There is something going on every single day at Axialfest and whatever it is, it’s going to be something exciting! One of those must attend events is the Rock Racing event. Rock Racing is certainly not new like the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, but it is still an event that many spend lots of time prepping for… or not. Like many driving opportunities during this week of off-road excitement, Axial has designed Rock Racing to be attended by anyone. So yes, you’ll see the experienced driver who probably spent the last few months hunkered down in his basement building a machine that could take on the terrain of a nuclear warzone or go head to head with a vehicle from a Mad Max movie and you’ll also find the driver that just showed up after removing a vehicle from a Ready to Run box. So is Axialfest Rock Racing really for you? We’re going to run you through the scene and expect to see you next year.
Although it’s safe to say, the first rule to an Axialfest Rock Race is to simply have fun, there are additional rules to help insure that rule number one happens. To do that, your rig gets a quick inspection and placed into a specific class to complete with similarly equipped vehicles. Kids classes are an option too and no, they do not go by mental age. By separating the various styles of rigs into specific classes, it levels the playing field a bit and now just build and driving skill is used to determine who will finish on the podeum. We’ve listed the nine classes available here and for a full break-down of the rules for each class can be found HERE.
Rock Race Classes
10-Under Kids Class – 1.9 & 2.2 Combined
11-15 Kids Class – 1.9 & 2.2 Combined
1.9 Factory SCX10 Class
1.9 Frame Rail Class
Factory Bomber Class
Wraith – OPEN Class
2.2 Tube Chassis Class
EXO/Bomber – OPEN Class
2.2 Tube Chassis Class
Smack dab in the middle of Cisco Grove Campground is a field like area with an abandoned tennis court surrounded by some rough terrain that most people pass through heading back and forth from the trails to vendor row and the pavilion where registration, concourse and the awards ceremony take place. To some, this midway, is just more terrain of a campground, but to the trained eye of trail building master John Schultz and some eager volunteer crew members, this terrain will be staked out and turned into a rock infested, jump littered, obstacle ridden, chassis scraping moguls; you get the idea a wild rock racing course. The zone for the driver to trek over isn’t exactly a park path either so be prepared with proper attire and watch where you step.
DRIVING AND STRATEGY
Many participants are excited and some amped up on energy drinks for the three lap sprint around the course. Qualifying takes place first and is pretty intense. Drivers are separated into heat races and trucks are lined up on the grid. When the start is called, it’s full throttle for all on the tennis court surface and a hoard of wheel spinning rigs head for the first obstacle which typically resulted in a pile of intertwined machines with wildly spinning wheels. This is where the strategy starts. Do you pull the trigger with the rest of the pack at the starting tone, or do you wait and snake through the clumps of chaos. Or do you go for it and hope you make it through the first obstacle unscathed? Things to think about, but it doesn’t end there. There is a lot of work ahead of you. Running as fast as you can, yet pacing yourself as not to tire out or overdrive your rig or even stumble on your footing. This Rock Racing isn’t like many locations in the country that have conventional RC tracks with driver’s stands. Here you are on the ground running and attacking a much larger course. There are no marshals to flip your truck over on the course either. If you’re rig goes belly-up, there it lies unless you can right it over with some wicked throttle and steering work. How does the staff keep track of who is placed where? The seasoned pros that make up rock racing crew keep a careful eye on who placed where and track finishes in a notebook; simple but effective for this ultimately fun event. When each of the heat rounds finishes, drivers are placed into mains depending on their finishes and that is when strategy tends to go out the window and drivers go all out in their drive to take home a trophy.
At Axialfest 2017, the event had a “Prospector” theme and that carried over to the rock racing event as gold panning pans with decals inlaid in the center indicating the event and finish were given out to the top three finishers in each class. Each year, the theme changes and so does the awards to keep excitement levels high. Who finished where? Check out the top three finishers in each class along with their awards HERE
ARE YOU IN?
Rock Racing at Axialfest means dedication before and during the event if you want to roll home with the hardware. But if you’re in it for the pure fun of close competition and testing the limits of your rig, then once again this is the scene to be involved in at Axialfest. Congratulations to all of those who participated at this years event, the racing was intense for the spectators to watch as well. If you weren’t there this year, start your preparations for 2018 now!