Axialfest 2012 Recap

The first annual Axialfest was held this past weekend, June 22 – 24th, in Cisco Grove, CA. This event was known in the past as the “Axial West Coast Championships”, aka AWCC. This year’s event was geared towards “scale adventure” more so than a full on “competition”. While there are many classes to run, and trophies to win, this year’s event had a little different format to it, by offering numerous scale classes to compete in. Brian Parker’s new competition format known as “G6″ is slowly taking  the country by storm. Parker and his group of Recon Crawlers set out to make this event all about driving your scale R/C truck on lengthy adventures. When I say lengthy adventures, I mean it. For example the first stage of the G6 challenge on Friday consisted of navigating 500 gates that were sporadically laid out in the woods surrounding Cisco Grove Campground, the base camp of our adventures for the weekend. These 500 gates are numbered and must be run in consecutive order. Sounds simple enough right? Well, it can be, if you can locate all the gates. Brain and his crew can be pretty creative when it comes to setting courses, and camouflaging gates. And keep in mind there are 3 stages to this G6 challenge, so 500 gates is only part of the 3 day adventure. In the end I believe some adventurists in attendance ran in excess of 1200 gates throughout the weekend. Here’s a run down from the event.

Axial base camp.

The mud pit, which would be used throughout the weekend.

 

Registration on Friday morning.

 

The Terra Cross track.

 

Competitors line up according to class for the start.

 

Brian Parker holds the driver’s meeting before releasing competitors out onto the course.

 

On to the action. A cool Crawlmaro replica made with a Wraith.

 

Brett Carlson from Bulu Productions made the trip down from Oregon to shoot a little video, as well as compete with his Wraith.

 

Driving out of a rollover will save time and penalty points if you don’t have a winch.

 

One of the challenges that had to be performed on this stage was a sled pull.

 

Here you can see the mud depth is keep scale for realism.

 

Teamwork is another key factor to making through all 500 gates. Competitors are allowed to help each other over obstacles if need be.

 

The start of day two’s Ultra Race. This was a class that required you to run the set course as fast as you can. If you are looking for a good fun cardio workout, this is the class for you.

 

The first turn was a bottle neck for the more densely populated classes.

 

Axial’s own Brandon Coonce took the holshot in his custom blue paneled Wraith.

 

Next class hits the ground running. This was the adventurist class if I remember right. This class wasn’t about speed, it was more about adventure. But, a quick start to get ahead of the competition is still a good idea until the group gets spread out on course.

 

Turn one mayhem.

 

Next class to depart for the starting area.

 

Turn one was a great vantage point again.

 

Ty Campbell from Tekin’s custom Wraith build hits the mud pit flying.

 

More turn one action.

 

Not very often you see a Gremlin sporting 54″ tires.

 

After all the classes got underway, I set out on foot with my camera to see what challenges lay ahead for our competitors. First driver I came across was my co-worker Brandon. He had a weird monstrosity strapped to the hood of his Wraith. I asked him as he went by what it was, and all I heard was something about a boat? Confused, I followed him up the trail for a bit until he hit a challenge section of the trail run. This challenge required those carrying kayaks or boats on their vehicles to launch their boats at the designated boat ramp, let the vessel float its way downstream to the designated pick-up zone, then recover your boat and load it back onto your rig before you continue on. Actually turned out to be very entertaining to watch, some boats sank in the “rapids” requiring the owner to tip toe their way out into the stream for a recovery. Here is where Brandon’s previously mentioned monstrosity/camp fabbed raft came into play. Constructed of a 2.2 Ripsaw tire, stock tire foam, Proline roof rack, Proline cooler and a little duct tape, this raft floated down the scale river like a champ!! Everyone was laughing as it floated by us.

 

A few other watercraft making their way downstream.

 

After completing a few hundred gates the trail leads the competitors back to base camp for a run through the mud pit.

 

Cupid’s set-up is looking pretty high-tech these days, he is now apparently sporting a compound bow!!

 

Meanwhile back at our campsite our XR10′s are still covered in shaving cream from the previous night’s “Rock Riot” event. It’s a long story………. click the link below the photo.

A little video of Brandon and I hitting the shaving cream pit first. Brandon had the honors of breaking trail, I am second. Listen to Parker laughing as we go through.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=474854405861643

 

Our guard dog watched over the Axial RV while we were away.

 

One of my favorite scale vehicles from the weekend.

 

A few random campsites that were set-up properly for the disco themed weekend.

 

Time for some Terra Cross action. The TC races had a little something for everyone. There were classes for the SCX10, Wraith and EXO. Each class had its own variation of the track to run. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. It was the definition of backyard racing!!

First up for the heat races were the SCX10s.

 

Next up, the Wraith class.

 

And the EXO heat races were last.

 

Winner of the SCX10 Terra Cross Race was Matt Soileau

 

Start of the Wraith finals.

