Bomber Adventure – Skeeno Completes an Altra Ultra 5K Enduro

Skeeno Completes an Altra Ultra 5K

Words and photos by: Matt ‘Skeeno’ Soileau
Guest photography by: The Great Dominic Longoria

IMG_20170930_113508The ScaleUltra.com tour made a stop in Reno, Nevada recently, so I finally got a chance to redeem myself after having to DNF in the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro at Axialfest 2017 due to a broken servo. If you’re not familiar with this race, you can read up on it’s history here: Altra Ultra 5K History

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Since the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is a self supported race, I needed to make sure I had what I needed to finish. First up was making sure I had enough mAh to power my RR10 Bomber for over 3 miles. You can learn more about mAh/mile here: mAh/Mile  I didn’t take any chances and charged up all my batteries, 15,800mAh! I hoped it would be enough.  I also packed my tools and water into my hydration pack.

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The next morning when I arrived, there was already a good sized crowd gathered at the Wild West Motorsports Complex.

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The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro was part of a larger event hosted by CKRC Hobbies that included comp crawlers, rock racing, and scale trails. CKRC’s Jason Copeland was handling the sign ups and even had some tasty doughnuts for anyone that wanted them.  I wanted them, but decided I better refrain since I was about to run/jog/speed-walk/hike for over 3 miles. I did grab one after I finished, and they were delicious.

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It was easy to find the race coordinator with this sweet wrapped Sprinter van. I couldn’t resist a quick photo with my Bomber. Also, that guy is wearing my favorite Altra model, the Lone Peak 2.5.

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Mr. Chris Cru Jones was already set up and taking entries. Check out those sweet decals from S.O.R. Graphics. What’s that stuff behind Chris?

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Those are some sweet finishing prizes, hats, windbreakers, Camelbaks, kits, RTRs, and my favorite…

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…these Axial Adventure sweatshirts.  XL too, just my size.

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You probably recognize these 801 legends, MikeyT and PaulieB!

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Mr. Chris Cru Jones gave us a quick driver’s meeting, so we all knew the rules. The rules are pretty basic, finish as fast as you can.

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Can you find the Skeeno Bomber?

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Mandatory group photo of the Fourteen Fuegos. Don’t be scared to come run an Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, you don’t really have to run the entire time.  My goal was to keep a good pace and finish.

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Here’s a POV shot what it’s like to run a Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. It’s amazing how the difficulty level is raised when you are trying to hustle down the trail and drive at the same time.  It’s hard to watch your driving line and running line at the same time.  I can’t tell you how many times I center punched a rock with my front differential because I wasn’t watching my Bomber for a second.

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The first part of this race was a pretty good climb to the top of this hill, 500′ of climbing in .3 mile. According to my Strava data, it was a 25-30% grade.

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Luckily, there were some fun technical sections near the top to take your mind off the climbing.

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Almost to the top here.

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Those flags are the top, thank goodness!

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I was feeling it already and this was only the first lap.  There were three laps in this race.

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Ok, just kidding.  That wasn’t the top.  It was a false peak, and there was one last climb to the summit. That’s my trail-buddy, Tony Mazza down there.

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He was getting close to these flagstone kickers.  It’s probably not the wise choice, but jumping was the fun choice.

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I even waited to catch a photo of Mr. Mazza’s Bomber taking the jump.

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We trail-raced at the summit for a while, so I could catch a few photos.

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Ol’ Mista Werty was commissioned to be course marshal at the midway point.  I’m not sure why he has that umbrella, I don’t see any rain clouds in the sky.

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After the summit, we turned and headed back towards the start.

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Mr. Mazza left me in his dust when I stopped to refuel my Bomber.  Maybe I need to rethink my battery capacity.  5000mAh packs sound like a better choice than the 2200mAh packs I usually run.

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You can see the start at the top, left of this picture. That’s about half a mile from here according to my Strava.

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There was some fun technical sections back here.  Here Mighty Mike T.  pops an ollie down this section.

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Mikey T. was pretty pleased with his performance, so much so that he even paused for a photo for me.

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When arriving at this section the second time, I quickly ran over to the Dominic Longoria of CKRC requested he catch some photos of me while he was live streaming.

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Dom took some great shots for trying to execute two film duties at once all while commentating. You are a great multitasker, Mr. Longoria.

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I remember that rock trying to trip me, but my Altra Lone Peak 3.0′s kept me sure footed.

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After an exciting event, I was excited to finish in the Top 10. When looking at my lap times, it was clear my decision to run lower capacity 2200mAh batteries as well as stop to take photos affected my time.  These choices slowed me down, and without them, I think I would have cut almost 10 minutes off my lap times and finished several places higher.  Perhaps I’ll rethink my strategy at the next Altra Ultra 5K Enduro.

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So who wound up on top? Mike Thompson wearing the number 20 took home the win in a time of 1:08:21 with his personal fast lap being 22:03.7.  The “Altra Hot Lap” winner was Brandon Copeland (17) who set a blistering pace of 18.44 and finished second overall in 1:09:41.1. Taking the final podium spot was Paul Blackner (19) finishing in 1:14:11.9 and clicked off a personal fast lap of 23:03. Congrats on your finishes and walking home with some impressive Axial and Altra prizes. Congratulations are also in order for everyone who participated in the event as well as the staff behind the show. Now, will we see you at the next Altra Ultra 5K?

Find out more about Altra Ultra 5K Events:
ULTRA 5K ENDURO HISTORY
Athletic RC Adventure Mashup – Inside the Axialfest Altra Ultra 5K Enduro

Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 3

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Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 3

Words: Matt Soileau aka The SKEENO’naterrater
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt Soileau

By now I hope you have read Part-1 and Part-2 of the Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Reports. This Part-3 report will cover Friday, July 14 of AXIALFEST 2017.

Friday events included the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro and the inaugural AXIALFEST parade. I also got out to check out lots of trail action.  Let’s go see check out day 3 of AXIALFEST 2017.

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Real or RC? Across the way from us, I spotted this 1:1 SCX10-2 XJ, or should I say the inspiration for it.  Note the license plate. Does it look like the Axial version? Peep the blog post: Building the full size SCX10XJ: Part 1 It’s very cool to come to AXIALFEST and see this kind of stuff in person!

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There was also this OG SCX10-1 JK replica on the other side of my campsite.  Axial fans even love to scale out their 1:1s!

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Friday morning, bright and early at 7 a.m. was check in for the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro.  I got up and made sure I was fueled for the race.  This was my first time running a 5K, so I was a little nervous. My breakfast choice is more for calming my nerves!

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Our breakfast must have smelled pretty good, because this little bugger was drawn over by the smell all the way down in D camp.  Actually, this is Nate Hart, an old RC nerd from Reno, former A-Main Hobbies tech support guy, and fellow bike nerd.  I’ve know Nate since he was a little 12 year old grommet. Great to see him at AXIALFEST.

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Here I am all kitted out with orange Altra Lone Peaks, orange striped socks, and orange shirt.  I heard if your kit matched your rig you’d get a time bonus. #KitMatchesRig It might be a thing…

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Chris Cru Jones of Altra Running was all smiles, after all, this event was partially his creation along with Rodney Wills.  You can read about the origins of the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro here: ULTRA 5K ENDURO HISTORY

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Chris got busy getting our buddies from the 801 crew signed up. These guys are one of the most progressive clubs in the scene!

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Cassie Currie was already checked in and getting his batteries ready.  Matt Kearney and Jaime Seymour don’t look as enthused about being up at 7 in the morning. Late night trail runs maybe… ?

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RCDriver’s Greg Vogel, #rodneysaiditwasok Wills, and the Judkins were all smiles and ready to watch the action.

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Mike Thompson was getting some scale shots with the scale banners from scaleultra.com. Check them out for more Altra Ultra 5Ks.

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After I got my race bib, I lined up in the correct spot. Racers started in numerical order, so I started in 47th place. By the way, that sweet wrap on my Bomber was done by Jay at S.O.R.  He did lots of rigs for AXIALFEST participants!

Screenshot_20170714-115549I’d like to say that this is me finishing the Altra 5K, but sadly this is just me on lap 3 or 4.  I DNF’ed halfway through lap 5.  I needed 6 laps to complete the race.  #SadFace
A stripped servo was my personal gremlin. Now, I want that new Tekin servo even more!  Hey Ty@Tekin, hint, hint, wink, wink.

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Turns out, the DNF was a semi-good thing.  It allowed me to take some photos of the other competitors that I otherwise would not have had time for.

