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Thread: The Universe of WipEout

  1. #11
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    Jun 2014
    Manila, PH
    GMT -5
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    Pretty nice backstories so far. Definitely looking forward to seeing your take on the Temtesh Bay disaster next.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Cheltenham, United Kingdom


    Quote Originally Posted by GBalao888 View Post
    Pretty nice backstories so far. Definitely looking forward to seeing your take on the Temtesh Bay disaster next.
    Thanks very much! I can add the Temtesh disaster to the backlog; it's an interesting piece of WipEout lore, and one I really would like to explore. Before that, I have lined up
    - the Beneto v. Johnson inter-team rivalry at FEISAR, 2160
    - the first race report of the 2219 FX400 League season at Moa Therma
    - a season review of the 2206 FX300 championship and Triakis's disqualification
    - the mysterious deaths of both EG-X pilots at the Finnish round of the 2212 FX400 championship
    - the scant information and rumours surrounding EG-R

    Open to suggestions from anyone reading, and I'll take them onboard!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Cheltenham, United Kingdom


    Famous Rivalries: Carlos Beneto vs Daniel Johnson

    “Carlos? That fat old has-been was yesterday’s news in the last CENTURY! Not my fault he flies like warmed-over dogs**t, and looks a bit like it too, come to think of it…”

    “...someday I will hold Johnson’s stupid, smarmy, Habsburg-chinned head under my LS-59’s rear thrusters and we will see how many cosmetic sponsors want him with a half-vaporised skull. Every time he breathes, I think of a poor tree’s wasted hard work…”

    - The FEISAR pilots’ sparkling reviews of each other, Hovver Bovver datacast, July 2160

    It may seem rather incongruous to include a rivalry that only lasted a year in a list of AG racing’s greatest pilot clashes, especially one as one-sided as this. However, to dismiss the Beneto/Johnson inter-team rivalry would be a grave mistake, if only for the sheer bitterness and hatred that categorised both sides. There’s little doubt that Beneto and Johnson were two of the most toxic teammates in the history of the AGRC - but why? What made these two FEISAR pilots loathe each other so? Well, to start with, we have to dive into the lives of the pilots themselves.

    Carlos Beneto was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 26th, 2117. A natural learner, he excelled in school - graduating high school at the age of 15, and obtaining a master’s degree in gravitronics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Great things were expected of the young Beneto in scientific circles: many regarded him as a generational intellect. It was a total shock, then, that he signed for Piranha’s F7200 racing team a week after his 23rd birthday. The wider scientific community were scandalised by Beneto’s pursuit of racing as opposed to the betterment of science, though his parents notably supported him: he famously purchased his parents tickets to every F7200 race he flew, and even made it a stipulation in every contract he signed. “Without the love and support of my Mama and Papa, I would never be here today,” said Beneto in a 2150 press conference, “so why not invite them to see the fruits of their labour?”

    Beneto flew for Piranha for two seasons in 2141 and 2142, but given that he flew alongside world champions Simon Webster and Felix Wilson, the Brazilian was hopelessly outclassed, and was dropped at the end of the 2142 season in favour of French pilot Juleka Toursel, who transferred from AG-Systems. Beneto’s technical expertise was highly praised, however, by FEISAR, and the European team snapped him up. His first season with FEISAR was hugely successful by their standards: he regularly scored points, outqualified his teammate Lola Adegoke-Sanusi 10-2 and finished the season 7th in the championship with 60 points. This was the highest total for a FEISAR pilot since Imogen Hurstwell’s miracle title victory more than a decade earlier. Beneto had great respect for FEISAR, stating that “their technical knowledge and vision for the technology is a noble and honourable goal that I feel proud to contribute to.” Jacques Lacaux, then-Director of FEISAR’s Racing Operations branch, said Beneto was a ‘real asset’ to the team:

    “...[Carlos] is blessed with a brilliantly analytical mind… his understanding of the craft could shame many of our actual engineers. His technical expertise is almost like a neural link between him and the craft. Undoubtedly, this is the factor behind his fantastic racing performances.”

    Beneto replaced Sanusi as FEISAR’s lead pilot when the Nigerian retired at the end of the following year, and went on to lead FEISAR as top pilot for 15 years. He may not have won a race in those years, but that spoke more to the FEISAR craft than Beneto’s skill; despite mountains of offers from better-equipped teams, Beneto chose to stay loyal to FEISAR, the team that, to him, felt ‘most like home’.