 

Taking the first Wraith Terra Cross victory was Axial team driver Ryan Gerrish.

 

Start of the EXO finals

 

Steve Brown of Vanquish Products tries to get his RTR EXO out of Ty Campbell’s way. Ty was by far the fastest guy on the track.

 

After all the dust settled, Ty Campbell took the win in the EXO Terra Cross.

 

Congrats to all the winners, you guys earned it! Here are a few highlights from the awards ceremony.

 

The future of our sport.

 

The Hawaii club sent this autographed banner to the event with signatures from the Hawaii G6 thanking Axial for their support. Thanks guys!!

That wraps up the 2012 Axialfestivies. If you can find a way to attend one of these G6 events you won’t be disappointed, especially if you own a scale R/C truck. Don’t forget to pack spare batteries either, because you are going to need them.

Axial Travelogue: AWCC Finals 2011

Wors & Photos: Rodney Wills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The door at Meadow Farms Country Smoke House…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His cooking is simply AWESOME!!!

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

Rock Candy RCC and The Victory Junction Gang

Last year at the West Coast Championship finals the girls of Rock Candy RCC raffled off a completely built competition crawler, and a new in the box XR10. The girls donated 100% of the proceeds from the raffle to cancer research. This year the girls are going to be back at the Axial West Coast Championship finals with another charity raffle featuring more goodies from Axial. This year Axial has donated an XR10 kit and a newly released RTR Wraith to the cause.

“RockCandy RCC is once again raising funds for a good cause. This year we picked The Victory Junction Gang. Axial has stepped up again and donated an Axial XR-10 and an Axial Wraith for us to giveaway at the 2011 AWCC Finals. 100% of the profits will be donated to the Victory Junction Gang. Each $5 donation will receive a chance to win one of the rigs. Each person will receive a Victory Junction bracelet with their tickets. We may be adding some extra goodies with the rigs, more will be posted as we get closer to the Axial West Coast Championships. Victory Junction bracelets and tickets will be sold starting April 15th up until Saturday June 25th. At the 2011 AWCC Finals, names will be drawn at the awards ceremony, you do not need to be present to win. Please visit http://www.victoryjunction.org/ to learn about this great foundation.” Rock Candy RCC’s Mindy Howe

The girls of Rock Candy RCC, left to right Mindy Howe, Becky Barger and Jess Downing.
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Thanks for everything you do ladies!! Axial is proud to be working with you again this year.

Brandon’s XR10 Setup for Axial WCC 2010

Thought it would be great to share my XR10 setup that I ran at WCC for you guys preparing their parts and starting to think about your own setups before the kits arrive. Let me start by explaining that the XR10’s that Scott, Brad, and myself ran at WCC were all pre-production and at the time we were still running some early prototype parts. However the trucks drove almost identically to the production XR10’s that we are running currently. The great part about the XR10 was displayed at WCC, take it out of the box and build it per the instructions and it’s a very capable competition 2.2 crawler. Our setups were not very far off what is recommended in the manual.

Here is what I ran on my XR10:

  • Tekin FXR’s (2)
  • Tekin 55T’s
  • Axial Steel 14T pinion (Front) Part #: AX30569
  • Axial Steel 13T Pinion (Rear) Part #: AX30571
  • Maxamps 1550 3S LiPo
  • Futaba 4PK
  • Futaba S9157 Steering Servo
  • Futaba Aluminum Servo Horn
  • Castle Creations BEC
  • Dace MFG servo clamps
  • Axial 61-90mm Aluminum Shock Set
  • Pro-Line Single Stage Powerstroke springs
  • XR10 Stage 2 Carbon Fiber Upgrade Kit. (More info coming soon)
  • Axial Machined Hi-Clearance Links
  • Prototype plate for battery mount
  • Axial Hardline body

I will let the pictures do most of the talking. Although there are a few things that I would like to hit on. Most importantly is the ability to adjust your caster on the stock XR10 front axle. I rotated my C’s back and noticed I gained a lot of steering on the rocks. The rig felt like it held lines and was able to dig up obstacles easier. Next I decided to try something different. The Aluminum bodied Axial comp shocks that come with the XR10 are extremely smooth, we even included the machined delrin piston in the kit. However, I decided to try the SCX10 aluminum shocks to lose a little weight and test them in a competition environment. Filled with 100wt oil they did extremely well. I also decided to move my lower shocks to the first hole on the lower links. This gave me more clearance for the 45° of steering that the XR10 has and allowed me to adjust my center height. The SCX10 Aluminum shocks weigh in at 14.0g (.48oz) each. The XR10 shocks weigh in at 21.0g (.74oz) each. Thats a pretty decent weight loss off the most critical area of a crawler. Any where that you can reduce the weight above the center of the tires is going to make a noticeable difference.

