The old fashioned Group B - Pod Racing
Words: Scott Blackburn
Composed to: Queens Of The Stone Age - Villains
Way before the heady days of Group B rally, probably Earth's most deadly motorsport, there was Pod Racing, a long time ago, in galaxy far, far away. This dangerous fringe sport killed off many of its pilots and attracted the likes of gangsters, rouges and nine year old children. Pod Racing finds its roots in the depths of the galaxy's history and continued for thousands of years.
The pods themselves date back to the original animal-drawn carts which used to be raced in a similar way, not unlike the chariot racing of ancient Rome...just without the horses and Ben-Hur. The technology gradually evolved and the Hutt gangsters began to muscle their way into running a number of the races on the Outer Rim Territories. Czerka Arms are the company credited with designing the first purpose built turbine engines for the sport.
By the time of the Republic the pods were a small anti-gravity unit to seat one pilot and one or more pairs of turbines, held together by power couplings to stop them finding their own routes. The turbines were incredibly powerful, meaning the pods would reach speeds in excess of 500mph during the races, making it no mystery why so many pilots lost their lives, that and the Tusken Raiders.
As the speeds became higher and higher Pod Racing became a less human friendly sport as other species with better reflexes and more limbs began to dominate. At the time that a nine year old Anakin Skywalker, aka foetus Darth Vader, was racing pods he was one of the last humans, winning the Boonta Eve Classic. Under the Republic's rule Pod Racing was technically illegal but continued thanks to the involvement of the Hutts and a slacked enforcement of the law. It was even broadcast in the seedier parts of the Core Planets such as Coruscant.
As the political climate worsened in the time of the Clone Wars the attendance of pod races began to dwindle and the sport went into decline. Following the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire, Pod Racing was made firmly illegal and the Empire made sure to enforce it this time. This was mainly due to the non-human element of the sport not sitting well with the intolerant Imperials.
After this racing was forced underground and developed a whole new level of outlaw culture, with races popping up and disappearing over night before the Troopers could arrive to disperse them. In its heyday under the Republic, Pod Racing, much like Group B, was a testament to what can be achieved when the only priority is to go faster and faster and win. Despite the obvious dangers it was also a spectacular display of creative engineering, and a handy way to free yourself from slavery to a hovering blue goblin.