Desert Turtle Racing KOH 2018 Race Recap

Desert Turtle Racing KOH 2018 Race Recap

KOH 2018 Race Week:
First and foremost, we were stoked to be setting up our pits in the Lasernut Laser Town hanger. We arrived at Laser Town and got the Turtle set up in the hanger and set up all our camp stuff. We did a little last minute shock tuning on the Rock Krawler shocks to get them dialed in for race day, then headed over to get registered for the race. Monday was our qualifying day and in practice we discovered that the motor was running not so peppy. We learned that we had to shift to 4-Lo just to get up the hill climb and then shift back into 4-Hi to finish the lap. It hurt our qualifying times a bit but we were still able to get an 11th in class start for Thursday’s race. We also discovered that we had a melted coil pack and spark plug that were causing the engine to run poorly. We were able to get in a run around Lap 1 of the KOH course and mark down some trouble spots on GPS as well as set up our lines to get through the new “Notches” area that Ultra4 added to the course this year. We were feeling pretty good about the course of Lap 1 and the car was running well. We headed out for a pre-run of Lap 2 and got through a couple trails but unfortunately cracked the oil pan on a couple big hits and that caused us to call the pre-running extremely short. A big part of our pit support this year was provided by Dust Junkies Racing and they just so happened to be near where we broke down and gave us a helping hand to get back to Laser Town. We spent the rest of our pre-running time hunting down an oil pan and making repairs to the rig and studying the course map.

27710053_1755292927854462_1643465511548694151_o

KOH 2018 EMC Race Day:
Let’s just start with, the green flag dropped and we were off and running! Darin was behind the wheel and ready to attack the desert lap. The first few miles had us on edge, knowing that race nerves can cause you to overdrive the rig and/or potentially suffer flats. As we clicked off the early miles we passed many rigs that had suffered exactly that, and a couple others with some quick driving decisions. We were able to maintain a good pace and cruise through unscathed. As we passed by RM12 we felt the rig was doing well. We radioed to Dust Junkies at Remote Pit 1 that we didn’t need a tire change and opted pass through without a stop. They responded with “Well done. We’ll catch you on the flip side at RM48”. We waved on the way by the pits and were feeling great about the rig. We kept clicking off the miles, passing other racers along the way. As we arrived at “The Notches” a little ways past RM24 we followed a couple other rigs into the banner area. Again, we passed a few others that were floundering in the rocks not knowing where to go. We stuck to our pre-planned route and managed to maneuver around a couple more. As we exited, we were on the tail of a 4800 rig and we decided to go for the pass in a whooped-out section to the drivers left. We made the pass, but we also went for a good ride when the front end got bucked pretty high, and we were reminded that we needed to tone it back.

 

We got back on our pace as we rounded the half-way point at RM32, and we continued carrying a good pace, picking our way through the tight desert section before reaching RM47, where we again needed to radio to the Dust Junkies at Remote Pit 1 what our plans were. We chatted for a bit about how the rig was doing, we were not hearing any strange sounds, and we again didn’t need to stop for a tire change. We hit the pit zone and again gave the big thumbs up as we passed by. Heading out crossing the base line we knew the speeds were going to pick up as we rounded the big bend at RM52. Around RM54 we had a close encounter with a bird — this bird was about 20 feet off the deck and clocking us for speed about 50 feet off the front passenger corner of the rig. At least it seemed that close. So we mashed the gas to pick up the pace and see what they would do. We gave them the applause and enjoyed the camera man hanging off the side of the helicopter. Let’s hope it makes the cut into some footage somewhere.

27913184_10156232489085337_146544314158887930_o

We reached the intersection at the baseline exit and headed out across the dry, dusty Melville lakebed. At times we couldn’t see much more than a few feet in front of us. Picking our way up into the top of Resolution, preparing for our drop down it and Backdoor, we knew we had just a couple more miles before we were back to Main. We had a bit of a close call at Backdoor — we got in a little bit of a hurry to prevent another rig from passing us and did a great nose pose with the rear tires straight up in the air. We hit the gas to prevent the roll-over and hit the rear bumper hard on the rock wall behind us… BUT we were down and all four wheels and the rig was still moving. We called in to pits that we were down but took a hard hit and would need to look the rig over really well. We made the last of the little climbs before hitting the short course and the Main Pits. At this point we were pretty stoked Darin just had a VERY clean run on Lap 1 and suffered ZERO flats with our Falken tires. We had a feeling that we were sitting in a pretty good position and it was time to change drivers.

And so the race continues… Lap 2 — Randall is now in the driver’s seat and ready to take on the rock sections. Before we got there, we had to run through the first 8 miles of the Lap 1 again, and then around the desert for another 9 miles before reaching Remote Pit 2A. Again, we kept a descent pace intent on not overdriving the rig. As we reached Remote Pit 2A the rig was feeling pretty good and we called in to let them know that we would just be passing by. We headed into the first rock trail, Boulder Dash, and made pretty quick work of it. We headed down Upper Big Johnson and continued across the valley and around to the bottom of Wrecking Ball. While we were in Wrecking Ball we had a few difficulties leading up to the waterfall but cruised right up the bypass line and continued on. At RM85 we headed over to Fissure Mountain to run across the top of the range and down to Sledgehammer. Another new thing for the Ultra4 race this year was the addition of two trails at RM90, Idle Issues and Her Problem, two trails that I did not get to pre-run nor even see. As we approached the trail we saw the trail markers but the terrain looked untraveled and there were no obvious lines. There was no stopping us on this trail we picked it apart, as if we were cutting a new trail. We had a little trouble getting through Chocolate Thunder but were able to keep our cool and get back on track.

IMG_4236 copy

Once we got over into Jack North we felt something strange in the steering and decided we should stop and take a look. What we discovered was the mount on the axle for the Hydro Assist Ram has been torn off and the Ram was just hanging there cycling left and right. We also discovered that all of the drive flange bolts on the rear axle (BOTH SIDES!) had backed out and we were leaking a ton of gear oil. We tightened up the flange bolts, removed the hydro-ram and capped the hydro lines so we could continue the race. We wheeled up to the crux of Jack North and, like a replay of last year, Darin got out and spotted the rigs through and then got us through and we headed for Jack Hammer. The problem with not having Hydro Assist is that every rock the tires come in contact with will jolt the tires one way or another and that makes it very difficult to steer and stay on the line that you need to get over the rocks. Coming down Jack Hammer we made sure to plan way ahead and keep the car on the right line. Heading up the sand hills at RM93 was pretty fun with the new motor screaming as we made our way. We got around to Hells Gate and continued to struggle with the ability to steer and stay on the right line. Thankfully we had a new ZEON 10 winch from Warn on the rig to get us quickly un-stuck when necessary.

We cruised down Devils Slide and headed over into Sunbonnet Pass. We came upon a few other rigs in the trail and made passes when we could but also got stuck a few times, and again had to use the winch to get unstuck. Somewhere in Sunbonnet we got lodged between two big rocks and had to use our jack to get out, which cost us a significant amount of time. At that point we also discovered that we had cracked the oil pan again and it is was dripping. We took some time to look at the leak and see if we could spot the crack. We debated continuing the race with the leak but the concern was, if we cracked the oil pan even worse, we could damage the motor and possibly be stuck in a trail until the race is over. We agreed that we would make our way out of Sunbonnet and then reassess the condition of the rig. It’s always a hard decision to make but we had to make it. We decided to make our way to the stock bypass split at RM100 and call the race. We didn’t want to risk severe damage to the motor and didn’t want a late-night team recovery after the race. We got in touch with our pit crew at Remote Pit 2B and had them relay to Race Ops that we were out of the race at RM100.

