Long name: Zak McKracken's Stunts Competition, or Zak's Stunts Competition. An online competition running continuously since March 2001, now in its 13th season it holds the title of the longest running competition. It was also the first competition which required racers to drive different cars each month, and also the first one to implement a fully automatic php based replay sending form and scoreboard system. Although there were competitions with higher number of participants, ZakStunts is generally considered the most influential competition of the online Stunts community.
History of ZakStunts
2001Opponents commenting the sent replays. Competitors mainly arrived from the biggest and best of the time - the Kalpen Competition, and achieved 10 racers/month at most.
2002Kalpen Competition closed and others not so popular, ZakStunts took the reputation of the biggest and most prestigious competition on the web. This season Teams were introduced, and racers started to cooperate with each other, or in some strange cases with themselves, using Ghosts. Racer number reached an incredible 20/month, and the number of replays sent started to get unbearable for the manager. Also ZakStunts didn't only host a competition, but served as an abandonware site too, offering various racing games for download - so raising the number of the site visitors and the racers.
During the summer months, three so called "Special" tracks were presented, with their averaged result counting as one competition track. These tracks required Cheated cars or Special rules to finish, and have shown the potential of some newcomers. From October a new feature, Leading Time Bonus, was introduced as opposite to a negative effect of Time hiding.
The winner of the season was expert driver Bonzai Joe while Alan Rotoi, aka. 'The Dog' came second even though he joined the competition only in April. The former champion, Roy Wiegerinck, finished third.
2003Dual League, where the top 10 drivers formed the Pro league, and the others the Amateur league, Relegations/place changes on the last/first three places took place each month, Pro/Amateur drivers raced the same tracks.
Of course in order to handle this excessive amount of activity and replays, a semi-automatized PHP system was created and installed by Zak McKracken, where racers could send the replays online, with the help of a web form, and so their times immediately appeared on the Scoreboard. ZakStunts also stopped to work as an abandonware site, as the required number of racers seemed to be reached (around 20/month)
In this season, the competition got really fierce and hard, and a previously unknown amount of teamwork was shown by the teams. The community life was also flourishing, with the forum running and night-long chats taking place in the IRC chatroom.
Apart from all this chaos, a secondary competition (called ACT) was also hosted, with tracks designed each month by the winner of The 2002 Track Design Contest (TDC), Akoss Poo. We can conclude, that 2003 was perhaps the busiest season of ZakStunts.
2004Dual League and secondary competition were dropped, and the point system was also simplified. In order to restrict heavy teamwork, the maximum number of team members was reduced to 4. Another improvement was the TDB rule, which similar to the 107% rule in Formula One, gave one bonus point to the drivers close to the leader.
Racer number dropped to an average of 15/month, and the site visitor number to its half. Still, community life was going on, and in August the first World Stunts Meeting took place in Budapest.
With team Orion falling apart, new top drivers appeared. Thanks to Alan Rotoi a very strong South-American Stunts scene evolved, and the better racers started to appear on ZakStunts too. One of them became champion: Gutix. In a hard battle, Akoss Poo came second, and former champion Bonzai Joe third.
In 2005, the rules were more simplified, and the original, simple linear point system was reintroduced with the aid of the successful LTB The goal of ZakStunts was no more gathering new racers, but to present a demanding competition for the top dogs. Still, the number of participants was a huge surprise, surpassing 30 racers on some tracks. Racers who would have got zero points received fraction points, so a ranking still could be made.
The community became more compact, but also more active, altough many former regulars have left, there were still 15 racers, who raced on all, or almost all the tracks. We also had the unforgettable second WSM in Denmark.
Team race was dominated by the Argentinian team created by Alan Rotoi: Meganium Aces High. Alan only stayed in the background, managing his students, like former champion Gutix, and the new champion, who raced like thunder, but never talked: Ayrton. Former champion Alain made a successful comeback, and finished second, while the third was the highly evolving Hungarian: CTG
This year not much has changed. The system stayed the same - as it was considered successful, only the first 15 racers received points, not the top twelve. The overall racer number decreased a lot, but there was still a hard core, with 15 racers there, almost each month. Another meeting took place, again in Budapest, perhaps a bit more quiet than the previous ones, but we greeted each other as good old friends, and parted as even better ones :)
This season was the battle of the teams. Meganium Aces High, Cork's Crew and Orion all battled for the Team Champion title, but finally the reborn Orion won beating "Oldies" Cork's and "Dog team" Meganium.
