Event Recap: Ultimate Scale Challenge- Fairfax

Event Recap: Ultimate Scale Challenge- Fairfax

“Take a picture of Kyle actually wheeling!” was the comment during my run at Sunday’s USC event.


(Picture by Chris Rylant)

Yes, unfortunately it’s been a while since I’ve actually gotten the chance to wheel my rig somewhere other than the yard. However, Sunday I was able to sneak away from life for a bit and attend the event, held at Fairfax Falls in Vermont. It was the second event out of four for the series, but the first I had been able to attend. Arriving fashionably late after covering a triathlon in Colchester earlier in the morning, I rushed to get the RC4WD D90 put together and ready for a run on the course.


(A couple D90’s prepare to battle it out on the USC course Sunday in Fairfax)

In my hurry to get out of the house that morning, I had grabbed all my RC stuff that I thought I would need for the day, but forgot one key component- the set screws to attach the D90 shell to the Gelande 2 chassis. Thankfully Gerry came to my rescue and lent me a couple screws from his own D90 so that I could run.

The course was laid out along a riverbank, just below a dam/waterfall featuring a mixture of beach sand, rocks, and driftwood. Following the gates that were marked off for the Class 1 rigs, the D90 got slightly high-centered on a small rock a few gates in. Not wanting to bring out the winch quite yet, I opted to give the Scale By Chris sand ramps a shot. After a few tries and some re-positioning of the ramps, the D90 broke free and was off to the next gate.


(Photo by Trevor Rushford)

A few gates further on down the course, approximately a 4-5″ straight drop off down the face of a rock. With any other rig I would probably just “send it” as some like to say, but with these scale rigs it was time to bring out the sand ramps again. With the ramps in position, the D90 easily descended down off the rock and onto the sand, completing the gate.

Then came the water crossing. I had seen a few rigs make the crossing, and had watched one get stuck in the mud pretty good, so I was a little skeptical the D90 would make it through in one shot. Trying to balance speed with a steady trigger finger to keep the rig from sinking into the mud, it made it about 75% of the way across before it bogged down significantly and I thought for sure it was stuck. However, a few quick blips of the throttle were enough to keep the rig pushing forward and it emerged from the water safely. Unknown to me at the time, it is during this water crossing that I believe I lost connection to my winch.


(Above, one of the rigs stuck in the mud just shy of a gate)


(The D90 fords the scale water crossing. Picture by Chris Rylant)

The rest of the course went fairly smooth for the D90, but the trouble stuck with 2 gates remaining. The gate was on the side of a small rock ledge, the ledge being a couple inches high. With all the success I had been having with the sand ramps up to this point, I first attempted those to get up and over the ledge. Unfortunately the soft sand below didn’t provide a hard enough surface for the ramps to gain any leverage and they just spun out from under the rig. I then tried a little “bump and run” to try and bounce the rig over the ledge, which resulted in the D90 flopping backwards. The D90 came to rest squarely on it’s back bumper, all four wheels in the air vertically, nose of the rig pointed towards the clouds. USC rules for Class 1 don’t allow rollovers- if you do, your run is done. Thankfully since this wasn’t a full rollover, my run wasn’t done yet and I had a chance to attempt to save it. Without a winch though, it would be tricky.


Again, I attempted the sand ramps, hoping I could get enough traction on the rear wheels to flop it back down onto all four. No such luck. It was time to break out the Road Hawg recovery ropes and see if I could winch myself down. Attaching one end to a land anchor, and wrapping the other end around one of the front wheels, I applied some throttle. Down came the rig, back onto all fours- I was back in business! Or so I thought.

After getting the rig back on all four wheels, it was time to retry getting over that rock ledge. A mental mistake and getting impatient with myself, I pushed it too hard and applied too much throttle trying to hop the rig once again and the D90 flopped over. This time luck was not on my side, and the D90 fell to the passenger side- classifying it as a rollover and putting an end to my run.

A disappointing end to the event for me personally, but even with that result I still had a blast. Running in a scale oriented event such as USC forces you to think about and plan your moves accordingly, as one wrong move could end your run prematurely. It’s an event where smart driving and careful planning are top priority, and you can’t just run and gun your way through the course and expect to be successful. When all was said and done a fellow D90 driver, Trevor Patch, emerged victorious in Sunday’s event.

The final two events of the series are being held August 19th and 20th in Montgomery, Vermont. Rumor has it, one of the two runs will be a night run, so that should be a good time and add another aspect to the challenge. Be sure you’ve followed and “Liked” the USC page to stay up to date on future events as well!

For more photos from the event, head on over to the Facebook page and check out the album seen here.


(Chris Rylant’s C1 rig)

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