    In contrast, Daniel Johnson burst onto the AG racing scene in a blaze of abrupt talent, glory, and (some would say) more than a little egotism. Born as a test-tube baby to unknown parentage in London on the 3rd of March, 2136, the infant Johnson was given a nondescript name by St. Agatha’s Hospital and raised in an orphanage in Hounslow. At three years of age Johnson was given to FEISAR representatives for the team’s ‘Pilots for the Future’ program, in exchange for a weekly donation to the orphanage’s coffers. The young Johnson thus trained from youth to become a FEISAR pilot, and his constant class-leading scores in FEISAR’s various aptitude tests proved his devotion to that goal. A solitary and perhaps lonely child, Johnson eschewed personal relationships in favour of simulator time and self-imposed exercise regimens. His infamous infatuation with a certain Natasha Belmondo also started here, as he told Sublime and Delicious in February 2162:

    “I was sixteen years old, FEISAR’s leading Study pilot for the fourth year running and the defending British Youth Pilots’ Cup winner. One day, the six of us [FEISAR Study pilots] were called into Director Lacaux’s office. The old man said he had a special visitor for us; something to keep our minds focused on the ultimate goal of succeeding for FEISAR at the highest level. He pressed a button on his desk, a door whooshed, and in walked Natasha Belmondo herself. She was just as lovely in those days as she is now: twenty-four, in the midst of her sophomore year at FEISAR and already turning heads both on the circuit and in the boardroom. She beamed at us, and I don’t think my brain truly understood what beauty was until that moment. All those moments shut away in my room, studying, flying: I had missed an entire dimension of life! I fell in love with her right at that second, and knew I would honour Lacaux’s dream: I would win a championship for FEISAR, and someday meet the beautiful Miss Belmondo as an equal!”

    Johnson graduated from FEISAR Study a year early at twenty, and stayed on as a junior development pilot. He crushed the Pan-European Under-21 Cup, the American Junior Piloting Festival and set world records for win percentage in both the FEISAR Excellence Exhibition Series and the Global Developing Pilots’ Championship. By the end of 2159, the news was official: the Briton would fly for FEISAR’s F9000 championship squad in 2160, and as lead pilot to boot.

    The news was met with equal parts anticipation and confusion. Sure, Johnson was the most highly-anticipated junior pilot, perhaps ever, in the history of anti-gravity racing, but wasn’t an immediate promotion to lead pilot a stupid idea? Did that not constitute a grave overconfidence on the part of then-newly-appointed Director, Xavier Menendez? Carlos Beneto, fresh off his 2159 campaign, assured AG press that the news “didn’t bother him at all” and that “[Daniel] is a phenomenal talent and well deserving of the best shot FEISAR can give him.” Unconfirmed reports outside the FEISAR pilot quarters in Bern, Switzerland detailed strange screaming noises and breaking of heavy objects near Beneto’s cabin in the week following Johnson’s signing, which was blamed on rather displeased mountain squirrels.

    The grid lined up in Nevada on March 8th, 2160, for the season opener at Florion Height. Piranha’s Myima Tsarong took pole position, with defending champion Natasha Belmondo’s Xios in second: Johnson stunned the paddock by qualifying fourth on debut, well ahead of the disgruntled Beneto in tenth. The Briton followed up his qualifying performance with a clean and hard-fought race, eventually coming across the line third behind Belmondo and Shlaudecker. This was only the fourth podium finish on debut in AG racing history, not counting the first professional race back in 2048. Beneto managed sixth, as well as eliminating Van-Uber’s Songen Grey. As a result, FEISAR were third in the championship: their strongest start to a season in their entire history of competition. The mood was jubilant, and initially Beneto and Johnson celebrated together, tension forgotten.

