swagger” as he will now be known, was walking, not running, in a brisk and smooth manner as he somehow piloted his SCX10 Dingo [the only one at the event] through the Vegas outback. As he navigated his rig past and was a few feet ahead, he shouted back for me to look on the left as he thought he may have seen a cleaner line for me to attempt. I looked in a fit of frustration and why yes, I saw the line! HOW THE HECK!? I’m laughing as I line my Sharpe Camo’ed SCX10 Honcho up to the rock and could only punch the skinny pedal and succeeded in launching my rig up the rock on the left side only to take out the course marker on the right. Luck will only take you so far and did at this point as some of my previous course marker clearings where finessed in complete amazement even to myself and stage partner. I’m sure everyone knows of what I speak, everyone needs video to capture the proof of pure amazement.

Here at TM-74 is where I would be passed by Tom “Swagger” Swanson:
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I pulled out of the way in order for Tom to have a clean-through line. Also, I was attempting to reverse through the trail marker diagonally without having to winch without the winch I do not have and without the use of the stage buddy winch. Tom of course needed no stinking winch as he boosted up the ledge on the third approach!

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Tom Swanson in action – standing for a brief moment.

Later at the G6 Base Camp, I asked Tom Swanson for some of his hysterical magical swagger to be sprinkled on my rig to make up the difference in driving talent that expired and without instant renewal, back there around TM-68. He graciously popped the Dingo’s bonnet [it was European] and showed me his personal outback setup! This is the comradery that the G6 Challenge members have! It’s us that have to survive both the outback wilderness defined by the trail markers of Brian Parker and the G6 Crew. It’s all part of the mystery and adventure that happens at the G6 Challenges.

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We came, we drove and we performed our wilderness clean-up duty!

Brian Parker and Brad Bailey of RECON Present Thom Kowatch [center] his First Place at RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (256)
Brian Parker and Brad Bailey of RECON Present Thom Kowatch [center] his First Place “Wagon Wheel” Award

Brandon Coonce of Axial at RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (255)
Brandon Coonce of Axial Inc., is presented the Second Place “ashes to ashes – dust to dust” Award


Brain Parker presents Tom Swanson with the Third Place “Vegas Desert Shark Landmark” Award


Brent Brammer is presented the Tough Luck “G-Degree Good Apple” Award. Brent battled electric gremlins from the very start but fought them through the 100-TM course and the first 50-TM course before expiring his battle. This was inauguration to the G6 family.

Brad “Bender” Dumont’s 6XSCX10 set the fastest time on the 100-TM Course!!!

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G6 Participants where given the first public viewing of the Wraith Rock Racer!

You can bank on there being more… more G6 Challenge in store!

Axial’s Muddy Wraith

So, I guess the word is out that we are releasing a new vehicle.While everyone is wanting it, “LIKE RIGHT NOW!!!,” we are still doing our initial playing, I mean testing. Did I say that out loud? And we have had our fair share of rain in Southern California that would make Dennis Anderson proud to host his Muddy Motorsports Park in our backyard!

So, for all you East Coast’ers – this one is for you! It was hard work trying to get all scalistic and paint all this mud on, so we just did it the authentic way and bashed it through the biggest mud holes we could find!

So how is that for a gallon of sweet tea?