I arrived at Cisco Grove Thursday night for the 2010 AWCC. Getting reports from Scott and Brad a few days before that and hearing how their setups were working had me slightly worried. I had one of the only sets of XR10 wheels mounted on mine. Scott and Brad gladly ran Vanquish Products wheels on their XR10’s. At the last minute I decided to pick up a set of Vanquish Products wheels (Thank you Steve!) and match the wheel/tire combos that Scott and Brad have been having success with. There was nothing wrong with the XR10 wheels, but the added width proved to be a safer bet the night before LCQ! Especially when you are getting tips from those two. Friday morning I woke up and lined up for my first course of the LCQ. Scott and Brad fortunately already qualified for Saturdays event. I started with Vanquish Pro Comps and Pro-Line G8 chisels. Early in the morning my memory foam setup was just too stiff. Brian Crofts came to my rescue with a set of Vanquish SLW’s and his favorite foam/tire setup. He basically said “Here try these”. Once again going in blind I nailed my 3rd course with a perfect score! Thanks again Brian. I ran the SLW’s for the remainder of the weekend with a total weight of 14.5oz up front and 5.6oz in the back. If I remember the Vanquish hubs were 225’s in the front and 350’s in the back. This gave me the same track width front and rear.

Finishing the LCQ I was very happy with how I had done. I made the cut and was onto Saturday’s main event. All 3 of the XR10’s finished all 5 courses placing 9th, 10th and 20th. Overall a very successful first event for the XR10 and I cannot wait to start exploring its full potential.

If you have not seen the XR10 video that Lisa Budvarson put together of the XR10’s running at AWCC you have to check this out! Click
Thank you Lisa for doing such an awesome job with the video.

I will be updating the blog soon with pictures and specs of my current setup. I made some slight changes and it’s a completely different rig to drive now!

Thanks to Tazz @ Shot-n-the dark Photography for providing some of the action shots at AWCC!

2010 Axial West Coast Championship Finals

After months of waiting, and running numerous qualifiers, it was finally time to pack the Axial RV and head off to the Axial West Coast Championship Finals in Cisco Grove, Ca. The build-up for this years comp began back in January when the first 2010 AWCC Qualifier was held in Escondido, Ca. For this year’s championships no one got a free ticket into the main event Saturday afternoon. You either had to attend one of the 5 qualifier events, and earn an invite by a top 10 finish or sign up for the “Last Chance Qualifier” on Friday before the finals and make the top 20 on that day. So, this event anyone you were competing against earned their way into the main event. Axial hoped this would make for a really tight/competitive comp as far as the top scores go, and that is pretty much how it all played out. Hit one bad gate on any one of the 5 courses and you dropped 10 places in the overall standings instantly. There was no room for error at this year’s event……………….period.

The drive through California via the 395 highway.

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The RV was getting a little thirsty, so we stopped off for a drink.

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Back on the road.

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Settling into our campsite.

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Axial staff hard at work.

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Game on!!

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Brandon spotting for me on course #1.

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Team Axial driver Becky Barger working course #2.

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Scott Hughes and his freshly built XR10 working course #1.

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Jason Gainey works course #1.

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A few more random shots from the 3 courses down by the river.

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RCCrawler.com was on hand broadcasting video of the weekend’s events.

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John Hubbard from RCCrawler working the live feed. He looks so content in this picture for some strange reason.
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No clue what is going on here.

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More pictures from courses 4 and 5.

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Brandon on course #4.

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Scott H working course #4.

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Me on course #4.

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After everyone was done running courses it was time to gather around the Axial tent for the trophy presentation.

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And the winners are……….
Last Chance Qualifier-Pro
1st Chris Mcmullin
2nd Doug Toney
3rd Kevin Gunderson

Last Chance Qualifier-Sport
1st Eric Hill
2nd Justin McCoy
3rd Dustin Howe

Sport Class-Finals
1st Michael Boling
2nd James Roque
3rd Tom Havel

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Rock Candy-Finals-Sport
1st Shannon Davis
2nd Natalia Morales
3rd Kacie Vess

Rock Candy-Finals-Pro
1st Becky Barger
2nd Candance Flaming
3rd Jess Downing

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Pro Shafty-Finals
1st Jay Robbinette
2nd Jake Wright
3rd Tom Brown

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Pro Overall-Finals
1st John Ripplinger
2nd John Hall
3rd Jason Veal

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Congrats to all the winners, you guys really earned it!! Axial would like to thank everyone that helped us with this event, and the overall series. A huge thanks goes out to Brian Parker and Stuart Gartner for all their hard work throughout this whole series, we couldn’t have done it without you guys! Thanks to all the sponsors that helped support the finals too, Vanquish Products, Futaba, Novak, Pro-Line, RCCrawler.com, and Xtreme R/C. We couldn’t have done it without your support either.