Conclusion:
We finished our race as the 1st place DNF, putting us officially in 4th place by progression. Yes, you read that right — There were only three 4500 class rigs that finished the race, and only another nine rigs in the 4800 class. This race was a difficult one — Not because of the number of rock trails or a difficult desert lap, but because Mother Nature has not rained on the Hammer trails in some time, and that caused the dirt to be very dusty and the rocks to be covered in dust, and some holes to be extra deep.

28070597_1821763607853946_103737264997051737_o

We would like to give a special thanks to several sponsors – To Off Road Development for providing the shop space for us to get ready for KOH. To Sucuri Security for stepping on board to support the team this year. To Warn for going above and beyond standard customer service to solve our winching issues. To Dust Junkies Racing for providing pit space and pit support at the race. To Lasernut for providing us space in the Laser Town Hanger at KOH. To Rock Krawler for their continued support in our race program. To Falken for providing ZERO flats this year on the Wildpeak M/T tires. And to our DTR team… Without them we would not be able to do what we do. We are a team that is more like a family and we are all in it together. Even though we did not finish, we did not lose. We come away smarter and stronger. We are still a young team and we continue to learn at every race.

Thanks to all of our sponsors for your continued support: Rock Krawler Suspension | Falken Tire | Sucuri Security | Axial Racing | Poison Spyder Customs | Raceline Wheels | DJ Safety | Fuel Safe | Rugged Radios | J. E. Reel | Rugged Routes | Lasernut | Currie Enterprises | Magnaflow | CTM Racing | sPOD | Artec Industries | PRP Seats | Luxwurx | Warn | Sharq Skinz | DGP Motion Media | Factor55 | 212 Performance Gloves | Off Road Development | Pacific Advisors | SoCal Services | Beachview Insurance | Villa Landscape Products | SoCal Land Maintenance | EctoVentures

IMG_4222 copy IMG_5348 copy

Axialfest Adventures – Video Collection

Axialfest-AdventuresVideo_Collection

It’s never too early to start thinking about Axialfest. Actually does anyone stop thinking about Axialfest? It can be said for certain that those who have attended Axialfest never forget their time there. If you’re new to the event, then we can get you right up to speed on what experiences you can have there. You’re about to witness a collection of Axialfest videos produced by people who are truly passionate about the radio control hobby and who are now passionate about what goes on at Axialfest. The collection covers some of the best videos posted to Youtube. Not all of the videos, there are certainly many more amazing videos created by attendees that we urge you to hunt for on Youtube, but the videos selected here will get you ramped up for Axialfest 2018 and beyond.

Before we take a look at some of the highlight videos from each year, it is important to know what is Axialfest. This video from the Axialvideos Youtube page gives you the deep down meaning of the event:

2017
AMain Hobbies
AxialFest 2017 by AMain Hobbies
Team AMain Hobbies Presents AxialFest 2017. The crew that attended Axialfest 2017 has put together an amazing presentation of what goes on at the event. Rigs in action, the excitement of the participants the beauty of the setting this video will leave you wanting to see more and attend Axialfest if you don’t already.

2017
Axialvideos
4-Days Of AXIALFEST In 16 Minutes – Get In The Know Before You Go
Axialfest can seem overwhelming for the first time attendee, but here each day’s events are broken down so you know what to expect. The elements of Axialfest evolve each year, but this will help you start your journey.

2016
5150 Media Productions
Come Drive With Us – Axialfest
Probably one of the most epic documentary style videos about Axialfest is the 5150 2016 video sponsored by Pro-Line Racing. This finely crafted film gives you the background of Axialfest, what it means to the people that attend it, the grueling terrain both people and Axial rig endure at the amazing grounds of Cisco Grove. Here, you’ll see people come together from all over the world all with one passion, Axial.

2015 (Uploaded in 2018)
This is AxialFest!
Scale Builders Guild
Scale Builders Guild is known for its unique view on the scale and trail community and they took that talented perspective to Axialfest in 2015 to capture some amazing moments. Plenty of action footage was packed into this video and covers all of the special events and terrain you can tackle with your rig.

2014
AxialFest 2014 Highlights
RC Logic
This video takes a good look at the rough terrain your rig can encounter at Cisco Grove and of course the fun you can encounter with the people who attend.

2013
Axialfest 2013
Axialvideos
Sometimes it good to look back, way back. This is a look at Axialfest back in 2013 and if you watches the videos above you’ll see some changes in format, but many other things are still common. The love for Axial, friendships, custom built trail rigs, amazing adventures and most importantly the appreciation for the fans.

There are plenty of thrilling moments and messages in those videos. What it’s like to be a part of the Axial lifestyle; to eat, sleep and then work or drive your Axial rig day in and day out. To seek out people just like you who love Axial, who want to build great things, to express yourself through a moving model that will turn heads and then have those people approach you to talk more about your passion. At Axialfest everyone is there to be appreciated by the company Axial, but everyone there appreciates each other for having the same love for Axial radio control vehicles.

Axial LCX Transmission Parts List

 

lcx-transmission-break-down

Found in: SCX10 II CRC Edition 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Stock Gearing
LCX: 32P 13T Pinion / 56T Spur Gear

Axial LCX Tranmission Parts List

Gearing Chart

32 Pitch (Stock Gearing AX30392 or AX30395)

_
Spur Gear

Pinion
56
60
64
68
11
38.69
41.45
44.22
46.98
12
35.47
38.00
40.53
43.07
13
32.74
35.08
37.42
39.75
14
30.40
32.57
34.74
36.91
15
28.37
30.40
32.43
34.45
16
26.60
28.50
30.40
32.30
17
25.04
26.82
28.61
30.40

32 Pitch (Overdrive Gearing AX30401)

_
Spur Gear

Pinion
56
60
64
68
11
34.04
36.47
38.90
41.33
12
31.20
33.43
35.66
37.89
13
28.80
30.86
32.91
34.97
14
26.74
28.65
30.56
32.47
15
24.96
26.74
28.53
30.31
16
23.40
25.07
26.74
28.41
17
22.02
23.60
25.17
26.74

32 Pitch (Underdrive Gearing AX30402)

_
Spur Gear

Pinion
56
60
64
68
11
43.78
46.91
50.04
53.16
12
40.13
43.00
45.87
48.73
13
37.05
39.69
42.34
44.98
14
34.40
36.86
39.31
41.77
15
32.11
34.40
36.69
38.99
16
30.10
32.25
34.40
36.55
17
28.33
30.35
32.38
34.40

divider

AXIAL LCX TRANSMISSION PARTS LIST

AXA0023 M2.6x8mm Cap Head Screw
AXA013 M2x6mm Cap Head Screw
AXA1045 M4 Nylon Locking Flanged Nuts
AXA1218 Bearing 5x10x4mm
AXA1225 Bearing 8x16x5mm
AX30162 Straight Pin
AX30394 20T Drive Gear
AX30413 Slipper Spring
AX30435 Steel Outdrive Shaft Set
AX30190 Shaft
AXA146 M3x12mm Socket Head Screw
AX31026 Slipper Plate
AX31027 Spur Gear 32P 56T
AX31068 Slipper Pad
AX31531 LCX Transmission Case
AX31539 LCX Top Shaft (Coming Soon)
AX31585 Gear Set (48P 28T/ 48P 52T)

Install a Fuel Cell/Parts Bin into Your Axial SCX10 II

Install a Fuel Cell/Parts Bin into Your Axial SCX10 II

We recently posted a video to Youtube of our favorite tools and parts we bring with us when we hit the trails (see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZxm84NMJr0). With some further brainstorming, we came up with a cool idea that let’s your SCX10 II carry it’s own spare parts! All you need is a Yeti fuel cell fitted between the trucks shock hoops. Here’s how to do it.

