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Thread: The Universe of WipEout

  1. #1
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    Default The Universe of WipEout

    Wow. It's been a very, very long time since I last saw this forum. So, why, you may ask, have I returned? Well, I managed to dig out my old PSVita a couple of weeks ago, and while playing WipEout Pulse, I recalled all the little backstories and fanfictions I'd written over the years for the game's lore. Particularly, I remember reading up on keg_11 and Synergy2048's 'shared universe' of sorts, and thought today, why not create my own? Inspired both by the works of those before me and the ramblings of my childhood past self, I created this spreadsheet detailing the championship winners of AG racing throughout the many years and forms it has weathered. If somebody remembers how to hyperlink, please tell me!

    Championship Standings 2048-2218:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

    2219 FX400 season:
    The Grand 2219 FX400 Pre-Season Round-Up!
    https://www.wipeoutzone.com/forum/sh...057#post256057
    2219 FX400 League Championship race reports, round 1: Moa Therma
    https://www.wipeoutzone.com/forum/sh...127#post256127

    Famous Rivalries:
    Jarvi Kukkonen vs Luis Mosquera dos Santos, 2106-11:
    https://www.wipeoutzone.com/forum/sh...061#post256061
    Carlos Beneto vs Daniel Johnson, 2160:
    https://www.wipeoutzone.com/forum/sh...069#post256069

    AG racing history:
    Racing on the final frontier: the history of off-world circuits in AG racing:
    https://www.wipeoutzone.com/forum/sh...062#post256062
    Tigron Enterprises and the mystery of the “K-VSR”
    https://www.wipeoutzone.com/forum/sh...065#post256065

    I'll be back with some more stories from the Championships' long history, hopefully. Enjoy.
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 26th May 2023 at 12:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    I'll be looking forward to your writing

  3. #3
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    Having an issue with the site right now, getting an Internal Server Error every time I try to post. Hm.

    EDIT: this seems to be an error specifically with pasting in my first piece of writing... there can't be a character limit, so I wonder what the problem is.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Does this site not like copy+paste?

  5. #5
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    *Retrieved from: Sublime And Delicious: The Purest AGRC Monthly Datasheet, issue 924 (printed January 25, 2219)*

    The 2219 FX400 Pre-Season Round-Up!
    (brought to you by Barton Milligan-Kronski)


    Well, here we are again racing fans, back for another season of the FX400! Following last weekend’s pre-season testing exploits at Talon’s Junction, it’s my duty to welcome you to another lovely Monday, wherever you are in the world, with the finalised entry list of teams and pilots for this year of racing, and by all accounts, it’s shaping up to be a hot one. New pilots, new resolve, but it’s still me, the same old Barton Milligan-Kronski, bringing you all the news, science and gossip of everyone’s favourite sport. As always, I've offered a few of my opinions and behind-the-scenes tipoffs - you heard it all here first, readers. Don't forget that this issue of Sublime and Delicious is brought to you by our sponsors at JOY Noodle Bar: if you live in the UK, Germany, France or the Netherlands, scan the included coupon code at any JOY Noodle Bar and you'll receive 50% off any and all orders!

    (Teams listed in order of 2218 championship standings)

    1: AG-Systems

    They’re the post-Collapse era’s most successful team, the current championship defenders, and AG-SYS show no signs of slowing down. While Piranha and Qirex challenged hard for the 2218 title, the ice-cool Icelander Dagur Stefansson managed to pilot the AG-Systems to four victories over fifteen grueling rounds of the championship. Veteran pilot and AG Systems legend Ryosuke Koyamada retired at the end of the year, ending a 21-year career in AG racing. With an unexpected shortage of young pilots, AG-Systems have been left scrambling to find someone to fill his role. Still, with a top craft and the highest-rated pilot, AG-Systems will be hard to beat this year.

    Lead Pilot: Dagur Stefansson
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: STEF189.11.06.82
    Age: 26 (b. 17 December 2192)
    Birthplace: Reykjavik, Iceland
    Race Number: 91
    Championship Titles: 2 (2215, 2218)

    Born and raised as the only son of an accountant in Reykjavik, Iceland, Stefansson was a natural-born AG pilot, winning both the Pan-Nordic Cup and the Northern European junior championship titles in 2210, at the age of just 17. After a championship victory in the 2212 JX200 feeder series, he was signed for AG-Systems and quickly rose through the ranks, outperforming world champion and veteran Ryosuke Koyamada in his rookie season. Winning both the 2215 and 2218 championship titles, there seems to be little that fazes the ‘Iceman’ of the FX400.

    Second Pilot: Shotaro Katanosaka
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: KATA134.56.67.33
    Age: 20 (b. 2 April 2198)
    Birthplace: Uenohara, Japan
    Race Number: 6
    Championship Titles: 0

    Katanosaka is the latest graduate of AG-Systems’ prestigious piloting academy. An aggressive and risky pilot, he learned to pilot on the dilapidated and dangerous streets of Yokohama after it was abandoned by the Japanese government, and credits his cornering precision with years of experience using airbrakes only. Though his temper got the better of him during his JX200 campaign last year, preventing him from winning the title, extensive anger management programs seemed to bear fruit in pre-season testing. Big things are expected of this promising rookie.


    2. Piranha Advancements

    After a season of slow building improvement from the midfield during the FX300 era, the legendary Piranha team emerged as consistent challengers to the FX400 title, winning it in 2210 and 2216 with famed French pilot Sabrina ‘Silver Streak’ Martinique. The Brazilian outfit have consistently produced some of the league’s fastest craft and have both the facilities and technical staff to back it up. Their weakness lies in the hunt for a second pilot. Ever since Esteban Mosele, their long-standing pilot since the FX300 era, quit at the end of 2212, Piranha haven’t been able to retain a second pilot for more than two seasons. Unless they strike gold soon, it’s going to affect their championship hopes, and Silver Streak won’t fly forever...

    Lead Pilot: Sabrina Martinique
    Factfile:
    Age: 34 (born 9 June 2185)
    Pilot ID: MART205.17.53.22
    Birthplace: Lyon, France
    Race Number: 22
    Championship Titles: 2 (2210, 2216)

    Sabrina ‘Silver Streak’ Martinique is widely regarded as one of the most marketable AG pilots on the planet today, and probably off of it as well. After placing consistently highly in European junior championships, she was fast-tracked into FEISAR’s Pilots for the Future program; in a shocking twist of events, she was expelled from the academy for mysterious and still-unknown reasons, joining Icaras in 2207. A reasonably successful time at the British squad got her head-hunted by Piranha: she signed for the Brazilian team in 2210, winning the title the same year. She may be showing her age a little, but judging from the screams of “Silver Streak!” at Moa Therma last year, her many fans are no less enthusiastic.

    Second Pilot: Laszlo Gonda
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: GOND290.98.32.88
    Age: 24 (b. 3 January 2195)
    Birthplace: Miskolc, Hungary
    Race Number: 45
    Championship Titles: 0

    The brutish, hulking figure of Gonda was never a welcome figure in the AG paddock last year, often answering datacast reporters with bristling glares, one-word answers or (most commonly) slightly murderous silence. Piloting his Piranha with intense aggression and a heavy emphasis on weapon use, Gonda’s 6ft 7in frame seemed almost too large for his ship’s cockpit. Despite being a rookie last year, Gonda surprised many analysts when he finished 7th in the championship, just twelve points behind leading Triakis pilot Kate Partington. The surly Hungarian will be looking to improve in 2219: could Piranha finally have found themselves a stable second pilot?


    3. Qirex-RD

    Without a doubt the most successful team in AG racing history, Qirex has been a consistent presence since the resurgence of professional AG racing in 2197 as they look to put the dark days of the Fourth Russian Revolution behind them. While lacking the all-conquering domination they held in the 21st century, long-standing lead pilot Nadia Elenova took the 2211 championship title home to Moscow and has been a consistent front-runner ever since. It’s no secret that Qirex have had the chassis to seal the title for years now: however, second pilot Diego Gomez has been struggling recently, and Qirex’s interest in the Romanian FEISAR pilot Viktor Zamfirescu could put the team’s already fragile harmony into disarray.

    Lead Pilot: Nadia Elenova
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: ELEN367.72.33.49
    Age: 32 (b. 15 October 2186)
    Birthplace: Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation
    Race Number: 8
    Championship Titles: 1 (2211)

    Nadia Elenova is perhaps the most famous Qirex pilot of the last century, and certainly the one with the best chance of reclaiming the team’s past glory. Starting out as a prodigious rookie in 2207 after handily dominating the 2206 JX200 title, Elenova quickly made a name for herself by scoring a number of podiums and wins in her early career. This culminated in her narrow victory over Harimau’s Connor Kelly for the 2211 championship: the Russian pilot has been a staple of the podium ever since, although the unreliability of the Qirex craft has prevented her from winning another title. Her fast friendship with Kate Partington has made her even more popular, even as she dismisses datasheet speculations with a wave of her hand and a tight-lipped grin.

    Second Pilot: Diego Gomez
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: GOME352.41.02.86
    Age: 29 (b. 30 March 2189)
    Birthplace: La Plata, Argentina
    Race Number: 53
    Championship Titles: 0

    A methodical and measured second pilot who broke away from his Auricom origins, Gomez has been playing rear-gunner to Elenova’s title fights for three seasons. However, his calm approach to piloting has made him unpopular with Qirex fans, executives and pilot ranking tables: more often than not Elenova has had to bite back withering remarks regarding Gomez’s mediocrity. He’s been taking his Qirex seat for granted for years now, but Qirex’s talks with FEISAR over signing Viktor Zamfirescu for 2220 have sent a clear message to Gomez: either improve, or hope you dodge the doorframe when you’re unceremoniously booted through it.