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Here, Ben Thomas hooks the corner at the Start/Finish line. Rodney, Cathy and Mike Morris were the official visual lap-counters relaying bib numbers and “line-crossed” to Scott G on the computer. This system is very much the same for MTB and cross country races. AXIALFEST has a lot of progression of R/C all around us with these types of events and we are very stoked to be apart of it all!

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Jason from Pedals bike shop mobs his SCX10-2. He was able to finish the race with this mostly stock rig, so don’t think you need to upgrade to race.

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Hey look, the Phaminator, Phamtastic, Mike Pham gets a brief second to stand static as we are always on the move during the the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro.  I guess Chris and Jawn did convince him to participate!

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This young lady was jamming.  We diced it up for a while until my servo gave up on me. Her stock RR10 Bomber finished. She was our one and only female competitor this year.
I expect to see more ladies joining her next year! I know Skeeno Jr is ready.

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Anthony Dianda set some impressive lap times with his stock SCX10-2.  Are you catching the theme here?  Stock is good for the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro. Stock is good… At least you should try it so you know where the base line is. It’s that old 4X4 rule of thumb, learn to drive it stock, know your rig and when you modify you will know the full effect (full value) of the performance addition or if it’s truly an addition… #Dollar2PerformanceValue

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CKRC’s Alec Van Den Brink makes his way thought the dry creek.

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On the other side of the road, the creek was still flowing, yet just two weeks prior this trail was completely under water due to the amount of rainfall, snow pack melt earlier in the year.

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The section behind the pavilion was both fun and frustrating.  These rocks were difficult to navigate, but it made the racing exciting with lots of drivers trying to drive around or over one another. It was also a moment of respite from our running flat out! The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is both technical driving and physically demanding! Just like a 1:1 KOH rig! Have your ever watched the live feed of King Of The Hammers as the drivers come across the finish line? They are WIPED OUT looking!

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Battery changes are almost a must when racing for over 3 miles flat out!  I personally swapped a battery every lap and half. I was running 2200mah batteries. I might need to rethink my mah rating to save some pit stops next year. #mahpermile

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All the coolest people race the Altra 5K. Here Ryan Gerrish from DSPro comes out of the Bottoms.

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Ben Thomas’s headband was working overtime here.

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Tony Mazza was in it to win it.  He passed me at least once.

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Not sure who #39 was, but he was kind enough to pose for me in the middle of the race.

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Team Voodoo coming through!

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Here’s Mr. Van Den Brink sprinting in to the finish.  If you want to see more of the AXIALFEST Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, check out this blog post: Athletic RC Adventure Mashup – Inside the Axialfest Altra Ultra 5K Enduro

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After the Altra 5K Enduro, I was a little hungry. Lucky for me, Starkey’s Food Truck was back with the bomb pizzas and sushi! Yes, I said sushi and so should you!!!

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Wood fired pizza oven! This is the real deal!!!

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Team MRB’s Franky Testa shows off the goodness…mmmmm.

DSCF1360 After lunch, I headed out on some trails to check out the trail action.  The river was finally flowing again this year.  With temps in the 90s, the water was looking really tempting.

DSCF1355 The rocks down at the river are slippery smooth.  The scattered sand makes them even more challenging.

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Some awesome rocks and lines over here.

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Hello there!

DSCF1362 Looks like this guy remembered his neck cooler, anything to try to keep cool.

DSCF1364 I caught the 801 Crew celebrating a birthday. I think it was the Utah gang, I see Mikey T and THE Jake Wright in there. Forgive me if it’s not.

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We all sang him happy birthday.  He was so pumped, he threw his rig in the air.

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One of the cool things I noticed this year was some new features cut into Hell’s Highway.

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It made the long walk down the hot road a little more interesting.

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I don’t know who cut all these features into Hell’s Highway, but BRAVO! Great idea and I appreciated your hard work.  It couldn’t have been easy moving all that dirt and rock.

DSCF1379Best part of Hell’s Highway for me was not having to walk it.  I brought my putt-putt again this year.  The old CT70 makes catching all the action A LOT easier.  I did catch old Putt-Putt ogling this DRZ400.  Think he’d trade me for a lightly modified CT70 turned 125?

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Dad and son about to conquer Hell’s Highway.  AXIALFEST is great family binding time.

DSCF1383 Can’t be an AXIALFEST without at least one trip up and down The Slab.

DSCF1385 I caught Butte County Scalers over behind The Slab.  This is a popular spot because of the water. DSCF1388 See how pretty it was back behind The Slab this year?  It was great to have some water running again.

DSCF1389 Down the way, I ran into Papa Don Hughes trying out this teeter-totter.

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It teerered, but it needed a little persuasion to totter. I think that rock was blocking  it.

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I Trail?  A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I? That’s 9 Trails!?!? Actually, there were 11 trails.  10 scale trails plus the Altra Ultra 5K trail that opened after the 5K was finished. Not sure how many miles of trails there were, but I hope you pack some mega mah when you come to Axialfest. Who is tracking their miles hiked at AXIALFEST? STRAVA anyone?

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I caught up with this crew up front by the gate.

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Let me tell you a little secret, sometimes I miss some shots and ask guys to drive lines again, so I can get better pictures.  I felt like a huge jerk when I re-positioned that silver rig up there and accidentally pulled apart part his roll ball.  I apologized profusely. I hope I didn’t bum out his AXIALFEST participant.  Sorry again, good sir!

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Of course, up by the campground’s main entrance is the Welcome to Cisco Grove sign.  Looks like it needed some maintenance. I caught this little guy working on it…or maybe he was posting up a garage sale sign.

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Around the corner and through A camp, I ran into Werty Jr. He was piloting his dad’s RC wagon.  He told me his dad was just back across the bridge, so I turned around to say hello.

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Ol’ WERTY really wanted to show off his short wheel base leaf spring conversion he had just finished up.

DSCF1407Stock Axial frame rails?  Nicely done, Werty!  If you want those parts, I’m sure he’ll make you up a set as well. PS: Rodney said he wants to commandeer a set!

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Ok, here was one of the coolest features at AXIALFEST.  The 50/50 grinding rail on the CKRC Trail.  Speeds on this were insane. But one of the coolest videos was one where the dude slid down the rail and at the bottom, pinned it and jumped over his buddy! Can anyone find and send us a link to that video? Think it was on IG.

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A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and 5K.  Yup, 11 trails.  Luckily, there were these signs all over to direct you in the right direction to find them all.

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Dang, these two Jeeps are still kissing?

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I had heard rumors of all kinds of scale buildings and whatnots all over the Scale Trails, so I went on a mission to find some.  I’m sure I missed plenty, but here are some that I did find.

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On the way in I saw these guys coming out.

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General rule is if it’s not yours, don’t touch it.  Volunteers work long, hard hours building these fun displays, so it’s best to leave them alone, so everyone can enjoy them.

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Mine Shaft!

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Cabin?  Old Mill?  What do you think it is?

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Hmm, gated.  What does that sign say?

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No way! An Area 51? Could there be aliens at AXIALFEST?

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Holy moly! A UFO crash site!  And I see at least three green guys.  If they are green, they must be Axial fans.

 

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An old log cabin.

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Another mine shaft.

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Not really scale, but there was this bridge I caught a couple Axialfesters driving over.

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A Mercantile. I wonder if they sell Axial parts.

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Scale Cisco Grove was back.

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I love this building, so awesome. It’s a replica of Cisco Grove’s main office!

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A little bit of everything over here, EZ-Up, picnic table, water wheel, cabins.

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The A-Main Jeeps was packed to the gills and ready to hit the trails.

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Must be a bad neighborhood if they have to post wanted signs. Recognize any faces?  I see #rodneysaiditwayok Wills up there.

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Wait, another mercantile? Looks like I got here just in time to foil a robbery. They had the owner all tied up. I guess it is was a bad neighborhood.

IMG_20170712_155012_1 Good thing I ran into R. Lee Ermey. I sent him over to handle those idiots in the mercantile.

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Since it was hot, and since there was water, I decided to take a little wade to cool off my tootsies over at the Golden Nerd Bridge.

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There was lots of action over here.

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Everyone wanted to conquer these scary, but fun obstacles.

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It’s a little nerve wracking when you can’t quite see what your rig is doing near water 50 feet away.

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Some Axialfesters, like Heather O’Connor, also decided to wade next to their rigs. See Mike in the background?

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He pulled out his boat and we got a little scale speed boating action going.

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When will Axial release a boat?  What kind of boat should Axial produce?

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See, that’s a long drive across.