    The lull lasted all of two weeks: when the F9000 circus met again at the Vohl Square medium course, tempers were beginning to flare in the FEISAR camp. An off-handed press comment from Johnson was taken wrongly by Beneto, Johnson had innocently doubled down without realising he’d caused offence, and by Saturday qualifying the two pilots were at tooth-gritted loggerheads. Johnson was seventh for the race start, with Beneto fifth. The high-speed medium course favoured the Piranha and Xios craft, and both FEISAR pilots found themselves mired in the midfield, desperately clawing to get the upper hand. An elimination further up the track of Wollf’s Xios meant that the battered leading three of Belmondo and the two Piranhas were forced to drop back, bringing FEISAR’s two battling racers and Tigron’s Omarr Khumala within striking distance of the podium. Khumala and Beneto duelled fiercely, with Johnson sitting right on their tails. Picking up a plasma bolt, Johnson fired it at the two battling craft: it scorched past Khumala and slammed into Beneto’s rear left canard, crippling his shields and ramming him into the wall. Beneto was forced to nurse his FEISAR back to the pits, losing a lot of time and eventually finishing a dismal eleventh; Johnson slotted in behind Tsarong and Khumala to claim another third-place finish, his second podium in as many races. Beneto was furious post-race, claiming that Johnson had intentionally taken him out of the battle to undermine his position in the team. Johnson’s non-committal response didn’t exactly help:

    “Look, I fired at Khumala, I missed Khumala. S**t happens. Do I regret hitting my teammate? Yeah, sure. But at the end of the day, we’re rivals, not best chums. Beneto knows that, as much as I respect him as a teammate, he’s just another rival on the track.”

    Beneto could not be reached for comment, but a dart-studded action figure of Johnson pinned to the door of his ‘calm room’ said enough.

    The headlines were awash with exclamation marks as the season continued. It seemed as though the arrival of Daniel Johnson, FEISAR’s prodigal son, had finally galvanised something deep within the calm and measured Beneto, something which couldn’t be put back. Race after race, ranking point after ranking point, it looked as if FEISAR might win a title for the first time in nearly thirty years, if their pilots didn’t murder each other first. Here’s a selection of quotes from the AG press, following the first half of the 2160 season:

    BELMONDO WINS AT MANDRASHEE: Johnson second and Beneto third in three-way battle for victory…
    - AG Today, 11th April 2160

    BENETO ON JOHNSON: “That snivelling little weasel may have gotten the jump on me so far this year, but his trickery and enormously un-aerodynamic chin can’t save him forever. I was a lead pilot here for 15 years, and I’m going to show that British arse-scratcher exactly how I got there…”
    - Hovver Bovver, 18th April 2160

    JOHNSON HITS BACK! “It’s not my fault Beneto couldn’t win a race. I’m going to do in one season something he’s not managed in the, oh, two f**king centuries his fat arse has sweated through a FEISAR g-suit?”
    - Sleek n’ Sleazee: the hottest AGossip!, 21st April 2160

    - Top Gravver UK Magazine, 27th April 2160

    JOHNSON SEEN WITH G-TECH PILOT: paparazzi spotted FEISAR’s hot prospect Daniel ‘DJ’ Johnson sharing a candlelit dinner with G-Tech’s Naomi Turner! Johnson declined to comment. Turner simply told reporters they were just friends (after inflicting minor, karate-related injuries on three others) and that Daniel wouldn’t dare ‘try his tricks on her’. Beneto: “I hope the crazy b**ch stabs him. In his stupid brick of a chin first, then the throat.”
    - Sleek n’ Sleazee: the hottest AGossip!, 1st May 2160

    In an official press release from FEISAR HQ, Xavier Menendez called the rivalry between his pilots ‘harmless banter’ and ‘the hallmark of a great working relationship’. He declined to comment on Johnson telling Beneto to ‘s**t himself and see if it improves the smell.’ or a leaked memo from Beneto detailing the exact blunt forces required to separate Johnson’s chin from the rest of his face.
    - The Official F9000 League Datasheet, 16th May 2160

    BENETO ON THE WARPATH: FEISAR pilot Carlos Beneto has revealed he ‘directly targets’ teammate Daniel Johnson in races. “I like to fire every armament I have at his craft, and imagine every hit is direct contact with his immense-chinned face.” Johnson: “The only thing I fear more than Beneto is the awkwardness of declining an invitation to that f**ker’s funeral after his arteries finally clog for good.”
    - Sublime And Delicious, 28th May 2160

    VERBAL WARFARE: Referring to Johnson’s excellent podium yesterday at Florion Height Long Course, Beneto told reporters: "That guy's a fraud. Johnson can't park an anti-grav commuter cart, never mind fly a race ship. I reckon he's got some kind of wise old mentor who communicates with him from the spirit world and guides him round the circuit." Asked if he was simply going insane with jealousy, Beneto replied, "Yes."
    - Hovver Bovver, 4th June 2160

    By the time the F9000 circus reached Cubiss Float Long Course for the mid-season round of the 2160 championship, the title standings were wide open. Natasha Belmondo led with 53 points, with Tsarong second on 52, Khumala third with 49, Shlaudecker fourth with 44, Johnson fifth on 43 and Zala Wollf with 37. Beneto was seventh, just one point behind Wollf. Johnson lined up on the front row with Wollf on pole: Belmondo was third with Beneto fifth. With the Tigron and Piranha craft well down the order (with the exception of Tsarong’s Piranha in fourth), the Cubiss Float Long round was set to be a grudge match between FEISAR and Xios.