    4. Assegai Developments

    The ‘Spears’ as Assegai are affectionately known among fellow teams and racing fans, are one of the modern era’s greatest success stories. After Piranha sold Assegai back to the United African Nations in 2181, the team spent much of post-Collapse years heavily involved in the amateur racing scene. For the FX era, Assegai reforged themselves into a team worthy of their F7200 halcyon days, often taking race wins from the bigger teams and winning three championship titles in 2205, 2207 and 2212. However, in the last couple of seasons, their aging pilot line-up and reported budget cuts have seen Assegai slip from champions to midfield leaders. Assegai will be hoping fresh blood in the form of a new pilot and staff can reinvigorate their title hopes.

    Lead Pilot: Walter Lahtinen
    Factfile:
    Age: 38 (b. 16 May 2180)
    Pilot ID: LAHT408.35.27.62
    Birthplace: Helsinki, Finland
    Race Number: 80
    Championship Titles: 1 (2212)

    Critics have been pointing out Walter Lahtinen’s increasing age for several years now, expecting a decline in form, but the affable and friendly Finn is as talented as he’s ever been. Although his transfer from Qirex in 2209 was derided by critics, his loyalty to Assegai - not to mention his 2212 championship victory - is indicative of his immense developmental talents, as well as his trust in the African team. Despite turning 39 this year, Lahtinen is still very much a front-runner, and is one of the FX400’s era’s most consistent pilots. His mentoring capabilities will doubtless be vital in his rookie teammate Ogunwe’s development.

    Second Pilot: Kelvin Ogunwe
    Factfile:
    Age: 25 (b. 24 June 2193)
    Pilot ID: OGUN444.06.57.19
    Birthplace: Mandera, Kenya
    Race Number: 64
    Championship Titles: 0

    Imposingly tall yet deceivingly soft-spoken, Kelvin Ogunwe comes not from the globe-spanning JX200 league or the extensive number of African regional championships, but from an altogether different sphere of AG racing: African desert endurance. Since his youthful days growing up in Mandera Province, Ogunwe would accompany his elder brother on days-long races across the savannahs and plains of Kenya, relying as much on navigation and stamina as outright speed. His results from the Assegai simulator apparently show great promise: this unorthodox rookie will certainly be one to watch.


    5. Triakis Industries

    Australian weaponry conglomerate Triakis were another of the new teams present on the grid in the inaugural FX300 championship season, and were immediately successful, winning several races throughout the FX300 and eventually claiming the 2206 championship title. However, a scathing espionage scandal soon emerged with Triakis revealed to have been using a banned reverse-inertia deceleration system, and the 2206 championship was subsequently awarded to AG Systems. A title in 2208 courtesy of American pilot Frederick Kinney gained back some of their respect. The Australian team have surged to the top of the midfield in recent years, while the developing media glamour around lead pilot Kate Partington has transformed Triakis’s PR from a po-faced militaristic outfit into one of the League’s more popular teams.

    Lead Pilot: Kate Partington
    Factfile:
    Age: 25 (b. 24 August 2193)
    Pilot ID: PART592.10.38.99
    Birthplace: Perth, Australia
    Race Number: 15
    Championship Titles: 0

    Partington’s rise to prominence as a voice of the AG racing community cannot be understated. From her rookie season with Auricom in 2216, the fast-talking and faster-flying Australian has been one of the AG paddock’s friendliest and most popular faces, with several gossip datacasts speculating on Partington and Nadia Elenova’s drunken party after last year's championship finale in the Cayman Islands. After an acrimonious contract termination with Auricom, Partington has been leading Triakis with gusto, scoring her first win at Arc Prime last year and targeting a top five championship position this year.

    Second Pilot: Theodore Roland
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: ROLA533.68.44.71
    Age: 21 (b. 12 February 2197)
    Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada
    Race Number: 39
    Championship Titles: 0

    It’s hard to tell whether the buzz around French-Canadian rookie Roland is legitimate furore over his impressive collection of North American junior championship trophies, his handy fourth-place campaign in last year’s JX200 championship, or modeling companies and starstruck teenagers attempting to catch a glimpse of him. Handsome yet soft-spoken, the quietly embarrassed Roland seems at odds with the loud and sociable Partington; retiring Triakis pilot Giuseppe Romano described Roland as one to watch, although whether he too was enraptured by Roland’s attractiveness was a hotly debated point.


    6. Harimau International

    A relative newcomer to the AG racing scene following their founding in 2177, humanitarian organisation Harimau nevertheless silenced the critics with a respectable showing in the midfield in the early days of the FX300. Seeking a true elevation to top-team status, Harimau controversially signed Australian world champion Connor Kelly from Qirex, which led to four titles from 2203 to 2217. Their ongoing feud with Qirex still continues today, and Harimau’s biofuel-powered craft have been taking it to the big teams for more than a decade. After last year’s drop from third to sixth in the rankings, second pilot Hayamato has been fired following his abysmal performance. The question on everyone’s mind is; will the 2219 season be Kelly’s last?

    Lead Pilot: Connor Kelly
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: KELL612.73.81.04
    Age: 42 (b. 9 September 2177)
    Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
    Race Number: 27
    Championship Titles: 6 (2197, 2199, 2203, 2209, 2214, 2217)

    Is there a more iconic face in modern AG racing than Connor Kelly? The living legend of an Australian continues his reputation as one of the greatest pilots of all time, displaying a level of skill that can contend for championships well into his forties. After success in Australasian amateur leagues following the Collapse, Kelly was approached by Qirex scouts prior to the 2197 season, and duly won the first professional AG racing championship in almost thirty years. His laid-back, ‘surfer-dude’ personality, loyalty to Harimau and admiration for their environmental goals make him a fan-favourite on the circuit, but 2219 is rumored to be the final season in his 22-year career.

    Second Pilot: Dakota Harding
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: HARD682.54.30.48
    Age: 18 (b. 29 November 2200)
    Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
    Race Number: 73
    Championship Titles: 0

    While Australia is globally recognized as a birthplace of AG racing legends, New Zealand is far less so. Dakota Harding is only the third pilot from New Zealand to compete at the top level of AG racing, after double world champion Waisake Tomataeku and unlucky Icaras pilot Alison Turkington. Somewhat awkward in the face of the press, Harding’s impressive underdog showing for Harimau in last year’s JX200 championship speaks for itself, as does a personal recommendation by Connor Kelly himself. She is also the first pilot born in the 23rd century to compete at the top-level of AG racing, and will be 18 years and 107 days old at the 2219 season opener in March.


    7. FEISAR

    The only team in the long history of AG racing to have competed in every season of the championship, FEISAR have been a consistent midfield runner since the FX300. Able to snatch a few wins on the league’s more technical circuits, FEISAR have doubtless been helped by their ever-changing roster of finely honed talents from around Europe and the world. After their last title nearly two decades ago, FEISAR are content with a solid pilot line-up and a craft that can hold its own in the crowded midpack. Looks like the pan-European team will need every bit of that young talent: with longtime pilot Linus Nystrom announcing retirement from AG racing at the end of 2219, and young second pilot Viktor Zamfirescu in line for a Qirex seat, FEISAR are certainly due for a shake-up.

    Lead Pilot: Linus Nystrom
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: NYST755.01.36.70
    Age: 36 (b. 18 February 2182)
    Birthplace: Gothenburg, Sweden
    Race Number: 62
    Championship Titles: 0

    Sweden’s Linus Nystrom has been one of FEISAR’s most loyal pilots, cementing 2219 as his ninth and final season with the European squad. After a successful 2218 season in which he was one of the midfield’s most consistent point-scorers, Nystrom hopes to go out with just as much success in his final year. FEISAR will certainly miss his assured manner and patience with the young pilots - although his teammate, Viktor Zamfirescu, is unlikely to miss him quite as much, if the constant references to ‘Grandpa Dustyballs’ from his team radio are anything to go by...

    Second Pilot: Viktor Zamfirescu
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: ZAMF715.82.16.51
    Age: 22 (b. 13 January 2197)
    Birthplace: Brasov, Romania
    Race Number: 55
    Championship Titles: 0

    After a rookie season that quietly impressed the grid, you could be forgiven for thinking Viktor Zamfirescu is well on his way to a lasting spot in the ever-changing second FEISAR race seat. However, you’d be wrong, and probably told to get out from the rock you’ve been living under. The fiery Romanian’s mean right hook, disproportionately violent response to jokes about his short stature and continually appalling attitude to racing journalists have forced FEISAR’s hand: this will be his last season in blue and yellow. Let’s hope it’s one to remember, and not for all the wrong reasons. (This reporter would also like to add that Zamfirescu’s pineapple, which hit AG Today’s Karina Shah on the head at last year’s Tech de Ra press conference, was beautifully thrown. Just a completely impartial observation.)


    8. Icaras

    Icaras has been far more successful in the last decade and half than history would have guessed. After celebrating even finishing a race as a penny-scrounging backmarker back in the F7200, the rebuilt Icaras rejoined AG racing in 2203, much to the ire of former team operators FEISAR. With a far more stable budget, the plucky British team have been a familiar face in the midfield ever since. An eternal PR dream, Icaras proudly boasts one of the biggest and most passionate fan bases in the FX400, with the ‘Waxwings’ team fanzine (coincidentally) outselling FEISAR’s own by a factor of two-to-one. 2213 champion Nicoline Larsen starts her eighth consecutive season with the team, while British pilot Alannia Porter has recovered from her serious crash in Basilico last season and is eager for a more successful 2219.

