The Mario Kart 8 Equinox ChampionshipRory Jones
The March Equinox – A Trailer.
The scene was set. A chill breeze swept up and down York Way like a giant broomstick wielded by an even larger groundskeeper. Cars gleamed across the road at American Car Wash (from £8.95). The King’s Cross pond rippled. Every member of the Brainlabs team was, quite literally in some cases, shaking with anticipation ahead of the event of the year: the Mario Kart 8 March Equinox Championship. 32 racers all vying for the top prize: priceless, priceless bragging rights.
A bead of cold sweat stained Alistair Teeney’s (probably) red forehead and stung his eyes. The September graduate recruit couldn’t shake the memory of making the brash assertion that, if he failed to become ‘the best’ at the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8 by the March Equinox, he would resign from his post. The stakes were higher than an alpine steakhouse.
The script was there to be written; grizzled veteran of the track Tanooki Mario (Rory), back from a ten-day sojourn in the Dominican Republic looked destined to return to the circuit in a blaze of headlights, smoke and screeching tires. Luigi (Rich) waited in the wings after a rotten couple of weeks languishing in the doldrums of 3rd, even 4th place, struggling to beat even the greenest of green contenders. Newer racers had begun to show their mettle; Wario (Ellen) and Ludwig (Alice) were showing signs of real talent behind the wheel, whilst Morton (Dan B) and Mario (Liam) seemed to be nearing the ends of long and underwhelming careers. Was it time to hang up the gloves? One last hurrah, maybe; one last chance to prove the critics wrong, that that 4th place finish wasn’t a fluke after all, and to cement their name in Brainlabs Mario Kart 8 folklore.
Villager (John) had written up a schedule for the races using Google Sheets (other sheets are available). Group stages led to the quarter finals, semis led to the grand finale. El Clásico. Le Championnat. Il Divo. Dos cervezas, por favor, gracias.
Many faltered in the group stages. Predictably. Mario fell way short of what was expected and succumbed to an early exit, citing the ‘Group of Death’ as his excuse. There were flashes of inspiration to be found elsewhere, however; Toad (Liz) squirmed into the quarters by hook or by crook, while newest of newcomers Alex (character yet to be decided) was 1 point short of toppling Waluigi (Zach), an outside favourite.
The Domino’s Pizza, gin & tonics and beers began to take their toll. The atmosphere went from jovial and cheery to a real state of tension. Onlookers began to take sides. Jeers and catcalls were thrown about after Luigi, a favourite for the title, crashed out in the semis to the glamorous yet ruthless Daisy (Dan Gyi). Tanooki Mario, another hot favourite, managed to squeeze past an admirable performance from relative newbie Link (Phil) after the rarest of rare slip ups from the man in the raccoon costume.
Before we knew it, it was upon us. The moment we’d all been waiting for. Months in the making. The grand final was to be played out between Metal Mario (Teeney), Waluigi, Tanooki Mario and Daisy, strong contenders all. A five-race thriller saw Daisy and Metal Mario break away from the pack after competition-defining gaffes from Tanooki and Waluigi, before all was decided on Koopa City, a tough track riddled with steep drops and slippery corners. A barnstorming performance from Tanooki Mario was not enough. It came down to the wire, but after a wasted Bomb-omb from Daisy on the final corner, Metal Mario snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on points. He crossed the line.
His job was safe.
Sky Sports News had an exclusive on all the action, with blow-by-blow accounts, reactions and breaking news. (Jim White was on holiday.)