The dust has barely settled on this year’s AWCC Series, and I am already excited for next year’s series to start. If you couldn’t make it to any of these events this year, try and make it to one next year, you won’t be disappointed. And like Warren Miller always says, “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.” See you next year!!

AWCC Finals – Scale Challenge

Scale Challenge
This year at the Axial West Coast Championships we decided to add a scale event to the itinerary. We wanted it to be a fun event, instead of a really serious competition. So, we came up with a few different events/challenges for this particular competition. We borrowed a few events from the Top Truck Challenge, and added our own twist to them. We also wanted to have a couple of scale style trail runs set-up so we cover the whole spectrum of what hardcore scaling is all about……………………….realistic obstacles that are fun to drive. Here is a run down on the first annual “Scale Challenge” and the obstacles we encountered.

Axial also went ahead and added a scale “show and shine” for this event too. All the scalers that signed up for the scale challenge also showed off their rigs before the competition began in a contours style event. Here’s a group shot of all the competitors.

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Axial team driver Ryan Gerrish won the scale show and shine with his newest creation. Actually, Ryan ended up taking 1st and 2nd in the show and shine. If you have ever seen one of his creations in person, you would understand why. The time and thought Ryan puts into his rigs is second to none. Congrats Ryan!

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Mud Pit
The first obstacle was a 10-12 ft long soupy mess of northern California mud, over an old cut up slip and slide water tarp. The slip and slide base made it difficult to get traction, momentum was key to making clean passes. The pit also gradually sloped making the mud deeper near the exit. For this event the field had to make 2 passes through the pit, total combined time of both runs was tallied. Most competitors had at least one full run. As the competition progressed the mud pit became a little more difficult. A few competitors had clean first runs, but couldn’t finish their second pass due to rollovers or stoppage of progress.

The pit before the competition got started.

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Frame Twister
The second obstacle was a combination of rocks and mud in the beginning, with another slip and slide base, then more mud and small logs at the end. The course was also tightly lined with boundaries that you couldn’t touch at any time without taking a time penalty. Many rigs struggled with the first 3 feet of the rocks and mud. One big rock was extremely tough to clear as it wanted to roll you on your side if you weren’t very careful. Once on your side it was nearly impossible to drive out under your own power due to perfect placement of the rocks, boundaries and a very slippery base. Numerous vehicles required a tow from a fellow competitor in order to finish the course.

The first half of the obstacle.

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The second half of the obstacle after a 90 degree right hand turn coming out of the rocks.

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Tank Pull
For this obstacle competitors and their trucks had to pull an R/C tank on a flat dirt grade for the first half of the course, then transfer onto a loose dirt hillside to the full pull banner. I don’t think anyone made a full pull but there were many trucks that came very close. Power and a smooth trigger finger were key to finishing near the top.

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Trail Obstacles
The next 3 obstacles were various trail runs that had a mix of high speed sections, extremely technical sections, 5 minute time bonus sections, rocks, snow, sand, trees, bridges, etc. The bonus sections were very technical, requiring you to slow down and really pay attention to tire placement. But, they were all negotiable if you knew your rig and were very careful.

Trail Obstacle One
This trail run was the longest of the three. It started out on pavement then dropped you down a slight grade to a 10′ x 20′ foot snow field lined with boundaries. After the snow you chased your rig down a dirt path to a technical off camber, wet, sandy shoreline down by the river. Once clear of the river bank you headed back away from the river up a loose sandy trail through the woods to a tightly grouped set of trees which required numerous back-ups to clear. From there it was on to the first time bonus section, a steep slippery bridge leading up to a fallen tree. The exit off the bridge and onto the tree trunk was the toughest section by far. It required a few reverses and perfect placement of the driver’s side front tire to hook a small section of the tree in order not to fall off. Once safely on the tree you had to drive down to the base and drop off onto another bridge. From there it was an easy sprint back to the road and the finish line.

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We staggered the competitors on course by about 30 second intervals. So, there were numerous people on course at the same time as you. You had to weave your way through if you caught up to the guy in front of you. Here I caught up with Brandon stuck on a stick in the sand. He couldn’t go forward or reverse. I tried to give him a quick push from the side as I passed through, but his truck didn’t move. All I could do was yell “sorry, you are on your own” as I drove away. I think this picture was taken right at the moment I told him he was on his own, judging by the look on his face. Sorry Brandon!!

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Trail Obstacle Two
Trail two was pretty much a hardcore rock crawl course. It started out with a few steep technical climbs, then dropped you into a trench/canyon full of jagged rocks and dirt. Once free of the canyon you had to climb onto a big boulder with gates at the top. Most rigs needed one reverse to clear the gate cleanly. The trail then headed up to the time bonus section. This section started out with a steep climb up a huge slab of rock. Once on top you had to descend down into a very tight area lined with boundary markers. Numerous slow reverses were needed to get lined up with the next climb properly without taking a time penalty. Next you had to drive down a very steep narrow canyon, that left rigs on there lid at the bottom. After a roll over recovery you had to drive up another steep face with loose dirt all over the base, which made it difficult to maintain traction. Once you cleared this gate it was a race back to the finish line about 50 feet away.