    Lead Pilot: Nicoline Larsen
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: LARS863.20.37.59
    Age: 28 (b. 23 July 2190)
    Birthplace: Rodekro, Denmark
    Race Number: 20
    Championship Titles: 1 (2213)

    Nicoline Larsen is perhaps the ultimate example of loyalty restricting talent. After being kicked out of FEISAR after her rookie season in 2211, Larsen joined Icaras, and after a respectable 2212 season, the feisty Dane accomplished a fairytale victory, winning Icaras' first and only title in 2213. Despite many offers from front running teams, Larsen has repeatedly and pointedly refused to leave the British squad, constantly praising the team’s work ethic and loyal staff in datacast interviews. As we all know, loyalty doesn’t translate into ranking points. Larsen is turning 29 this year: her prime years as a pilot could be starting to slip away while she pushes for results from a team rooted in the midfield.

    Second Pilot: Alannia Porter
    Pilot ID: PORT844.60.29.05
    Age: 19 (b. 2 December 2199)
    Birthplace: Exeter, United Kingdom
    Race Number: 3
    Championship Titles: 0

    Alannia Porter surprised many analysts last year when she was signed to Icaras at a fresh-faced 18 years and 48 days old: one of the youngest pilots in league history, and without the prodigious junior league results to back it up. Porter went on to have a solid, if unspectacular rookie season, with the highlight being a 7th place finish in Tech de Ra. Excitable and endearingly enthusiastic, Porter was soon popular with FX400 fans and datacast reporters alike. Unfortunately, she missed the final two rounds of the 2218 season after being badly burned in a crash in Basilico. The AGRC and Icaras are still looking into the suspicious damage and failure of Porter's AG repulsor drive, with various conspiracy theories still flooding the datasheets.


    9. Goteki 45

    The team hailing from the artificial Hawaiian island of Makana continue to build on their long and often-controversial legacy in AG racing. After the bombing of their operations base in 2137 and revival in 2202, the modern Goteki 45 have done their utmost to distance themselves from the bloodthirsty legacy of the past. It’s a well-received and applauded philosophy among fans and racing historians alike, but this pacifistic approach has led to the team occupying the bottom positions in the championship more often than not. Despite a substantial budget, Goteki 45 have never scored higher than seventh in the championship since their revival: perhaps it’s finally time to fight fire with fire.

    Lead Pilot: Christopher Farrell
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: FARR903.74.11.56
    Age: 29 (b. 13 October 2189)
    Birthplace: Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Race Number: 49
    Championship Titles: 0

    Christopher Farrell’s large stature and rugged features (including a broken nose) belie the Goteki pilot’s calm nature and affable demeanor. The British pilot first flew for Icaras in 2215, and after two mildly successful years in the midpack, he negotiated a move to Goteki 45. It was the surprise of the season when 2218 was Goteki’s most successful season in half a decade: Farrell scored 41 points, including Goteki’s first podium since 2213 at Vertica. However, when asked about Icaras, Farrell’s brow grew uncharacteristically furrowed and he began to breathe rapidly. Eventually, he had to leave the interview room for several minutes while this reporter was berated by a Goteki 45 rep.

    Second Pilot: Samara Ilukyhina
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: IILU994.43.76.97
    Age: 23 (b. 7 March 2195)
    Birthplace: Modesto, Makana
    Race Number: 35
    Championship Titles: 0

    Born in Makana to a family of Russian immigrants, Samara Ilukyhina grew up close to the circuit from a young age. The stink of repulsor drive coolant and turbine fuel reportedly drove the young Ilukyhina to illegal street racing in the alleyways of Modesto, where she rapidly gained a reputation for fantastic airbraking skill and an unsettlingly fearless approach to piloting. Picked up by Qirex scouts, Ilukyhina flew for the Russian team as she developed her talents, picking up several junior victories, last year’s JX200 title and uncanny weapon accuracy along the way. On loan to Goteki 45 for two years, Qirex will be eagerly watching her this season to see if she’s fit to challenge Zamfirescu for that coveted Qirex seat.


    10. Auricom Research Industries

    Auricom are a team with a storied history in AG racing, boasting the third-highest championship tally in AGRC history. This experience unfortunately hasn’t translated into success in the modern era, with the team being outgunned and outmatched by the newer teams and slowly sliding to the back of the grid. A once-proud team with a legacy rapidly slipping out of sight, Auricom are the only team of the original four (AG-Sys, Qirex, themselves and FEISAR) to have not won a championship in the post-Collapse era, with last year marking half a century since Auricom’s victory with Pascale Rouser in 2168. Will 2219 see the team’s redemption, or will they finally fade into obscurity?

    Lead Pilot: Sarah Fischer
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: FISC104.68.23.50
    Age: 30 (b. 30 July 2188)
    Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
    Race Number: 34
    Championship Titles: 0

    Sarah Fischer returns for a second season with the American squad, after a reasonably successful season where she massively outperformed former world champion teammate Frederick Kinney. After a tumultuous career flying for three different teams in five years, Fischer says she’s hoping for a more stable environment at Auricom. Famously standoffish, Fischer’s no-nonsense attitude has won her few fans, but her success in a vastly underperforming Auricom craft speaks for itself: she could be a real dark horse this year, if Auricom’s rumoured improvements are to be believed.

    Second Pilot: Isaiah Holtman
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: HOLT109.50.31.07
    Age: 23 (b. 1 May 2196)
    Birthplace: Burbank, United States of America
    Race Number: 79
    Championship Titles: 0

    Brought in to replace the retiring World Champion Frederick Kinney, whose disastrous one-year return to the sport remains a stain on the American’s legacy, Holtman is something of an unknown quantity. His JX200 campaigns have been surprisingly successful, but he seems to lack the aggressive edge to truly elevate himself to top pilot status. A firm believer in Gangoism, the religion founded by former Van-Uber pilot Songen Grey, Holtman is laidback to the point of being near-comatose, a trait that seems to irritate his highly strung teammate Fischer. One wonders if the constant haze of hypnocil smoke is strictly for ‘medical reasons’ as he claims…


    11. EG-X Technologies

    After former F9000 teams Xios and EG-R merged to form EG-X, the team quickly and unexpectedly rose to become a dark horse in the early days of the FX400, winning several races and often contending for championships with a combination of Chinese industrial power and Finnish technical know-how. However, the unexplained deaths of both their illegally cyber-augmented pilots at the Finnish round of the 2212 championship resulted in EG-X being majorly fined and barred from entering either the 2213 or 2214 championships. Since returning, they have remained a transient backmarker at best. Conspiracy theorists say EG-R used EG-X as a platform to continue its illegal research from the F9000 years, and even the mildest of critics are hard-pressed to disagree.

    Lead Pilot: Ling Guowei
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: GOUW112.24.66.89
    Age: unknown
    Birthplace: Gusev City, Mars
    Race Number: 85
    Championship Titles: 0

    Guowei has been flying for EG-X since their debut in the 2216 season, and despite the limitations of the post-ban EG-X team and chassis, they’ve flown the craft with impressive aplomb. They are also the first Martian pilot in league history, hailing from Gusev City. Near-mute and mysterious, repeated attempts by the FX400 Race Commission and AG journalists to obtain information have been met with dead silence, and it appears despite several offers, Guowei has never even considered leaving EG-X for another team. One wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that EG-R’s experiments may not be over…

    Second Pilot: Luka Rautio
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: RAUT118.79.28.96
    Age: unknown
    Birthplace: unknown city, Finland
    Race Number: 97
    Championship Titles: 0

    Another rookie, Rautio has been flying behind the scenes in their test pilot role since the team fired former test pilot Seok-woo Jin in 2217. Willowy and pale, the ghost-like Finn’s appearance is well-matched to his personality. Almost nothing is known about him, and whenever he is asked about his past, Rautio seems to suddenly lose focus and immediately change the topic. EG-X has responded to the Race Commission’s requests for information by claiming that Rautio “suffered an extremely traumatic incident in a Finnish weather generation station” before working for the team. If that’s true, I’ll eat my own cybernetic implants.


    12. Mirage Racing

    Mirage are the newest AG racing team to enter the big leagues. Hailing from the Arabian Coalition and in partnership with the Middle East's largest technology firm, MAGEC, big things were expected of Mirage. However, despite a capable budget, one of the world’s most extensive anti-gravity research facilities and a rapidly improving crew roster, an underpowered craft and internal politics have made scoring points a rare occasion for Mirage since they joined the league in 2210. For a team with such a highly-rated junior academy, the top-flight squad has fallen well short of its mark.