    Johnson got a phenomenal start, and came out of the first corner ahead of Wollf, with Tsarong losing fourth to Beneto by the first jump section. Gradually, the front four ships began to pull away from Tsarong and the chasing pack. A particularly well-placed missile from Johnson in the pine tree open section sent Wollf flying into a wall and to the back of the leading group, while Beneto started to aim his firepower at both his teammate and Belmondo’s Xios in front of him. Heading up the mountain climb section on the next lap, Beneto narrowly missed Belmondo with a plasma bolt, and the Frenchwoman - perhaps deliberately - eased off the throttle in the indoor section, allowing Beneto to take the fight to his teammate. It was the grudge match racing fans and sleazier racing datacasts had been waiting all season for: neither pilot gave an inch, even as the Xios behind them receded into the distance. Two laps from the end, Beneto and Johnson were still warring fiercely over the lead, Johnson trailing the Brazilian by just a few ship-lengths. As they crested the mountain and dropped into the descent section, Johnson fired a volley of rockets at his teammate. They hit Beneto’s LS-59 directly in the rear: the craft veered sharply to the left, up the banking, into the air and came down on the rear right nacelle of Johnson’s engine, crushing it. Beneto pinballed off the wall several times before coming to rest at the end of the slope, facing backwards, shields running dangerously low. Johnson was able to carry on relatively unharmed, although his power output was greatly reduced by the damaged engine, and Belmondo passed him on the final lap to take the win, with Beneto a distant third. Nami Mishima of Van-Uber made a surprising appearance in fourth, followed by Cheung, Wollf and Gonzalez.

    While Belmondo nodded graciously for the cameras and lifted the winners’ trophy on the podium, the two FEISAR pilots were busy staring daggers at each other. This tension spilled over into an all-out fight in the changing rooms, as Franco Gonzalez and Naomi Turner had to pry Beneto and Johnson apart. Johnson merely suffered a split lip and a bruised jaw; Beneto had taken a black eye, a cut above his right elbow, and a right hook straight to the nose. Johnson remained coolly tight-lipped about the incident, and refused to so much as acknowledge his teammate’s existence. For his part, Beneto swore up and down that Johnson had provoked him, again and again, and he “couldn’t believe FEISAR were letting him get away with his constant disrespect, and now assault”. FEISAR themselves did not comment officially on the matter, besides accepting the 2 million Euro fine for ‘disruptive conduct.’

    At the next round in Mandrashee, Natasha Belmondo took home her fourth victory of the season, followed by Zala Wollf for the season’s only 1-2 team finish. Johnson struck back with consecutive wins at the Temtesh Bay and Vohl Square Long courses. The latter was particularly notable for having the most eliminations of any race that season, with only seven finishers out of sixteen entrants. Two weeks later, Beneto scored his only win of the season (and, by extension, his entire career) at Alca Vexus Medium course after a race-long battle for the win with the two Xios pilots. Beneto would go on to describe it as ‘the most epiphanic feeling of his life’ stating:

    “...everyone knows that 2160 was one of the most bitter seasons of my career, of any pilot’s career. I gave myself totally to that rage, that burning anger. I’d never felt that before, never understood why, out of every pilot I ever faced, Daniel Johnson was the man I hated the most. Standing on that podium under the Mexican sun… that day, I understood what it had all been building towards. What drives people - really drives them - to such extremes. Victory’s sweet nectar had a sour tang in the tail. I finally realised that my pursuit of this one moment had ignited my hatred of one man, and one man only. To this day, I still could not tell you why it had to be him. It was fate, I guess.”

