Friday’s qualifiers had thrills and excitement (most notably the Oceanics seeming to bust through the host’s curse) and some near tragedies (Yellup’s terrifying bounce off the track and into the valley). The stage was set for a very exciting race!
Things started off quickly with Ocean of the Oceanics quickly failing to hold onto their hard-earned pole position and seeing Billy and Red Eye leap ahead of them. By the time the racers hit the infamous speed boost Pulsar had jumped ahead of Ocean as well. Red Eye continued to show off some impressive skill (what kind of training regimen are they following?!?) by seizing first place after the first lap. Billy, Pulsar, Ocean and Bolt were in hot pursuit though.
After the first lap though we’d see multiple stretches of different marbles holding the top spot. Billy had it after lap number 2 (in addition to setting a fastest lap time), but by only tenths of a second ahead of Red Eye and Pulsar. Once the marbles had rolled up on the speed boost Pulsar made a nice move to jump from third to first. Billy fell to fifth but spots 2-6 (Red Eye, Bolt, Honey, Billy and Wispy) were all less than a second behind Pulsar. Pulsar seemed to be pulling away with the next lap, building the lead over Bolt by a full second+ but it wasn’t to be. Ocean tumbled into the lower half of the top 10, their start at pole position must have felt like a distant memory.
Lap 6 saw Bolt take control of the lead. And Bolt held tight against stiff competition (at the end of lap 7 Red Eye is only 0.03 seconds behind!) with Cerulean having jumped into contention alongside Wispy and Pulsar. Bolt looks like they’re pulling away at the end of Lap 8 with a near 2 second lead but there was a long way to go and the competition wouldn’t be denied. Red Eye especially was dogged in the pursuit of the top spot.
During the 11th lap Red Eye would seize the race and would put on a clinic. Bolt got within a two tenths of a second of the lead at one point but Red Eye shifted into another gear entirely and put a consistent near 3 second lead between the two marbles for the final couple of laps while also setting a new mark for fastest lap time. At one point I wondered if Red Eye would lap the bottom 3 in the race (Lemonlime, Mimo, and Rapidly had those unfortunate spots), they seemed to just have this course figured out perfectly. Bolt, Cerulean, Honey and Wispy rounded out the top 5 but even Wispy was nearly 7 seconds out of first place.
– It was tough to focus on the other marbles in this race once Red Eye and Bolt seemed to make it a 2 marble race early.
– Ocean managed to hold onto a spot within the top 10 but otherwise disappointed after a great qualifying round.
– Crazy Cat’s Eyes now has 2 golds and a 30 point lead in the overall standings over Team Momo. It would take 2 races minimum for them to be overtaken by anybody and that assumes CCE performs poorly in those races.
– Amusingly the Bumblebees are in 3rd overall even though they’ve yet to place on a podium. Consistent effort by Bumble and Honey this season!