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Trail Obstacle Three
This trail was another hard rock crawl course, but with a twist. It was set in a semi shallow creek bed with lots of deep holes. Tire placement was critical yet again in order not to get caught in one of the deeper water holes. You started out up on the bank of the stream and drove down into the creek and across to the other side. After a hard right you then crossed the creek again and drove up the right side in the water to the next obstacle, a short climb that required a little throttle to bump over it. Once clear of this set of gates you had a deep water hole on your left to clear before the next rocky climb. You then had to negotiate another climb out of a water hole to zig zag your way to the top. A tight U turn waited for you at the top of the last climb. Then it was time to descend down the opposite side of the creek to a dirt hill climb out of the stream and around a set of trees. After clearing the trees you dropped back into the water and carefully negotiated the last couple descents down to the finish line.

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Here’s a video showing most of my run on Trail course #3

The top 5 finishers
1st Brad Dumont
2nd Ryan Gerrish
3rd Brandon Coonce
4th Scott Hughes
5th Justin Halbohm

No one, aside from Axial, really knew going into this event that the winner would receive a certificate for a new XR10 comp crawler. Since Axial employees and team drivers weren’t eligible for the grand prize, the kit was awarded to the 5th place finisher Justin Halbohm. Congrats to him for an impressive showing.

The first inaugural “Axial Scale Challenge” was a great addition to the Axial West Coast Championship Finals from the feedback we have received from the competitors. I think this event may need to be a permanent addition to the AWCC finals.

Axial West Coast Championship Qualifier, Round 5

The last stop on Axial’s West Coast Qualifier Series was held this past Saturday, April 10th. The location for this final event was in beautiful Northern California at Lake Amador Resort. Lake Amador is best known for it’s fishing and camping. The resort constantly stocks the lake with a rare breed of trout known to put up a healthy fight when caught. They also boast about their huge catfish, as well as unbeatable bass fishing. Combine that with the fact that they have an RV park on site, Lake Amador is a fisherman’s dream come true. On the other hand, off to the west side of the lake, down in a ravine, is an R/C rock crawlers dream come true. The ravine has a good sized rock formation that has sharp ledges sticking up everywhere. The rock/ledge located at this particular spot is very unique, and has unbelievable traction. We have had an amazing amount of various terrain throughout this series, but this location was very different from what I am used to. It was the perfect location to close down what has been and awesome qualifier series. Let’s hit the road.

My fuel for the weekend………………………….Mocha Frappee’s from Mickey D’s.
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The ride through the Cali countryside.
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Brandon and Scott were busy watching Sesame Street all the way there.
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Parker’s latest course design, moving courses. Ever try rock crawling on a rock pile that’s going down the highway at 70mph? Hold your line driver!!
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On the way to the comp site Friday we stopped by Modesto Hobby and Craft for a quick visit. Very cool hobby shop, with courteous employees and numerous R/C related items. I wish I had more pictures to post from inside, but I’m an idiot and only brought our zoom lens on this trip.
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Pulling into the resort.
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Overlooking the lake.
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Partial view of the comp site.
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The Michael Angelo of rock crawling courses, Parker sets gates first thing Saturday morning.
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Each course had a sign letting everyone know which course was which.
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The parking lot was almost like a car show. Here’s Axial team driver Dean Hsiao’s Impala wagon, soooo clean!
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Of course there were a few sweet off-road vehicles in the parking lot too.
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Group shot of the drivers.
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Group shot of the rigs.

Driver’s meeting
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Time to do some work!!
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Axial’s own Brandon Coonce working course #1

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Me flailing around on course #1
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Mr. Scott Hughes working it
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Brent Brammer working his Axial SWX through course #2
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Brandon on course #2
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Dean Hsiao on course #2

Climbing into the alternate line.
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Scott on Course #2
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Captain Axial at it yet again harassing competitors, passing out free t-shirts and stealing motorcycles.
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According to the locals the fire department conducts fire training in this area frequently. There were helicopters flying overhead all day long.
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Parker’s newest hobby…………………..Ventriloquism.
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And the winners are……..
Sport Class
1st place Shannon Davis
2nd place James Roque
3rd place Jerry Sanders
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Pro Shafty
1st place Brian Lorenz
2nd place Brandon Coonce
3rd place Dean Hsiao
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Pro Overall
1st place Daniel Flemming
2nd place John Hall
3rd place Lenny Tyler
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The Rock Candy Girls

CanDance, Pro Rock candy winner (left), Shannon Davis, sport rock candy winner (center), Mindy Howe (right). Watch your back guys, they are gunning for us.
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Well, that does it for this first qualifier series. I would personally like to thank Axial and Vanquish Products for their support during this series. I would also like to thank Brian Parker, Stuart Gartner and all the volunteers/judges that helped us with these events. We definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone in this great R/C community. If you didn’t get a chance to attend any of these 5 qualifiers, come on out to the finals on June 24th-26th. You can run the last chance qualifier and still get into the main event. I guarantee the finals will be a memorable weekend whether you come out to compete, or just watch. See you then.