    After Alca Vexus, the championship left Earth for the offworld double-headers: Katmoda 12 on the Moon, followed by Devilia on the planet Novon. The Katmoda 12 rounds were characterised by unusually poor performances from the championship leaders. On the Medium course, both Belmondo and Johnson eliminated each other in a fierce battle; the race was won by Zala Wollf in her first ever League victory, followed by Khumala, Beneto and Gonzalez. In the race on the Long Course, Omarr Khumala came out on top with a twenty-second win margin over Auricom’s Pascale Rouser and Myima Tsarong in the Piranha. Two months later at Devilia Medium Course, the race was a fairly tame event by F9000 standards, with a predictable Tsarong-Johnson-Belmondo podium and only three eliminations. Going into the season finale, Belmondo still held a slim lead over Johnson, with Khumala an outside prospect for the championship. Tsarong and Wollf were technically in mathematical contention, but it would take a miracle for either pilot to win:

    2160 F9000 Anti-Grav League Pilots’ Rankings, Rd. 15 of 16:

    1. N.BELMONDO (FRA) - 111 pts.
    Xios International
    2. D.JOHNSON (GBR) - 108 pts.
    3. O.KHUMALA (UAN) - 98 pts.
    Tigron Enterprises
    4. M.TSARONG (PRT) - 91 pts.
    Piranha Advancements
    5. Z. WOLLF (AUT) - 86 pts.
    Xios International
    6. C. BENETO (BRA) - 80 pts.

    In contrast to the previous race, the finale at the Long course was brutal. Johnson lined up on pole, with Tsarong second and Beneto third. Khumala found his slim championship hopes dashed early after a volley of weapons brought his craft down barely a quarter of the way around, while Wollf was blasted into retirement by a grenade volley from Shlaudecker. Despite many racing fans expecting a climactic battle between Belmondo and Johnson, the Brit controlled the race pace superbly from start to finish and won by five and a half seconds over Tsarong. Nami Mishima of Van-Uber stunned the paddock by emerging from the chaos to take third place, and her first podium in AG racing, after starting from tenth. Belmondo was fourth, passing Beneto on the last stretch. It wasn’t enough to win her the championship though, as Johnson took the title by 122 points to her 119. Beneto’s fifth place finish also allowed FEISAR to leapfrog Xios to the Teams’ League Championship, by 209 points to 205. Belmondo was gracious in defeat, remarking that Johnson had “the piloting aptitude of a true champion… [Johnson] did something more impressive than beat me… he also surprised me.” To this day, Johnson’s 2160 title remains the only world championship won by a rookie at the highest level of AG racing. (discounting Kel Solaar's victory in the first AGRC championship, 2048, and Connor Kelly's 2197 title after the almost thirty-year hiatus.)

    Daniel Johnson went on to win the 2161 and 2163 titles for FEISAR, amassing 25 league wins and 16 pole positions. Tragically, his career was cut short in the middle of the 2164 season at Temtesh Bay: Johnson fired the Super Missiles that caused the destabilisation and collapse of the mining tunnels in what would later be known as the Temtesh Bay disaster. Six pilots would be killed in the collapse, including Johnson’s long-time friend and fellow Brit, Naomi Turner of G-Tech. Johnson’s FEISAR was crushed by a rockfall and his life-support system had been crippled: while he was recovered alive, his spinal cord had suffered irreparable damage, and he was unable to fly. Johnson promptly retired, ruling out any slim chance of a future comeback, and took up a leading role at the Anti-Gravity Purity Coalition, helping the AGPC bring down the corrupt Overtel Corporation and F9000 League. As he later put it in a 2184 interview:

    “The Temtesh disaster changed everything about my perception of the sport. Before, I had glorified AG racing, worshipped it and everything it stood for. It was only after I saw my role in the collapse, after I lost Naomi, that I realised: that magnificent pillar of my life was built on decades of lies and deceit. Of course, Natasha felt the same way. She could never say anything overt, given that she was still racing, but I knew she would not rest until we had brought down this mockery that Overtel had made of her great-great-grandfather’s beautiful invention.”

    Johnson and Natasha Belmondo courted in secret throughout much of his 2163 title-winning campaign and afterward, with sources saying that Belmondo “rushed straight back to Daniel’s side” during the 2164 season, and would’ve quit AG racing if Johnson hadn’t encouraged her to continue. The two married in a private ceremony at Poitou-Charentes, France on the 16th of June, 2166. Carlos Beneto was invited, and appeared with nothing but effusive praise for the newlyweds: the two former teammates had reportedly repaired their feud, and continued a lasting friendship into the Collapse. Johnson, aged 83, remains with Natasha to this day and lives at the Belmondo homestead in France, occasionally coming out of retirement as a part-time consultant to the Belmondo Foundation.