Nobody managed to win the ZakStunts twice until 2008 - and suprisingly this year again a newbie won the battle: Renato Biker from Brazil, under the guidance of former champion Alain. CTG made another step of improvement, and arrived second, while the best live racer Bonzai Joe came third.
At the end of the season, manager Zak McKracken started to prepare for his state exam and so started lose his motivation, racer number and community activity dropped significantly. Something had to change.
This year was a major turnaround again. As there were many successful and actively managed competitions running beside ZakStunts, something exceptional had to be offered. The idea was to have special rules each month, similar to the ones used on the summer bonus tracks of 2002.
Altough some of the rules turned out to be quite intresting and funny, racer number and activity dropped and dropped , barely reaching 10/month, and the manager's motivation sunk with it. Still, the decreased number of racers didn't mean the drop of the competition value, races were still hard as a rock.
Earlier ZakStunts hosted some guest track designers, but during the summertime, track design was completely handed over to the always fresh, active (and horny :)) Krys TOFF. A competition without a manager is not a competition - even if it runs by itself. During the summer a season shortening to 9 tracks was announced, and after the 8th track of the season (and the 78th of ZakStunts), when CTG being the new champion was assured - the competition paused for an indefinite period.
The break did good to the manager :) He was thinking a lot, and eventually found out, that he can't live without his competition. After several new ideas born and buried, the concept of the 2008 season was announced, and the last track of the current season presented: no Special rules, and a well-known track: Default.
2008 was the rebirth of ZakStunts. The manager admitted that the concept of the special rules was a failure, but as many of the other current successful competitions announced planned closure, there was a need for ZakStunts to go on, and let Stunts live forward.
The new concept of 2008 can be best defined as "the freedom of choice". Everyone was allowed drive with his chosen car and the achieved times are multiplied with pre-set bonus percentages based on car tests. This way everyone can bring out the best of his talent, using the most favorite or most suitable car for the track.
After a few minor problems the concept seemed to work fine. Some driver criticized the new concept as it demands more time from the racers and makes the creation of race statistics really hard, but the positive results were clear to see: more racers and more replays sent.
The main problem of the new car bonus percentage system was the problem of the ever-growing bonuses, which was temporarily solved with bonus adjustments throughout the season. However with the new rule set of the 2009 season this problem was resolved.
The level of the 2008 competition was clearly above the 2007 level, approaching previously seen lower-activity seasons, such as 2006 and 2004.
The season was special in the aspect of winner. One racer could do what others could not done before: Ayrton won the ZakStunts title for the second time, by winning all the tracks throughout the month. Racers of the newer generations, Duplode and Mark L. Rivers came second and third.
The 2009 season brought only minor changes and corrections to the 2008 rules, mostly to minimize the advantage PG cars used to have with the bonus system. Additionally, custom cars were added to the car pool. As the community got stronger, the team championship was also restarted after its one-year break, with both old and new teams taking part. The first races had very high racer activity - comparable to 2005 levels, with several newbies appearing. A parallel competition, the Newbie League, was set up in order to further motivate the new racers.
2009 will be remembered as the season of comebacks due to the many competition legends who returned to the scoreboards. The climax of the season was ZCT100, the historical 100th race of the competition, of which all ZakStunts champions took part. As for the season results, Duplode took the title, with CTG second and Bonzai Joe third. Several other racers challenged for race wins as well, but none of them raced consistently through the whole season. Similar facts happened in team contest, with the title returning to Cork's Crew for the first time since 2002.
The 10th ZakStunts season continued with a slightly adjusted 2009 ruleset. A major improvement to note was the revamped archive system including all results from 2004 in an easy to access interface.
This season was characterized by a low, but steady number of racers, and the almost complete lack of newbies. Former racers from all around the past years of ZakStunts raced, but there were no newcomers staying with the community for a longer term, and the newbie scoreboards were almost empty throughout the season. Community life in the forum was quite passive too.
Even though the racer number was low compared to previous seasons, the level of competition was quite high, and a place on the podium was never given easily.
The 11th ZakStunts season started after a short delay, on the first of February, due to the personal changes in Zak McKracken's life. The set of available custom cars was revised, and there were minor adjustments to the bonus system; other than that rules were left pretty much unchanged.
