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The Stunts life lately from the eyes of Bonzai Joe

Inspired by Akoss, (and if you haven’t already, you should read his article, it’s a great one) I will attempt to write a more personal/psychological history of me and Stunts since summer 2003. It’s nothing special, just a chronicle of Stunts and Grog seen from the viewpoint of Bonzai Joe...

The summer of 2003 was a very important summer for me, because it marked the moment when I stopped being a constant top racer. After ZCT25 I had won five of the last seven races (and been very close on Z22), and it was the culmination of my Stunts career. When ZCT26 came, I was never the same racer again. Being on the top of the Zakstunts scoreboards is a very psychologically interesting phenomenon. In other competitions, it is possible to win by just being skilled and driving once. In Zakstunts, to be on top, you have to be dedicated, to work hard, to keep trying and trying. It overshadows your life. So why does anyone want to have their life overshadowed by a computer game? It is a great game sure, but no game is great enough to be worthy of taking over the human life, which is so full of opportunities, and the sparks of greatness of which can dazzle you into violent blissful awe. But being a constant top-racer at Zakstunts can satiate the natural desire you can feel to be the best in the world. I have been the best in the world at something, and it happened to be Stunts in winter 2002/2003. It was a strange feeling, and it’s interesting to think about.

But my downfall from Stunts greatness was closely knit together with rising sense of identity and purpose in my “real” life. As Akoss wrote, Stunts is an island for the lost and desolate. A purpose for those who don’t have a purpose.

In summer and autumn 2003, my ship came to take me away from this island, and it was then that I learned, that the island is not far from the main land. I thought at first that I would never return to Stunts – I had seen it happen to my rival and friend Roy Wiegerinck, and I thought it would happen to me, but it did not. I bought a little rowing boat, and every now and then, I took a visit back to the Stunts Island. One of such that I am also on right now.

That came to be Stunts life for me in various degrees through late 2003, 2004 and 2005. But the year 2004 was so much besides racing. The community was becoming more and more integrated, and there were long nights of chatting and live racing that I will always look back to with joy and nostalgia. The excitement when the results of a live race are posted, the pleasure of chatting with intelligent people like mainly Akoss, CTG, Zak, Alain, Alan Rotoi about Stunts, life and grog. I think this time also marked a sadder thing, namely the loss of Mingva from the community. At the same time as CTG and Akoss were insulting Mingva over and over, he had turned into some kind of shadow of the former Mingva, was always cold and never humourous at the forum. Well, his forum signature states the he will be back...

The Stunts Meeting in Budapest 2004 was something that I had been looking so much forward to that I thought I could only be disappointed about it. But I was wrong... I must say this for the Stunts community: I have never met someone for the first time and felt so comfortable and at home, and had so much fun with them, than when I met seven other lovely racers in August 2004. It was a magic trip, and as much as I loved the Sziget festival, the Depeche Mode party with Thomas and Zak, the night in the cave with Zak, Akoss and Thomas and most of all the fantastic trip to Visegrad, I loved every little live race that we had! It was hard to take leave after Budapest and know that it would be another year before the next time we would meet. I remember at the meeting that I felt so disheartened by seeing Gutix’s replay on ZCT41. I felt like all my previous victories were nothing compared to this :). Interestingly, the next track was my first win for nearly a year, and maybe my best replay. But the rising feeling for the next years was that the big racers: Gutix, now also Alain, Argammon and later Ayrton, simply made too good replays for me. They made incredible tricks look so easy. So after trying hard in the last part of 2004, I gave up for good the idea of winning Zakstunts again.

The beginning of 2005 came with the realisation that there is not a simple coherence between life quality and Stunts success. Long ago I had thought that you play better Stunts when your life is bad, and don’t do so well when life is good, but there is no such coherence, only the more complicated one stated in the beginning of this article.

Life had changed in the Stunts world as I had drifted further and further away from it, racers numbers rose, and I started to know a smaller and smaller percentage of the people on the scoreboard. I was, and still am unhappy that my old friend Alan Rotoi had gone from the community, and been replaced first with the less forum-active Gutix and then with the anti-social racing-machine called Ayrton.

Summer 2005 came with the break-up with another Stunts racer, Lise, but that didn’t send me back on top of the scoreboards. The meeting in Århus was surreal for me. Some times in the past, I had day-dreamed about showing this place to some of the other racers, and now it became reality. It was reality for 4 days, and now it has become an impossible dream again :-) What I liked about the meeting was the total abandon to Stunts and Grog – we had a huge stock of beer, so everyone could, and did, just knock themselves out. The Stunts community is not a community of |33t g33k5, but of very interesting and entertaining people who know how to have a good time!

This meeting was also the great point of evolution of the Stunts song, which had first been sung in a hazy moment late at night in a train in Budapest, by Thomas and Akoss, as a lyrical discourse on the quality of the melting alpenmilch chocolate on Akoss’ hands. With three guitarists present at the meeting, it was fantastic to have the spirit of the meeting represented in music.

I still can’t believe what nice people you all are! Not at any of the meetings was there a problem between us racers. Now I only miss a union between all the South American racers and the European racers. Can it really be true in our world of 2006, that distance is to keep us apart? I hope one day I can drink a beer, sing a new Stunts verse and race a live race with the great racers of Brazil and Argentina: Leo Ramone, Alan Rotoi, Gutix, Ayrton, Dark Chaser, vamologocomisso, and now the new stars like Chulk and Renato Biker. It seems that I race well just Stunts meetings, cause now I won ZCT55, the track of September, and that brought back courage. But then my sound broke...

Now 2006 has come, and the community feeling is starting to come back! This time is one that is full of new beginnings: new season, new Kalpen competition, new top racer (Renato Biker) and new team-mate for Cork’s Crew in the talented Mislav. I used to think that Stunts would eventually die out, but the way new racers keep appearing, maybe this is very distant after all.

I am very glad that this community keeps existing, and though I can imagine being inactive and being a lurker, I can never imagine completely disappearing. I have had great times here, met great friends here, and Zakstunts is always a parallel to my life. When I think back to a certain time, I try to remember which Zakstunts track was on at the time :) then I get a picture of how long ago it was, and what else happened at the time.

Thank you for the time, now go and write your own article :-)

Submitted by Bonzai Joe on 2006-01-12.