ROCKS, DUST, AND GUNS - the History of the Daymar Rally
ROCKS, DUST AND GUNS
Everyone knows the seedy story of the Stanton Annexation. What you might not know, though, is that the Daymar Rally's story starts at nearly the same point.
By 2903, when the UEE finally got around to annexing the system, Stanton's green belt was home to tens of thousands of squatters, covering all three of its terrestrial planets and quite a few of the smaller bodies, including the moons of what would soon be named Crusader. At that time, Daymar was still uninhabited - it wouldn't be until three years later that Darnell Ajay would build the first permanent settlement.
From that point on, Daymar slowly gained its filthy reputation. The moon was one of the hotter pirate havens by 2912, when Advocacy agent Crista Tamdon was ambushed and killed while chasing a suspect across the plains that now bear her name. In the years since, we've seen scandal after scandal in the Crusader neighbourhood: Covalex shipping lost their main Stanton hub to an "accident" and chose to move their entire operation rather than investigate fully. Sataball star Jett Barnes was killed when his ship was attacked and apparently shot down near Cellin. Drug trafficking and piracy are commonplace in the rings around Yela. Crusader industries has even gone so far as to admit that their ability to enforce any kind of law in orbit around the giant is pretty near zero.
So why would anyone want to race there?
Because racing, by its very nature, is filthy. Right down to its earliest roots.
Smugglers and pirates on the high seas of 18th and 19th century Earth learned pretty quickly that avoiding the law was fairly simple - be the fastest boat, and don't get caught. Bootleggers would operate on the same premise barely 100 years later -- and their custom-built, high-performance machines would lay the groundwork for some of the most storied and celebrated forms of racing in history.
A few even speculate that Norman Eager's massive sculptures on Daymar weren't just visible from orbit as a means of expression. They may have pointed the way towards landing sites for "aspiring entrepreneurs" who pulled ore and machinery from Shubin's nearby SCD-1 mine and hightailed it into the desert for quick pickup.
Norman's artwork has since been consumed by the desert, but the legend remains: It's no coincidence that the Daymar Rally's mad-dash first leg crosses from the mine to Eager Flats. Ever since, the short span has been known as the place where an aspiring driver tests his mettle against brutal sun, relentless terrain, and limited oxygen. If you can't make it through "Hell's Half-Hour", you may as well stay home.
The first years of the Daymar Rally were, not surprisingly, private affairs. A group called "the Daymar Seven" are credited with the first successful run of the official route, in 2917. It wasn't so much of a race as a tour, though - the group wanted to take in the massive art installations close-up, and then added Wolf Point as an added goal, when they learned the site of the historical prank was also relatively nearby. After a few years in relative obscurity, breathtaking shots from those first few trips started to circulate, and it had become something of an event in the span of five years. Even if it wasn't competitive yet, though, those early 'Daymar Rally' experiences were still dangerous - smugglers and outlaws were still taking their chances against Shubin's security, so the whole thing was live-fire before it was even a race.
The first real competition year was 2922, when Nils Lawrence, one of the original "Seven", met with other racing enthusiasts and put together a four-team promotional event -- with the winners gaining the honour of naming the trophy. However, when the first-place team finally arrived after the gruelling, poorly-organised mess, driver Jenny McKay famously spit in the trophy cup and said, "I don't care what you call the thing. Just get me out of here." The quote and later accounts of the 2922 run solidified the Rally's reputation as a nightmare of rocks, dust, and guns -- but in the end it paid off. 11 teams signed up to race the following year, competing for a racing trophy that remains nameless to this day.
From there on, the Daymar Rally roared. McKay's mechanic, Danny Roth, won the next two Daymar Rallies in a row, and three out of the first five. Jenny herself made big news when she finally deigned to return to the route in 2929, after years of denouncing the race as an "amateur hour" whenever she had a chance. To everyone's delight, her triumph was spoiled and her spotlight completely stolen by the Stranger, whose dramatic and fatal victory made headlines across the UEE.
No race is without controversy, though. The late 20's and early 30's were the heyday of the big Rally teams like Ars Celeritas, Clockwork Innovations, MANTIS racing, and Golden Arrow. They were pushing the limits of rover, buggy, and bike tech - and stabbing each other in the back to gain any kind of advantage. Then came 2935, The Race With No Winner. The blame for the disaster fell on everything from corruption in the rally commission, to corporate espionage. In less than two decades, the race had gone from an escape route for smugglers and thieves to a whimsical tour of art installations, then to the inspiring sacrifice of the Stranger, and finally the dark depths of the worst kind of sportsmanship. The Daymar Rally was born filthy, and it died filthy.
Or did it?
A lot of things have changed, over the last decade or so. In 2949, the Daymar Rally will return after a hiatus of fourteen years, under new management, with new rules and racing classes. Competition promises to be fierce, and the field is literally wide open. Now is your chance.
Put the hammer down and burn your way through Hell's Half Hour. Turn left at Eager Flats, and power up your weapons. Tighten your aim and pour on the speed - it's your turn to spit in Racing's only nameless trophy cup . . .
. . . and win the Filthiest Race in the Verse.
I'll see you out there,
Image by Corsair62