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I didn’t see many speed demons blasting across these bridges.

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There were lots of families enjoying the cool water.

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Some even offered to escort trucks across in case any accidentally decided they were amphibious.

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Dang this day seems long, must be that getting up at 7am thing.  Anyway, I headed back for dinner and couldn’t resist checking out the Knight Customs Toyota display again.  I thought this was a brilliant way to see all his parts in action.

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Finally, food.  Tacos was the treat.  Can’t eat too many tacos.

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Tonight was carne asada night. What’s your favorite camp food?

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After dinner it was the First Annual AXIALFEST Parade. I stopped by Mike Bier’s camp on the way to the parade. He was showing off his Go Hard jersey from the Grinduro mountain bike race. The Grinduro is sort of an AXIALFEST of the MTB world, part race, part party, and total celebration of MTB.

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This jersey is awarded to the rider who goes the hardest each night and finishes the best the following day.  Mike Bier has the skills to do both. You can check out the Grinduro here: https://grinduro.com/

 

IMG_20170714_193207That’s a long line.  Can we make it even longer next year?

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I knew Two Chainz Scalerz would be at the parade.

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Wait, what? Are those 8-ohm house speakers up there? Did he carry those relics on Fordyce?

 

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Go time! Best of Show Concourse winner, Todd Pearson, got the honor of leading the parade with his amazing military build.

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Around the corner, Matt Wolfe set up this flaming Arch de’ AXIALFEST.

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See the flames shooting out the top?

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I see the Pro Line guys stopped to shoot some video.  They always have great video recaps of AXIALFEST.  Look for them on their YouTube page.

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This good looking crew was a set up and ready to watch the parade.

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After the parade, I was ready to hit the sack. This was my longest day at AXIALFEST and my feet and body were ready for some rest.  I needed to recharge, because tomorrow would be another long day of fun at AXIALFEST.

In Part 4 of the Skeeno AXIALFEST 2017 Report, I will be covering Rock Racing and the Awards Ceremony and Raffle on the final day of AXIALFEST 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 2

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Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 2

Words: Matt “Skeeno” Soileau
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt “Skeeno” Soileau

I’m sure you’ve read Part-1 of the Skeeno Report.  In Part-1, Wednesday of AXIALFEST 2017 report, I saw registration and tech and visited lots of vendors.  This Part-2 post will cover my second day at AXIALFEST 2017, Thursday, July 13.

I saw more vendors, more people on trail, and lots of great builds as I helped judge the concourse. So, without further ado, let’s go!

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I told you I’d get back out after I ate that bacon.  Here’s me cooking up breakfast for Mike and myself.

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We called it the Conglomerate; fresh eggs from my chickens, bacon, hash browns, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheese. Mmmmm.

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So, yesterday was registration. Here’s what was in the swag bags this year.  Lots of goodness in there.

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My trail tracker didn’t get much use.  I was busy with my AXIALFEST duties, so I only ran the Altra 5K Enduro this year.  If Joe Ferguson makes it down from Canada or Marcos Rojas makes it up from Costa Rica next year, I will make it a point to get some trails in with them. If Chris Scheurer from Austria comes, Daniel Siegl and I will make him another nice warm cup of bacon grease.

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I updated my patch rack when I got home. Who has all of these?

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I’m starting to get a good collection of AXIALFEST memorabilia.
How’s your collection coming along? Sorry, I’ve been lucky enough to be in the inside…

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I might need to build a new closet or trophy room just to hold all my AXIALFEST swag. Sadly, my older AXIALFEST shirts got a case of the mildews and tatters, so Mrs. Skeeno tossed them when I wasn’t looking.

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Alright, enough reminiscing about past AXIALFEST’s. Right next to Camp Skeeno, Canyon Coolers snuck in overnight and set up shop.  They had lots of product to display and a comfy couch to relax on.

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A couple spots from Canyon Coolers, I saw this beast from Rebel OffRoad.
Much want in this thing!

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I’m very jealous of the Rebel Off Road crew.  I’d love to overland in that.

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Vanquish Products also must have snuck in after hours because here I spotted old Bobby T manning the booth.  Bob Tarvin has been an Axial fan since way back. He’s also a pretty amazing photographer.

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Down at the Pro Line Racing tent, Paul was giving swag away.  Not to be greedy, I scored this XXXL sweatshirt for our friend, Mr. Tree. What did you get from the Pro Line booth as I heard all kinds of cool items flowed from this claim?

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Speaking of “claims” Pro Line also had this scale mine out for photos.

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Remember S.O.R. Racing that was next to Pro Line?  Well, here’s the downtube wrap he made for my bike.  He can make custom vinyl for just about anything.  Hit up Jay Kendall if you need some custom work. Sorry my bike is a little dirty.

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I had to go for a ride as soon as I got back.  Also, yes, I do still run a 2X crank, so what. I heard Rodney still has a triple in his collection.

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Over at Tekin, they had some old and some new on display.  I love Tekin.  I run the RX8 in my Altra Bomber. It wasn’t the ESCs and motors that caught my eye this year….it was the servos.

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Hold up! New servos from Tekin?  I can say that these are amazing just from what I heard!  Infinitely adjustable endpoints that are programmable. Just pop on your servo horn and go.  No more lining up the center.  Also, it’s almost like there are no gears, they are sooooo smooooooth.  Maybe they mount directly to the motor.  They tried to explain it all to me, but I’m not a electronics nerd,  so I’m not sure.  But, I am sure that I want, want, want one of these for my Altra Bomber.  Ty, if your reading this, feel free to send me one.
Ty, can you hear me back there!

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Here’s why Gigabit Games rules.  They like goats, I have goats.  A match made in heaven.

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Boom Racing was also back with a huge display.

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Jason Tsang wanted to make sure I got it all in, so I took two pictures.

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Knights Customs was back and with much coolness on display. No not James, the product! OK, James, your cool too..

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Knight Customs make so many amazing accessories. That Pull Pal is available fully folding with a custom mount.  It was… truly amazing.  He also had the new Bug Out Racks available.

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Knights Customs had these genius displays with clear bodies.

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Knights Customs also brought out their scale shop. Check out the scale Axial boxes.

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Pedals had their Kona Big Kahuna on display.  Some lucky Axialfester took this home on Sunday. If you live in SoCal and need a bike, go talk to Pedals.  They will hook you up!, just mention #AXIALFEST2017!!!

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I finally caught the great Ryan Gerrish at the DSPRO booth photo!  He’s another Axial OG from way back-time-machine, from the stone age comp crawling days.  He was a fellow judge of the concourse, as well.

DSCF1539 RC4WD was all set up today.  They had lots of their accessories on Axial rigs to check out first hand and in person!

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I made it back over to the Two Chainz Scalerz campsite to get some pictures.
The lighting was better today. Half-cast shadow over two half-cocked TCSZ’erz.

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Here’s some more shots of the waterfall in nice lighting for dramatic effect.

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This Hilux was enjoying the cool water in the July heat.

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Behind the water feature was the church and cemetery.

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These headstones were awesome.  V. Terra, died of a broken link. That dude tried to square up on backdoor and got gangked. He had it coming… So the towns people said…

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The ‘motel’ had lots of business all weekend.

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I just noticed that guy sitting on the blacksmith.  That’s some strong metal work to support him.

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While I was taking pictures, I noticed Two Chainz Scalerz passing out some limited edition trail swag to these junior Axialfesters.

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Did you get one of these necklaces?  Have you ever been lucky enough to be blessed by 2CS?

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Lunchtime! Tacos at the Axial camp.  Pastor was my flavor of choice.

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Spotted this vintage tent trailer after lunch.  Thought it was a Sherwood like mine for a second. Turns out it was a Heilite.

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I also spotted this little motorcycle tent trailer out in the campground. I love tent trailers.

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I almost thought Rodney got the Yakima RTT for his ADV80 along with a new paint job.  Turns out it wasn’t Rodney’s Land Cruiser, but #rodneysaiditwasok with him.

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It was getting close to concourse judging, so I had to get over to the pavilion.  Lots of rigs were already staged.

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Participation quadrupled this year!  There were TONS of amazing builds in here.
It really made judging a difficult task. My brain was starting to hurt from all the coolness…

or was it that taco? No, not the Tacoma, but the taco-taco, loco… This concours action has gone loco, thats for sho! And for show!

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Lighting made it difficult for me and my cheap point and shoot camera to get good pictures.  I got a few good ones and my buddy Mike took some as well.  So, here’s a few of my favorites.  I loved this cab-over build by Ben Thomas.