    Lead Pilot: Mustafa Abd Al-Habib
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: ALHA123.39.82.13
    Age: 35 (b. 7 November 2183)
    Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
    Race Number: 50
    Championship Titles: 0

    Mustafa Abd Al-Habib’s career thus far has been remarkably unsuccessful: in four seasons with Mirage, the Egyptian has failed to score a single top 8 finish, his few scant points coming from rare appearances in the last few points positions. First and foremost a development pilot, Al-Habib has languished at the bottom of the pilot rankings for years. Sullen and reclusive, he’s far from popular among both fans and his fellow pilots. Rumour has it that unless this season sees a drastic improvement, Al-Habib’s tenure with Mirage may be at an end…

    Second Pilot: Ahsan Khamis
    Factfile:
    Pilot ID: KHAM126.75.00.58
    Age: 19 (b. 28 June 2199)
    Birthplace: The Line II, Arabian Coalition
    Race Number: 18
    Championship Titles: 0

    Young Ahsan Khamis is the newest recruit from MAGEC’s extensive pilot academy in Dubai. Hailing from the futuristic monolith city Line II on the Arabian coast, Khamis’s grandfather was a pilot in the Arabian unification wars of the 2170s, and his father worked as an AG technical advisor to MAGEC themselves. Thus, Khamis carries a family legacy into the top echelon of AG racing. Scoring highly on MAGEC’s extensive piloting aptitude tests, hopes are high that this young rookie might finally prove Mirage's hard work to be successful. However, his seeming fear of weapon usage in pre-season testing could be a serious detriment to his performance unless he can get it under control.
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 26th May 2023 at 01:31 AM. Reason: formatting issues

  6. #6
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    Hello again to anybody (if there's anybody) reading this! I decided to write a slightly more personal and close-up account of one of the great rivalries of the F5000 era: Qirex's bombastic Finn, Jarvi Kukkonen, versus the mysterious and calculating Brazilian Piranha pilot, Luis Mosquera dos Santos. All content is my own fictional imagining of the WipEout universe: please don't conflate these for real, lore-based characters. While they do exist within the WipEout universe, they are entirely fictional characters of my own creation. With that said, enjoy!

    Famous Rivalries: Jarvi Kukkonen vs Luis Mosquera dos Santos

    “...and that’s Qirex’s young protege - that’s Kukkonen - he’s going for the Piranha! Can he, will he…yes! With inches to spare, the crazy Finn scrapes past Lin! Jarvi Kukkonen wins the first race of his career, no doubt the first of many, here at Vostok Island!”
    - Vostok Island race commentary, 2105 F5000 season rd. 7 of 8

    “...dos Santos wasn’t a name on anyone’s lips last year, but everyone sure as hell knows him now. With his win last week at Sagarmatha, the question everyone’s asking is not if, but when dos Santos will win a title, and who’s going to be his competition?”
    - The Official F5000 League Datasheet, vol. 22, issue 4 (April 2106)

    The early days of the F5000 saw the continuation of the titanic battle between old foes Qirex and Auricom. From the league’s inaugural season in 2085 to 2100, Qirex and Auricom won six titles apiece, with AG Systems scraping two titles courtesy of Masahiro Tanaguchi and famed French-Canadian pilot Lucy Lavoie. Piranha, of course, won their debut showing with Xueyi Lin and the dominant 2097-season chassis before reverting to a more standardized craft for the following year. German pilot Pascal Engelhart retired at the end of the 2100 season after winning five world titles; the most since Kel Solaar retired nearly forty years earlier. The status of his titles (three for Qirex and two for Auricom) left the former team resentful of his exit and the latter wary of his sudden defection: the German later claimed the constant suspicion from Auricom and the bitterness of Qirex as the reason for his retirement.

    “I am simply a pilot; an uncommonly gifted and lucky pilot, perhaps, but I am still a human being inside my g-suit and cockpit harness. The vitriol between these two great names has driven me from this sport I used to love; it has to stop, and it has to stop now.” Engelhart said in a press conference the following year.

    Indeed, as more and more old faces of the F3600 and F5000 retired, it looked as if that was it for the old Auricom vs. Qirex rivalry. Piranha returned in full force with Portugal’s Ariel Monteiro, and the rapid improvement of AG-Systems saw Frenchman Nicolas Renaudin win four titles in seven years. While Auricom were doomed to languish in the midfield for another two decades, Qirex’s resurgence came much sooner - and against a most unlikely opponent.

    Jarvi Kukkonen was born an only child in the port city of Jakobstad, Finland on July 10th, 2079: his father was a Finnish Navy patrolman, and from a young age Jarvi took after his father and developed an interest in mechanics. By the time he was ten, he had assembled his own boat, and would regularly race around Jakobstad harbour at breakneck speeds. One day, while he was unloading a trawler at the docks, young Jarvi caught sight of an F5000 league race on a fisherman’s holo-unit. Entranced by the lurid lights and glittering speed of AG racing, he ran straight home and begged his parents to let him buy a junior craft, and start competing in the local cadet leagues; he’d certainly saved up enough money from his time at the docks. To his surprise, both parents said no; his father considered it a frivolous, daredevil’s sport, and they were deadset on getting Kukkonen into what they considered an honorable career in the Navy. It was clear they weren’t going to budge. So he bought a craft in secret and stashed it in an abandoned warehouse across town. Taking the alias of Juha Mikkelsen (an old school-friend, he would later reveal), Kukkonen began winning enough cadet category races - both sanctioned and illegal - across Finland to amass a sizable nest egg. On his seventeenth birthday, he returned to his home for a final, bitter goodbye to his parents, and left Jakobstad for good. He never spoke to his parents again, to the best of everyone’s knowledge - why he refused contact remains a mystery.

    Originally aiming for FEISAR’s Study HQ (then located in Augsburg, Germany), Kukkonen soon realised that the competition was too well stacked, and the European team’s results far too lacking for his liking. Over the next three years, Kukkonen (still under his Mikkelsen alias) won several junior trophies and championships, including the 2099 edition of the Madrid-Riga endurance. The attention of the AG racing world was piqued; who was this mysterious stranger, laying waste to the European racing scene and promptly vanishing? That question was swiftly answered by 2103, when Kukkonen appeared on the F5000 grid, racing not for FEISAR but for Qirex! Although he joined during a short slump in the team’s fortunes, Kukkonen put up some respectable performances against world champion teammate Ariel Monteiro. By the time of his first race win at the end of the 2105 season, the Finn was already hotly-tipped as a future world champion.

    Enter his nemesis, Brazilian pilot Luis Mosquera dos Santos. Born in the favelas of Manaus, dos Santos gave his birthday as February 22nd, 2083; however, significant doubt over the legality of his identification papers leaves most information about dos Santos himself as an uncertainty. The Brazilian remained tight-lipped about his past throughout his career, and it was only after his death in 2174 that details of his misspent youth among the Brazilian criminal underground emerged. Dos Santos had been a getaway pilot and smuggler for the Brazilian communist triad A Mao Que Agarra (“The Grasping Hand”). As a piloting prodigy, the young dos Santos was able to carry large quantities of illegal goods across South America in record time, and his youth made him much less likely to arouse suspicion. Little is known of how dos Santos split from the triad; however, it is thought that a failed plot to detonate a ‘backpack’ miniature nuclear device in Sao Paulo in June 2102 resulted in the fracturing of the group. Nevertheless, a few months later dos Santos was able to register for Piranha Advancements under a false identity along with his older brother, Guilherme. It is still unknown whether Luis Mosquera dos Santos is his real name, or whether the Brazilian operated under an alias for his entire life.

    After acing Piranha’s piloting exam, the mysterious and enigmatic dos Santos trained in earnest, and was eventually called up to pilot Piranha’s 2105 craft alongside aging champion Xueyi Lin. Pairing an established talent with such a wildcard young rookie seemed a strange decision. While Lin won that year’s world championship (her last of two titles), dos Santos remained fairly anonymous all year, his best finishes a trio of third places in Canada, Germany and Ukraine. While his brother Guilherme was well-liked among the pit crew he found himself in, dos Santos was a far more taciturn individual, preferring solitude. One of his chief technicians was quoted as saying “...I have no idea how he responds to our feedback so well, considering I’ve heard him speak maybe twenty words all year.”

    Unbeknownst to dos Santos, Kukkonen and their respective teams, the stage was set for a rivalry that would define both their careers for decades to come.

    The 2106 season was expected to be a straight fight between Qirex and Piranha; Kukkonen would be fighting his Austrian teammate Pieter Wuelfrath for the title, while dos Santos was expected to form line astern behind another title bid for Lin. Talon’s Reach, the season opener, was a rather uneventful affair; the Qirex pilots finished first and second, with Lin bringing up the final podium spot and Santos scraping into fifth behind the AG-Sys of Nicolas Renaudin. The Nepalese round of the championship is where things got interesting. After Lin was eliminated by an early plasma bolt from Kukkonen, dos Santos embarked on a rampage of revenge against the Finn; the two of them battled for lap after lap over the lead of the race, neither giving an inch. Eventually, the Brazilian fired a missile at point-blank range into the left hull of his opponent’s Qirex: Kukkonen, heavily damaged and dropping back to third, could only watch as dos Santos took a dominant maiden victory. Following that round of the championship, the rankings looked like this:

    1. P. WUELFRATH (AUT): 17pts.
    Qirex-RD
    2. L. M. DOS SANTOS (BRA): 12pts.
    Piranha Adv.
    3. J. KUKKONEN (FIN): 12pts.
    Qirex-RD
    4. N. RENAUDIN (FRA) 6pts.
    AG-Systems

    Kukkonen, an unusual hothead among his Finnish contemporaries, was quick to rage at dos Santos for his unnecessary closeness while firing the missile; the unflappable Brazilian replied that the Finn should do his talking “on the track, where it really counts.” This set the tone for the rest of the season: the Finn and Brazilian would engage in a year-long feud, exchanging weapon fire and terse words all season long. Despite winning two more races, Kukkonen’s constant fighting meant he was unable to truly challenge his teammate Wuelfrath, who walked away with the 2106 title by 55 points to the Finn’s 48. Of particular note was a lengthy and desperate battle between dos Santos and Kukkonen at Gare d’Europa; with Wuelfrath a distant fourth, the two pilots were once again fighting for the lead. Both on the edge of their shield energy levels, dos Santos knew his time was up when he saw Kukkonen’s rocket appear in his rear cameras. Instead of attempting to dodge the blast, dos Santos slowed and spun his craft around mid-corner, so the explosion not only destroyed his craft, but took Kukkonen’s Qirex with it. Despite an official enquiry ruling dos Santos’s maneuver “legal evasive action”, Kukkonen viewed the incident as “the cheating that robbed me of a championship” and vowed revenge against dos Santos. Heading into 2107, the message was clear: this was personal.