TOOLS NEEDED:
1. 2.0mm Hex Wrench

LIST OF PARTS USED:
AXA0113 Axial M3x6mm Hex Socket Button Head Screw
AXA144 Axial M3x8mm Hex Socket Flat Head Screw
AXA1105 Axial Cone Washer
AX31125 Axial Yeti™ Fuel Cell

Let’s get started!

Step 1

Install a Fuel Cell/Parts Bin into Your Axial SCX10 II
Before installing the fuel cell, I attached the top and added a pair of AXA0113 M3x6mm BH screws to the holes I won’t be using. This is not really necessary but does help give the cell a more ‘finished’ look.

TIP: Prior to installation, paint the fuel cell. This will give your rig a more finished look.

Step 2

Install a Fuel Cell/Parts Bin into Your Axial SCX10 II
The first install step is to remove the top shock mount screws. This gives us access to the bracing between the shock mount hoops.

Step 3

Install a Fuel Cell/Parts Bin into Your Axial SCX10 II
Slide the assembled fuel cell in between the shock hoops as shown and line up the holes with the bosses on the cell. Secure with the AZA144 M3x8mm FH screws and AXA1105 Cone Washers. The red arrow points to the mounting location.

Step 4

Install a Fuel Cell/Parts Bin into Your Axial SCX10 II
Boom! That’s it! You can take the lid off, pour your spare parts in there and close it back up. The fuel cell could also be used to house lighting or winch controllers, but be warned that it is not waterproof.

Words and photos by Tony Phalen

 

AXIALFEST2017 Concourse Results

AXIALFEST2017 Concourse Results

The Concourse event at this year’s AXIALFEST2017 was absolutely amazing! The builders are getting so much more creative than previous years that it’s making it near impossible to pick a winner.

In the end, though, the judges did have to crown the best of the best, so here’s the pictures of the winner’s rigs. We’ve also added a small gallery at the bottom with some additional pictures.

AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Axial Heritage Winner: Patrick Jurica


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Adventure Trailer Winner: Matt Alley


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Work Trailer Winner: Chris Zemek


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Adventurist Winner: Dan Huff


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Monster Truck Winner: Jim Prestwood


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Daily Driver Winner: Troy Olsen


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of D’Raison Winner: Jackson Hall


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse WinnersBest of Trophy Truck Winner: Jason Philo (right)


AXIALFEST2017 Concourse Winners

AXIALFEST2017 Concourse Winners
BEST OF SHOW Winner: Todd Pearson


Additional Pix

Product Spotlight: AX31150 Axial Clear Inner Fenders

AX31150 Axial Inner Fenders

While prepping my truck for this years #AXIALFEST2017 (ok, my wife’s truck), I happened to notice one of my fellow co-workers bolting on a set of inner fenders onto his SCX10 II XJ. I asked him where he got those and he informed me it was an actual Axial product, just maybe one that wasn’t so well known.

Of course, I had to investigate further – AX31150 is in fact a molded piece of .40″ clear Lexan that not only includes 4 inner fenders, it also has floor panels for trucks that don’t have them (the SCX10 for example). In addition to giving you extra space to mount electronics, it also acts as a barrier to help keep mud, water and other debris from entering the chassis.

Product Spotlight: AX31150 Axial Clear Inner Fenders

As you can see, it comes clear and can be painted any color you want (I’m going with from-the-factory black). A strip of double-sided tape is included to securely attach them to the side rails. Another cool thing is that they are a universal fit; you can trim them to match almost any body you decide to use.

So, for those of you that like to do some serious trailing but are worried about splashing grit and grime all up in your chassis, here’s a simple solution. I’ve added a few pix of these mounted on the SCX10 II, however as you can see I’ve left off the floor panels since this particular truck already comes with them.

Product Spotlight: AX31150 Axial Clear Inner Fenders

Product Spotlight: AX31150 Axial Clear Inner Fenders

Product Spotlight: AX31150 Axial Clear Inner Fenders

Product Spotlight: AX31150 Axial Clear Inner Fenders

AX31150 Axial SCX10 Wheel Wells – .040″ (Clear)

AXIAL #3X815 RVRCC – April 9, 2017 – Rockford, IL

adventures_AXIAL_3X815_04_2017_500px
AXIAL #3X815 RVRCC – April 9, 2017 – Rockford, IL
words: Steve Martin
photos: Tom Knuth

April 9, 2017 was an AMAZING day in Rockford, IL. The week leading up to the event had us a little worried as it was raining and drizzling non stop Sunday-Thursday. We had several water crossing planned and had several meetings coming up with plan C, D, E, F and even G! The crawling gods shined upon us Friday morning with sunny skies, warm temps and 25-45mph winds! Saturday it was still sunny and windy so the water went down and the mud dried up.

17854940_957634381044397_2096318826635534450_o
Sunday morning our crew showed up at 5am to get the final gates set. With the event “gates” opening at 7:30 we had a couple hours to get ready.

At 6:30 drivers started showing up and waiting in line in their cars to get a good pit spot. By 7:15 the line grew to 20 cars so we decided to let them in early as everything was 100% ready to go!

Registration went very smooth as we used an online system since we had internet connection so we could use our tablets, phones and lap- tops! Total paid registration was at 117 drivers bringing a total of 350 rigs! The event was setup for a single run because of the length but we encouraged them to bring extras just in case!
During registration the driver was instructed to bring up their one vehicle for inspection of theme points as well as to get a picture inside of the scale garage. By 8:15am all of the pre-registered drivers were ready to hit the trail early (perk for pre- registering) as we already did their drivers meeting online the week before. So by 8:25am we had 50 drivers ready to pick which of the 3 sections they wanted to start with to tackle the 165 total gates. At 10am we had our “Day Of” drivers meeting and the remaining 67 drivers had the same decision to make. Section 1 was 80% new from last year and Section 2 was 100% new while Section 3 followed the same path as prior runs, but was still over 50% new.

17854914_957638847710617_2184075630500380147_o
Section 1
For those that started in Section 1 they were in for a “treat” of over 100’ of side hill mixed with extreme uphill and downhill challenges.
17880102_957637994377369_4198369602369834975_o
Just when they were done pulling their hair out and cursing the dirt we went to a nice level ground, which led into the creek bed. As long as they stayed to the side, they would be fine in the scale (mid axle) depth. However if they decided to hit the throttle finger to hard…well… the truck would take a small dip up to many roofs. Sometimes those that crawl, forget crawling is slow. This section re-
minded them.
17855386_957634394377729_5493468308132427104_o
After the creek side run you had to go across a bridge to get to the other side and continue on section one for another 40 gates! We got your tires clogged with dirt, made you get a little wet and clean out the dirt, only to go up a bridge and across to our Log Jam section. Some words were spoken through clenched teeth, but the mouth was still in the shape of a smile.

