West Fork Ranger Station Scale Challenge Text: James Story Rice Photography: Robert Wise The event began early on Saturday May 30th, with a cool breeze moving down the river’s edge. Drivers began arriving around 8 am in droves from the Carolinas, Alabama, and Florida. Once sign ups began at 9:00am the hype in the crowd began to rise. Drivers began getting their scale trucks set for an epic Axial Adventure. The drivers meeting began with a huge thanks to the sponsors, including Axial, Phoenix Designs, Team KNK Hardware, ScalerFab, Rolland Rock Shop, CBERC, and TJ RC products. Each sponsor donated a number of great prizes making for a great raffle. Following giving thanks, we discussed a few ground rules: Have Fun, no Hand of God, help your fellow drivers, stay on the trail and don’t disturb wildlife or the native plants located on the property and one more reiteration that this was meant to be a Super Fun Day. Class 2 took to the course first in an open start as the drivers hurried getting the last few things ready. Soon after, a few of the class 3 drivers that were not a running a class 2 rig, set out to conquer the course. Right off the bat the beginning of the course traversed up the riverbank to rock ledges, which always prove to be a tough spot. Several drivers found weak spots in their trucks having to quickly do a bit of repair and adjustment. As they reached the end of that leg they came upon the Carolina Bridges that made their first appearance at Motorama, and have been traveling with the Axial Ambassadors everywhere from Belleview Florida to Daytona for Jeep Beach.
Soon after they hit the semi-dry riverbed section, they navigated the partially submerged bridge and down through some very sandy and slippery rocks, which directed them over a bamboo bridge to an island formed by the floods of 2004. Trail marker followed by another, drivers worked through the random river rocks, boulders back to the top of the island, and eventually back across the dry riverbed to the shore. Though the next section could be viewed as an easy stroll through the gardens with scattered small obstacles, it seemed to get the best of some of our drivers. They began to get tired and the wobbly suspension bridges proved to be tougher than they looked. As they finished the final gates that curled around the property gardens, the excitement began to grow as the smell of lunch permeated the air.
Mrs. Nancy Rice, mother to Axial Ambassador and host Story Rice, had prepared a filling menu that included, Italian Sausage covered with peppers and onions on hoagie rolls, fresh summer salad, chips, fresh tossed field greens salad and a variety of dessert bars. Comforting food filled bellies and boosted sprits, preparing drivers, including class 3, to carry on navigating their way through the end of the course.
Shortly there after began the awards Ceremony, were the top drivers were awarded for their greatness in navigating the trail with little faults. Class 2 winner was Joseph Meaders, while Class 3 victory went to Marcus Moore, both receiving highly coveted Axial Camo-bill hats and class trophies! Remaining prizes were raffled off to drivers and spectators.
After a small break waiting for night fall to begin the night run, some drivers left while others stayed, those who hung around were hooting and hollering through the course as they had been during the day but under the light of a full moon, along with lights mounted to these great tiny trucks! Once completed the two drivers that managed to hit the least trail markers Shawn Barton and Matthew Walker both received Axial Camo-bills, along with more prizes in a raffle fashion to the remaining drivers. The drivers that had to head out did so quickly; some with over an hour drive to get home from the Ranger Station, while others set up tents to camp for the night. Great times were had by all and another Axial Adventure is already being planned for the Fall at the West Fork Ranger Station.