    The year was dominated by hard-fought, venomous battles. Once again, the two pilots took more points off each other than they could afford, allowing Renaudin to win his fourth and final title for AG-Systems. Kukkonen became famous for his lengthy tirades against dos Santos and the Piranha team’s “perversion” of AG racing’s purity and precision, while the seldom-spoken dos Santos often remarked bitterly about how the lead pilot of one of AG racing’s greatest teams was mewling like a frightened kitten about aggression that was fully legal, as per the Race Commission's lengthy regulations. Datacast ratings for both Piranha and Qirex were sky-high, and both teams showed blistering speed in pre-season testing: 2108 was to be the grudge match between Kukkonen and dos Santos, and everyone knew it.

    At Talon’s Reach, the two of them streaked off into the distance, exchanging fastest lap after fastest lap. The Brazilian pilot held off his Finnish rival to win that day, only to find the situation reversed in Sagarmatha as Kukkonen won by over half a minute, one of the largest winning margins in league history. The next round, at the Valparaiso circuit in Chile, was widely regarded as dos Santos’s favourite track, and the closest thing the Piranha team had to a home crowd. Perhaps that’s why Kukkonen seemed to take it as his mission to ensure dos Santos never reached the podium. Barely a corner of the circuit went by without the two exchanging weapon fire; dos Santos ended the race in a retrieval pod, while Kukkonen barely limped home to a fifth-place finish. AG-Systems pilot Russell Cox managed to take the race win; it would be the only race of the 2108 season not won by either Kukkonen or dos Santos.

    The rest of the season was a dogfight between the two sworn enemies. Kukkonen would win in France and at Vostok Island, his self-proclaimed ‘favourite’ circuit. Dos Santos would strike back with further wins in Germany and Ukraine. Soon, the season finale rolled around at Spilskinanke, and the ranking tables were practically aflame with tension:

    1. L. M. DOS SANTOS (BRA): 51pts.
    Piranha Adv.
    2. J. KUKKONEN (FIN): 51pts.
    Qirex-RD
    3. P. WUELFRATH (AUT): 35pts.
    Qirex-RD
    4. R. COX (GBR): 28pts.
    AG-Systems

    This was a level of closeness the championship hadn’t seen since the Lavoie/Engelhart battles nearly two decades earlier, and the first time the championship had been tied going into the final round since 2091. Datacast ratings were practically booted into the stratosphere; an estimated 4.3 billion people tuned in around the world (and off of it) for the epic conclusion to the 2108 season.

    Dos Santos had qualified on pole position, but Kukkonen was right next to him, and as usual, the two rocketed away from the rest of the grid, setting lap times several seconds faster than even their teammates. Exchanging speed pad after speed pad, weapon after weapon, the two pilots were separated by mere tenths of a second, even as they were fifteen seconds clear of Wuelfrath and Cox battling away for third. A missile followed by a barrage of mines from the Piranha seemed to leave Kukkonen a few seconds adrift, but the singularly focused Finn would set four fastest laps of the race - including a Spilskinanke lap record - in succession to get himself right back onto dos Santos’s rear thrusters. They entered the final lap together, with dos Santos holding a scant 0.06 second lead over the Qirex. Side-by-side, they seemed to flow in perfect sync around the sharp angles of the American venue: only one could win however, and it was Kukkonen who led out of the final jump, winning his maiden world championship by less than two tenths of a second. On the podium, scenes were mixed. Kukkonen screamed and whooped, buoyed on by the elation of the Qirex team. Dos Santos, on the other hand, received a more touching and intimate moment as his second-place trophy was handed to him by his brother Guilherme, with a brief nod. To the billions watching, the elder brother’s nod seemed to be just a formality. To the dos Santos brothers and Piranha, however, the meaning couldn’t be clearer. You’ll get ‘em next year.

    2109 dawned with lavish fanfare from the Qirex camp, as Kukkonen married his wife, Dutch pop singer Eva van de Vosse, better known as V3 - a member of the pan-European pop supergroup V5 (pronounced five-five). The wedding festivities continued for three days at a venue in Neo-Seoul and were garishly spattered across every datasheet and gossip ‘cast you could get your grubby mitts on. The message was clear: Kukkonen had the title, the glamour, and the advantage. Out at Piranha’s subterranean facility north of Sao Paulo, dos Santos was busy training for the season ahead. Fiona O’Rourke, a lead physician with the team at the time remarked that “...it was really quite something…Luis wouldn’t say a word to any of us, but he’d be in and out of the sensory dep tank for hours a day, flying lap after lap in the simulator, even muttering track directions under his breath in the canteen! Kukkonen beat him, sure… but he did something nobody else ever could. He got under Luis’s skin.”

    With that, that F5000 circus headed to Canada for another season. Kukkonen and Wuelfrath were expected to take the fight to dos Santos, while new Piranha recruit Gustavo Coloque replaced the retired Xueyi Lin. Expectations were varied, but nobody had banked on such a disastrous start to the season for the defending world champion. The Finn looked uncharacteristically out-of-sorts as he lumbered distantly behind dos Santos and Wuelfrath, barely managing to hold off the Bolivian rookie as well as Auricom’s Stephen Broekman. By the end of the first three races, Kukkonen had just seven points: third in Canada, a measly fifth in Sagarmatha and an elimination in Valparaiso. By contrast, dos Santos was leading the championship with two wins and a second place: 27 points. Datasheets ran rampant: did Kukkonen think one title was enough? Was his married life interfering with his piloting? Had the pressure of 2108 finally gotten to him?

    Whatever it was, Kukkonen shook himself out of it, going on to win in Germany, score successive podiums in France and Ukraine, and winning again at his beloved Vostok Island. Sadly, dos Santos kept his winning momentum, winning the title by 57 points to Wuelfrath’s 48, with Kukkonen a close third with 46. Eschewing his Finnish’s rival’s extravagant partying, dos Santos opted for a more modest function, inviting fellow pilots and dignitaries for a quiet evening at his home in Sao Paulo. Kukkonen, naturally, was not invited.

    Kukkonen began 2110 as the senior pilot at Qirex, following Pieter Wuelfrath’s departure to AG Systems. Interestingly, his new teammate was none other than Pieter’s little brother Soren, whose FEISAR contract had been snapped in two by the lure of a lucrative three-year contract at the Russian squad. Kukkonen was reported to have a much friendlier attitude toward Soren, taking the younger German 'under his wing.' By contrast, tensions were simmering in the Piranha camp between dos Santos and his quick-tempered Bolivian teammate Coloque, who claimed that “Luis just clams up like a f**king monk, says nothing, and I’m supposed to believe the engineers get ‘feedback’ from that? It’s f**king team orders! His ship is better than mine and that s**t-eating silent son-of-a-b**ch knows it!”

    Glowing appraisals aside, dos Santos was mostly unruffled by his teammate’s antics. Besides thin-lipped comments that Gustavo “needed to improve this year”, the Brazilian remained impartial on the thorny issue growing at Piranha’s heart. Indeed, it showed at Talon’s Reach: dos Santos displayed another flawless win over Kukkonen, leaving Coloque to squabble with Wuelfrath and Broekman for third. The Finn, however, showed off Qirex’s new heights by leaving dos Santos and Piranha in the dust for the rest of the year. Win after win poured in for Kukkonen, and he took the 2110 title by a simply massive margin:

    1. J. KUKKONEN (FIN): 65pts.
    Qirex-RD
    2. L. M. DOS SANTOS (BRA): 41pts.
    Piranha Adv.
    3. S. WUELFRATH (AUT): 34pts.
    Qirex-RD
    4. G. COLOQUE (BOL): 25pts.
    Piranha Adv.

    Post-championship, Kukkonen called the 2110 Qirex “the best ship I’ve ever flown” and applauded both the team for a fantastic engineering job, and his teammate Soren “for an exciting rookie season!” He then retired to his apartment in Moscow, producing a selection of moody jazz ballads with his wife under the title From Jakobstad With Verve: it became a top ten chart hit in his native Finland, as well as Belgium, France, Spain and Japan, and was highly requested at both seedy ‘real-jazz’ bars and authentic nu-jazz venues around the world.

    2111 brought with it the promise of another exciting Kukkonen v. dos Santos showdown, with Piranha reporting huge gains in their craft’s speed over the off-season. However, the two had to contend with an unexpected third dynamic: Auricom’s Charlotte Worrall. The young Australian rookie stunned crowds by finishing second on debut at Talon’s Reach, and proved to be a thorn in the side of the two world champions. By the halfway point of the season, Kukkonen led the points’ standings on 25 points, with dos Santos and Worrall close behind on 23 and 21 respectively. Subsequently, the 2111 round at Gare d’Europa was a major one as the mid-season point of an intense championship hunt. But it would soon be famous for all the wrong reasons.

    Kukkonen was on pole, with dos Santos beside him and the younger Wuelfrath bringing up third. For several laps, the three battled, and it seemed just like old times. However, closing in on the final laps of the race, Kukkonen led with Wuelfrath second and dos Santos third. The Brazilian, eager to gain the lead, fired a plasma bolt at Wuelfrath just as the latter dodged. As luck would have it, the plasma bolt hit Kukkonen’s Qirex just as he used a turbo off the last of the final sector’s jumps. His retrieval pod couldn’t handle the extra speed, and he was ejected into the air away from his stricken craft. Unfortunately, Gare d’Europa’s failing construction standards had been looming above the track for some time now, and with that extra speed, Kukkonen stuck a half-collapsed support beam at a little over six hundred kilometers an hour, ricocheting off the course and into the surrounding excavation area. Upon being extricated from the pod, Kukkonen was unresponsive. While his condition was life-threatening, tireless work by surgeons at Paris’s Saint-Louis hospital managed to save the Finnish pilot’s life: tragically, he was paralysed from the waist down, and would never fly an AG craft again.

