Yeah this update is late. I blame my publicist. :P

The Buckyball Run 5 came to a close, and what a finish it was. Launched at the start of Elite: Dangerous Beta 3, this was the first BBR to incorporate the new ship modification system. In one way, that utterly threw the competition into chaos because with a near infinite combination of ways to customize ships, there was no solid way to categorize racers by class. A smartly configured Cobra, for example, might smack the ever-loving crap out of a more expensive Asp that hadn't been rigged for racing. Jump range became more important than raw speed, because the longer you could jump, the more options you had for plotting a route. And a Cobra beating an asp? Ridiculous, you might think. Right?

Try a Hauler.

Over the 143 light year race, the top eleven racers were separated by just over three and a half minutes, with Asps, Lakon Type-6's, and Cobras pretty much dominating the board. Ravenov's Eagle Fast Eddie worked its way to the top half of the board, but there's only so much modding that could be done to the single seat fighter. But then, something even stranger happened. CMDR Andon showed up in the appropriately named Hauler Haulin' A and passed just about every other class in the race. The other commanders, being true competitors, didn't seem to appreciate being left in the dust by an upstart cargo van and responded in kind, and soon the Cobras and Lakons and Asps were fighting their way back to the top. Andon, however was unable to make up the time.

And then came CMDR Reload, first-time Buckyballer and a commander with a little cash and maybe too much time on his hands who decided to see just how much engine he could pack into his little Hauler She Got The House. It turns out that if you stuff a D2 FSD in it and strip out everything except the fuzzy dice, a Zorgon Peterson Hauler can match the Lakon Spaceways Asp Explorer in jump range. And this happened:
Out of Nowhere, Reload shot to first place, convincingly. I don't know if CMDR Dorsett or the other racers were surprised, but I was flat out astounded. I had joked in private with Reload about how great it would be to see a Hauler sitting at the top of the board, and I guess he took me seriously because he went and did it. I was sure something was amiss. Reload had been in Solo play instead of Open. His clock was off by daylight savings time. He'd invented time travel or something. But then he turned around and did it again, providing video to the link.

And thus began a tit-for tat battle between CMDR Reload in his Hauler and CMDR Dorsett in his Asp Dreaming Among Stars. Dorsett, no stranger to the Buckyball Run, calmly and methodically re-planned his route and flew with expert care to bring his very expensive baby to Xi Wangkala with a minimum of financial damage. (Who's kidding who? If you crash an Asp, the insurance is going to be a bite no matter how much money you have.) Meanwhile, Reload in She Got The House had to use every trick at his disposal to shave off seconds from his time... Perfect exits from supercruise, speed shots through the docking slot, and setting down on the pad so hard that he was leaving Hauler shaped dents all over Skolem Settlement.

And as the clock began to tick down, it looked like CMDR Dorsett had it locked up with less than a 20 second lead on Reload when the intrepid Hauler pilot made one last run and managed to equal Dorsett's time to the second to tie for first. It's a good thing She Got The House, because there wasn't much left of the poor ship at the end of the race. They don't get any closer than this!

This of course was the headliner of the race. There was still plenty of action further back in the pack, with long-time Buckyball Rivals FoxTwo and Jackie Silver duking it out in their respective Cobras, and CMDRs Burt Makklin and Dean Smith finishing neck-and-neck in their own tie in an Eagle and a Viper respectively. You can check out the BBR5 thread on the Frontier Forum for all the details, but suffice to say this was the biggest and best Buckyball Run yet, utilizing the new technology and good old fashioned navigation skill to show just what a bunch of pilots can do with the right amount of ingenuity and determination. As a pilot who's routinely at the bottom of the Big Board during these events I can honestly say that for me, it's not the destination it's the journey. This one was fun as hell to watch play out! Thanks to everyone who participated.


Cmdr Dan Urbinovitch
11/24/2014 3:17am

Hi eZ !
Congrats to the winner, Hauler power !!
Although I did not compete since BBR3, I miss my ol' Wednesday 2 Hauler ;-)


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