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This Bronco was another one of my favorites.  My first real 1:1 wheeling trips were in Broncos, so they are dear to my heart.  This one had unbelievable detail.

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Bad shot of this amazing 70-Series Land Cruiser truck built by Todd Norton.  I love this thing. Also, that 3 wheeled thing next to it was really unique.

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2CS’erz had lots of builds entered.  They are the kings of scale after all.

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Eliott, aka Coleman, was checking out all the builds and live streaming the judging.

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Chris Zemek drove all the way from Texas to display his work truck and trailer.

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That TV worked and played movies.  This set up was A….A…..A…..Awesome.
I bet you thought I was going to say amazing.

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Hawaiian style! Check the stretch on the wheels. Or is that new school JDM style?

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I’m always inspired by the FC builds.  One day I’ll get mine built.

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Here’s the A-Main / Judd Rummage entry.  Look at all the cool accessories.

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Here’s another A-Main creation. Word on the street is Matt Hauck built this.

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Scale By Chris had some amazing monster truck entries. While I didn’t get a great shot of this rig, it was a translucent red body and very very CLEAN!

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Scale By Chris also entered this crazy show truck Blazer.  It went straight out on the trails after the awards.

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I like the Dead Bolts because they remind me of Broncos.

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These custom fender wells caught my eye. I dig the stickers in there. SoCal pre-runner style meets inland empire bro’sive meets this new stretch tire look… no crime in being creatively different! Catching eyeballs is the name of the game!

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The judging was difficult and took a while for all the judges to get their input.  Luckily, #rodneysaiditwasok to grease the judges.  That’s why all my friends won. Here is Rodney (on crutches) talking to the participants for this class and delivering the verdict. Schultz was stoked he didn’t have to deliver this news as competition WAS SO STIFF!!!

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Ok, just kidding.  Not all my friends won, but all that won are my new friends, because making new friends is ALL PART OF AXIALFEST! If you want to take a closer better look at all the amazing rigs and winners of the concourse, check out this blog: Axialfest 2017 Concourse

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On the way out I talked to this guy.  He scratch built this Shasta trailer set up.  It was pretty amazing, but unfortunately, there wasn’t a class that quite fit it.  Look for more classes next year. It’s going to just keep growing!

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All that judging made me hungry, so we headed back to camp for a little snack-snack.

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Right when we about to finish off our snacks, a little bird flew over and told us we were missing the Monster Jam.  Mike and I dropped our glasses and ran over to the park.

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Elio was on the mic directing the Monster Jam. We iz in troublez now!

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I’m not sure what the rules were or how they set up the brackets, but I saw some fun racing and jumping carnage.

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Some people played it safe…

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…and others let it all loose. All the racers seemed to have a great time.

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The action was fast and really testing my camera.  I really yearned for a better camera to capture the action.

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Even Tristan aka Tazz, aka “Photos By Tristan, the camera master, was being challenged with all the speed and jumping. But rumor is, he’s jumped to the dark side – CANON! And #rodneysaiditwasok Even with working with a new camera, I’m still sure his images turned out better than mine. Can’t wait to see a massive Photos By Tristan Photo Blog here on the Axial Blog! Hint Hint RODNEY!

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Looks like SBChris is getting serious here. Lining up his truck like a golfer.

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Even the kids got in on the action. Heck! All week, kids are the action at AXIALFEST!
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Don’t forget to bring your SMT10 next year.  I’m sure the Monster Truck races will be bigger and better next year.  The racing is just too fun to watch.

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After the races, I wandered the campground and spotted the infamous Charlie Sue, aka SwankySu,  aka Mr. Hobby Wing, aka Charlie Suangka.  It’s always good to see Chucky and his crew.

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Next to Mr. Suangka was RichDog51.  If you haven’t watched his AXIALFEST videos on YouTube get over there right after you finish reading this blog.

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Hold up, it’s Mike Bier, aka Mark Weir the legendary Mountain Bike racer. Let me tell you, he is a mega RC nerd.  He has two tracks at his house for racing.   It was great talking to him about bikes and RC.

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It was also fun watching his son shoot mosquitoes with the Bug-A-Salt rifle.

IMG_20170713_181245 It was getting late, so we headed over for some dinner. Mmmmmmmac and cheese. Also, the BBQ was delicious.  It’s good to eat with the Axial crew.

IMG_20170713_183648 Cute dogs seemed popular this year.  I’m not sure what breed this one was, but it don’t think it ever touched the ground.  Here, an unidentified AXIALFEST Staff member gets some cuddles.

IMG_20170713_215131 It had been a long day and I was tired, but the CKRC Dollar Dash was in effect again this year.

IMG_20170713_215323 So, we headed over for a bit to watch the action.  $1 per run.  Best time wins. Touch the ribbon and you DQ.

IMG_20170713_215408 Is that Coleman live streaming again?

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Team MRB member Russ gets his game face on here.

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Well, I was tired, so I retired early.  I didn’t get and pictures of Dan W of Team Old Guys. He won the Dollar Dash again this year with a time of 35.2 seconds and took home a cool $153 for his driving skills. Please bring your dollars next year and take this guy down.  His bragging is beginning to hurt my ears. Yes, I think he won last year too!? DW, true or false?

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So, that was my second day of Axialfest 2017.  I’ll leave you with this one last photo of Casey / ScalerFab and her cute puppy. See you in Part 3 for everything that went down in front of my lens on Friday of AXIALFEST 2107.

Skeeno’s AXIALFEST 2017 Report Part 1

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Skeeno’s Axialfest 2017 Report Part 1 – Hey! That’s me!

Text: Matt SKEENO Soileau
Photos: Michael Morris & Matt Soileau

You all know the deal.  July is AXIALFEST time; the annual gathering of all Axial fans to Cisco Grove, California for the world’s largest gathering of scale RC enthusiasts. This year AXIALFEST expanded to five days, starting on Wednesday and ending on Sunday.  Of course, I made my 10th consecutive trip to play, visit, and help out.  Here’s what I saw on my five day adventure at AXIALFEST 2017.

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Part 1 of the Skeeno Report covers Day 1, Wednesday, July 12 of AXIALFEST 2017.

IMG_20170712_054303 Mike and I met up early Wednesday morning and packed up all our stuff.  We packed pretty heavy.  He and I both brought our tent trailers this year.

IMG_20170709_094325Since we were staying for five days, we had to make sure we would be eating right.  Luckily, Axial is making these sweet mini fridges.  I got a prototype.  Look for them to be in production by AXIALFEST 3018. I will be doing some seriously long-term testing…

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A look inside shows they left room for hearty breakfast and dinner supplies. I didn’t need much lunch food, because I’m working on my bike diet and ate with the rest of the Axial staff.

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There was a fire next to I-80 near the Reno city limits, so we anticipated lots of traffic delays, but that didn’t happen.  We got to Cisco Grove around 7a.m.  The camp office was closed, so we proceeded to the Axial motorhome.

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I’ve been in the same location for last five or six AXIALFEST events, so it was easy to find. I was slated to share with Anthony of Rivas Concepts, but I don’t think he ever sleeps.

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There’s Camp Skeeno all set up and ready.  Mike’s trailer made a nice sun block in the afternoon.

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Inside you can see I settle for nothing but the finest orange shag and 50 year old canvas.  Ignore that heater.  July was extra hot this year, so there was no need for that.

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Once we got set up, I did head over to the camp office to check in and see how things were going. Next to the office is this cool scale area…

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There were already some rigs out on the trails and it was only 9 a.m. on a Wednesday!

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I spotted several groups getting early morning trail runs in.

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This guy was topping off his tank before heading out.

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I caught the office ladies off guard and they vehemently protested their photo being taken.

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Once they found out I was the world famous Skeeno, they begged me to take their photo. Ok, that might be a lie, but they did tell me 430 campsites were sold for AXIALFEST 2017.  That’s 80 more than AXIALFEST 2016! They also said that at least 400-campers had checked into the campgrounds on MONDAY! This tells me that AXIALFEST is becoming a WEEK LONG EVENT VACATION for a lot of RC enthusiast!

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I spotted this RC sticker bombed cruiser as I was leaving.

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I’m sure Rodney would approve of the basket on the front that was used to haul his SCX102 around in. Remember that cute little dog for later.

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I headed up to registration, but it was still early and while all the banners and barriers were up and ready, nobody was to be found. Again, technically the event is not open yet, so understandable. But you can see signs that a lot of work has already been happening.
I jumped on the CT70 and cruised around to check out some campsites.

