Friday, 25 January 2013

F1 Racing - Pre-Season Summary

The Racing Committee meets this week to discuss this year's route and any changes to the rules prior to the season starting in March. No change is expected to the traditional starting point of Royal City. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, a bit about where it started and how it became the sport we all know and love today.

Legend has it that the 'Fighting Craft' races began in the midst of the Dark Lord's incursion. When the Dire Horde was sighted crossing Vaskaar's Causeway, four messengers set forth to warn the gathering Aebronian armies. They were immediately pursued by agents of the Dark Lord. The only messenger to survive the race across the ice and rock of Caefro's northern reaches was a young charioteer named Yysara Pastor.


After the Dark Lord's defeat, Pastor's heroics inspired Caefro's General Lyngdrake to secretly train young female recruits as messengers by organising long-distance races through some of the most dangerous regions of Aebron. Few survived, but those that did proved invaluable and unmatched at communicating intelligence across the battlefield.

When Abevornian spies discovered Caefro's secret, the Royal Army set up their own races, but as is often the way in Abevorn, the idea was quickly embraced by the people as a jolly exciting spectacle and it quickly turned from a military training exercise into a haphazard sport.


Back then, 'go-fast-to-flag' simply mandated a one-man carriage with one animal pulling. It was a one day, mad dash across countryside and there were no rules beyond the first one to the flag wins. There were no restrictions on the use of weapons or magic and it was as much about fighting as it was speed and endurance. Any animals were permitted and the charioteers were drawn from all races. Heavier drivers had larger beasts, but if they couldn't knock out their lighter opponents soon after the start, they were often left far behind. This fact, along with the example set by Yysara Pastor and the eventual arrival of Caefro veterans in the races, mean the sport has long been dominated by female racers and elves.

As is also often the way in Abevorn, an amateur activity enjoyed by folk of all colours and creeds soon attracted those without a sporting bone in their bodies, who saw an opportunity to either make money or introduce some form of regulated organisation they could lord over, or both.


The rules now are as follows: The racers start in Royal City with a flat race on a track, usually at the end of a day of local races and steeplechases. That begins the 'World Championship', which has nine stages. Each stage contains two parts. One is the point-to-point 'rally raid' to the next city, which, after a night's rest for the racers, then hosts another circuit race.

A racer in the World Championship can win one of four titles:
  • The Gold Jersey - Worn by the racer with the most points over all races. At the end of the season, the racer wearing the Gold Jersey is declared World Champion and awarded the Pastor Trophy.
  • The Green Jersey - Worn by the racer who scores the most points solely in the flat / circuit races.
  • The Red Jersey - Worn by the racer who scores the most points solely in the point-to-point rally stages. This often proves something of poisoned chalice, because riding through bandit country wearing a red jersey makes you a rather more obvious target.
  • The Team Cup - A team can enter two racers into the World Championship. Their combined points across all races determine who wins the Team Cup.

The winner of each race is also awarded prize money and a trophy presented by the host city.


The rules governing the use of weapons dictate that drivers are now only permitted to use hand to hand combat and daggers of six inches or less. No kitting out the chariots and no projectiles or large weapons permitted. These days it's much more about skill, endurance and speed.

There are also increased restrictions on which species are allowed to pull the chariots. Horses are the most popular as they are well able to cope with the sport; fast, nimble and tough. Outlawed species include mastadons, flying beasts (unless their wings have been clipped), magical creatures and anything part human. The use of centaurs was long ago decreed as cheating as it took away the need for the driver to drive. In addition to horses, some of the naturally occurring giant beasts of the lands are seen in F1. Primarily the giant wildcats and wolves, but even giant stoats has been entered in the past. These are all much harder to control and often lack the endurance of the carefully bred chariot horses, but are fast, aggressive and capable of handling much more difficult terrain.


Most of the field in any given race will be individuals competing only in that race, because few are able to cope with the cost and logistics of a full season without the support of a team. Gaining a place within a team requires both a proven track record and suitable contacts. Surviving within a team is considerably more difficult, given the demands of racing a full season, meeting the owner's often unrealistic expectations and dealing with the pressure of a team-mate whose first priority is always beating you.

Each team has a lead mechanic/animal handler that travels from venue to venue separately from the racers and manages a small team of locals at each location. Having a good mechanic is essential to keep your vehicle and animal in good order throughout. Mechanics usually have excellent fighting skills as taking them out pretty much assures their charges won't make it to the end of the season.

Rush Grathrock

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