Axial West Coast Championship Qualifier, Round 4

The latest stop in Axial’s West Coast Championship Series was Long Beach, Washington. Long Beach is a small tourist town located in the southwest corner of Washington. There are many things to do in this small town from cart racing, moped rentals, horse back riding, clam digging, biking, etc. There are also a number of good restaurants in town as well, making Long Beach a nice location for a family vacation/getaway. The competition was held right on the beach by the ocean. The terrain was a mix of sandstone and jagged water eroded ledge that was covered in moss. The traction there, to my surprise, was extremely high almost like sand paper. We went into this comp expecting rain all day since that had been the forecast all week. But, to everyone’s surprise the sun was out and shining all day long giving us perfect weather.

For this comp Scott Hughes and I flew into Portland, Oregon. Once there we met up with Steve Brown from Vanquish Products who was riding along with us to check out the comp. After loading up the rental car we hit the road destined for Tammies Hobbies in Beaverton, Oregon. Tammies is known to have tons of crawler products in stock from scale accessories to full on competition parts.

A few pictures from Tammies Hobbies.
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Steve Brown and Ryan Gerrish showing off some sweet Vanquish wheels
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Ryan’s custom rock racer, 50% rock crawler, 50% 4×4 Slash……………….100% sick!!
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Got scale crawler parts?
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Need motors?
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Comp wheels?
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Maybe trains are your thing?
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Me getting an education in rock crawling
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Back on the road again, this was my view for the 2 hour ride from Beaverton to Long Beach along the Lewis and Clark trail. Yawn…..
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That’s a little better view
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Scott and Steve, or Lewis and Clark…………………….it’s tough to tell the difference.

Almost there
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Once we checked into the hotel, and scoped out the comp site a little we all met at the Light Ship bar and grill above our hotel for early tech. The view from the dining area was sweet.
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Stuart checks drivers in while Brian ponders the meaning of life.
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For dinner I choose pasta
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Stuart dives into his freshly prepared steak
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Brad Bailey helped Brian and Stuart with rig tech
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Drivers file in for tech inspection
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The comp site on game day.
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Group shot before comp
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Driver’s meeting
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Comp time
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Scott Hughes on his first course
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Me on course #2
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Cory Hannah working course #1
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Parker doing work

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A group of vehicles pulled into a cove beyond the comp site early in the morning. Once the tide came up they were trapped on an out cropping of rock for hours until the tide went back out. Coast Guard made a few passes through to make sure no one was in immediate danger.
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Stuart Gartner on course #1
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Random shots
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Rock Candy winner Mindy Howe

Captain Axial, or a really bad Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume? What is that on the side of your………………..never mind I don’t want to know.
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More random shots

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Ryan Gerrish

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And the winners are…….

Rock Candy:
Mindy Howe
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Sport Class:
1st Cole Bailey
2nd Tazz Judkins
3rd Rod Comstock
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Pro Shafty:
1st Dave Copher
2nd Cody Cannell
3rd Marc Linn
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Overall:
1st Dustin Siegfried
2nd Josh Smith (not pictured)
3rd Ryan Gerrish
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That wraps event #4 up. What a weekend!! Great weather, good people and an awesome location, what more could we ask for? A huge thanks to the Oregon and Washington clubs for all their help, we couldn’t have done it without you. Also Axial would like to thanks all the judges, volunteers and anyone else that helped this event along, we really appreciate all the help. See you in 2 weeks at Lake Amador, Ca.

Axial West Coast Championship Qualifier, Round 3

Axial held the 3rd round of their West Coast Championship Qualifier’s this past weekend (March 13th) in St. George, Utah. St. George is located in the southwest corner of Utah. It’s well known for it’s golf courses, mountain biking, hiking, camping, off-road trails, etc. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, like myself, then St. George is tough to beat as far as activities and sight seeing goes. The location for this comp was incredible. There are massive red rock formations everywhere, with endless lines to be had for an R/C rock crawling comp. Plus, for this comp we worked alongside 801RC, the local Utah club of crawlers. 801RC has a hardcore group of crawler fanatics that love everything about this sport, just like we do. So it was a no brainer for Axial to team up with them to put on another great comp in this series. Anyone up for another road trip?