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Last year was #yearofthebridges and the bridges returned this year with the addition of the Golden Gate bridge, fitting for this years theme #ProspectorFever

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This hobbit seemed friendly, but I don’t think that screen door is keeping any flies out.

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First thing I spotted in A-Camp was Zotti’s Bagz.  If you need a scale sleeping bag, hit her up.  She’s got lots of colors and styles to choose from.

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A-Camp is the location of the very first AXIALFEST’s.  It’s mostly tent camping and there were already lots of people set up and ready.  I had heard that many were coming up even earlier next year for AXIALFEST 2018, but I didn’t expect to see the campground so full Wednesday morning this year!

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The paper lanterns in this campsite were a nice touch.  Customization is the key to a good campsite.

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Speaking of custom, this roof top tent on a tear drop is pretty custom.

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I kept running into groups out trailing.  Will AXIALFEST start on Tuesday next year?

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These guys had a full tarp city. I’m not sure what was behind the curtain.  It might have been Oz.

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The Down with the Sickness crew had more canopies up than I could count.
These guys roll DEEP.

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I’m not sure how many rigs the DWTS crew brought up, but here Big Country poses with 22! And this doesn’t even count the ones that were already out on the trails.

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Speaking of Sickness, check out this sick haircut. I thinks it’s called the Axiallet; business in the front…

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…and party in the back.

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This young lady came up with the group from Monterrey Bay. She was extra proud of her pink wheels and cage.

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I’m not sure what was going down in this campsite, but I counted eight or so Power Wheels.

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This 16 window bus was my favorite.  I wanted to take it out for a spin, but the owners weren’t around to ask permission.

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The minimalist award goes to this guy.  One step up from sleeping in the car. I admired his style.

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I caught the Strider Bikes crew headed out to get on trail.

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I headed back to see what Mike was up to.  He had just finished setting his trailer up and handed me a pint to toast to our start of AXIALFEST 2017.

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After our toast, I headed back over to registration.  Things were starting to pick up.  Registration would be opening soon, so we had to get everything organized and ready.

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I spotted Chris Cru Jones of Altra and Juan Schultz discussing adjustments to the Altra 5K Enduro course.

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Miss Cathy and Mister Matt didn’t have time for pictures.  There were hundreds of swag bags to organize.

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Here’s Cathy getting the hats ready.

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Do you have an AXIALFEST 2017 hat?

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How about these special limited edition AXIALFEST hats?  They didn’t even have my name on one of these! OUTRAGE! hehehe I will protest!

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If your last name starts with an L, M, N, O, or P, your score card and lanyard was in those boxes. This is one station of the many for AXIALFEST 2017.

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Steve Miles, now you are famous.  That’s your score card.

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I’m glad Scott G doesn’t work in quality control with those peepers.

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OK, here’s where we knew things were getting serious.  Cathy started to hand out the STAFF shirts.  Head of Security, Shawn Barton gets the pick of the litter as Anthony of Rivas Concepts waits patiently.

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Scott Kerkes was the face of calm.  This wasn’t his first rodeo.  He was ready to get his tech on all week. I think that is Brad Perry telling ScottK, Rodney said it was OK, gimmie the keys to Jeff’s Jeep! I know this dope spot…

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Cathy and Cici were all smiles once registration was ready to be open.  Let the party begin!

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The line formed and went smoothly. The Axial crew has their system down!

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DSCF1099It’s amazing how quickly the hundreds of participants can move through tech and registration.

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I’m not sure why, but Chris from SBC seems to always be one of the first in line.

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If you didn’t print it and sign it at home, there were extra liability waivers at registration.

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Someone got a little creative with the chalk. Is that a Deadbolt?

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Before the registration and swag tent was the tech area.  There guys  worked at a fevers pitch to get everyone checked out.

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They tried their best to keep the line moving at a good pace.

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Matt Kett from Scale Builders Guild was all smiles. See Scott Kerkes teching like a champ?  He kept it up all weekend.

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Axial’s R&D VP, Matt Kearney even got his hands dirty in the Tech Booth. Applying stickers is tough!

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Carts and wagons were a popular option for many that brought multiple rigs to get tech’ed and checked.

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American Flyers.  Those are some American classics.

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When you have lots of gear, it’s way easier to pull than carry.

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This young lady somehow levitated against this tree.

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The trusty EMT’s happily assisted anyone with medical needs, mostly dehydration and heat issues is what I heard.  Drink your water, people! With ELECTROLYTES!!! This message is “Rodney Approved” Electrolyte Replenishment – Why It’s SO IMPORTANT and HOW TO DO IT RIGHT!

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There were lots of cool 1:1s hanging around AXIALFEST 2017 as well!

Now, there were TONS of VENDORS at AXIALFEST 2017 too!  Many had swag to give away and deals on products. Here’s a few that I spoke with.

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Hitec was there. They not only had their servos on display, but also some sweet chargers. I might need to upgrade my old units for one of their all in one units. They were impressive.

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Super Shafty came all the way from upstate New York! They had a climb ramp for people to try for raffles.  I saw lots of flips and a few jumps.

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Super Shafty had lots of products on display as well as some fun decorations, but their product is way serious!

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Gigabit Off-Road had the coolest stickers, but maybe that’s because Mrs. Skeeno loves goats.  I caught them here before they were finished setting up.

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Phoenix Design LEDs was here again.

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Corey Shafer was my campmate, but we didn’t see him much. I think he and Rivas share the same sleep pattern.  Here, he briefly chills with Dan Huff in the Phoenix Designs booth.
Green shirt, back to work…

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Merica!

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A Main Hobbies had this amazing Axial SCX10 with Jeep FC body fully built and kitted as an overlander on display.  They gave it away on Saturday night during the AXIALFEST awards ceremony!

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Judd Rummage was commissioned by A Main Hobby to design and build this rig and trailer combo and it was unbelievable.

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There were so many details on this that I couldn’t even begin to tell you about them all.

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Blow up these pictures and just stare.  OK, I’ll point out my favorite part, the Honda Trail 50 hiding in the trailer.

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Cody Waggoner and Jesse Haines from Team Lasernut came out.  Cody’s been an Axial fan since the first Axial West Coast Championship in 2007. They are both top competitors in the 1:1 crawler scene.

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Hummer Portals seem to be all the rage in 1:1 crawling now.  Jesse Haines brought out his comp crawler for everyone to ogle over!

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He gets an amazing amount of steering out of those things.

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Cody also brought out his comp buggy.  Some lucky ducks got to take it for a spin.  I think Jay Kendall from SOR was one of the lucky ones. I got to drive it last year.  You can check it out here: AF16P1

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Ty from Tekin is an AXIALFEST veteran from way back.  He brought out the big tent this year.  I still remember when he drove his Subaru Impreza down. Times sure have changed.

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Ty built this 6X6 with custom 3D printed body built on a custom SCX10 chassis. It was pretty incredible.

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Speaking of incredible, the Two Chainz Scalerz crew brought out their amazing scale features again.

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This year it was a waterfall with a working water wheel…oh, and scale water tower.

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There was a scale town behind it, but I had bad lighting, so I decided to come back later.

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But, I couldn’t help myself from checking out the scale cemetery.  Each headstone had a members name and epitaph.  My favorite was Dan W, old guys can only rule so long.

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I caught Coleman from Extreme Scale Performance.  Have you participated in his weekly Axial Scale Wars? Did you catch his live stream of AXIALFEST?

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Proline had their scale garage and junk yard out for people to take pictures with.

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Lots of amazing details in there.

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Elio and Tristan’s Jeeps are either kissing or fighting.  I’m not sure.

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Jawn Shuhls and Chris Cru Jones were trying to talk Pham Bam into running the Altra 5K.

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JavaGoGo bumped the techno and made some delicious beverages.  The Funky Monkey was worth it.

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There’s the Giga Crew all set up.

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Jason from Pedals Bike Shop of Riversidea, Ca delivered Rodney Wills to AXIALFEST after a little accident that left Rodney cruzing on crutch-mobile status. Jason is a KONA Bikes dealer and together they donated a Kona Big Kahuna 27.5+ bike to the raffle pile! I see Jason read my Bomber build blog and stole my orange wheels idea.

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Prairie City representing California State Parks came out to play and also talk about their awesome OHV facilities. Check them out at http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1221

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Toyzuki had their rigs on display.  I was fascinated by their chassis kit that allowed the easy swapping of regular and overdrive gearing with the use of a transfer case.  It’s genius.

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My other favorite thing at Toyzuki was this custom VW Thing.