17880053_957637464377422_7199029795545537805_o
Section 2
You had to walk across a grassy section to get to the start of section 2. It was amazing to watch their faces when they started the walk across the grass toward the flags. At first they were laughing and smiling, but once they got a little closer they heard the sound of running water. Their look went to confusion for a few steps until they seen the rope bridge and then the smiles returned even bigger. Little did they know that smile would soon turn to concentration as they tackled the hardest of the sections.
17880187_957637587710743_1510049182368317162_o
17760855_957636177710884_1423365599159747345_o
17855490_957640084377160_2185665531875546771_o
This section focused on log climbs, rock hills, winch points, creek runs and mud.. LOTS OF MUD!!
17835131_957640937710408_2961790537730981151_o 17835197_957639527710549_3341719141138047998_o   17855349_957639611043874_1992489309522649761_o
Not a single person could have elected to bypass the mud by marking their card, but they did risk the teasing by their peers so many tried…. Very few made it through without check marking the HOG box. We should have named this the HOG farm section!

17880416_957637724377396_5089543590583905177_o
Section 3
At the point we needed to give them a break, or at least a false sense of getting a break, which is what we did. This section started off pretty easy luring them into a nice Sunday drive along the waters edge until..well.. It wasn’t a nice quiet drive any longer! Here we threw some water and rock sections in for good measures along with a nice log ride (which has a large hole in the middle that LOVES to swallow trucks) and our much talked about “A-Frame bridge” which we do not share pictures of but you may find a few floating around. This is not a normal little A-Frame as we like to go big here. And by big I mean it is over 6’ tall and has a running length of about 18 feet made up of branches and chicken wire that is anything BUT level. This is a near guarantee HOG/Catch if one is not watching all 4 corners of their rig!

The fastest person to make it through the entire course was 2 hours and 45 minutes. Yes this was an ex-RC racer who still believes speed over finesse and you can pretty much guarantee I would not be a passenger in his 1:1 rig off road. The longest person on the trail was just over 8 hours and they ended up not able to finish. The average time for those that completed the full trail was about 5 hours while many ended up marking DNF on their card and simply going into “Fun Run” mode without having to worry about marking all of the flags. We had about a 70% DNF rate but it is hard to tell who broke and didn’t finish vs those that were having way to much fun and didn’t want to keep marking their card as everyone was smiling at the end of the day! Drivers who broke their registered rig were allowed to turn in their card and grab another truck and enjoy a fun run.

And we had some nice prizes & happy winners!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
You can see all of the pictures including the scale garage photos by visiting the event page facebook.com/events/259289157777393 or simply by searching #3X815 on Facebook.

Massive rig gallery from the event after the winners: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.639574232892597&type=3
We would like to recognize all of our sponsors below:
3X815 Sponsor Dark

An Adventure to Gooseberry Mesa with Cannondale Bikes

adventures_gooseberry

An Adventure to Gooseberry Mesa with Cannondale Bikes

Story: Rodney Wills
Photos: John Cary & Rodney Wills

Sometimes all the stars align and fun happens!

markweirlovesdirt500pcswide
I’ve known Mark Weir for a while now. He’s been asking us to get together and make some collaborative fun happen. Mark Weir is not from the R/C industry, but he has a lot of fun with his rigs. It’s what Weir does in his full-size world that has a lot of our attention as he is a bit of a celebrity within the bicycle industry. In my digital rolodex, I label him “TOUGH GUY!”

markweir500wide

Photo Credit: Ale Di Lullo www.aledilullo.com

His place of work, Wilderness Trail Bikes [WTB], described Mark as a well-rounded rider who specializes in suffering. Mark Weir, age 43, has remained a successful and dominant force in downhill and endurance racing throughout his career.

There are numerous interviews with him, just type in “Mark Weir MTB” and you will find plenty! Now that you’ve done your who’s-who-research, on with this moment in time.

While Mark and I have been plotting for what seems like years, we discussed it a little more seriously at #AXIALFEST2015. The stars finally aligned and planning started to happen with a window of opportunity! Phone text messages turned into emails, email chains started adding more recipients, and dates and plans were laid out into a bonafided plan!

1-mapstogooseberry500wide

With all the plans laid out, it was time to GO!
LOCATION: GOOSEBERRY MESA, UTAH
I’m making notes on paper maps with details to a location I have never been to and most likely will be arriving at this location in the dark! I need details.
Why yes, I should be using GPS… but I’m OLD SCHOOL!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_022

On the road again! The local mountains are already showing signs of snow and as we traverse through the Cajon Pass, we see a little sugar sprinkles of snow.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_009

We start making the long grade in route to Las Vegas on the 15FWY.

It was sunny all morning… then it gets cloudy… and then it starts sprinkling.
It’s one of those moments and you think you’re ok with it all… then you notice that tell-tale sign… those sprinkles are hitting your windshield in a way that makes you pay a bit more attention. I ask my co-pilot, “do you see that?! I think its going to snow on us!” You can see the snow is covering the ground and is snowing hard! It’s hard to show it in the photos, but it’s coming down!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_001

You can see the snow flying in the air as I shoot out the side window. The ground was covered!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_005

First dirt road I could find. I’m overly excited to get some photos of the ADV80 in the snow! Yes, living in Southern California, I don’t see too much snow, so I am easily excited! That’s John Cary’s rig behind me with its factory white-camo paint scheme to blend in to such environments.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_002

Snow is still falling and we are making our own little fresh two-tracks. We are looking for enough space to get the R/C rigs out!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_004

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_003

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_010

Who’s from Southern California? Shorts in a snow storm.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_008

This looks like a great road to come explore, but that will have to be another day! We don’t have too much time to mess around as we will already be landing in our destination after dark.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_006

Here I am getting some images of our rigs in the snow.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_017

Guess who is wearing flip flops and it’s not me or John Schultz. Yep, John Cary is the culprit! I also find myself surrounded by JK’s!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_016

The Axial SCX10 just looks so at home in the snow!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_015

John Cary is looking not so at home in his short sleeves and shorts with flip flops… in the middle of the desert… in the middle of the snow…. But he’s a trooper!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_014

The ADV80 showing just how serious the snow is in such a short period of time!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_Snow_013

The Axial YETI SCORE® TROPHY TRUCK® sitting in the snow. Hmmm, I wonder… I wonder if it has ever snowed at any of the Baja events as they do have some serious mountains to cross.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_023

By the time we get to Las Vegas the sky is clearing up a bit. No stops here, we keep on trucking!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_024

We make our fuel stop at Muddy River Bar & Grill in Moapa, Nevada. This kind of fuel!
Hamburgers with bacon and egg and IT WAS GOOD!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_025

Lettuce
Pickles
Onions
Bacon
Egg
Beef
Bread
It’s a process….

