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  • Writer's pictureKL Forslund

Racing Teapots

The package rattled ominously when Kensington opened it. A hint of curved brass peeked through the shredded packing straw. He reached in and lifted the mystery object out. A tea kettle? What do we need another of those for?

Lady Andromeda Keye entered the study at that moment. “Ah, the final piece has arrived.”

“What are you up to, now?”

“I’ve entered the Republic of Texas Teapot Racing Nationals.”

Kensinton handed the teapot over to her. He knew he’d find out soon enough what Lady Keye meant.

Birth of Teapot Racing

In the far off land of New Zealand, not the be confused with Old Zealand or Passe Zealand, a few of the many brilliant minds living on that lustrous shore had an idea. Several actually. But the one about taking a teapot and mounting it on a remote controlled car is our topic. So they did that. The racers then took turns going through a three stage obstacle course. They built scoring for racing times, conduct and bribery into the rules. The sport was a hit amongst steampunks worldwide.

Building a Racer

First acquire a working remote controlled car. Then a light teapot, for if you choose one that is too heavy, your racer will be slower or top heavy. Then figure out how to mount it to the car. You may have to remove the original body shell. I’ve written about how I constructed mine with a good many pictures.

Track of Obstacles

The race is supposed to be hard. The audience will laugh and cheer as the driver navigates the obstacles. Each race may differ, but one may expect to find a slalom, a banked U-turn often called the Ramp of Doom, and a bridge. Slow and steady wins the race, though some sections might require a running start. Remember to be a good sport, part of the scoring is based on audience response. So having difficulties might hurt your time, but boost your score if you ham it up.

Rules of the Race

  • Obey the race officials

  • Before the race, sign in and present your racer

  • It must be within the size limit of 30cm by 40cm by 30cm (or lose points)

  • It must have a teapot

  • At the race start, put your racer on the line and switch it on

  • When the race starts, race, you have 3 minutes to complete the course

  • If your vehicle gets stuck or flipped over, you may reset it (may lose points each time)

The decisions of the officials is final. The scoring process is silly and accounts for race time, completing the race, driver and racer appearance and conduct and bribery. All bribes go to a good cause, at the minimum ensuring enough gas money for the event runners to get home.

Lady Keye worked the controls furiously as her treaded teapot Treadful Brew climbed the steep embanked turn. The contraption nearly toppled but a quick correction to complete the U-Turn stabilized it. Now for the final stretch, the unaccounted for Leap of Faith. She hadn’t planned for jumps during the design stage. Keye straightened her course and rammed the throttle forward for full speed ahead. The ponderous crawler made its way up the ramp and tumbled treads over tea kettle, rolling back onto treads. Cheers from the crowd erupted. Without missing a beat, she kept the throttle engaged and headed for the second ramp. Again, the machine clambered up the slope and toppled over. But this time, the approach wasn’t quite square and it tumbled and rolled, coming to rest on its side. The crowd groaned and Lady Keye rushed to reset her racer, precious moments lost. With it back on its treads, she steered it through the finish line to a welcome applause from the audience.

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