Axial Travelogue: AWCC Finals 2011

Wors & Photos: Rodney Wills

With a few weeks of fever-pitch AWCC pre-event preparation behind us, we were excited to get out of the office! There is just something about traveling and getting out to see new landscapes that is exciting. We have our GPS coordinates set for Cisco Grove Campground located just below Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. With this being a road trip with opportunity to see old friends, make new ones, camp out in tents, drive R/C vehicles in the name of competition and get our G6 challenge on, all makes for a fun trip in store!

June 21, 2011, It was the Tuesday prior to the AWCC Finals weekend. Brad “Bender” Dumont and myself are loaded into the ADV80 like well rehearsed Mt Everest sherpa’s with a military CH-47 Chinook!
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
It’s just the two of us traveling in my rig, but we are loaded to the roof! I was avoiding the wind drag as I have a fully capable roof rack. But we are liable to pick up something on the way back and may need valuable cargo space!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Our route starts with the 91-FWY that sends the largest portion of Orange County residents from the O.C. Eastwardly. Our road-trip should be approximately a twelve hour seated endevor as we are choosing to drive up the more scenic HWY 395 to the Sierra’s.

No trip is without the potential for drama and or accidentals. Brad and I are just in morning motion as we drive along, the morning sun is starting to creep over the mountains. Everything is just clicking along serene and smooth as we making our way from the 91FWY and onto the 15FWY. The 15FWY has this section before the Cajon Pass that is rough due to the amount of heavy loaded trucks getting out of “Dodge” but more known more for 18-wheelers getting knocking over due to high winds, and while it may have had the smallest of breezes we witnessed this horrific accident first hand!
Motorcycle accident on the 15FWY - East Bound June 21, 2011

But wind did not strike this rider down as we where traveling east. He was struck by a tire that came from a vehicle traveling in the west bound lane. The tire struck the motorcycle diagonally on his front wheel at such speed that it knocked the motorcycle over and out of control. Look at the image above and note how the front fender is bent inward as this was the impact point of the car tire that flew from the other side of the freeway. We never saw the wheel coming from the other lane as the bike blocked our vision of the flying tire! I had to change lanes quick to avoid running over the motorcycle and rider as they slid from two lanes left of me. It was a horrific moment! The rider was coherent, but suffered a broken left arm from our observation. Police and peramedics where quick onto the scene. Another driver stopped along with a few others, but this particular driver was behind us and saw the tire come from the other lane. Brad and I looked at each other with grief and disbelief and we both knew at that moment, if it was not for the biker, that tire would have hit my rig for sure! Talk about early wake up!!! Once CHP & paramedics arrived and we update them of the situation I chose to continue on and chose to do so as I have seen and been involved in my fair share of motorcycle accidents. I can handle all of my own pain but get the “heebeegeebee’s” with other’s pain. All this gives me the flashbacks for which I have to count my blessings and I now always ride with the “jewelry” Leatt Brace!

OK, let’s get back to calm and serene:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
AND SCENIC! Cool old ghost town in-them-there-hills!
ATK 605 First Outting to the DESERT! July 2010
In “desert season” you will see hundreds of off roaders from from all vehicular aspects hanging round the ghost town of Randsburg. Especially the General Store and they serve food and AWESOME MILK SHAKES!
Randsburg General Store in Randsburg, CA. ATK 605 First Outting to the DESERT! July 2010

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Jeff and Brent are traveling in the AXL Motorhome as we meet up along the freeway.

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
It’s June and still signs of snow on the mountains as we skirt the Sequoia National Forest.

Refuel time:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Brent’s girlfriend hooked him/us up with some cupcakes!!! WOW! Talk about refueling!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Back on the road and next stop is Bishop with a purpose!


GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
The main purpose to stop in Bishop is for the Meadow Farms Country Smoke House! This was tipped off to the Axial Crew by Scott Hughes as this has been a family traditional stop off. It must be his squirrel activity keeping his slim stature if this is his eating spot!

The door at Meadow Farms Country Smoke House…

All kinds come through here!
And all kinds of cool vehicles come through the parking lot too:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
My ADV80 will get the overland expedition treatment one day! Things to add and check off the list:
__ Snorkel
__ Winch
__ Suspension
__ Rear Mounted Spare
__ Gas / Water Can
__ GET A/C FIXED FIRST!!!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Back on the road…

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Co-piloting and cupcakes make for nap nap time. Bender bending time – teleporting himself to the rocks already…

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Snow coverage is a bit thicker as we traverse north.

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Got any more of those cupcakes in there? Just put one on the stick and hand it out the window!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Mono Lake

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
She will be coming around the mountain when she comes… How does that song go? The AXL-MH rolling into the big metropolitan city of Bridgeport, Ca.
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Where they watch paint dry for fun:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
The all-mighty ADV80!

More scenic views as we are making our way to the “big mountains!”
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground

Hey, what are those things called again?
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
SIGNS! Oh yea, almost forgot! And we get to make a navigational change too!
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Just up and over that little hill and we will be looking down onto Lake Tahoe!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
It’s been over fifteen years since I have seen this lake!


And back to Southern California in the blink of an eye! Did Brad take over this thread? Did he teleport himself through the event and back home already?

No… Just some good ol’ Lake Tahoe road construction…

More climbing and we know we are getting close!
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Coming up on Donner Pass and I get a history lesson!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Now we know we are close!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Check in time and sort the details… Pink floaties or purple raft?

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Camp is made and time for some quick dinner from chef Brent Brammer. Have you seen his cooking show? The one with the BBQ and pork chops… oh, sorry, they had to take that one down too!?

Brent fires up the quick stove:
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground

This would be my first experience with Brent in the woods…

His cooking is simply AWESOME!!!

GCRad1's HWY 395 Trip to Axial West Coast Championships AWCC 2011 at Cisco Grove Campground
Night:30 and good night! It was a long day! Time to crawl into my sleeping bag.

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 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-sixism this year!

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (16)

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 G6ers, the rougher and less traveled, the better! But what is this G6 Challenge that has Trail Honchos in a frenzy to adventure into the unknown?

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (149)

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 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 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:

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (177)

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!!!

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (178)

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

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (143)

Jeff and I being first time G6ers, 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.

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (172)

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!

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (137)

Rules EASY! Don’t hit trail markers and don’t hit boundaries. Have FUN! Started Stewart G. with assistance from Brad Bailey while starting other G6ers 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!

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (225)

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

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (222)

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 April 2nd, 2011 (168)

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:

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (210)

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!

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (153)

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.

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (233)

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

FIRST PLACE:

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

SECOND PLACE:

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

THIRD PLACE:

Brain Parker presents Tom Swanson with Third Place at RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011

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

TOUGH LUCK AWARD:

Brent Brammer of Axial At RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011

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.

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (119)

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

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (243)

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

RECON G6 CHALLENGE Gamblers Paradise Presented By Axial Las Vegas Nevada April 2nd, 2011 (170)

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