One of the benefits of being co-inventor, is that I usually judge – I am useless at driving these things any way. Once the bribes are sorted and I am happy we start the event. Each teapot races individually except for the drag race (another blog to describe the drag race) against the clock – you have 3 minutes. The fastest rig thus far has been Stanley from Wellington at a very subsonic 43 seconds (More about Stanley soon).
I have 2 flags, a yellow for penalty and red for disqualification, it is my practice to have a chat to the audience before racing and get the audience participation OOOHHs and AHHHHs working on cue to the flag waving from me or the line out judge.
The boundaries of the course needs to be about 2.5 meters by 10 – 15 meters if you have a nice flat space. If you don’t have that space you change the course layout to suit the space, we have not really ever had the same space twice and we just adapt the obstacles placement to the space. We try and have about a meter between individual jumps, ramps and the china – each of the china figures are about 600 apart.
We put tape arrows down for people so they don’t get directionally challenged but it really doesn’t matter in what order things occur just that they are completed and then out through the finish posts to stop the timing.
We have been assigning our penalties thus:
1) If you go out over the boundary line – partially, it is a penally – wave yellow flag – audience participation and tick in the score card box.
2) If you go fully out of the boundary we have been disqualifying – wave red flag -audience participation and tick in the score card box. – a non finish in on the scorecard. This rule can be varied depending on the amount of entries if you have a lot -stick to it or you will be there all night and the audience will get jaded. If you don’t have many racers treat it as a penalty. The helpful hint – have small assorted children and audience sitting close to the line and they will act as a natural bumper!
3) Manual assists – if any person has to manually assist the rig in ANY manner – hand, foot , walking stick, ray gun etc it is a penalty – wave yellow flag – audience participation and tick in the score card box.
FIVE YELLOW FLAGS (Penalties) AND IT IS INSTANT DISQUALIFICATION – RED FLAG.
Part of the whole deal is to include participation as part of the criteria. Is the driver well turned out? How splendid is the rig? Does it meet the size restrictions? Have they organised a preformance? Did they give a bribe? Did they vex the judge? Did they demonstrate the aims of Splendid Teapot Racing; teamwork, participation, fun? This is a very good category for families or persons with a disability.
Extra points and comments can also be awarded for crazy driving antics eg somersaults, pirouettes, spectacular fails etc.
Score Card: I have adapted a score card over the last year to reflect all these things and it works fairly well but again it is a guideline.