2011 Axial/MSD Scale Nationals: Class 2 and Axial Spec Class

Day two of the 2011 Axial/MSD scale nationals featured the Class 2 vehicles and the Axial spec class. Weather was a little better than the day before, rain in the morning, with some light clouds in the afternoon.

Arriving at the comp site, with a caffeine IV.

Competitors trickle in and line up for tech inspection by about 7am.

Miscellaneous competitors talk turkey as they try to wake up.

A few shots from the comp site.



Random rigs before the show gets underway.





Ty Giebel from Colorado was the first to run this course with his custom SCX10.


One of my favorite rigs from this year’s event.

Hold your line driver, winching was the safest way out on this obstacle.

NorCal’s Erik Gammon working his custom Toyota build, another one of my favorites.


One of the Axial spec class courses. Drivers had to negotiate a full course towing the trailer. Sounds easy right? It wasn’t, if you rolled the trailer you got dinged for points. If you jack knifed the trailer you got dinged for points. Last gate drivers had to back down off a rock and through the finish gate. Slow and steady was the key to negotiating that set of gates without any penalties.

Another spec class course. For this one you had to drive a waterproofed 2.2 Honcho through a wet, technical course with a big dirt hill climb at the finish.


Wraith spec course was a KOH style course where time was the deciding factor. He who made it through the fastest won. Congrats to Axial team driver Dean Hsiao for posting the fastest time of the day. That boy is good!







Axial team driver Ryan Gerrish extracting his custom SCX10.



Back at the shop after day 2 for the awards and raffle. Fellow competitors vote for the various awards that will be given out, like attention to detail, tackiest accessory, best tuber, etc


Setting up for the raffle and winner announcements.




Ben and his crew throw shirts and hats out to the competitors.

The crew is tired, but still rowdy.

A few more cool custom builds.




Class 2 winners
1. Luis Muzquiz
2. Lance Parker
3. Jerry Orton
4. Dan Garber
5. Nate Schmidt

Spec class winners
1. Brett Thorne
2. Aaron James
3. Matt Davis
4. Ben Palmer
5. John Ripplinger

That wraps up day 2. Stay tuned for the TTC coverage next.

2011 Axial/MSD Scale Nationals: Class 1 and 3

Axial teamed up again this year with Montana Scale Designs (MSD) to be the title sponsor of the 2011 MSD Scale Nationals in Helena, Montana. For those that may be new to the “Scale Nationals”, it is basically a hardcore competition for scale R/C rock crawling vehicles. Unlike the standard 2.2 competitions, these rigs are built to be as realistic as possible. Guys spent countless hours building these custom one off trucks, then show up in Montana to compete with some of the best builders/drivers in the country. These trucks are then put through a 3 day torture test to see which driver and vehicle can prevail/survive the weekend.

The setting for this years event was similar to last year, but with more water obstacles mixed in. If you have never attended the scale nationals, building waterproof vehicles is a must. Every year there is usually a fair share of water and mud to negotiate out on course, which is half the fun. This year was no different, there were many natural “scale” waterfalls integrated into the comp courses. Weather forecast for the weekend was rain too, so that just added to the mud and water levels.

The weekend started off for me and my companions at 6am sharp Friday morning when we met in the parking lot of our hotel, showered and ready to roll. From there we grabbed some coffee and supplies for the day, then hit the road for the short 15 minute drive to the comp site. We pulled into the comp site as rain and drizzle fell from the sky. Dark gray clouds assured us it would be a wet one, but the temps were warmer then expected which was nice. On Friday we ran 2 classes, the class one vehicles (aka the Street Class) and the class 3 vehicles (aka the Modified Class). For more info on the different classes and rules check out the scale rules thread on RCC. Here’s a rundown of the competition from Friday.

Competitors wait in line to have their trucks inspected to make sure they meet the rules.


One of the endless custom builds at scale nats this year.


Driver’s meeting


Event organizer Ben Palmer goes over the itinerary for the day.

