Judges Bribes – a Fine Art

The 2014  inaugural Splendid Teapot Race was also where the very first much appreciated judge’s bribe occurred. This was from Krakens Lair and unfortunately their performance was so inexcusable that even the bribe did not make up for it!  How ever, if there was (not really) any blame to be laid, Krakens Lair would have to be responsible.I am jolly glad they did, we do encourage this sort of behaviour and extra points are awarded for ingenuity, originality, general silliness and importance to me of the bribe.

 Self- esteeming Prose
Self- esteeming Prose
For me chocolate scores very highly as does original prose, handmade items and clever items of ingenuity. The aim for a bribe is not to be expensive or an exclusive bauble or bottles of wine. If the bribe fits in with the general theme of the team then all the better.  I have received Land Deeds to Cities, poems, shiny bits of brass and copper handy stuff, bacon and egg pie and short bread. Did I mention chocolate?

Deed of Title
The aim again is about fun and participation and a bit of performance. The best performance that we had was at Cuba Dupa February 2015 and the ATC Mark 1 Family Team from Lower Hutt  recited a Decree and presented the judges with shortbread.


Their rig was rather spectacular it was a tank style , it had a turret that spun around, with a teapot on top. The tank had a trailer with a tea cup and saucer and for the grand finale the tank erected itself and the teapot would pour a cup of tea. How is that for ingenuity – it is no wonder they received the certificate for excellence.

So in a nutshell Bribes are meant to be  fun and light hearted- a bit of koha (gift of appreciation) for the mahi (work) the organiser / judge puts in to bring this event to you.

What are the hints for the best teapot racer?

1) keep in the size regulations 30cm wide 30cm high and 40 cm long there is a reason for this – center of gravity.

2) more power is not necessarily better, it can be over kill on the small obstacles as many of the fast rigs have found out to their detriment. They just end up overpowering off the obstacle. Then they take longer and get a penalty for an assist if you had to put it upright. You can’t control the rig easily especially if you get stuck.

Salty, Stanley and Ol’ Smokey. Three very different bases but all demonstrating wheels, clearance and low center of gravity.

3) Wheels need to be about 2 inches high anything less won’t get over jump. Highish gap undercarriage is essential so you don’t bottom out, unless you’re a tank!

4) Keep your center of gravity low or you will somersault backwards on the ramp of doom. Excellent viewing and fun for the spectators however.

5) have a chat to the racers – they will love talking (steampunkers love talking)  about their rig and will give you lots of useful hints.

6) Don’t have your table cloth dragging on the ground it gets caught in the wheels.

A very capable driver and pot - just remember not let your table cloth get caught in your wheels!
A very capable driver and pot – just remember not let your table cloth get caught in your wheels!

Salty Sea Dog was  on sale from the Warehouse. Caution: some of the cheaper versions only turn one way or you have to back  to turn or they have very limited  turning capacity – I guess you need to keep your receipt, do a quick trial and return the unit if not fit for purpose. You could spend millions but then are you losing the point which is to have fun and for the sport to be accessible. Its a spectator sport so you want spills and thrills otherwise is just going to be a race. You can do that anywhere! Carry on.

And the crowd went wild!!! this was about half of them it was packed!

Salty Sea Dog

Salty Sea DogThis is the Captain Various Miscellaneous Bitsandpieces and my first rig made for the inaugural event at the Steampunknz Festival 2014.

Teapot name and description: One highly modified common aluminium char pot has taken the Incredibly handsome and virile Captain who has travelled the aeather and the seven seas, fought dragons, wrestled krakens into submission with his bare hands, survived the Medusa and reluctantly left the sexy sirens of the sea behind to conquer the perils of doom and to defend the Countess’s’ honour.
His first outing in 2014 was very good and he had a very fast time. His second outing ended in disgrace because someone took of the rubber bands for traction of his wheels and he was ‘outacontrol’. Did you notice that wee hint…..

He is made on the body of a NIKKO $30.00 (on sale) remote control car from the Warehouse. 

And has enough power to get up the ramp and just enough height to get over the jump.

Salty is very light weight being an aluminium pot.

Salty sea dog crop - Photo -P Flury

Summary of hints:

  • Make sure RC unit has several bands ( this will become important in the Drag of Mayhem Race)
  • That the rig has enough clearance not to bottom out on jump –an ability to have at least 3 cm
  • Think light weight – not top heavy. The ramp has a significant banking on it.
  • Have fun, the object is not to get to caught up in the competitiveness it is much more fun for the spectators when you knock stuff over, get stuck or fall off an obstacle. This is a spectator sport!