    For his part, dos Santos was noticeably shaken by Kukkonen’s injury, and dedicated his eventual 2111 title victory to him. The Brazilian would win again in 2112, before Soren Wuelfrath would beat him to the title the following year. After six more seasons nursing Piranha through a difficult transitional period into the F7200 league, Luis Mosquera dos Santos hung up his helmet at the end of the 2118 season, ending a fourteen-season long career. With three world championships and 23 league wins to his name, he is unquestionably the greatest Brazilian pilot in AG racing history. His protege, Japanese pilot Kumiko Ikeda, would win two world championships in 2122 for Piranha and 2123 for AG-Systems: furthermore, he inspired a generation of Brazilian pilots, from FEISAR’s Julio Correia to Assegai’s Aracely Diaz-Sequeira, to achieve success at the pinnacle of anti-gravity racing.

    Jarvi Kukkonen would recover from his injuries after a long rehabilitation period. His winnings as well as royalties from From Jakobstad with Verve kept him secure financially. By the time he reappeared as a special analyst for Helsinki-Sat’s coverage of the F7200 league, the Finn was back to his affable and charming self, wheeling his hoverchair around the paddock with aplomb. While he stayed frosty towards the equally standoffish dos Santos, he maintained that his rival bore no responsibility for the accident. In fact, his campaign for better track safety saw major gains in both track regulations and pilot safety during the F7200, widely regarded as one of the safest periods in AG racing history. Kukkonen split from his first wife, Eva van der Vosse, in May 2124 on amicable terms. In 2128, he met his husband Martin Carnes on a speed-dating show while visiting the UK, and the two married at Kukkonen’s home in Moscow in the summer of 2133. They remained together until Kukkonen’s death in 2154, after complications from a protracted illness.

    The rivalry between Jarvi Kukkonen and Luis Mosquera dos Santos remains an intriguing one for racing fans and historians alike; quite how two boys, from such difficult and nebulous backgrounds on opposite sides of the world, became bitter rivals in the fastest sport on earth is certainly a strange tale. There was no thawing of the relationship over common ground, no mellowing with age. Both pilots seemed determined to regard the other as a rival long after the years had passed - perhaps that’s the mark real racing leaves on our hearts, minds and souls.
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 10th February 2023 at 02:55 AM.

  7. #7
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    *Retrieved from Pinnacle: the premier datacast for spaceflight historians and enthusiasts across the Solar System! Vol. 87, issue 11 (published November 29, 2216)*

    Racing on the final frontier: the history of off-world circuits in AG racing
    by Ulrich Schnauss-Vermoelen (chief editor, Ganymede outpost)

    “Welcome to Katmoda 12, the most technologically advanced racing circuit in history. Tell me, racing fans: is there any greater proof of Belmondo’s ideology than seeing the Earth, left behind for good, rising over the horizon?”

    - Introduction to the inaugural race at the Katmoda 12 lunar complex, 2156 F9000 season rd. 11 of 12

    The recent history of humankind has been inextricably linked with space exploration. From the first manned space missions way back in the 20th century, to the exploration and colonization of the Moon and Mars, space exploration is perhaps the greatest representation of humanity’s ability to expand and push the limits of possibility. It is this similar pioneering spirit that has so entwined anti-gravity technology and spaceflight. Of course, spaceflight has been around significantly longer than anti-gravity technology: by the time the earliest AG prototypes were being tested by the world’s militaries in the early 2010s, humanity had already ventured to the Moon and established the first International Space Station, one of the first semi-permanent colonies in space. Indeed, at this juncture, plans were already seriously underway by the world’s great superpowers - the United States of America, European and Russian Federations, and the People’s Republic of China - to begin establishing the first lunar bases.

    While AG development went through its turbulent early history under Belmondo and Hoffman in the late 2020s and early 2030s, space exploration was going from strength to strength. Spurred on by the oil wars and looming energy crisis, the first lunar base, America’s Artemis Base Camp, completed construction in 2027. Further bases by China and Russia (the ILRS - International Lunar Research Station, 2029) and Europe (Tycho Base, 2032) expanded humanity’s lunar footprint. Officially, the bases were intended for ‘scientific research’ and ‘international cooperation’. As with the fuel taxing conspiracies on Earth, though, the world’s governments really wanted the Moon for another reason entirely: helium-3 mining. As a fuel source, helium-3 was far more plentiful on the Moon than Earth, much easier to extract and far more efficient than Earth’s dwindling supplies of petroleum and natural gas. Access to cislunar space by other countries and private companies was heavily regulated, and by the time of humanity’s first Mars landing by the CNSA in 2037, the helium-3 arms race was in full swing. The oil industry was in the early stages of collapsing by this point, brought on by the rapid adoption of anti-gravity technology: thus, the pressure to keep helium-3 as a monopolised resource continued to rise.

    The advent of AG racing as the Earth’s fastest growing sport did not go unnoticed. Prior to the inaugural season of the F3600 league championships, the newly established Race Commission approached the United Nations to request the construction of a lunar racetrack. It would be a spartan affair, constructed around a European mining facility in the Aristarchus crater: the European Federation, naturally, would be paid handsomely for the privilege of hosting the race. Unsurprisingly, given the developing ‘cold war’ between the superpowers and the secrecy surrounding the extent of the helium-3 mining programs, the proposal was swiftly vetoed. Undeterred, the Race Commission turned to the Chinese government, requesting permission to build a racetrack just outside their newly established Huoxing (“Firestar”, or “Mars”) research complex around Mars’ Gusev crater. Mars, as a relatively new frontier for colonization, was under nowhere near the amount of regulation as the Moon. Promised an exorbitant amount of money from datacasts and construction subsidies, the CNSA and CCP readily agreed, and construction began in late 2045. Due to Mars’ extreme distance from Earth, construction was slow. As even the fastest muon-fusion spacecraft took almost two months to reach Mars, the Firestar circuit was painstakingly constructed over almost seven years. It would barely be finished in time for the inaugural season finale in 2052. In comparison, the next-longest F3600 circuit construction process (for Silverstream in Greenland) took just over two years.

    Firestar proved wildly popular with datacast audiences and pilots. Despite the immense cost and logistical difficulties (the race had to be held in December, three months after the race at Silverstream, and several transport craft had to be leased to the Race Commission for an exorbitant sum), the F3600 season finale was a particular hit, and featured prominently across both AG racing and spaceflight datacasts as a symbol of human ingenuity. That first race in 2052 was won by John Dekka of AG Systems, and would become the scene of the F3600’s most dramatic events. The first of these, ironically, would very nearly cause the fall of Firestar for good.

    AG Systems’ second pilot, Daniel Chang, was a mysterious individual. Born in China on an unknown date in 2023, the reclusive pilot suddenly seemed to ‘appear’ as a high-ranking pilot in AG-Systems’ first academy class, and was the teammate of John Dekka at AG Systems when the league began in 2052. Chang was a quiet individual who rarely socialized. The Race Commission’s then-director, Dirk Breakwater, perhaps summed him up best in the 2053 season review:

    “You know, AG Systems’ pilots are a team of total opposites, perhaps even more so than Qirex. Chang’s just as silent as Dekka is brash. Sure, Chang’s performance this season was much better than 2052, but you’d be forgiven for thinking the complete opposite, seeing the way he acts. Most pilots would be jumping up and down on their first podium appearance: at Karbonis this year, Chang looked like he couldn’t get away from the cameras fast enough. The guy’s a ghost. At least John [Dekka]’s loud and outgoing enough for the both of them.”

    Chang would play second fiddle to Dekka with varying degrees of success over the next few years, until the Firestar round of the 2056 championship. Kel Solaar had an unbeatable lead over Arial Tetsuo in the standings, but Dekka and Chang were still close enough to fight for second place. During the race, Chang was sitting comfortably in third behind the battling pair of Solaar and Dekka when his AG repulsor drive shut down inexplicably just before the first jump on the very beginning of lap 12. The stricken craft flew off the circuit at several hundred kilometers per hour before smashing into a cliff face at the side of the track and suffering extreme structural damage. When rescue crews reached the mangled craft, they found Chang already dead. The Chinese pilot, already mortally wounded in the impact, had suffocated due to Mars’s unbreathable atmosphere. Evidently, both the ejection and life-support mechanisms of Chang’s craft had been tampered with.

    Despite that year’s championship being declared void, and the 2057 season being canceled in order for the Race Commission to conduct a lengthy investigation, no conclusive verdict was ever reached. After his death, it was revealed that Chang had defected from China’s top secret, highly dangerous military AG program in the mid-2040s and sought refuge under AG Systems. Coded transmissions from Chinese IP addresses were found on Chang’s personal comms servers, but they have never been deciphered, and it looks as if Chang also ignored them. Theories range from AG Systems terminating him to avoid Chinese suspicion, to a conspiracy to discredit the Firestar research base and even a covered-up assassination by the Chinese government in revenge for his defection. All parties denied any knowledge relating to Chang’s death, and to this day it remains one of AG racing’s great mysteries.