Thursday morning started with the task of loading the RV up with everything we’ll need for this event. Let’s go over the checklist……..gates check, banners check, stickers check, AWCCQ flyers check, cameras check, comp rigs check, batteries check, demo rigs check, Axial flags check, flag pole check, clipboards check, timers check, Parker’s choke chain and leash check.

Loading the RV
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The new mascot for the RV ensures we don’t stray off course.
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We pulled into Vegas about 7:30 in the evening to pick up Parker and Stuart. Once we spotted them we stopped the RV, waited for them to get close, then punched it just to see how fast they could run. Needless to say it wasn’t very fast.
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After we made them chase us for a few blocks we decided to stop and let them load up.
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Before we left the airport Brian had to go to the bathroom, so we made a quick stop so he could relieve himself.
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A quick drive down the strip before heading to Mesquite.
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Next day we were on the road early in the morning so we had time to test and tune at the comp site. The drive from Mesquite to St. George is relatively short but very picturesque.
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This was my first trip to St George and when we pulled into the comp site you couldn’t help but smile if you are into rock crawling. I think Brian shed a few more tears too.
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After the test and tune session it was time to find our campsite. We stayed at Snow Canyon State Park just up the road from the comp site. This spot was awesome. They have a bunch of hiking trails that wind around some petrified sand dunes. There are huge red rock formations throughout the park, and there are even a few lava chutes you can hike/climb down into.

Pulling into the RV park
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Myself, Brian and Stuart taking in the scenery.
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I hope this guy ate some spinach before starting that ascent.
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Notice the black lava rock spread throughout the field.
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Parked…………time to wrench and charge batteries.
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6am on game day
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Stuart preps the tech table
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Sunrise
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Parker and Stuart scope out potential courses, and possible napping spots.
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Got gates?
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Mike “Naz-T” Thompson sets a couple courses first thing in the morning. Someone get this guy a coffee.
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Rig tech
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Let’s get a closer look at Stuart’s mouse pad………………….oh my!!
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Group shot of the comp rigs
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Driver’s meeting
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Brain Parker holding court
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Go time!! Scott Hughes on course 5. Not sure that is the best line through there…………………..just kidding Scott.
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Scott dropping into the alternate line looking for an extra -10 points
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Random shots from the comp
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Me getting ready to run course 4
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Scott H. on course 4
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Naz-T…………………….America’s next top model?
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More random shots
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Jess Downing wrenches between courses
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It’s just like a car accident……………..you want to look away………………….but you can’t.
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More shots
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Scott Hughes and Brian Parker……………….nuff said
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A freak storm blew in throwing 50mph winds and hail at anyone still on the hill. For the safety of everyone involved we decided to call the comp for the day and finish Sunday morning. After we picked everything up and headed back to our campsite the sun started shining again. So, we decided to check out the petrified sand dunes and lava tubes.
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Parker and I decided to take the Honchos with us and get a scale run in while it was still nice
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The lava tubes
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Armed with a cell phone light and a mini mag light between the 4 of us, we descended into the darkness. Brian, no matter how many times you ask……………I’m not holding your hand.
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Next morning while the last few guys finished running comp courses we set out to run the scalers on the trail run I set-up Saturday morning.
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And the winners are………

Pro Overall:
1st place Jake Wright
2nd place Marty Mann
3rd place Tom Barger
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Pro Shafty:
1st place Jake Wright
2nd place Marty Mann
3rd place Don Hughes
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Rock Candy Sportsman:
Natalia Morales
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Rock Candy Pro:
Becky Barger
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Well that brings us to the end of yet another AWCC Qualifier. Next stop is Long Beach, Washington in 2 weeks (March 27th). It’ll be nice to get back up to the great northwest and compete with the guys from ORCRC, who will be hosting this next event. These last two qualifiers will be must attend events if you are relatively close to these locations. See you there!!

Axial West Coast Championship Qualifier, Round 2

Axial hosted it’s second west coast qualifier this past weekend (Feb. 27th) in Farmington, New Mexico.  Farmington is notorious in the 1:1 off-road world for having some of the best rock crawling anywhere in the US; numerous 1:1 competitions have been held there since the birth of rock crawling as well. This was my first trip to Farmington and needless to say the terrain didn’t disappoint. Massive sandstone rock formations were everywhere at the Brown Springs comp site, which had everyone excited to get this comp underway. R/C rock crawlers that live in the Farmington area are truly blessed with some awesome terrain. Here’s a breakdown of how the competition and the trip went for us.

On Wednesday afternoon, we started loading all the comp supplies into the RV. I went through my extensive checklist to make sure we had everything we could possibly need from scorecards, to course boundaries, gates, stop watches, pens, t-shirts for the giveaways, clip boards, banners, tools, spare parts, scalers, comp rigs, chargers, batteries, radios, spare electronics, etc. You get the idea. Everything was loaded into the RV with very little room to spare.