    After leaving FEISAR by mutual agreement at the end of the 2160 season, Carlos Beneto flew for two more seasons as a replacement for G-Tech’s Roberto Sergio, before calling time on his 22-season racing career at the end of 2162. His record of 322 career starts is beaten only by Australian pilot Connor Kelly’s 349, and he still holds the record for number of career starts before first victory, with 288 races separating his first start at Porto Kora 2141 and first win at Alca Vexus in 2160. He also holds the record for most AGRC races piloted for a single team, with 263 race starts for FEISAR. Not much is known about Beneto’s life post-retirement: records show he never married or had children, and aside from occasional world travels he seemed content to live off-the-grid. Coroner’s reports from June 2176 showed that the Brazilian died of a heart-attack in Vineta, Makana, aged 68: his funeral was held in a small, intimate gathering in his home city of Belo Horizonte. Daniel Johnson was invited and gave a short eulogy for his former teammate.

    “You know, I often think about the time me and Carlos spent as teammates. How viscerally we insulted each other, how deeply we loathed each other. After all that had passed though, I came to know the real Carlos Beneto: the man who always had a hug for his Mama and Papa, who regaled his stories of races past to adoring nephews and nieces, who supported me through difficult days and never hesitated to extend a hand in aid. Saude, then, to Carlos Beneto. The man I hated, and yet grew to admire.”
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 20th February 2023 at 06:45 PM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Cheltenham, United Kingdom


    *Retrieved from: Sublime And Delicious: The Purest AGRC Monthly Datasheet, issue 925 (printed March 22, 2219)*

    2219 FX400 League Championship race reports
    by Barton Milligan-Kronski

    The 2219 FX400 championship season is the 142nd running of the Anti-Gravity Racing Championship, and the thirteenth season of the FX400 league formula, which sees 12 teams and 24 pilots compete over fifteen rounds of the championship.

    Dagur Stefansson of Anti-Gravity Systems enters the 2219 season as the defending world champion, ahead of Piranha's Sabrina Martinique and Nadia Elenova of Qirex. AG-Systems are likewise the defending champions, fending off a close charge by main rivals Piranha in 2218. Pre-season testing at Metropia leads many to believe AG-Systems will take the title once again, with Stefansson leading the rankings and Elenova close behind. Further down the field, there were all manner of shake-ups: Goteki 45 were fifth-quickest on aggregate team speed laps while FEISAR and Icaras posted furiously close times. EG-X seem to have dragged themselves out of the doldrums this year, with lead pilot Guowei firmly entrenched in the top half of the field.

    Nadia Elenova has won at Moa Therma three times, including last year: the Russian pilot calls Moa Therma her ‘most successful circuit’. We shall see if Qirex’s lead pilot can carry on her successful run…

    Round 1: Moa Therma (Sicily, Italy)

    The 120,000-strong crowd were abuzz with excitement as the teams and pilots lined up on the grid for the season opener. Sabrina Martinique had scored pole position by three-hundredths of a second from Elenova, with Kate Partington’s Triakis a surprise third. Stefansson had to settle for fifth, while six-time champion Connor Kelly was ninth for Harimau - a surprisingly low grid position considering he was third here last year. The Goteki 45 craft really impressed, with Farrell sixth and rookie Ilukyhina eighth, right behind Walter Lahtinen’s Assegai.

    The race got off to a relatively muted start at the front: Partington passed Elenova through the Synchro-Logistics dynamo, and the three leading women remained nose-to-tail throughout much of the first laps. Stefansson passed Gonda’s Piranha for fourth at the Arial Tower banked curve, and began to gradually reel in the leaders. Elsewhere, the grid was a flurry of chaos; an unfortunate plasma bolt, followed by a barrage of rockets and an unfortunate scrape of the wall at the 01 Hotel section saw Luka Rautio’s EG-X as the first elimination of the season, followed shortly by Porter in the Icaras courtesy of an errant missile.

    A prolonged battle for tenth place emerged between Holtman’s Auricom, Nystrom of FEISAR, Qirex’s Diego Gomez and Triakis’s Theodore Roland on lap 29: Nystrom led the four craft into the 01 Hotel complex, but his FEISAR’s lower top speed allowed Roland and Holtman to streak past. Gomez fired a trio of rockets at the pilots ahead, but all three missed: Nystrom dropped back to squabble with him, while the two rookies pulled away, entering the Corig mag-strip practically side-by side. A well-timed bomb from Holtman allowed the American to pull away however, and the battle quickly dissolved.