The season had a rocky start, with racer activity reaching dangerously close to 2007 levels. There was marked improvement through the second half of the year, however; and newbie activity was slightly higher than in 2010.
The title race in 2011 was dominated by the champions of the previous two years, Duplode and Gutix, who had eight victories between them. Largely on the basis of regularity, Duplode sealed the title and became a double champion, with Gutix and AbuRaf70 completing the season podium. Meanwhile, MeganiuM ensured the team trophy would remain in Argentina in a season in which all of its four active racers managed at least one race medal.
ZakStunts 2012 opened with a few rule changes, the most important of them being that overall scores would be calculated dropping the four worst results of each racer (as opposed to the two worst ones, as it had been previously), and endurance bonus points would be given to reward participation in more than eight races. Unlike in previous seasons, car bonuses were not reset at the beginning of the season, taking advantage of the improved stability of the multi-car system to provide more even car-switching dynamics.
The 2012 season was full of positives, including significantly increased activity both on and off the scoreboards, highly-rated tracks and some truly memorable battles. Duplode managed to retain the ZakStunts crown, thus becoming the first triple champion of the competition. Unusually for ZakStunts, his title defence was largely sustained by a very strong start to the season, with three victories in the first three races. Overall, there was no clear domination of the scoreboards neither by the champion nor by anyone else. At one point, Gutix appeared to be mounting a serious challenge, but it faded away towards the end of the season. Renato Biker was in astonishing form throughout the European summer; having missed the first five rounds, however, he was not in contention for the title. Neither of these South American challengers made it to the final podium, however. Instead, returning Friker established himself as a top racer with a second place, a mere two points ahead of CTG, who completed the podium. As for the team competition, Cork's Crew recovered the title after two consecutive MeganiuM Aces High victories. Another remarkable fact about the season is that, after more than three years, there were two new race winners in the closing rounds of 2012: SuperBrian in Z136 and Friker in Z137.
Evergreen ZakStunts began 2013 with minor rule adjustments, aimed at correcting some distortions introduced by the changes in the previous year. The three, rather than four, worst results of each racer were now discounted, and the maximum endurance bonus points was cut by half. Most noticeably, the list of allowed custom cars was modified. The beloved Melange returned to ZakStunts; additionally, the McLaren Honda MP4/4 and the ZR1 GT3 were included. Skyline, Speedgate and Superkart had to make way for the introduced cars.
From a team competition perspective, the key shift seen in 2013 was the Cork-MeganiuM duopoly being broken by the newly formed Yellow Fleas and a resurgent Looping Warriors. The spearheaders for each of those two teams, Renato Biker and CTG respectively, fought hard for victories through the whole season (final score: 6-5). In the end, Renato achieved his second ZakStunts title largely on the back of a massive advantage in leading time bonus. As for the team competition, Looping Warriors defeated the Yellow Fleas by just nine points.
ZakStunts 2014 was held under rules nearly equal to those of the previous season; the only change being that results below 6th place would no longer affect car bonuses for the next race. The list of available cars was also left unchanged. Encouragingly, racer activity was slightly higher on average than in 2013, even considering the circumstantial drop observed in the final races.
The pursuit of the 2014 title had quite a few twists along the way. CTG took his second season title with five victories and solid racing throughout the year. Early on, Renato Biker looked set to be his main opponent; it was not to be, though, as the 2013 winner stepped away from the competition after May. After inconsistent showings in the first half of the season, Duplode seemed to find some form during the European summer; however, he withdrew his tentative challenge in early October. Other noteworthy events included new records for winning gaps in the team competition (Looping Warriors defeated Cork's Crew by 103 points) and in a single race (Renato Biker won Z153 by 15 seconds), and also the two victories of Akoss Poo, his first ones since 2005 and which signalled the completion his gradual return to pack of current top racers.
Sadly, this season was also infected by scandals again. In March 2015, the championship title of CTG was revoked by the competition management, mainly because of the newest generation of his ghosts and general system abusement. After the disqualification of the racer who had this behavior from the moment he joined with admitted ghosts in zct13 (151 races/opportunities to change his attitude), Akoss Poo became the real champion.