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_028

I say it every time I pass through here… I need a couple of days exploring all the little dirt roads I see alongside the 15FWY outside of Littlefield, NV as it crisscrosses over the Virgin River. There is a little campground called Virgin River Canyon Campground that might make for the first night’s stop. Simply need more time to explore and so-so many places to see!!! But once again, carrying on… mission ahead.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_029

We stop in to visit with Dixie 4Wheel Drive in St. George, Utah as they have been carrying our product for a while now!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_031

This is Sharlett Thompson and her and her husband Milt along with the Wada family have built Dixie 4 Wheel Drive into a nationally renowned Off-Road Store, modification, and repair facility. They are located on the same property purchased in 1948, Dixie 4 Wheel Drive operates out of a 12,000 SQFT state of the art off-road facility.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_030

This is a full size hobby shop that also carries our toys! If you are passing through St. George, it’s always great to know a good off-road / RC hobby shop! You never know when you need help even if they specialize in Jeep & Axial products.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_003

It’s not the fact that this wheel failed, you wonder what forces where at play to make it break! That is some serious load!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_032

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_033

The Dixie guys invite us out for a quick trail run just minutes from the shop!
EPIC TRAIL that we must come back to!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_036

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_004

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_037

While we would love to spend more time here, we simply have to get going as we have our main mission ahead of us!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_009

Just outside of Hurricane, Utah we are in search of a little dirt road. We found it and had a few choices in dirt roads along the way, but we eventually found our location!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_039

Once we arrive, we want to light our area so we go for the RIGID scene lights so we can see what we are dealing with.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_040

Then we start the unpacking process!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_045

RIGID scene lights lighting up our work area!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_041

Once camp is set, its food time and the JetBoil stove with Mountain House food has been our staple for a many adventures!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_042

Mountain House’s Beef Stroganoff seems to be the group’s favorite, but the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is my favorite.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_043

Camping just requires a fire and a big foot sighting!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_044

Speaking of big foot, John Cary and myself are impressed with John Schultz’s idea of a one-man tent! Look at that foot print!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_046

The ADV80 is not afraid of, but regularly participates in IH8MUD.com’s forum. Yes, it’s a Land Cruiser thing…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_049

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_098

Camping, bikes, 4X4 1:1 & R/C are in store for this outing!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_050

Daybreak reminds us just what we had encountered coming in under the light of stars. We just didn’t see how red the mud is here!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_019

Now we know where the graphic theme came from! While it doesn’t look like much, it was more sticky-snotty than splashy-mucky.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_051

JetBoil repeat but with the added help of the AeroPress coffee maker! This time we only use the JetBoil for heating coffee water…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_052

BECAUSE JOHN CARY IS A CHEF!!! John Schultz is his assistant sous-chef.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_053

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_021

We are NOT going hungry out here in the wilderness!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_047

This yurt is what we had to find in the middle of the night to know we were at the location spot!
Regardless of a yurt though…

img_6086

When you wake up and see this!!!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_087

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_118

And we see a bunch of these guys popping out from behind the trees and bushes.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_122

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_129

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_057

Preparation quickly begins early in the AM as the Cannondale MTB team has descended onto the Gooseberry Mesa from all across the USA through the night.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_133

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_120

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_062

We need more artists in RC! This is such the cool piece of art.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_059

Marco Osborne begins his bike preparation. Mark has told us to keep a keen eye on this one… Jake Hamm (camera) “is my studio set up yet?”

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_056

IFHT film’s Matt Dennison is on site to do his creative video action!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_055

Matt stated, “Let’s see how many MTB’er can bunny hop over this box!”

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_064

Marco Osborne, the SHREDDDER! yea.. we’re FANS!!!!
http://www.pinkbike.com/news/marco-osborne-a-day-in-the-life-with-video-2016.html

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_065

Jason Moeschler, OEM Sales at WTB, but also a powerhouse on the pedals fresh from his 2015 All Mountain World Championship and some other obscure event that was simply a climb-fest! http://www.wtb.com/blogs/wtb/39760644-jason-moeschler-2015-all-mountain-world-champion

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_067

Mr. Ben Cruz, this would be our first real-world experience with Ben. Mark Weir was asked to write and intro for an interview by PinkBike on Mr. Cruz.
Weir stated, “When I think of Ben, I think of myself, never to think that this was his intention but things that he does seem to leave you unbalanced with self-position. Some of the best times in my life have been with him, what’s crazy is that those best times came to us in places when we had the worst things happing. Like I said it’s all riddles.”
Go read the whole enchilada on Ben Cruz: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/ben-cruz-getting-to-know-interview-2016.html

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_069

Nick Dru, he likes to pedal and flow, that’s all you need to know, so follow him at https://www.instagram.com/nickdrumtb/

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_070

Bart Gillespie, the “working man pro” as he does not work for Cannondale, but works with, rides and races with them. You can think, if he can do it, so can I, but you better be DEDICATED! Read more on him: http://www.cyclingutah.com/commuting/bart-gillespie-how-bike-commuting-fits-into-family-work-and-professional-racing/

imgpsh_fullsize

Bryn & Lauren Bingham are some fast kids! Their family was special guests of Cannondale as they like to scrutineer new talent first hand.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_073

Jake Hamm, studio photographer for Cannondale. His job is to make our mouths water and our brains lust. His studio photography is certified Cannondale classic!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_068

Matthew DeLorme action photographer extraordinaire, hence his https://www.facebook.com/MatthewDeLormePhotography/
He was pedaling with the crew and hauling his gear along! He bike-packs his gear into the action and comes home with the stellar action photos! He was shooting for an article on PinkBike for this trip, but here is an interview on him: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/behind-the-lens-matt-delorme-2015.html

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_079

Matt Ohran, AKA “THE HANDLER!” He is loosely wrangling this lively bunch for the weekend… but his big mission is the director for the Cannondale, 360Fly North American Cross-Country Mountain Bike Team, powered by SUGOI. http://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/News/News/2016/02-February/360fly%20Announcement.aspx

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_074

Matt Ohran – “Who is running this operation?! I’m the one with pink tape, you have the pink bike with the pink bar tassels only because you cut my course!”

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_072

But lets get down to why are we all here? Because of this man, Mr. Mark Weir! If you forgot already, scroll back to the top and start all over…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_066

Camelback is continuous in their development of hydration systems!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_080

The team would take off from our camp location and myself and the media crew would hop into the ADV80 and meet them at the next location. Oh, I guess this is a good time to tell you what is about to go down. It’s the end of the season for the riders, but Matt wants to squeeze a friendly competition out of them! Notice the number plates on the bikes? A get-together-fun-ride, but with points for bragging rights! WITH A TWIST! Axial scale trail action is going to be apart of the wager! A few of the guys are into scale trailing and the others have never touched an R/C car before! This is going to be interesting! But end of the day, its all about fun and working together!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_139

Mark Weir = BRAAAAP!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_140

Keegan Swenson is so fast we did not catch a profile photo of him at the beginning of the event, so we will just kick off right here! He’s only been racing professionally since 2013 and already has a top-10 finish at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cups! Follow him at: https://www.instagram.com/keegels99

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_142

Bart Gillespie on the move!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_143

Mark Weir, Marco Osborne, Ben Cruz and Keegan Swenson discuss the fine art of of being fast and the benefits… we get to sit and wait.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_144

3-2-1 GO! Matt is timing everything!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_146

DeLorme is like, “Where’s my talent?!” I got action photos to shoot!”

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_148

Lauren Bingham, just point your camera right here sir!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_147

Chris Bingham, “My kids are so fast!”

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_150

Keegan Swenson is a CX machine!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_151

Jason Moeschler simply out for a good time at speed!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_152

Nick Dru BRAAP bombing.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_153

Ben Cruz, “They went that way… yep! That way….”