We started rolling Thursday morning by 6am. After a quick stop for some chocolate, Frappuccinos and petrol we hit the road bound for Las Vegas to pick-up Brian “Captain Axial” Parker and his main man Stuart Gartner.

Here is what my view looked like for 1600+ miles and a lot of hours driving.
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Same view…
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Still the same view…..
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After we hit Vegas and picked-up the boys, we headed over to BJ’s Brewhouse for lunch and a break from the road. The pepperoni pizza was my choice with home brewed root beer, which was very tasty. Makes me hungry right now.
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About 30 miles down the road we entered into the Lake Mead/Hoover Dam area.
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The local helicopter tour was taking flight as we drove down into the dam.
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The RV and Parker had to get a thorough inspection from authorities before being allowed to drive over the dam.  Parker and the two security guards disappeared into a small tent for about 20 minutes after the RV inspection was done.  When Brian returned he was walking a little funny and mumbling something about a cavity search?
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Local Jeep tour vehicle was passing through security at the same time as us.
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Looks like they are in the process of building a huge new bridge right over the dam. Once finished the view from the bridge should be amazing to say the least……………………..anyone up for a base jump?
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Crossing into Arizona by the dam. After a few hours driving in Arizona I thought I was on the set of “The Hills have Eyes.”
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A few more pics of the dam and surrounding area
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Here you can see how low the water levels are right now in the lake and inlet.
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Back on the road
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Meanwhile, Brian meditates in the RV before numbering the Axial gate markers (whilst visions of impassable gates danced in his head).
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Finally…………….we pull into the much anticipated comp site. After a quick look around we started giggling like school girls as we checked out the terrain. Brian started tearing up a little, and tried to blame it on something being in his eye, but we knew better. Sorry Brian.
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After a little test and tune session at the comp site, it was time to shower and hit the local bar for early tech. Three River’s Brewery was the place to be on Friday night. They were gracious enough to let us set-up a tech table right inside the bar and then supplied us with a free pool table and complimentary nachos. We asked a few locals what was the best beer to order, since we had no idea. Everyone said the “Double Barrel Amber” was the way to go. They were right too, it was one of the best beers I have ever had…………..period. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.

Here’s Brian getting the party started.
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The Colorado crew talk strategy and rig set-up.
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These lovely ladies greeted me at the door with popcorn and a fresh beverage…………….I wish.
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Here’s how the tech table looked through my eyes after 4 or 5 Double Barrel Ambers.
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Game day. We were at the comp site by 6am on Saturday morning to set everything up. To our surprise there were people already there. Some even camped overnight despite the cold temps.
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Got wheel speed?
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Brian bundled up and doing work setting courses.
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Driver’s meeting
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Group shot
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Got snow?
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Alright, now let’s run some courses!!
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Dropping into Gate #3 on Course 1
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Colorado driver Becky Barger working her rig through course 4
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Axial team driver Jason “Sparky J” Rioux on course 3
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Sparky and I working course 5
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More random goodness
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Colorado driver, Jay Robinette
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Brain Parker (left) and Stuart Gartner (right) watch as competitors run their courses. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Stuart Gartner, he is one of the big players in this whole series. Brian and Stuart put in endless and sometimes thankless, hours of work behind the scenes at these AWCCQ Series comps for us. And we thank them for that!!
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And of course “Captain Axial” was on hand passing out free t-shirts to the spectators and competitors. I still find it weird how you never see Parker and Captain Axial in the same place at the same time.
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This guy looks impressed
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Ummm……..
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Colorado driver Matt Boken takes time out from competing to snap a picture with the R/C superhero.
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Here you can see Captain Axial’s ability to blend into any background, almost like a chameleon.
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Rescuing damsels in distress, a hero’s work is never done.
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Time to warm up…
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Once all the dust, snow, and rock settled here is how the top 3 for each class ended up.

Pro Shafty:
1st place Jay Robinette
2nd place Brad “Bender” Dumont
3rd place Kris Donaldson
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Pro M.O.A:
1st place Ryan Winkleman
2nd place Rob Youngsma
3rd place Tom Long
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Sport Class:
1st place Cody Mathews
2nd place Anthony Zajicek
3rd place Ron Loveland
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Rock Candy Sport Winner: Melissa Mathews
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Rock Candy Pro Winner: Becky Barger
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Wow, what a weekend!! Brutal courses but again, those that were some of the best that I’ve driven. Unbridled enthusiasm and comradery between all the competitors is usually the theme at most comps I attend, and this one was no different. Axial Racing would like to thank everyone involved in this event. A big thanks to the Farmington club 4CRC (4 Corners R/C) for all their help in organizing the land use and promotion of this event.  See you in St. George in 2 weeks.