TEAM WAGGONER PLAYS IT CONSERVATIVE AND WINS!
Pictures & Words by Lindsay Waggoner
Anxious to get home and replace the starter, that cost the team their first place win the previous weekend in Reno, NV; Cody began making calls to see if the CalROCS Donner event was going to be a possibility. With only four days before the event Cody had to confirm a spotter and get the buggy running right.
The CalROCS Event was being presented by Axial, a current sponsor of the team and it was then that the ideal opportunity presented itself and Cody was ready to head back up to Northern California.
“It only seemed natural to ask Randall Davis, of Axial, to step in and spot for me, since my father was unable to make this event.” Randall was competing in the Axial/CKRC West Coast RC Championship in Donner, so it worked out perfectly.”
Axial could not have asked for a better marketing tool than Team Waggoner’s moon buggy, “Roxanne”. The green Axial panels stood out in the Donner landscape and drew a lot of attention. Axial is a manufacturer of high end remote control products and accessories. Spectators were able to view full scale, 1:1 rigs, in action along with the RC, 2:2 rigs; both competing in some serious rock crawling courses.
Team Waggoner’s plan for this weekend was to play it conservative and have FUN. After all, this was an added event and not part of their regular series. Cody had mentioned that it was a good time to make sure the buggy was running smooth before the final WE ROCK Series Event, which was being held next month in Oroville, CA.
“I was a little nervous about Randall spotting for Cody, especially since he had never spotted before. And Donner can be set up to have some pretty extreme courses.” Lindsay, Cody’s wife, commented. “But Randall was a nut, and proved to be a great asset to our team. He ran around, moved rocks and was extremely focused the entire weekend.”
From the first course Cody and Randall seemed to be communicating very well. The next three courses went just as planned. Playing it conservative has always been Cody’s style of rock crawling. “There is no reason to try and push my rig to the extreme until it is needed. I just drive like I know how to drive and do the best I can do. That seems to work out best for me. And Randall did an awesome job moving rocks and watching cones, which made my job that much easier.” says Cody. At the end of the first day of competition, Team Waggoner was content sitting in second place with only 6 points to make up on Sunday.
But before he can go rest for the night, it was off to compete in the Axial/CKRC RC Rock Crawling West Coast Championship event. Over 140 competitors had been competing all day on Saturday for a place in the finals on Sunday. Unfortunately, Cody broke a steering knuckle on the first course; and even with the help of his surprise “pit crew” he was unable to finish the course in time. His next course went smoothly, but ended up breaking again on the final course.
Without a top ranking score he lost his shot to compete on Sunday for the RC West Coast Championship Title.
Starting Sunday with only a few points to make up, it seemed more than possible for Team Waggoner to win the event. Still playing it conservatively they were able to watch the other competitors run each course which allowed Cody to see what they needed to do to stay on top and eventually take the point lead. “Rock crawling is sometimes like Chess, you have to figure out what move your opponent might make and then plan your move accordingly. And sometimes it works out to your advantage.” comments Cody.
The point leader, Dave Wong, had an unfortunate break on the second course Sunday which gave Team Waggoner the cushion they needed to move ahead in points.
But there was still Course B3, with the bonus line affectionately known as, “The Wall”, which would help solidify the point leader. A few of the competitors made the climb and a couple rolled off the side before getting to the top of it. Cody knew that he had to take the bonus, but didn’t like it. With one try Cody made a smooth climb to the top, well almost to the top, he slowed and stopped a couple feet short. Cody reflects, “When you are climbing at angles that extreme all you see is sky and you think you are at the top, but you’re not. Randall did his best to guide me, but once I slowed I knew we had to do something so I wouldn’t roll off the side, which was a long way down. And since we had the points to play with it was just easiest to have him throw the spotter strap on the buggy and pull the rest of the way instead of backing down to do it again.”
That decision was the right one and Cody finished the course with a score good enough to keep him in the point lead for the final course. The final course was just as technical as all the other courses over the two day competition. With only five points separating Team Waggoner from second place, Cody had to get through the course with minimum penalties and most importantly complete it.
Cody and Randall were both determined to bring the Axial sponsored rig to a “checker flag” finish, and that is exactly what they did!
With the help of Randall Davis, a great first time spotter, Cody Waggoner accomplished his 22nd career First Place Event win!
Team Waggoner will be battling it out for the First Place Series Title of the 2009 WE ROCK West Coast Series July 18-19 in Oroville, CA.