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_154

Bryn Bingham getting his action on. I met him on this trip and have had the pleasure of following him on Instagram and have seen so much progression from him in just this year – he spends a lot of time on the back wheel these days learning his manual craft! Check him out: https://www.instagram.com/brynnerthepinner

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_156

He sets…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_157

He puts a little English on it…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_158

Mark Weir throwing rocks at John Cary’s camera and body.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_159

Bart Gillespie knows its all about time and is not playing around!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_160

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_161

Marco Osborne showing the science of speed.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_162

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_163

Matthew DeLorme showing how to stylize a photo with the tongue out, or is it exasperation from hauling camera gear at speed?

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_084

The ADV80 hauls all! Aside from the media crew, its hauling food and drinks for the crew.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_083

This was an awesome moment! You are never really lost… You are just temporarily displaced. You are always somewhere on the map…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_086

While positioning myself next to a rock to shoot the riders coming through, I look over and see this little mystery of nature. WIND-WOOD-ROCK. This is going to be an interesting thing to see in like 20-years.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_088

Day-1 is done and Marco looks to be sitting in the lead. But things could easily change tomorrow… maybe the terrain, maybe the rules… who knows… it’s anyone’s game!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_127

After some riding, it’s lunch time! Anyone recognize this guy from #AXIALFEST2016? Yes sir, that is Chris Cru Jones of Altra Running shoes.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_128

Fuel for athletes.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_097

Scale trail time! For most in this bunch, it was their first time ever on the R/C controller!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_092

After the R/C scale trail session it was dinner time, fire side chat time to hear some great stories from Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler.
Then, it was time for our favorite scale trail time!!!! NIGHT TIME!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_091

This was by far my favorite time as I get to participate with my buddies. I get to wheel as well! Usually I have the big camera in my hands. Sometimes the cell phone images have to work, because, believe it or not, I actually like to drive too! We had a great night wheeling! I think this is the moment that “clicked” for all of those who had not been wheeling before.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_093

Back to camp in the wee hours and a little late night snack… Wood fired pizza…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_095

The Mark Weir way!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_107

Moments like these make memories and friends forever. It may be years before we get to do this again with each other, but we will forever look for the moment again!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_103

When I told you Matthew DeLorme is the camera guy who hauls his own weight, we’re not kidding you! That is a heavy lens and Matthew does not hold tightly on the brakes!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_104

The road literally stops here! But the MTB trails rolls right off the side and DOWN!!!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_166

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_167

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_168

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_169

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_170

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_171

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_172

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_173

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_174

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_175

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_176

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_177

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_178

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_179

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_180

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_181

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_186

There is a small discussion about how the day went and who stood where in points.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_187

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_189

The group gets ready for the next portion of the event and John Schultz goes over how the scale trail portion of the event is about to go down. While they were out on the pedals, Schultz designed a 100+ trail marked course for these guys to drive through.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_185

OH IT’S OFFICIAL!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_182

And Ben Cruz is chomping at the bit to get on trail.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_096

Customization is important, even at an impromptu event such as this one! Bragging rights is a high-stakes claim! Bart knows the game! “I may not be an R/C regular, but looking factory is key! See, I got my personal name stickers for everything! Mostly to keep Mark and Ben off my stuff! I’m not as factory as they are, so I have to keep’em in check!” hehehe

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_191

Mark Weir set’s off on the trail first since he is the most vet of his bunch.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_192

Marco Osborne sets off in chase. Some do-ball with the video camera is in the way of the photographer… oh, that’s me! OOOPS sorry John!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_194

Bryn Bingham is learning the fine art crawling and having a blast very differently from his high-speed point-and-shoot R/C rigs.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_195

Nick Dru doing what Nick does… speed and style as he quickly approaches Bryn. It’s very interesting to see how each individual approaches the trail. Some love the low-speed technical approach, others like the “rock race” approach. Not that one is better than the other, it’s just shows personal temperament and personality.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_196

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_197

Jake Hamm is into 1:1 wheeling and is totally enjoying the relationship of Axial’s real esthetic and drivability. Note his heat regulation beanie. He said it’s how he blocks the open window wind noise. Matt Dennison of IFHT shooting his mini-classic.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_198

Mark Weir is such the enthusiast, encourager, heckler, and is simply passionate about his hobbies. He finishes his lap and comes back to Jason Moeschler who started after him, to see how he is doing on his lap.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_200

Jason Moeshcler is a technician on the pedals and the steering wheel! I think mountain bikers just naturally understand and enjoy the pursuit of scale trailing. Along with motorcyclists, 4X4’ers, dentists, doctors, fabricators and badminton instructors. Yep, everyone!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_201

Chris Cru Jones is totally into the scale trail action as well. After meeting him this weekend is when I began to share with him the ideas for the first ever Ultra 5K Enduro at AXIALFEST2016. If you were there, you know he works for the adventure running shoe company, ALTRA. Hence the ALTRA ULTRA 5K Enduro!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_203

Mark is very proficient with R/C and has found our format of scale trailing suited to his outdoor activities.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_204

Mark Weir and Nick Dru getting the scale trail fix on!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_205

R/C & MTB on the Gooseberry Mesa.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_199

This is not an easy task, egos and reputations are at an all time high! Controversy is created for creative strategy haggling!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_234

Hold on kids… I may be a high-poster, but….

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_237

The overall winner is…. MARCO OSBORNE with Keegan and Weir flanking him.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_215

IFHT-Matt telling it from his lens-view perspective.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_212

Things started to get a little blurry around the fire on the last night of our trip.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_216

And then… Mark has an announcement to make and John Schultz is armed with the gift-ammo in the background. Let’s get it straight, Mark Weir is a certified R/C nut and he wants to share his hobby with his riding compadres! We love him for his enthusiasm as he brings infectious fun!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_219

Marco Osborne – congratulations on the first place finish and showing us the awesome dirt whips! As you can see here, he is a little speechless!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_211

Keegan Swenson – congrats on the second place finish!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_214

Nick Dru – best sportsman!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_217

Matt Dennison of IFHT, just because he hates all! hehehe

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_218

Jason Moeschler is simply gifted!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_221

Mark Weir is taking his time on this one… building the anticipation…

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_226

Ben Cruz is simply stoked on life and we love him for it!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_228

I simply can not leave out our man!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_229

So Mark, come on back up here!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_233

Mark made a special announcement recognizing John Schultz for all his hard work!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_232

It took all this so I could finally hang out with my buddy, but what better way?!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_111

Then I have to ride back home with these two John’s… John Cary on the left.

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_110

Then I have to ride back home with these two John’s… John Schultz on the right…
seriously…. hehehe

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_112

And that’s a rap from Gooseberry Mesa!

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_102

Atop the ADV80 is Will Dennison of IFHT working on his film. With no further ado, here is his film account of the time spent on Gooseberry Mesa.

“ALL IN THE NAME OF FUN”
http://m.pinkbike.com/news/all-in-the-name-of-fun-cannondale-video-2016.html

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_135

The dirt chairman Mark Weir – also on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mark_weir_mtb/

Cannondale_Goose_Berry_113

We are out of here!