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I love the Type 181.  I spotted this almost immediately.

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Hailing from the east coast, Brazen also had a small booth set up.
Note Rodney on crutches…

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Forester coming through!  Subiworks brought their cool Subaru Forester. Check out the ground clearance, custom front bumper with winch and Rigid lighting.

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It also had these really cool RotopaX mounts built into the window openings.

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This was my first spotting of #rodneysaiditwasok which became the phrase of AXIALFEST 2017.  Something happened online and it spread like wildfire! Did you get your limited edition RSIWO shirt from SBG?

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Of course CKRC was on site with their fully stocked hobby shop.

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CKRC also had some limited edition giveaways as well as a customer appreciation dinner and their infamous Dollar Dash on Thursday night after the Concours event.

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Next to CKRC was the start of their trail.  There were lots of scale buildings on this course.

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Hemistorm came all the way from the other side of the planet to visit AXIALFEST with Castle Creations! I had the pleasure of  judging with him during the Concourse event.

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Hmmm, sensored motors from Castle?  I’m listening…

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Vanquish’s Dan W photobombs the Proline guys.

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Not only did Proline bring their scale junkyard, but also this amazing scale shop.

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Next to Proline was S.O.R. Graphics, not sore, but eS Oh aRe Graphics.

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Jay Kendall was a little camera shy, but he is super friendly.  He did the amazing wrap on my Altra 5K Bomber and even hooked my bike up with a custom sticker/wrap.  Hit him up at www.stuckonracinggraphics.com

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Some top brass from Rigid Industries brought giveway swag, prizes for the awards ceremony raffle and they brought their SCX10s to get their scale trail action on!

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It’s all a blurr now, but at some point in the day Jaime Seymour made some of the most amazing hamburgers ever cooked at AXIALFEST!

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GFE – Grumpy Fast Eddy of Fast Eddy Bearings is another veteran AXIALFEST supporter and he still yelled at everyone to get off his lawn.  I’m waiting for the time lapse video to come out.  I’m in there somewhere around 2:24am.

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Random sighting of “Brokenib” aka Chris Goris.  He’s another long time AXIALFEST participant!

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RCP Crawlers are one of the OG RC Crawler shops and still make parts from some old school rigs that we used before Axial was around.

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Team KNK came all the way out from Ohio with loads of their hardware kits.  If you need screws, bolts, washers, etc.  They are your go to.

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RC4WD had all their good stuff on display.  I caught them before they were fully set up here, but this tracked SCX10 had me dreaming of this set up on an FC Jeep. I’ll be back later…

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I heard people screaming, “Bear!” I was a little afraid, but it turned out to be this adorable Pomeranian puppy at the Scaler Fab booth. Dang, he is CUTE.

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Scaler Fab had all their bumbers and other wares available.

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Last but not least was RPP Hobby.

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It wouldn’t be AXIALFEST withouth RPP Hobbies.  They brought out their super-shop-tent-set out again to AXIALFEST 2017.

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I’m not sure when they slept, because their tent aka mobile hobby shop was packed every time I walked by.

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RPP Hobby also had a their trail start right by their booth.

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They also had a photo booth for AXIALFEST’ers to take scale photos at.

So, that’s just a small taste of AXIALFEST 2017.  It was a blurry fast day and I missed lots of things.  Luckily, I had four more days to come back and catch more action.

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So, keep your eyes out for Part-2 of the Skeeno Report coming soon, right after I eat this bacon. And I promise to try not to use the word amazing in any more blogs.

 

 

 

MEET THE CONCOURS JUDGES – AXIALFEST 2017

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Hello AXIALFEST 2017 participants! The Concours Class is now in its fourth official year and growing because of YOU! Because last year’s participants stepped up the game, AXIALFEST is responding back with additional classes! Concours just keeps growing!
With the addition of classes we’ve also added some more judges too!

MEET THE CONCOURS JUDGES – AXIALFEST 2017

• Matthew Kett of ScaleBuildersGuild.com
• Anthony Rivas of Rivas Concepts
• Josh Elliott of ExtremeScalePerformanceRC.com
• John Badger of RCCrawler.com
• Ryan Gerrish of DSPRO
• Chris De Graaf of HemistormRC
• Tony Phalen of CompetitionX.com
• Matthew Skeeno of Skeeno’s Skinny Dipping Service
• Rodney Wills, Axial Global Marketing Director & Judging 1:1 car/truck shows since 2004.

The following are your judges bios:

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BIO: MATTHEW KETT OF SCALE BUILDER GUILD
Since 2006, Matthew Kett (aka Imthatguy) has had a passion for radio control, specifically, scale accurate RC trucks. That passion inevitably led to The Scale Builder’s Guild web forum. The Scale Builder’s Guild is a purpose built forum with one goal in mind. Uniting scale radio control enthusiasts worldwide, and providing an environment to share their projects, knowledge and talent. Since that time, the SBG has evolved into the number one destination for scale accurate RC builds and boasts 5,000 forum members, 20,000 Facebook followers and nearly 9,000 Instagrammers!

Matthew actively builds RC models and attends as many competition and expo style events as he can. He likes to build truck bodies from scratch using techniques he’s learned through practice and patience. His favourite brand is Toyota, as evidenced by his extensive RC collection, including 40, 60, 70 and 80-series Land Cruiser’s, Hilux’s, SR5’s and a rare Toyota Trailblazer (notice a pattern?). He’s won numerous awards for his builds and has been featured in many magazines. He enjoys building all kits, but Axial’s have always been his favourite. Attention to detail and accuracy are his number one goals in all his builds.

Matthew is a film editor by day and works in television commercials and online content. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his wife and two cats. For more information on the SBG, visit www.scalebuildersguild.com, facebook.com/scalebuildersguild, instagram.com/scalebuildersguild and youtube.com/8imthatguy8

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ANTHONY RIVAS_
BIO: ANTHONY RIVAS OF RIVAS CONCEPTS
Since I was kid I have been fascinated by cars, and trucks in general. So naturally I loved R/C! After breaking a few department store cars my dad got me my first Hobby Grade R/C. This was the beginning for me, it would always be a part of my life in some way. It was fun to go fast and jump, but more fun when I had a purpose, like sled pulls, and seeing who could drive a course the fastest.

At 16 my first 1:1 vehicle was a 1983 4WD Toyota SR5 pickup truck, when I was 17 I was introduced to rock crawling and hooked. I spent months in my garage learning to wrench, mostly bolt on and mechanical stuff like axles, clutch, birfields , and dual transfer cases. I wanted to conquer Colorado and Moab trails. Little did I know this 1:1 hobby would one day have a 1/10 scale counterpart.
Fast forward to 2006, I discovered RC Rock Crawling on a 1:1 Forum. This was much cheaper than fixing my 1:1 and it was starting up all over the country. I was working in the Oil and Natural gas fields across the U.S. and you could be certain I had an RC crawler in my work truck. I started traveling to compete in Rock Crawling events and just having fun. One day at a local hobby store I saw a truck body and put it on my back-up Axial AX10 comp crawler, to me this was the day Rivas Concepts was born. From this day forward I would set my comp crawler in line and go drive, this would later be called scale crawling. I liked it because it resembled a real truck. People said I was wasting a perfectly good Comp Rig, but I was having fun. Someone once asked about my crawler with with truck body, I walked up as a friend replied “Oh that’s a Rivas Concept rig. I liked it, so I used it.
I enjoy the resemblance to 1:1 trucks so much I started doing pictures and video. This is what Really got the Rivas Concepts name out there globally. I have even done some RC projects with 1:1 companies like Falken Tire, but truly I do it because I love the imagination and creativity behind it. #Rivasconcepts

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BIO: JOSH ELLIOTT of EXTREME SCALE PERFORMANCE
Back in 2007 while living in Hawaii Josh picked up his first Axial. It was an AX10 Scorpion RTR and he decided to turn it into a Jeep to take to the beach. In order to show his friends and family back home he decided to make a video and put it on YouTube. 10 years later and that channel is now one of the most supported in the RC industry! Josh has been blessed with an impressive lineup of sponsors and a supporting network of over 16,000 YouTube Subscribers, 17,000 Facebook followers & 6,000 Instagram followers! He has taken home some awesome awards such as Axialfest 2016 Best of Show! His YouTube channel is home to several popular series such as Motor Control, Camping with Coleman and ScaleWars! With a focus on using the radio control hobby to inspire creativity, an active, healthy lifestyle, and most importantly a positive mindset, don’t be surprised if he seems like someone you have been friends with forever! He has an impressive lineup of diverse builds with an obvious soft spot for Axial based Jeeps. Aside from running his YouTube channel Extreme Scale Performance full-time he also has a small “Content Creation” company by the name SonderFelt to handle client productions. Josh lives in picturesque Bend Oregon with his Wife & 3 dogs. To learn more about Josh and Extreme Scale Performance visit www.extremescaleperformance.com, www.youtube.com/dogcrick, www.facebook.com/extremescaleperformance, www.instagram.com/esp_rc

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BIO: CHRIS DE GRAAF of HEMISTORMRC
I got into hobby grade RC at the age of 16, and started to get obsessed by it almost ten years later. The HPI Baja for me was what really kicked off my RC life as it is today. Driving Endurance Cups, eventually even producing parts for the HPI Baja made my company HemiStorm get noticed by magazines in the USA such as RC Driver and RC Car Action. In 2010 I quit working as a contractor and decided to dedicate my time fully to grow my company HemiStorm Products.