A few course shots, there were a handful of bridges set-up for drivers to negotiate as well.



Bulu production’s Brett Carlson was on hand shooting video all weekend. Brett produced a full blown DVD of the event last year for sale to the public, which was awesome. Brett will also be doing a DVD of this year’s event as well.

Here’s a short teaser video that Brett edited together from this year’s event.

Axial team driver Dean Hsiao from northern California winching his custom class 3 rig up a slippery rock face.

Minnesota’s Ryan Overbye getting ready to start his first course of the day. Ryan was one of many that ran all 5 classes this year.


Andy Brooks made the trip out from Ohio with several cool custom rigs. Here’s his custom “Hack-a-lac” build in action.


This off-camber rock face was extremely slippery. Many competitors ended up sliding into one of the gates, if they didn’t fall off the rock, because of the total lack of traction. Ripsaw tires excelled here, Andy walked through this set of gates with zero drama.

Class one rigs awaiting their turn on the courses.

Class one Hummer doing work.


Once the day was done and all the scores turned in, everyone headed over to Ben Palmer’s shop for awards and some general mischief.

Ben starts the award announcements.

The Class one winners
Congrats to Team Axial Driver Patrick Norton from Texas for winning Class one. Also would like to thank team driver Zach Chatelain as well, for his 5th place finish. Great job guys!
1. Patrick Norton
2. Luis Muzquiz
3. Jerry Norton
4. Lance Parker
5. Zach Chatelain

The Class three winners
1. Luis Muzquiz
2. Lance Parker
3. John Ripplinger (Chad Hand pictured)
4. Devlin Shipley
5. Larry Lawther

That pretty much covers day one. Keep an eye for the next installment, Class 2 and the Axial Spec Class. Followed up by the Top Truck Challenge coverage. Who is ready rumble, and get really muddy?!?

2011 MSD Scale Nationals Spec Class Details

Axial is back again for the 2011 MSD Scale Nats as the title sponsor. This year’s dates are May 20th-22nd 2011.

We are very excited to be a part of this event again, and look forward to being there with our core customers. Last year we tried something a little different by doing a “spec class”. Basically, we donated five RTR Honchos. Four of those trucks were assigned to courses, and those trucks stayed at those courses all day. If you entered the spec class, you had to run the rig that was at each course in bone stock form. This class ended up being one of the most talked about classes all weekend, as it turned into a driver’s class, since no one rig had an advantage over the other. To top it all off, Axial gave the spec class vehicles to the top five drivers in that class when the event was over. So not only did drivers get to treat these rigs like a rental vehicle, they had a shot at keeping one if they placed in the top five.

Well, we are coming back to Montana this year to do the spec class again. Only this year there will be a Wraith on one course, a 2.2 Honcho on another course, a standard 1.9 RTR Honcho on another course and a stock Dingo for the last course. So, instead of driving 4 vehicles that are exactly the same, drivers will have to drive a totally different rig on each of the 4 courses. Should make for an interesting event to say the least, and we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. Plus, this will be the first time the general public gets a chance to drive a Wraith before they are even available in hobby shops.

So, without any more delay, here is your 2011 spec class line-up. We may have one more twist to add to this as well, but we will keep that a secret until it’s showtime!

Here’s the little “twist” we were talking about last week. All spec class competitors will be required to tow a trailer through the courses with the spec class Dingo. A huge thanks to www.ajsmachine.com for donating this sick trailer to us for use in the spec class this year. I think it will be a great new twist for this class.

Axial SCX10 Dingo with AJS Machine Adventure Trailer for MSD Scale Nationals

Interested in attending? Here’s a link to the MSD Scale Nationals Forum on RCC with all the event info.

If you pull into town and are needing any last minute parts, be sure to swing by The Hobby Garage. Ben and Aaron always have a full stock of parts on hand.

The Hobby Garage
2611 North Montana Ave
Helena, MT
(406) 422-1222