Desert Turtle Racing Ultra4 Glen Helen 2016 Race Recap

adventures_dtrglenhelen

Since KOH we have been enjoying our rig, the Turtle, by going out wheeling a few times and also determining what we needed to do to get ready for our next race. As we worked on the Turtle we realized that we needed to spend some time better tuning our Rock Krawler shocks, in order to improve the overall ride and handling of the vehicle. We took the Turtle out for a few test runs and got the shocks dialed in pretty well. Being a couple of rookies, we know we are not going to get it perfect but we sure feel like we got it close, and none the less we are learning a lot about tuning. Race weekend came and we were as dialed as we were going to be, so we loaded up the Turtle and all our gear and headed for the Ultra4 4 Wheel Parts Grand Prix at Glen Helen Raceway. Friday morning consisted of several things — registration, drivers meeting, practice (2 sessions), qualifying, and then another drivers meeting. Saturday was filled with prelims, the main event, and then an after party.

01

GH2016-20160610_142117Friday morning, we got all checked in at registration, grabbed a bite to eat and then headed over to the drivers meeting. At the meeting they covered the course layout for the weekend, some things to watch out for on course, and the break down of practice groups. After the meeting Darin and I agreed that we would share the driving this weekend and alternate each session. He would drive Practice 1 and Qualifying, and I would drive Practice 2 and Prelims. We suited up and headed out for Practice 1. Basically this was to get a hang of the track and feel out how the car was going to handle. We picked up our speed a bit and were getting down in the 5:15’s by the end of practice. We headed back to the pits after the session and made a couple small changes and then got back in the Turtle for Practice 2. This was my turn to drive and the objective was the same — Get the hang of the track and feel the car work. We were both able to get our lap times down in the 5:15’s but we noticed that our temps were getting a little too high. We took the Turtle back to the pits to discuss a game plan to try to get the temps down. We gave the car a once over and swapped out the coolant for 100% water to help keep the temps down, and adjusted our sway bar setting to try and get the car tighter in the turns. Again we suited up, and headed out to run our qualifying laps. The Turtle ran great during the session, the temps were a bit cooler, but not the best. We were able to pull off a time to get us a 9th position start in the Prelims out of 17 other rigs. For only being our second race, and first Grand Prix, we felt great with our results.

GH2016-20160610_210126 GH2016-20160610_193508 GH2016-IMG_9888 GH2016-IMG_9904 GH2016-IMG_9916 GH2016-IMG_9913 Saturday, RACE DAY was upon us, and we had to get lined up early to run our Prelims at 8:45 AM. No time to change anything on our car but we were able to finalize our plan to try and get the temps down. We got lined up in our starting order, 9th back from the leader. We went into the race with the game plan of keeping the car safe and not over-pushing anything. We were OK starting 9th in the main and just wanted to get through the race. The green flag dropped and we were on the move. We were able to pass a couple of rigs and things were going great. We came over a hill leading into a flat section with a couple chicanes. We set the Turtle into a nice left handed drift to hug the inside course marker (giant Caterpillar tire) and then out of nowhere we hit a rut and hooked up. The Turtle was sent head-on for the tire. I tried to counter steer to the right to avoid the tire but it was to late. BOOM — We hit the tire like it was a wall, it sent us up in the air on the two right side wheels. So in a corrective attempt I cranked the wheels to the right and gassed it, hoping that we would be able to drive out of it, but to no avail. Over we went, rolling on the passenger side and coming to a haul back on the drive side. We had successfully rolled the Turtle for the first time. Darin and I checked in with each other to make sure we were good. The track officials rushed over to make sure we were OK and let us know they were going to flip us up-right. They got to work and we were back on our wheels quickly. We fired up the car and began to drive slowly to see if we could feel anything wrong. While I was sitting there on our side all I could think is “There goes our starting position”. I was feeling a little bummed but knew I had to get back in the groove of the race and finish it. We had time for a couple more laps in the Prelims so I started to pick up pace again. We brought the Turtle to the finish safely and then had to wait for the race results to be posted. To our surprise we stayed in 9th place, meaning we didn’t gain or lose any spots. It would have been nice to improve our starting position but we were happy to take the 9th spot.

GH2016-IMG_9932 GH2016-IMG_9927 GH2016-IMG_9925 GH2016-IMG_9912 GH2016-IMG_0114 GH2016-IMG_0094 GH2016-IMG_9969 GH2016-IMG_9979 Now that the Prelims were out of the way it was time to do some work on the rig to try and get the temps under control. Aaron from Fleet Works Services came up with a couple good ideas, top secret stuff. He went to work getting the car prepped for our main event. He was a great addition to the team as he has quite a bit of knowledge prepping race cars and working with teams at the races.

It was getting close to time to get ready for the main and Darin overheard on the PA that our class was getting lined up for the main. We were shocked as that was 30 minutes earlier than the original start time. We went into a mad scramble to get suited up and in the car. We sent one of our team members over to the track official to let them know we were on our way and his response was “We are all lined up, you can start from the back of the field.”  Oh boy — That meant we had to start 19th instead of 9th. We made it over just in time as they started rolling the field out… and yes, we were in last place with a lot of cars in front of us. Instead of getting discouraged with the officials or about being in last place,  we decided to take this opportunity to work on our passing skills and make the best of the situation. There were 6 rigs in front of us in the stock class and we knew we had to get past them ASAP to be able to run down the other rigs in our class. Our first pass came exiting turn one just after the green flag, and then our second and third shortly after that. We continued to work the field, making a couple more passes on lap one. By the time we finished our first lap we had gained 6 positions. Now we knew that if we were going to catch anymore we were going to have to push the Turtle as best we could. We were hoping that Aaron’s magical prep was going to keep the temps down and let us do the work we needed to. On the second lap we made another pass and then on the third we caught up to the lead pack of 4600 class rigs battling for position. Unfortunately for them, on the third lap one stalled on a hill and then two more got in a wreck just in front of us. That moved us into 10th during the third lap. On the 4th lap we caught up to another rig and were able race him down the front stretch of the short course and stuff inside to make the pass at the end of the section. By that point the leaders had us in their sights and were reeling us in. We knew that their cars were much better than ours and we were planning to just let them by. After the start line on lap 5 the leader was on our tail and he was letting us know with a few solid bumps on the triple up-hill singles, and then we let them pass to avoid getting taken out. Towards the exit of the short course section there was a rig rolled over, meaning for us another pass. Somewhere along the line we gained a few more positions simply by other rigs being in the hot pits or breaking out. Our temps were looking good and we just kept driving our race as though we were not in contention with anyone. We wanted to make it to the finish line and that is exactly what we did. We were able to bring the Turtle home to a finish on lap 10 in a VERY respectable 6th place… after starting 19th.