    The F3600 league returned in 2058, though Firestar would not host another race until 2063. The track was not renewed under the F5000 formula, and held the final race of the F3600 league in the 2084 season finale. The Firestar base itself was destroyed during the Chinese Dissolution at the end of the 21st century, though the circuit escaped with minimal damage. Today, it is a district of Gusev City under the Martian Republic, and a protected reserve visited by millions of tourists every year. The Martian Exhibition Endurance has been held on the circuit every year on October 30th since 2158, to celebrate the day the Martian Republic officially seceded from Earth.

    There were no more extraterrestrial circuits in AG racing until 2156, with the advent of the F9000 league, in which two came along at once. The first of these was the circuit Devilia, constructed on the planet Novon, a planet discovered orbiting in the inner edge of the Solar System’s Oort Cloud. Under the jurisdiction of Tandalph Connors, US Race Commission official and CEO of the interplanetary transport company TanAir 1, construction of Devilia was again slow and painstaking. Novon orbited the Sun at a distance of almost 2,000 astronomical units (2,000 times the distance from Earth to the Sun, or roughly 300 billion kilometers). Consequently, even with more than a century of improvements on catalysed fusion propulsion, it still took more than three months to reach the planet. This was not helped by rumors of money laundering and unsafe working conditions by TanAir 1, who carried out much of the construction process. Connors claimed there were lifeforms on Novon who would appreciate investment from Earth: the scientific community loudly ridiculed this, as Novon was airless, freezing and much too far from the Sun to support life. Undeterred, the F9000 Race Commission constructed the circuit in time for the 2156 season finale.

    Unlike its sister extraplanetary circuit, Katmoda 12, Devilia was spartan and highly technical. Novon’s sparse facilities led to an uncomfortable stay, with Tigron pilot Sveta Kirovski comparing it to “a prisoner-of-war camp… you must remain suited at all times outside of the habitation zones. Why we come to this godforsaken spack at the edge of the universe is anyone’s guess. Seeing the Sun as another tiny pinprick in the vast sky has inspired the loneliest feelings in my life.” Indeed, Devilia’s uncomfortable living arrangements, as well as undulating track design and unprecedented point-to-point nature, made it highly unpopular among pilots and datacast audiences alike. The only pilots known to enjoy it were Van-Uber’s Songen Grey, who claimed the planet’s isolation from Earth and its colonies “gave him an unparalleled freedom of thought, an expansion of consciousness like nothing else…” and the EG-R pilots, who performed exceedingly well at Devilia compared to any other circuit. It was a long-running joke that the conditions of Devilia reminded them of EG-R’s ‘crazy cyborg vats and tanks’ although the existence of such facilities was never proven.

    Nevertheless, Devilia was struck from the F9000 calendar after the 2161 season, following record lows in datacast audiences. After the fall of the F9000, Tandalph Connors’ money laundering, illegal dealings and use of Novon as ‘an untouchable refuge of highly illegal business practices and experiments’ were exposed. Much of the circuit was destroyed in an immense explosion in early 2171. The source of the explosion remains unclear, although many believe it was either an attempt by TanAir 1 to bury still-uncovered evidence of their violations, or the detonation of a highly rumoured and secretive EG-R facility on the planet, conducting unknown experiments. The planet remains abandoned to this day, and has not been visited officially since 2162, when circuit operations were legally shut down.

    In stark contrast to Devilia, the Katmoda 12 circuit on the Moon was considered to be the ‘jewel in the F9000’s crown’. After the lifting of the Lunar Helium Embargo following the devastating final Energy Wars in the late 2080s, commercial and residential colonisation of the Moon began in earnest. Therefore, the bombastic and extravagant F9000 Race Commission viewed it as the perfect place to build a racing circuit. Unveiled in 2154, Katmoda 12 was a highly technical, lavish and enormous circuit complex. Built around the lunar city of Crisium, the largest city in the basin of Mare Crisium and one of the United Lunar Republics’ largest cities, it was well loved by pilots and audiences alike, similar to Firestar more than a century earlier. 2168 champion and Auricom pilot Pascale Rouser was a particular advocate for the circuit:

    “I was stunned the first time we went there. Imagine stepping out and seeing that small civilisation spread out before you - the famous domes, the floating city, the alien remains. And beyond it and around it, Katmoda 12 snakes across our heavenly neighbour."

    While in-person attendance was limited due to the high cost of commercial lunar travel (physical audiences mostly consisting of race officials, affluent businessmen and datacast celebrities), Katmoda 12 represented the F9000’s largest datacast audiences of the season, and this only increased in 2162 when it became the official season finale. Indeed, the 2164’s championship’s incredibly close showdown between Xios’s Natasha Belmondo, Piranha’s Jann Shlaudecker and Tigron’s Omarr Khumala remains the highest-viewed AG race of all time, at a peak of 7.1 billion concurrent viewers. Following the fall of the F9000 league and the turbulent global collapse that followed, Katmoda 12 was a repeated target of attacks by anti-AG terrorists and splinter factions of the dissolved Overtel Corporation. These were swiftly rebuffed by the military forces of the ULR, largely unaffected by the devastation on Earth. Today, Katmoda 12 has been integrated into a high-end business and residential district, and the city of Katmoda is one of the newest in the burgeoning United Lunar Republics.

    Whether through increased cost, difficult logistics or the collapse of much space-based infrastructure during the Global Collapse, AG racing has not ventured outside of Earth’s gravitational confines since the 2169 season finale at Katmoda. In documents unclassified after the dissolvement of Overtel, plans were discovered for the inclusion of more circuits. As well as the highly-protested city circuit plans in London, Hokkaido and Nairobi, the F9000 Race Commission had apparently entered discussion with the European Federation and Martian Republic to build a racetrack on disputed Martian territory. This was speculated to be an artificial measure to increase tensions between Earth-based colonies and the Martian Republic, so that Overtel’s partners and shell companies could profit from the sale of weapon systems under the pretense of track construction and security.

    While the history of off-world AG racetracks is fraught with corruption and intrigue, that pioneering spirit remains strong among racing fans and spaceflight enthusiasts alike. After all, isn’t leaving Earth behind and proving mankind’s permanence with Belmondo’s own technology the purest expression of anti-gravity racing’s very ideals? According to top-secret rumors among the FX400 Race Commission, it’s likely that many high-ranking officials agree… watch this space! (pun fully intended).
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 29th January 2023 at 08:16 AM.

  8. #8
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    That last piece about off-world tracks really added some substance to existing lore. Good stuff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sausehuhn View Post
    That last piece about off-world tracks really added some substance to existing lore. Good stuff!
    Thanks very much! I'm trying my best to stick to existing lore where possible, while also offering real explanations for parts of the games that make a bit less sense in the lore (for example, why the original WipEout had a Martian track but not a lunar one, considering how much closer the Moon is, or why Novon is apparently the only non-Solar System planet featured in the universe. I think it was intended to be a planet orbiting another star, but I think interstellar travel doesn't quite fit with WipEout's time period, so I made it a far-out, undiscovered 'Planet Nine' in our own solar system.)

    There's a rich amount of stuff to be written, so I'll be slowly ticking off my ideas. The first race report of the 2219 season will be arriving soon...

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    Tigron Enterprises and the mystery of the “K-VSR”

    “FX400 RACE COMMISSION DATABASE ENTRY: TIGRON ENTERPRISES
    LEVEL ZERO FOUR CLEARANCE REQUIRED.
    DATA PURGED: CODEWORM ACCESS INTERDICTION SUCCESSFUL AT POINTS 62.33[error], PILOTPROFILESDUBR13[error],-ILES BASC138.23.0[error], OVERTEL CORP. ARCHIVES[error], -ORONER REPORT KIRO666.0.0.49[error], FINANC-[error], PILOT KHUM.1[error]. 2,127 FILES COMPROMISED.
    DATABASE INTEGRITY ESTIMATED AT 13.6%.”


    - Leaked FX400 Race Commission records regarding the status of their files on Tigron Enterprises. Backdated June 13, 2209.

    Has there ever been a team as controversial in the history of anti-gravity racing as Tigron Enterprises? Though its tenure in the sport was fleeting in terms of championships competed in, the Russian organisation nonetheless left a deep and indelible scar on the landscape of the AGRC, and its legacy continues to permeate hushed rooms and datasheet comment sections years after their dissolution.

    Tigron’s founding was steeped in shadowy dealings, bloodshed and controversy. After years of rising tensions and economic depression, the developing socialist movement in Russia was gripped by a shadowy crime organisation. Calling themselves the Новые априлиты (New Aprilists, a reference to Vladimir Lenin’s 1917 ‘April Theses’) the New Aprilists practiced an extreme form of hardline neo-Bolshevism, undermining the then-crumbling democratic government with propaganda campaigns, guerrilla warfare and terrorism, supported by an untraceable and immense amount of financial resources. In the summer of 2147, New Aprilist suicide bombers carried out a co-ordinated attack on the Russian Federal Assembly, the Kremlin and several high-profile military bases, killing and wounding thousands and essentially decapitating the power structure of old Russia. Declaring the formation of the ‘Socialist Union of Russian Republics’ (SSRR), the enigmatic New Aprilists installed former Commerce Secretary Aleksey Yurenev as a puppet ‘Premier’ and instituted a mass reform of Russia’s economy, infrastructure and government.

    At this time, Qirex-RD was one of Russia’s leading anti-gravity research firms, as well as the world’s foremost anti-gravity racing team. Seeing the potential of AG racing as a propaganda tool, the SSRR ordered a complete reorganization of Qirex’s company structure, rebranding it under the name Tigron Enterprises in August 2149. Several high-profile Qirex engineers and executives who protested were sent to a number of hastily built ‘re-education and commitment’ camps on the Siberian border: the SSRR categorically refuted several reports claiming that nothing existed there except mass graves and sentry checkpoints.