    Also of note was the race-long battle between another pair of rookies, Dakota Harding’s Harimau and Samara Ilukyhina’s Goteki 45. Harding had qualified a dismal fifteenth thanks to coolant problems in Saturday’s qualifying session; nevertheless, a phenomenal start saw the New Zealander vault up the order to eighth, by lap 15, right on Ilukyhina’s rear thrusters. A well-timed missile from Harding saw her take the position, only to lose out seconds later as the Goteki pilot slammed two rockets into her rear right canard. Throughout the next hundred laps, the two pilots were never more than three seconds apart, changing positions amidst a flurry of weapon fire. With Farrell’s sister Goteki well ahead in sixth and Ling Guowei’s EG-X holding station in ninth, the battle raged until the very last lap, with Ilyukhina leading Harding home by just eight-tenths of a second. The two women embraced in the paddock afterwards, with Harding stating “...I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting first race in the FX400. Samara was very fair and a fantastic opponent; it really was a brilliant battle. Great work by the team at Harimau to put me in eighth place on debut; what a race!”

    By lap 174, it was Triakis’s Kate Partington who took the race win, leading home Nadia Elenova by just over three seconds. The two pilots, already great friends, celebrated wildly on the podium, with Elenova making a grandiose show of kissing her Australian competitor on the cheek: the stoic-faced Stefansson clapped politely, even as a shower of champagne blasted him in the face. Walter Lahtinen was fourth for Assegai, followed by Martinique, Farrell, Ilukyhina and Harding, Guowei, Holtman, Katanosaka and a battle-hardened Gonda took the final points position. There were seven retirements: most notable of which were Diego Gomez of Qirex and Roland of Triakis, having taken each other out of the race in a spectacular simultaneous missile/bomb hit on the Arial Tower banking. All in all, a fantastic season-opener which saw nine of twelve teams score points - surely one of the most varied results published in the FX400 era. Next week, the FX400 heads to New Kyoto for the Japanese round of the championship at Metropia.

    Race Results (points-scorers):
    1. K. PARTINGTON (AUS) - 20pts. | Triakis
    2. N.ELENOVA (RUS) -16pts. | Qirex-RD
    3. D. STEFANSSON (ISL) - 14pts. | AG-Systems
    4. W. LAHTINEN (FIN) - 12pts. | Assegai
    5. S. MARTINIQUE (FRA) - 10pts. | Piranha
    6. C. FARRELL (GBR) - 8pts. | Goteki 45
    7. S. ILUKYHINA (MKA) - 6pts. | Goteki 45
    8. D. HARDING (NZL) - 5pts. | Harimau
    9. L. GUOWEI (MRP) - 4pts. | EG-X
    10. I. HOLTMAN (USA) - 3pts. | Auricom
    11. S. KATANOSAKA (JPN) - 2pts. | AG-Systems
    12. L. GONDA (HUN) - 1pt. | Piranha

    Eliminations (in chronological order):

    L. RAUTIO - EG-X
    A. PORTER - Icaras
    N. LARSEN - Icaras
    D. GOMEZ - Qirex-RD
    T. ROLAND - Triakis
    C. KELLY - Harimau

    2219 FX400 League Pilots’ Championship rankings (top six) Rd. 1/15

    1. K. PARTINGTON (AUS) - 20pts. | Triakis
    2. N. ELENOVA (RUS) - 16pts. | Qirex-RD
    3. D. STEFANSSON (ISL) - 14pts. | AG-Systems
    4. W. LAHTINEN (FIN) - 12pts. | Assegai
    5. S. MARTINIQUE (FRA) - 10pts. | Piranha
    6. C. FARRELL (GBR) - 8pts. | Goteki 45

    2219 FX400 League Teams’ Championship rankings (top six) Rd. 1/15

    1. TRIAKIS INDUSTRIES (AUS) - 20pts.
    #15 K. PAR / #39 T. ROL
    #8 N. ELE / #53 D. GOM
    3. ANTI-GRAVITY SYSTEMS (JPN) - 16pts.
    #91 D. STE / #6 S. KAT
    4. GOTEKI 45 (MKA) - 14pts.
    #49 C. FAR / #35 S. ILU
    #80 W. LAT / #64 K. OGU
    #22 S. MAR / #45 L. GON
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 25th May 2023 at 11:50 PM. Reason: site kept crashing if I tried posting this all at once

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