Welcome, racers of 2023!
Welcome, racers of 2023! A new season has started with a "Blast from the past" — and with a good reason. We have passed several milestones in the last couple of years. 2021 saw the 30th anniversary of Stunts version 1.1, ZakStunts itself reached its 20 year mark in the same year, and more recently we have reached 25 years from the first online competition in 1997, at the dawn of the internet. Inspired by that, I choose for my guest track slot a classic and personal favourite, CTRACK31 from Kalpen's competition in 2001 (to be precise, I picked CTK2003a, the Kalpen 2003 version of the track). I hoped it would be fun.
But wow... what a start of the race! This wasn’t mere fun — it was a frenzy, the battle for LTB starting way before the LTB time began running. The chat on Telegram played a role in that. It’s not the same as the old chatroom, but it is alive and brings new energy. Like Zak once said:
The key is the community. If a racer is addicted there's no escape The chat and forum presence is essential to be a regular racer (of course everyone compared to his available free time), and teamwork is the key to improve in results. The fourth generation, people have to raise their successors - they are the ones who will bring more motivation into racers.
On Telegram, many of the racers were present before the track was made public, speculating on which track it would be and how hard (I may have had a hand in fueling that... while hoping it would indeed turn out nice). When the track went live, several racers jumped on it, looking for past Kalpen results as references and trying to work out which car would be best. dreadnaut did a good job balancing the cars, and there was never complete certainty about the best car having been found. Still, the fight was on, and two racers quickly went for the lead. In one corner, the returning legend, Argammon, and in the other corner, the current champion defending his title, Alan Rotoi...
The first 12 racers finished within 8 seconds of each other, indicating the high level of competition. Analysing the laps makes it clear that many battles were decided in the final sectors of the track. Notably, Argammon's shortcut around the southwestern hill brought him from 0.20 seconds behind to 0.60 seconds ahead. In the end, though, it was Duplode who took first place in the decisive moments, largely propelled by the final high speed sector. Duplode was followed by Argammon in second and Alan Rotoi in third. The battle for fourth place was between Friker, KyLiE, Frieshansen, and Overdrijf. Meanwhile, the fight for the eighth position was contested by Mark Nailwood, Zapper, Deadnaut, and Ryoma.
Wait a second!? MARK NAILWOOD?? Yes, it is THE Mark Nailwood, champion racer, creator of Track Blaster and many other tools, of invaluable contributions to the continued success of STUNTS. Hi, Mark... welcome back!
All in all, it was a thrilling start to the season, and an exciting glimpse of what's to come. With a strong community, fierce competition, and classic tracks to race on, the 2023 season is shaping up to be one of the best yet.