In 2011 I sold my house in The Netherlands to move to Norway, and I used the profits from the seven years in which I built my house from the ground up to take on some more risky, expensive projects in manufacturing. That’s when I came out with the first aftermarket body for the then brand new Losi 5ive.

In 2012 I noticed there was a demand for sharing tips and tricks through videos, as most large scale RC forums were slowly fading. It was also hard to find honest, non-sugarcoated reviews about products. After being disappointed in supplying YouTube content creators with my own products, seeing how there was no return for my investment, I wanted to see what this whole “YouTube thing” was about. I started doing mostly painting videos, initially with a main focus on large scale RC’s. After a while I diversified the content as much as possible. Axial Racing played a huge part in making this happen. The first generation SCX10, the Exo Terra and the Yeti series have assisted me in bridging the gap between my initial content and the content I produce today.

My main goal is to encourage people to hone their skills, push their boundaries and think outside the box. My channel shows that being fond of one genre in surface RC doesn’t automatically disqualify you from enjoying other aspects of the hobby. Putting a faux drift motor in the back of your Bomber is fine. No rules.

I’ve won paint competitions, been featured in a number of magazines, I’ve won the “Lifestyle Channel of 2015″ award for my YouTube channel on national TV, I’ve been featured on the national evening news and I’ve worked with companies such as Qualcomm and even famous Formula One drivers such as Lucas DiGrassi when shooting commercial videos. I’ve travelled a lot with more to come, and I’m enjoying every new face I see and embrace all the experiences and opportunities I’ve been presented and blessed with.

My YouTube channel currently has over 74000 subscribers, with some key builds being my 5th scale Dodge Challenger and my Axial Yeti XXL which runs two Castle Creations Mamba Monster X setups with 1515 motors and too many features to briefly list.

I’m working as a Brand Manager, live in Halden, Norway in the middle of the forest with my wife, twin girls and two cats.
http://www.youtube.com/hemistormrc
http://www.facebook.com/hemistormproducts
http://www.instagram.com/hemistorm
http://www.hemistorm.com

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Ryan started building crawlers in 2000 while living in California, and co-founded ORCRC (Oregon RC Rock Crawlers) in 2003 after moving back to Portland. He worked at Tammie’s Hobbies in Beaverton during the birth (TLT) and explosion (AX10) of crawling, and helped fuel it’s spread locally and through RCCrawler.com. As the local scene grew he began travelling to larger events, including the first Nationals in Moab, and the first Axial West Coast Championships at Donner Pass. He was recruited to drive for Team Axial by Brad “Bender” Dumont after a few notable victories. He’s been promoting Axial in Portland at the International Auto Show for the last 7 years, and contributing to the Axial Blog periodically. He still attends local get togethers and competitions, although not quite as frequently as he’d like.

Dspro was founded in 2008, and was the first RC company to offer 3D printed accessories for crawlers. Over the last 2 years they’ve been ramping up production of crawler related product as well as offering various small scale manufacturing services, such as laser cutting, CNC routing, and CAD. Ryan hopes to have some exciting new bodies ready for the public by the end of the year, and to expand his website to feature a wider range of hobby-related items.

Ryan currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon with his wife and 2 cats, and enjoys basketball, working on his Steyr Haflinger and Unimog 404, and long walks on the beach. He has attended every Axialfest since 2007, excluding the one on his dad’s birthday that one year. www.dsproonline.com

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BIO: TONY PHALEN of COMPETITIONX
Tony has been an avid RC enthusiast for over 25 years, building, bashing and racing pretty much anything he can get his hands on. His affection for the hobby started back around the time of the Team Associated RC10T, his first real racing vehicle. A quick trip to the track and a full night of racing netted him a 2nd place podium spot in the Novice class and it was pretty much game-on after that.

His love of racing became an addiction and his collection of cars got a bit out of hand – everything from 1:18 scale micros, motorcycles, 1:5 scale gas-powered monsters and recently scale rigs – if it had wheels, Tony was racing it! His passion for driving led to many manufacturer sponsorships and an exciting new level of racing on the Regional and National level, where he piloted his way to the top step of the podium many times.

During this time, Tony noticed a slight disconnect between beginners and the pros – it seemed like some of them never had the time to assist beginners when they were struggling. In 2001 he created CompetitionX, a website dedicated to sharing his learned knowledge of the industry with the RC community. It started out as a tuning site, a place where beginning drivers from around the world could go to learn how to properly set up their cars, but soon turned into a colossal entity that now shares RC projects, reviews and all other kinds of RC info. Over the years, Tony has also worked with and worked for many industry manufacturers as well as a leading industry magazine.

Last year he created a huge Eat. Sleep. RC. campaign, giving away thousands of dollars worth of RC gear over the year to help spread the word about Radio Control. It was a huge success! December included “25 Days of CompetitionX-mas” and the Christmas Day prize was an all-expenses paid trip to AXIALFEST2017. The winners of this package will be in attendance this year; they’re pretty pumped to be attending their first AXIALFEST event!

Today, Tony has switched gears a bit and enjoys a leisurely afternoon of trekking along trails with friends and family. He lives with his amazing, creative and ultra-supportive wife Danna and their beautiful dog Bailey. She loves RC as much as Tony does, she just shows it in a different way when she’s chewing on the tires (the dog, not the wife).
http://www.competitionx.com
https://www.facebook.com/CompetitionX/

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BIO: MATT SOILEAU aka SKEENO 
In 2000, Skeeno dipped his toes into the RC world when he decided to get an RC boat. That Traxxas Nitro Vee turned into a T-Maxx that turned into an HPI Savage that turned into an OFNA Hyper 8 that turned into an X-Ray M18 that turned into an Associated TC5. Along the way many other RC vehicles were cycled through his collection as he explored all the facets of RC.

In 2007, he attended the first Axial West Coast Championships while driving his Goliath-based crawler for Team PTI. While at the 2007 AWCC, he was first introduced to Axial products when Axial Vice President Matt Kearney showed him the prototype for the original AX10 Scorpion. From then on, he has been hooked on Axial!

Skeeno is going on 10 years straight as an Axial fanboi. He has attended every Axial West Coast Championship and Axialfest since 2007 as well as innumerable local events. In 2007, he even traveled thousands of miles to Missouri and Saint Catharines, Canada to get his scale adventure on.

While Skeeno regularly participates in Scale Adventure events, his biggest claim to fame is his unique knack for capturing the essence of these events. He started off writing printed magazine articles for Xtreme RC Cars Magazine, RC Driver Magazine, and RC Car Action Magazine as was soon given a coveted corner of the internet to post his various blogs on the Axial website. You can peruse his experiences here: http://www.axialracing.com/blog_posts?author=15

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BIO: RODNEY WILLS OF AXIAL RC INC
Rodney Wills may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he was more than compensated for it by being able to grow up behind the wheel. At eight years old he started driving heavy equipment on his uncle’s farm. Flouting child labor laws his uncle would put him to work; he would get him started and jump off the tractor, and have Rodney cut and plow fields. The uncle found Rodney a willing employee. Now while he did not engage in any tractor races, the seed had been planted (literally); the passion for driving already raced through his veins.

Later on in Alabama Rodney would drive his father’s old pickup truck. As young teen-agers sometimes do, he would sneak the truck out to splash in the mud on the local country back roads. Rodney did not limit himself to four-wheel rides, however. Motorcycles were always apart of family life and Rodney had started riding at age five. Racing motorcycles with the family came at age six on the dirt oval flat track at Talladega. Trail riding was an everyday thing in the backyard woods and local mountains.

