As we enter the fifth race of the Sand Marble Rally, Cool Moody maintains his hold on the top spot overall despite not reaching the podium since the inaugural contest, with Ghost Plasma right behind thanks to three consecutive bronze medals. The headline for this race is the clean condition of the track — a welcome change from previous contests when wet sand and crumbling walls led to several DNFs.
Right off the bat, Comet and Summer Sky take a strong lead that looks nearly insurmountable; a huge cluster banging into each other behind them and the smooth track allows them to coast through the first section. After the first 80 seconds, the rest of the field looks like they will only be competing for third place.
All that changes upon reaching the second split track; Comet makes the awful mistake of taking the bottom track, which sees them plummet down the standings. Summer Sky only fares moderately better, as they relinquish first place to Red Number 3 before the tracks converge once again.
And from there, Red Number 3 takes over. The two-time reigning champion looks to make this their statement race of the 2020 season, occasionally stretching their lead so far that they leave the frame and holding it for well over a minute.
However, the dominant performance ends just a few seconds too early, as Lollipop does some very fine maneuvering to overtake RN3 just before the final gate. The slo-mo play-by-play during the recap shows just how hard Lollipop has to work to pass Red Number 3, and as a result they walk away with the win.
- The cleaner track conditions make this race a delight to watch. Here’s hoping the weather stays nice enough to get more like this for the rest of the competition.
- Despite a ninth place finish here, Cool Moody still holds onto first overall in the standings. In fact, the podium is unchanged aside from Superball and Ghost Plasma swapping the second and third place positions.
- Several stops and starts throughout this one, as the race recap shows. Comet, especially, salvages two points from what looked like a podium or a DNF at various times during the race.
- Announcer extraordinaire Greg Woods wonders if this is the moment Red Number 3 begins to make its push for the overall podium before the race even starts. Could this be a sign of a conspiracy to get the fan favorite back into the fray? Let’s just say I’m getting my tinfoil hat ready.
- Presentation notes: Gosh, the drier sand (or maybe sunny skies) helps the film quality so much. Also, I like the touches of the tree branches and wooden arches to demarcate where in the race competitors are — having nondescript sand often leads to confusion when the camera jumps back and forth between the leaders and the peloton.
This one is truly hard… I tried pausing so much right at the start to see if I could find Roldo to no avail. Here’s the hint given at the start: “Roldo is hidden along the track quite close to the start.” Please share if you find them!