    Tigron thus replaced Qirex as a team entry for the 2150 season. Despite immense outcry from the United Nations, the F7200 League Committee and both pilots and fans alike, Tigron were waved into the championship without so much as a glance. Thanks to Qirex know-how and an emphasis on aggressive piloting, Tigron were immediately successful, and by 2154 had won their first title courtesy of Swede Ingrid Kohler. Kohler was highly outspoken against the team’s practices throughout her time at Tigron, as evidenced by this quote from the AG racing datasheet Sublime and Delicious in September 2152:

    “Of course, the money here is sublime, but racing for these people is harder than a perfect lap at P-Mar Project. The secrecy we’re held to and the lack of information - sometimes I don’t even know who I’m racing for! Sixty million euros is a high price to pay for my contract, let alone my silence.”

    An unfortunate testing accident midway through the 2155 season ended Kohler’s career shortly afterward, and she disappeared from the public eye until her (rumoured) death in 2190.

    With the conclusion of the F7200 era in 2155, Tigron appeared front-and-centre on the entry lists for the inaugural season of the F9000 league. With a greater focus on public spectacle, weapon usage and media representation, Tigron’s philosophy seemed to fit the new league regulations rather well. The team’s shadowy chief engineer Vladimir X was quoted in a leaked internal memo, saying, “finally, those f**kers upstairs have their hands on the controls. Knew they’d manage it. Time to wipe the floor with all these whining bastards: This is the Tigron era, baby!” When asked who the “upstairs” people were and exactly what they’d ‘managed’, Vladimir X remained tight-lipped. He was not present at any more F9000 events until the 2158 season opener, and profusely vomited after being asked any further questions about said memo.

    Shady practices notwithstanding, there was no denying Tigron were massively successful. In the early years, the team’s developing BULL-series craft were exceptionally powerful and often matched up against Xios and Piranha in terms of outright speed: unfortunately, the difficulty of piloting these immense craft resulted in the team going through pilots on a season-by-season basis, ensuring the championship was never quite within reach. That all changed with Omarr Khumala’s signing in 2158: standing 6’ 8'' tall and weighing almost a hundred kilos, the imposing South African marked a significant upturn in Tigron’s success. Kept loyal by some of AG racing’s most lucrative contracts and treatment that bordered on royal by the team, Khumala laid waste to ship after ship. While Tigron weren’t famed for their technical expertise or racing finesse, Khumala regularly claimed race wins and topped the elimination tables for five consecutive years. Forming a solid partnership with teammates Sveta Kirovski (2160-64) and Georgi Zaitsev (2164-68), Khumala went on to finally win his one and only championship title in 2164. That year, while famed for the incredible title battle between Khumala, Xios’s Natasha Belmondo and Jann Shlaudecker of Piranha, was also marred by the Temtesh Bay disaster. Tigron pilot Sveta Kirovski was among those killed in the collapse of the mines: an emotional Khumala dedicated his title to the Russian, and declared his intent “to keep racing, for Sveta’s sake, and to do her proud as long as I am able.”

    Unfortunately for Khumala, Tigron’s competitiveness dropped off steadily afterwards. Races where the Tigron craft were absolutely nowhere would be followed by absolutely dominant performances. Accusations of foul play were leveled at the team, to be met with thinly-veiled disgust and denial by Tigron representatives. Eventually, the F9000 Race Commission were forced to intervene and placed a blanket ban on accusations relating to Tigron from that point forward: it is thought that this was the catalyst for the Anti-Gravity Purity Coalition’s extensive investigation. Despite this, the Tigron craft continually dropped down the order: by 2169, the year of Khumala’s retirement, Tigron occupied a dismal fifth out of seven in the championship rankings.

    Omarr Khumala himself remains one of the most loyal pilots to a single team in AG racing history, spending his entire 12-season, 186-race career with Tigron. Following his retirement, Omarr Khumala retired to Johannesburg, establishing a network of dog shelters and animal welfare charities across the country. The South African has two children: Dana (b. 2166) and Bevan ‘Bev’ (b. 2174). Bevan Khumala’s son Jeev is currently an Assegai Academy pilot, and will begin his first JX200 campaign in 2219.

    2170 was, by all accounts, an unremarkable year for Tigron right up until the end. Far removed from the FEISAR-Xios battle at the top of the standings, Tigron’s two rookie pilots were mostly unremarkable and average, although random podiums and high finishes kept them in fourth, ahead of EG-R and G-Tech. However, at the penultimate round of the championship in Alca Vexus, an announcement on the starting grid immediately prior to the race start would totally bulldoze any illusion of normalcy the AG racing world may have held. The tireless efforts of the Anti-Gravity Purity Coalition were laid bare on every screen and every datacast across the world: terabytes of hacked data revealing the corruption, fraud and large-scale cover-ups of the Overtel Corporation and several teams, including Tigron, G-Tech and several high-ranking officials. For several silent moments, shock washed over pilots, teams and the thousands-strong crowd, as trackside screens and holo-boards displayed the terrible, final truth.

    Then all hell broke loose.

    The craft of lead EG-R pilot Nawin Kantawong boosted forward, uncontrolled, into the rear of Lucien Badeaux’s Piranha before coming to a dead stop: both EG-R pilots’ vitals had inexplicably flatlined. Both G-Tech pilots activated their craft’s emergency ejection systems in an effort to escape, only to be apprehended by Mexican Federal Police drones. The Tigron craft of American pilot Silas Drecker III spontaneously detonated, incinerating both the craft and Drecker. His teammate, the Lithuanian rookie Povilas Kalvaitis, immediately ejected from his craft, only for his retrieval pod to be quickly destroyed by an unguided rocket launcher from somewhere in the grandstands: the entire Tigron team on-site were arrested by Mexican Federal Police. It turned out, from financial documents recovered by the Purity Coalition, that Overtel had been backing Tigron from their very inception. Tigron data specialists had apparently uncovered massive financial irregularities from Overtel’s previous management of Qirex, blackmailing Overtel into pouring billions into Tigron to prop up the league’s aggressive image and ensure Tigron’s own success. This even involved fixing races in the team’s later, faltering years to keep up appearances. Furthermore, shadowy sources pointed at Overtel’s finances having backed the Aprilist revolution in Russia to start with, for reasons that will perhaps forever remain unknown. In the worldwide chaos that followed, the SSRR was obliterated in a lengthy civil war, and the Tigron facilities destroyed in a mass riot. Tigron was dead, and its ashes thoroughly ground into the dirt.

    Or perhaps not. Following the return of professional AG racing in the form of the FX300 League, the chairman of the newly reformed Qirex team, Feliks Levovich, commissioned the two remaining Tigron craft. Completely outdated and maintained with a dwindling inventory of parts rescued from the ruins of the Tigron factory in Moscow, the so-called BULL-776 craft were completely unsuited to a team entry in the FX300. Levovich thus entered them as a sort of ‘training team’ for Qirex test pilots in the JX150 championship, starting in 2199. The Tigron craft, hastily modified under JX150 rules, were surprisingly competitive, excelling on the higher speed circuits such as Blue Ridge and Sincuit. However, the team’s overriding need to keep the craft from being destroyed limited their actual progress, and Qirex terminated the Tigron junior program in 2202 with no victories to their name. Both BULL-776 ships are now on display at the Qirex-RD Museum of Racing Excellence at their HQ in Moscow.

    However, that was still not the end of the Tigron name. During the illegal amateur AG racing scene of the 2170s/80s, rumours surfaced of a secret group of Tigron employees who had escaped the original company’s destruction. The team had supposedly been working on a skunkworks project, known as the K-VSR, to revitalize the team’s fortunes, but the F9000 had collapsed before the craft could be unveiled. Undeterred, the Tigron employees continued work in secret, and soon glimpses and whispers of a top-secret prototype began to emerge on the amateur racing scene. The K-VSR quickly became an urban legend among racers: a hulking, battle-scarred craft rumoured to be near-unstoppable in a straight line and unbeatable in any race you care to name. No craft matching this description was ever entered in a professional race, but the legend remains. With the right contacts and the right amount of money, anyone can supposedly fly Tigron’s last swansong.

    Both the FX300 and FX400 Race Commission have mounted extensive investigations into the veracity of these rumours. In 2209, a large-scale cyber-attack from an unknown source heavily damaged and erased much of the FX400 Race Commission’s archives on Tigron Enterprises, the Overtel Corporation and the K-VSR. No further investigations have been held.
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 10th February 2023 at 10:45 AM.

  11. #11
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    Pretty nice backstories so far. Definitely looking forward to seeing your take on the Temtesh Bay disaster next.

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    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!

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    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

    FIRST OF MANY: OUR BOY DANIEL ‘DJ’ JOHNSON WINS AT ALCA VEXUS!!
    - 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.
    FEISAR
    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.
    FEISAR

    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 07:45 PM.

  14. #14
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    *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
    V. ZAMFIRESCU - FEISAR
    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
    2. QIREX RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (RUS) - 16pts.
    #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
    5. ASSEGAI DEVELOPMENTS (UAN) - 12pts
    #80 W. LAT / #64 K. OGU
    6. PIRANHA ADVANCEMENTS (BRA) - 11pts.
    #22 S. MAR / #45 L. GON
    Last edited by NeroIcaras; 26th May 2023 at 12:50 AM. Reason: site kept crashing if I tried posting this all at once

  15. #15
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    I'd hope to see you make your own take on one of my fan-fics, the Whitepurple incident, which happens in the middle of the 2219 season.

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