A Quest For G6 Certification – Part 2
Words & Images: Scott ‘AceofAxe’ Curlin
Now that we had settled into our tents/car, the realization of why we were there started really to take over. We had agreed to take a box standard Ready to Run (RTR) truck through some of the gnarliest terrain, in some serious heat and make it last 12 hours. We couldn’t make any repairs on or off the trail as we were trying to get it G6 certified. This means companies seeking the G6 certification couldn’t just turn up with a bag full of spares and swap out every part that breaks. NO, literally take the truck out of the box, put it onto the trail and 12 hours later you have a certification.
Then, we started to notice other rigs in the pits and how they had been designed, prepped and tested just for this event. They knew their weak points and had plenty of spares for those. We would later see them on the trails swapping them as they went. But I am getting ahead of myself. Spares were not an option for us.
As Team Captain for the Carisma Scale Adventure Team, I was constantly contacting Ivan (Carisma Owner) and Pete (Global Brand Manager & Head of New Product Development) weeks before the event. My biggest fear was failing. I had a thousand questions and strategies I wanted to talk with them about. Ivan made it simple for me. He said “Scott, it’s a toy truck, have fun and enjoy it”. I told him thanks and acted like I was calm after that. So when talking to Pete, he told me, “Bro, we have every confidence in you and the Team, enjoy it! I took this advice on board, but was still worried about the outcome.
Now fast forward back to Austria, here we are the morning of the event. We started heading down to the event. It was a good 10 minutes’ walk. Half way there, I realize I forgot my hat, sunglasses, and my camelback. So, I left Robb and John to continue down and I headed back to camp to get the forgotten items. Now, after making the trek back to camp and back to G Central we were ready.
The night before we had decided that we would take it in 2-hour shifts. We would each have a total of 4 hours’ drive time. I asked the guys who wants to go first and without skipping a beat, John piped up and said, “I don’t mind”. Perfect, he could start us off and Robb and I could catch the take-off on video and get a few pictures as well.
9:00 Start time:
I was nervous and kept telling the guys, take it slow, enjoy it and remember the truck must make it 12 hours. I was obviously part of a great 3-man team, John was off and running and Robb agreed to take the next shift and I would take the third. I really didn’t need to worry about these guys, but I still did. My main goal was to bring home a certification for Carisma. But when I wasn’t driving I had no control over the outcome! Lol, again these guys are both great drivers, but I couldn’t see them 90% of the trail. I kept asking “where is he”, “Did the truck break”, “has he gone over the cliff” lol, silly questions like that were plaguing me. But as I stood at the top of the final hill I would see them come out of the woods and I had a little “inner celebration” each time they appeared.
I would stand there encouraging them, but mainly willing the truck up the steep incline. That position would be my normal spot, I would stand there wait until I saw them, then cheer for them to the top and debrief them on the way back to G Central. I would ask them how was the truck, is everything still intact, is the battery holding up, etc…
We would check into G Central then head to the pits for a battery sway and a once over the truck. Making sure all screws were still tight and the tyres were firmly mounted.
11:00 am: 10 hours to go and it was Robb’s turn. He headed out and I started worrying again lol. When he came out of the woods I was there waiting at the top of the hill. It looked like the truck was struggling a bit. I started to worry more. When he finally reached the top he said the steering had gone……. So me being me, I asked “what did you do” lol he said nothing and he limped it back to G Central. we got to the pits and I said take the shell off and let’s have a look. John was thinking clearer than Robb and I and asked to see the transmitter. He tuned the A.T.V. setting and we had full steering again. We had a laugh and then Robb headed back out after the obligatory battery swap.
1:00 pm: 8 hours to go and Robb was done with his first leg. We had completed 4 hours and had 8 more to go. I readied my camelback and John put the battery in the truck after having a quick look over everything. Now it was my turn, I headed out very cheerful and fully confident in the little SCA-1E. Then it hit me, what if I broke the truck? Ha-ha, after all the talk about taking it easy and making good decisions on the trail, what If I broke it. I quickly put that out of my head and started realizing where I was. I was in Austria in this beautiful terrain, piloting a 1/10 masterpiece through the trails. Wow, I started quietly laughing at the whole situation. I then remembered a 10-year-old me playing with RC cars in the garden wishing I was a professional racer! I’m not a professional racer, but I’m doing what I love! And, for everyone that ever said RC cars were a waste of time, I would just like to say, I am in Austria playing with toy cars, how is your day? Lol
I really enjoyed the trail all 1.7 kilometres (just over 1 mile) of it! To me this could be the next fitness craze! I could do this all day, and will soon! But that’s for another Blog. Even as I’m writing this while on holiday, I see all the walking we are doing as training for my next go at The Fix. And there will be a next go!
We had to wait our mandatory 30 minutes off trail within the first 8 hours. So, we sat and talked about what we would do when we get our Kit versions of the truck to make them as good if not better than the RTR.
3:30 pm: 5 1/2 hours to go. John was ready to go back out. He hit the trails full of excitement. I decided it was time to get some food, and Robb had the same idea, so we both went to a food truck and placed our orders. As we were finishing eating, John comes jogging by and said, “truck’s doing great, I got a spare battery” and was gone again before I could say anything! Lol I didn’t have time to react, he was gone! So, I was waiting at my normal top of the hill position and we debriefed on the way back to G Central. John had time for one more lap on his shift and Robb readied himself and his Camelback for the next lap.
5:30 pm: 3 1/2 hours to go. As John was coming up the hill from his final lap it started to hit me. This is John’s last lap of the 12-hour fix. We had driven for 8 hours and were 2/3s done with the event. I felt sad for John as he was finishing his last lap of this epic adventure, but happy at the same time because he had done his part! He had driven his portion flawlessly and accomplished what we came here to do. Each of us to do our part! And that is exactly what he did! Well done mate, and thank you!
Now Robb was back out after waiting 20 minutes or so, I took my position on top of the hill waiting to see him come out of the woods. as he came up the hill I started thinking I really want to get out there and drive some more. When he reached the top, he said he would like to get the camera equipment ready. He asked if I wanted to take over early, I tried to contain myself. I said in the calmest voice I could muster, “yea, I could do that if you want”. Lol What I really wanted to say was “give me the transmitter, I’m gone!” again, another team member completed his task and we were well on our way! Thanks for a great job Robb, well done!
6:30 pm 2 1/2 hours to go. I’m off I asked John to grab my head torch while I was out. During that lap I started noticing shadows in the dense forest and knew my last laps would not be easy. The sun was quickly setting and the head torch would be a necessity. While coming up the hill on the end of that lap it started getting very dark very fast. I made it back to G Central and the pits and John was quickly on the battery change. Robb had handed me my head torch as said, “you’ll be needing this mate!” Man was he right.
7:30 pm 1 1/2 hours to go. It wasn’t too bad going, it hadn’t gone too dark yet. Or so I thought. That was until I walked into the woods and bit of a panic came over me. I was completely blinded without that head torch! The head torch made a halo of about 3 feet around the little truck. But I needed to see where my feet were going as well. The trail was rough going underfoot and very slippery in some parts. You really had to pay attention to truck and your feet at the same time. Some areas you would drive your truck to a safe point and then focus on your steps to assure you didn’t slip or twist an ankle. But then something else came into mind. I’m in a VERY dense forest, by myself and it was pitch black! So not only was I thinking of what wild animals could be around, but what about all those horror movies and the Grimm tales of the Bavarian Forest…
Part 3 very, very soon!