The fifteenth ZakStunts season started with some big changes. The most radical of them was the adoption of public replay submissions, mandatory during the first half of the race and optional in the remainder of it, in a bid to make the competition more accessible to newcomers. Other rule changes included eliminating the unpopular endurance bonus, dropping support of game versions other than BB 1.1 and a switch from month long to four-week long rounds. As for the cars, the Lotus Esprit, ZR1 GT3 and McLaren Honda MP4/4 were replaced by the Porsche 911 Turbo, Xylocaine XF and the returning Speedgate XSD.
2015 was an eventful year at ZakStunts. Early in the season, escalating disruptive behaviour by CTG, the 2014 champion, led to his permanent banishment from ZakStunts, as well as to the revocation of his title from the previous year, both being unprecedented events. Beyond the initial turmoil, there was plenty of on-track action. Returning after a long absence Shoegazing Leo founded a new team, Slowdrive. Its challenge was spearheaded by Marco, a very talented newcomer who would eventually achieve six podiums and a third place overall in his first ZakStunts season. The title race in 2015, contested primarily by Akoss Poo and Duplode, was the tightest in many years. As the end of the European summer approached, it seemed the momentum had shifted towards Akoss Poo; however, Duplode managed to turn the tables with a late surge, winning the final four races and claiming the title by a mere two points. As for the team competition, Looping Warriors, in spite of the loss of CTG, managed a fourth consecutive victory.
The main change in ZakStunts for the 2016 season was the addition of unofficial scoreboards with alternative rule sets for each race, much to the delight of racers who enjoyed racing codes other than free rules RH. Both free-rules NoRH, for a few races, and GAR, for most of the season, were available as modalities with parallel scoreboards. Two cars were rotated: Xylocaine XF and Speedgate XSD, which became rather unpopular during 2016 due to their quite unrealistic behaviour, were replaced by the returning Lotus Esprit and Nissan Skyline.
Unlike in the previous year, the title race in 2016 was a straightforward affair. After returning to the fold and reforming the Yellow Fleas, Renato Biker won six of the eight first races and too the championship with relative ease. The other big story of the season was the continued ascendancy of Marco, which led to his first ZakStunts victory at ZCT182, the first of four consecutive victories in the final four races of the season. In the team competition, there was complete domination by Renato's Yellow Fleas.
To be continued.
|1||Renato Biker||Yellow Fleas||118|
|2||Akoss Poo||Looping Warriors||119|
|1||Akoss Poo||Looping Warriors||112|
|1||Renato Biker||Yellow Fleas||135|
|2||Gutix||MeganiuM Aces High||100|
|3||AbuRaf70||MeganiuM Aces High||82|
|1||Gutix||MeganiuM Aces High||129|
|2||Renato Biker||Average Joe||117|
|3||Bonzai Joe||Cork's Crew||83.1|
|1||Ayrton||MeganiuM Aces High||127|
|3||Mark L. Rivers||No Team||88|
|2||Mark L. Rivers||No Team||102|
|3||Chulk||MeganiuM Aces High||82|
|3||Bonzai Joe||Cork's Crew||122|
|1||Ayrton||MeganiuM Aces High||121|
|3||CTG||Damage Inc & Cork's Crew||98|
|1||Gutix||MeganiuM Aces High||219|
|2||Akoss Poo||Looping Warriors||175|
|3||Bonzai Joe||Cork's Crew||159|
|2||Bonzai Joe||Cork's Crew||89|
|3||Akoss Poo||Opponent Near||75|
|1||Bonzai Joe||Cork's Crew||17.29|
|2||Alan Rotoi||MeganiuM Aces High||16.03|
|3||Roy Wiegerinck||Flying Dutchmen||15.90|
|1||Roy Wiegerinck||Flying Dutchmen||15.07|
|2||Ben Snel||Flying Dutchmen||13.94|
|3||Bonzai Joe||Intercontinental Racing||12.25|
|3||MeganiuM Aces High||175|
|3||MeganiuM Aces High||159|
|2||Meganium Aces High||174|
|1||MeganiuM Aces High||202|
|1||MeganiuM Aces High||216|
|3||MeganiuM Aces High||120|
|No team competition was held in 2008|
|1||Meganium Aces High||198|
|2||Meganium Aces High||266|
|1||Meganium Aces High||242|
|1||Meganium Aces High||301|
|17||Mark L. Rivers||1||4||7|