Past the first four races of the season, we now reach the point where each team can determine their racer strategically rather than being forced to alternate between the teammates. However, only five teams opt for the high-risk decision to mix up their order, and some are rewarded for the choice. Snowstorm (Snowballs) and Tumult (home team Balls of Chaos) showed the risks involved with the strategy yesterday, both failing to qualify in the second leg of their consecutive runs.
But Bolt (Thunderbolts) showed off in qualifiers than running back-to-back can be a benefit rather than a detriment, and here uses pole position to run ahead of the pack for most of the race. Running ahead of the peloton is especially important on this chaotic track, as the hard left-to-right chicane in the second sector can pinball marbles when several run through it together. Even so, Bolt’s incredibly physical style of racing means it would likely be running well even if it were banging in the middle of the pack; during laps eight and nine, Bolt fends off strong surges from Yellow Eye (Crazy Cat’s Eyes) and Limelime (Limers) respectively, both with similarly powerful moves to shove them off its tail.
Orangin (O’Rangers) is the fourth competitor running back-to-back races, and sees a slight boon from the choice. The O’Rangers have struggled so far in season two, and despite Orangin only finishing in eighth here today (and being one of the victims of the aforementioned pinball affect of the chicane) they still see their best finish of the season. Perhaps big things lie ahead for one of the powerhouse franchises of Marble League if they can steadily improve their finishes.
However, it is Hazy (Hazers) who shows the potential rewards that the back-to-back runs can result in. Starting the course in eleventh position, Hazy bides their time throughout the race, studying the unfamiliar competitors. With three laps to go, Hazy seems like only an also-ran, beginning lap fourteen in sixth place and over three-and-a-half seconds behind the leader.
But that is when the seasoned veteran makes their move. In those final three laps, Hazy goes from sixth to fourth, then to first, and maintains that lead for the final circuit. It is a truly inspiring performance from one of last season’s top competitors, and rightfully puts the Hazers into the thick of competition for the overall standings. The 25 point weekend leaps them eleven spots into eighth place.
- Crazy Cat’s Eyes’s overall lead is cut down by only two, so it will still take more than one entire race (even with a Team Momo first and a Crazy Cat’s Eyes 0 result) for anyone to catch them.
- One of the chevrons near the end of the track gets bumped into a dangerous position during the second half of the race. Luckily, it never appears to affect any of the racers and is only slightly fixed when the safety marble attempts repairs on the fly.
- This course is absolutely nuts. All those sharp 90 degree turns make the Tumult Turnpike really live up to its name. I’m not entirely sure I like it — especially that completely nutty chicane.
- Presentation notes: Greg Woods is late to the announcer’s booth as he runs the course himself. Totally unprofessional, and I thought something was wrong with the upload because there was no voiceover at the start of the video. Less of that, please.
Roldo is as the foot of the tower at 10:50.