Magazines would introduce Rodney to skateboarding in 1977 and then BMX. Normal by today’s standards but then in rural Alabama, Rodney was way ahead of his peers. Just like his hobbies, his life went in the order of Art, Music, and Cars. His passions led him to the California College of Arts and Crafts after two years at the Atlanta College of Arts and Crafts. After achieving a bachelors degree of art in graphic design, Rodney went on to work ten years in the snow, skate and surf industry through his art, working for the famous O’Neill wetsuit company. Next came the music as the art & marketing director for the car audio speaker Image Dynamics. That led to Rodney starting the import car culture lifestyle magazine, TMRm’zine (1996 – 2000). This magazine put the “lifestyle” label on the import market that has now grown to enormous proportions in the automotive industry.

Joined Axial in 2011 and hit the ground looking for adventure one rock at a time!
One of the proudest achievements was putting together the AXIAL SCX10 RUBICON TREK: http://www.axialracing.com/blog_posts?cat=814

 

 

 

 

Axialfest 2012 Skeeno Report

Cisco Grove, CA • June 22-24, 2012
Photos: Matthew “Skeeno” Soileau

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday crawling was a cottage industry fad in the R/C world.  I remember attending the first Axial West Coast Championship back in 2007.  It was then I met Matt Kearney of Axial and spied the prototype Axial AX10 for the first time. After seeing that beauty, I knew I was in for the long haul.

Six years later, Axial is still here and the Axial West Coast Championship has morphed into AXIALFEST, a fan appreciation event aimed at thanking the customers who made Axial the #1 name in the R/C Crawling World.  While what most see as a singular act under one name, the game of “crawling” has grown into different disciplines consisting of rock racing, overland adventure and of course the namesake – crawling.

But, gone is the drama due to massive “wait time” and tension of a competition with 15-minutes of total drive time over the course of a weekend. With Axialfest, it is a festival devoted to maximum fun with maximum drive time for the Axial fan!

Too simple to be true, right?

To resolve my temptation to doubt, Axial again teamed up with the madman, Brian Parker and his RECON Crawlers crew, so I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this was going to be another epic event.  I eagerly awaited the arrival of AXIALFEST on the weekend of June 22-24.

I was so excited, I packed up my gear and headed up a day early.

Once up to beautiful Cisco Grove, CA in the High Sierra’s, I quickly got busy readying my home for the next four days of fury.

After making sure everything was in order, I snuggled up in the loving embrace of my 45 year old tent trailer and waited for Friday morning to arrive.  Yes, that is orange shag.

The next morning a belly of Java and cinnamon rolls started my day.

AXIALFEST featured four events; the Rock Riot, RECON G6 Challenge, EXO Terra Cross, and the Ultimate Team Adventure Challenge. No matter  which Axial kit you brought, there was more than enough fun to be had.

ROCK RIOT

The first event of the AXIALFEST was the Rock Riot.  The Rock Riot is unlike the traditional competition in that there is no time limit and participants score themselves.  It is based on the honor system. It was a perfect event at this fan event because it allowed drivers to make countless laps on the courses.  The format allows beginners plenty of drive time to learn the art of crawling while giving seasoned crawlers constant challenges and chances to better their driving, all while doing away with waiting in long lines all day.  All Axial vehicles could be run, so many ran their comp-built XR-10s first and then played with their SCX-10s and Wraiths on the courses as well.  This gave drivers the most bang for their buck as far as drive time goes. At traditional competitions drivers might see 15-20 minutes of drive time total throughout the day. The Rock Riot format gives competitors about an hour of run time just for this particular course, and there were multiple courses to be run.

The Rock Riot took place in two stages, Stage 1 in the morning and after an afternoon break, Round 2 of the Rock Riot began at dusk. Drivers were challenged by the darkness.  Glow sticks marked the gates.  It featured more of a playful feel than Round 1.  Novelties such as a shaving cream filled crevasse and glow in the dark Toxic Creek made driving interesting.

Every single one of the trucks you see in the pictures is being driven on course.  There was no waiting in lines.  Slower drivers merely allowed the faster drivers to play through like golfers on the links.

Brian Parker of RECON [center] explaining the Rock Riot in detail.  Here Parker enjoys the action with Bender [left] and Sumquak [right].

Brandon Coonce and Brad “Bender” Dumont of Axial getting their first taste of the Rock Riot flavor.

Alien crawling?

No lights were allowed in the Toxic Creek for the drivers. I snuck in with a media pass just to show you what the drivers encountered.

The smell of Barbasol is strong in this one.

RECON G6 CHALLENGE

The G6 Challenge is the heart and soul of the AXIALFEST.  The G6 is a semi-timed event where drivers have to navigate their rigs through trail markers. There were several classes; 1.9 Adventurist, 2.2 Adventurist, and Ultra.  I say semi-timed because there are so many time bonuses that it is impossible to really tell who is going to win.  The Ultra class is the only class where drivers are allowed to sprint the entire time.  It is the cardio class. The Adventure class is about driving clean and having fun.

The G6 Challenge was ran in three stages, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday night.  The daylight stages featured many challenges such as a sled pull, kite flying, darts, archery, boat float, winch skill, and probably a few more. Each daylight stage was 500 trail markers long.  Some drivers were on the courses for over three hours at a time.  The night stage had more of a party feel and was dubbed ‘Boogie Nights’.  Drivers that decorated their bodies and rigs received time bonuses.  The night stage was shorter than the day stages, so drivers could get back to G-Central for some disco action.

The line for G6 check in was a bit lengthy. Brad and Stuart of RECON moved them through as quickly as they could. This would be the only line of waiting…

This is the calm before the storm.  Drivers lined up according to class;  Ultra made up the front row as they will be sprinting, 2.2/Wraith’s for the second batch and 1.9′s for the third wave.

The Undertaker brought his quarter to pay the bridge toll.

The Wraiths lead the way.

There was a bit of ‘Follow the Leader’ action until the 1.9 class separated.

All the way from Hawaii, Disturbin’ Tha Peace flew up to gets his G6 on!

Mike Pham is G6in and he knows it.

The G6 is perfect for families with young ones. This guy has got his eye out for the next trail marker.

Team work is allowed and encouraged.  These two use a tow cable and winch to help each other up a dugout obstacle.

Is that trail marker 392?!  Only another hundred or so to go. I hope you packed some extra batteries, water and snacks.

It wouldn’t be a Parker course without some mud and water.

One of the Driver’s Challenges was to fly a kite tethered to your truck.  How does Parker come up with there ideas? Ty from Tekin completed his run with ease.

Dan Wilson ready to complete the Pull Pal Winching Skill Section.

Dean Hsiao gets ready to float his canoe down the creek.

The dance floor waiting for some dancers.

Miss D in the G spirit!

EXO TERRA CROSS

In between the G6 stages, the EXO Terra Cross was held.  This was like an off-road club race with SCX10s, Wraiths, and the new EXO. A track was set up and each class raced two qualifying heats and a main.  Transponders recorded laps while the drivers raced.  This event turned out to be a hoot to watch.  There was lots of dust flying everywhere.  Those EXO buggies can really lay down the roost.

Is that a gas pump on the Terra Cross course?

Double hood jump.

Flying EXOs!

Thanks for crashing, so I could win.

Is that the fast line?

ULTIMATE TEAM ADVENTURE CHALLENGE

The Ultimate Team Adventure Challenge, or UTAC, was a new concept for RC.  It combined the adventure of the G6 with the orienteering skills of geocaching.  Teams are made up of three rigs with specific titles & duties; Team Director, Team Navigator, and Team Support vehicle.  The support vehicle pulled a trailer that included a magnet and magnifying glass to be used on course. Teams were given a set of coordinates and were told to go locate the caches.  Each cache contained instructions for teams to follow.

This may be the coolest SCX10 of all time.  This VW Transporter was a support vehicle for a UTAC team.

Here Team RenoRadioControl.com pulled a cache out of a tube with their magnet and is ready to follow some instructions.

At the end of the UTAC, teams used their wilderness skills to light a fire.  The goal was to have the fire burn the string.

FINAL THOUGHTS

AXIALFEST 2012 was a huge success.  Drivers drove more in three days than most will ever drive in their lifetimes and many memories were made.  Smiles were worn by all participants even when things did not go their way.  Drivers supported each other and true RC camaraderie was seen throughout the event.  The only thing the AXIALFEST is missing is even more days. Next year let’s make it a whole week.

AWARDS

Can you find yourself?

 

Let us know your thoughts – Axialfest 2013?