GH2016-JHooperHand-off 2 GH2016-IMG_9996 2 GH2016-IMG_9983 GH2016-IMG_9982 GH2016-IMG_9981 GH2016-IMG_9987 GH2016-IMG_9953 GH2016-IMG_9943 GH2016-IMG_9899 GH2016-IMG_0130 GH2016-IMG_0105 GH2016-IMG_0102 GH2016-IMG_0077 GH2016-checkerflag GH2016-20160610_182013 Oh yeah… a little exciting moment was that our in-car fire extinguisher got knocked loose and was bouncing around between the seats. We opted to swing by the hot pits and hand it off to one of our crew. No one needs projectiles in the race car. We would like to thank all of our sponsors for helping us get the Turtle to where it is today. ‪ProComp Tires, Rock Krawler Suspension, Axial Racing, Poison Spyder Customs, ‬ ‪Raceline Wheels‬, DJ Safety, Fuel Safe, Rugged Radios,‬ Magnaflow Exhaust, J. E. Reel Drivelines, CTM Racing, Rugged Routes,‬ Lasernut,‬ Currie Enterprises, sPOD, Artec Industries, PRP Seats, Luxwurx, A1 Higher Graphics

Building the full size SCX10XJ: Part 1

tech_scx10xj

Words: Scott G

When setting out to build a trail worthy rig, so many things go through your mind. What do you expect from the rig? What do you plan to do with it? What budget do you have to work with? These are all extremely important things to consider when selecting the donor vehicle. However, just know that no matter what you plan for, there will be extras needed, to include the expectations, plans, and budget. Building a 4×4 vehicle to go deep into the elements is not an easy task, and like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This means you have to outfit your choice with the best components available within your budget that will allow you to attain your goals.

This is not at all unlike developing the new SCX10, as all of the same parameters are considered, to include performance expectations and budget restraints. Not budget restraints for development, but budget restraints of our fans and customers. We often read the forums and see what people would like to see in the Axial vehicles. We are forced to make some difficult decisions when finalizing the package, as we want to include the world with these rigs, but also don’t want to ask for $699 for an RTR to get in the game. It is like that with all Axial products, so we do our best to aim for the sweet spot, enough features to perform at the top level, with a reasonable price tag. This is not an easy task. We are faced with the same decisions when building a full size rig. Do we want a supercharged V8, 1000 minimum on the RTI ramp, seating for 4, bulletproof axles? Of course we do, but the budget doesn’t allow for all of them, so we settle for what we can and have a blast doing it.

One of the most common things we read is…. “Oh no, not another Jeep vehicle”, well, I am here to tell you that most of us are Jeep people, so get over it. The Jeep brand is synonymous with the art of back country exploration with extreme reliability, exactly what we strive for with our little brand. It is a perfect marriage and we are happy.

When looking into new options for the new SCX10, we did what all outdoor enthusiasts do, we went into the woods to think about it, to do a little research. We were checking out all the rigs out on the trail and noticed that the XJ was a very popular rig for the most hardcore wheeler and for family back road exploration. We saw XJ’s that were exo-caged on 40′s all the way to bone stock 4×4′s loaded with the whole family and dog. This platform was exactly what we were looking for. It is one of the most popular 4×4 vehicles ever built, with millions of them on the road. Some say that Jeep actually invented the SUV with this release. It was not adapted right away for off-road use, as the old guard (Read: Wrangler, CJ5 and CJ7 owners) looked down upon these Jeeps, calling them cars with big tires, and promptly showing their owners the direction toward the nearest shopping mall or soccer field.

Some XJ inspiration we found on YouTube…

I personally had this experience with my 1993 Jeep grand Cherokee, I was given directions to the soccer field, immediately preceding my climbing an extremely nasty Granite rock face on Los Coyotes Indian reservation back in 1996. The CJ owners immediately began to bicker and argue that the other should climb it. Neither one did, nor did they express themselves again to me on the trail. They learned that day that a Unitized chassis wasn’t the end of the world, and that coil springs are like magic. The Cherokee (XJ) shared the same front suspension with the ZJ, though the XJ had leaf springs in the back, something the Jeep guys were used to back then. Any of the XJ’s and ZJ’s on the trail were hand built, as there were very few aftermarket components available with the exception of suspension which was primarily available to fit larger tires. We told some of our JK friends about our XJ desires and they immediately started flowing some memes our way, most of which we cant publish, but here are a few gems that made us laugh…

xjs

Thanks for the support guys…sheesh.

Fast forward 20 years, and these old grocery getters, mall crawlers or soccer field shuttlers are now extremely common to find on the trail. The off-road community has more than accepted them and many aftermarket companies now make a decent living supporting them. The hard part, finding a clean one-owner version with no rust and low miles, kind of like finding a Unicorn. One of Axial’s more predominant partners, Currie Enterprises, was at the forefront of developing suspension for these rigs so that they could be raced in a desert series called Jeep Speed back in the day. We consulted the Currie family and were introduced to Matt Chapman, the owner of the Cherokee that we based our SCX10XJ off of. As we have done in the past, we like to build the full size version of our scale rigs (see here…) to go out and experience what they can do, and stay on the forefront with regards to what the community is doing. At this time, Matt’s Cherokee was bone stock, as it had just been purchased and not modified yet. We elected to team with Matt and the Currie’s in effort to help develop the Full size XJ into an awesome trail machine all the while developing and testing our SCX10 II in tandem.

Here is a shot of Matt’s XJ when he got it, no rust with 150K miles…

After a good amount of research, we started to compile a list of necessities. We knew the rig had to be able to go with 4 door JK’s on 37′s, as most of Matt’s friends were rolling newer JK’s. We needed at least 35″ tires. Fitting 35′s under the Cherokee would require some proper fender flares and keeps the cops in Moab at bay. Notch Customs said “35″ tires with a 4″ lift, some welding required”. Currie makes a great suspension system for the XJ as well as their bulletproof Rock Jock 44 axles, and you know we love the performance of Icon Shocks. So, what we really needed was some armor. We looked long and hard at so many companies making XJ parts, and there is some awesome stuff out there. Russ at Notch Customs introduced us to JCR Off-Road, who ended up having one of the most complete armor systems available. Then we needed some lighting, the natural choice was Rigid powered by sPOD. Almost forgot wheels and tires. In effort to make the full size version look more like the RC, we elected to run a 35X12.50X17 BFG KO2 All Terrain wrapped around Method Mesh wheels. The 17″ wheel looks closer to a 1.9 than a 15″ wheel. Of course we needed some nice tone out of the 4.0 straight 6, so the XJ would need a Magnaflow exhaust. We had some details to sort but the main wish list was assembled!

First things first, the rig had to be made as reliable as possible by going through everything mechanical. We changed all the fluids, belts, hoses, pretty much everything we could to ensure reliability.

So, building a full size rig is just like building a scaler, get the base kit, then select all the options you wish to install. Here is our list!

2000 Jeep Cherokee XJ Parts list:
Currie Rock Jock 44 front high pinion axle with 4:56 gears
Currie Rock Jock 44 rear axle with 4:56 gears
Currie Rock Jock 4.5″ suspension system
Currie Antirock Sway bar system
EATON E-Locker rear, Detroit Locker front
JCR Vanguard Front winch bumper – No stinger
JCR Rear Bumper – tire carrier ready
JCR XJ Classic sliders
JCR Transfer case skid plate
JCR Gas tank skid plate
JCR Adventure roof rack
Notch Customs fender flares
Rigid 50″ E-Series LED bar
Rigid Dually x2 (front and rear bumper)
PSC Ram assist kit – steering
ICON Vehicle Dynamics 2.0 Aluminum shocks
Magnaflow exhaust
sPOD – Source with Bluetooth control
17X9 Method Wheels – Mesh (5)
35X12.50X17 BFGoodrick KO2 All Terrain tires (5)

Before we started the build process, Jamie Seymour, Axial’s R&D Industrial Designer and resident rendering expert whipped up this drawing for us to envision the build…

Stay tuned as we add more of this story in the coming weeks……