Boonta Eve Classic Podracers

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From the Movies

The Boonta Eve Classic was the largest annual Podrace held on Tatooine, hosted by the Hutts to commemorate the Boonta Eve holiday. Held just outside Mos Espa, the Boonta race course started in the Mos Espa Grand Arena. There, thousands of spectators would congregate, hoping to see their favored racer win, to catch a glimpse of a spectacular collision, or to win a fortune gambling on the race's outcome.

The formal race ceremony started with a parade of flag-bearers; each carried a racer's distinctive emblem, and lined up before the starting grid. Once the bearers cleared the grid, the Podracers' massive engines would roar to life, seemingly anxious at the chance to soar at speeds exceeding 700 kilometers-per-hour.

The Mos Espa course blazed out of the arena onto the Starlite Flats, an easy stretch of desert where aggressive Podracers jockeyed for strong starting positions. The racers had to line up in single file to enter the curving canyon that cuts through the Waldo Flats. This opened up into Mushroom Mesa, a rocky expanse dominated by immense bulbous rock formations. Metta Drop, a sudden escarpment, dropped the racers onto Ebe Crater Valley, where they again had to navigate a narrow opening (the Notch) to enter into Beggar's Canyon.

The race then continued onto a length of desert plains abutting the Dune Sea. One of the most hazardous areas -- Arch Canyon -- forced pilots to maneuver through stone wickets before entering another series of canyons, including the Whip, Jag Crag Gorge, and the subterranean Laguna Caves. Emerging from the caves, the pilots careened through the tight Canyon Dune Turn, known to be a campsite for vengeful Tusken Raiders.

Podracers that survived potshots from the Sand People then had to dodge the rocky obstacles in Bindy Bend before entering the last stretch of canyon, which included the Coil, Jett's Chute and the Corkscrew.

Exiting the Corkscrew via the Devil's Doorknob, the pilots emerged onto the Hutt Flats, a broad featureless expanse that led back to the arena. This entire circuit represented one lap, and the Boonta Eve Classic required three laps for completion.

During the events precipitating the Battle of Naboo, young Anakin Skywalker participated in a fateful Boonta Eve Classic race. Sponsored by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin entered his custom-built Podracer into the cutthroat competition. Even though the odds favored the scheming Sebulba as a victor, the Force was with Anakin, and he came in first. It was a stunning upset to the longstanding Dug champion. Anakin won more than the race; the young slave also won his freedom.

From the Expanded Universe

Podracing can trace its orgins to ancient contests of animal-drawn chariots. Long ago, a foolhardy mechanic named Phoebos revisited the chariot design, replacing the cart with a repulsorlift Pod and the beasts of burden with rocket jet engines. A new and dangerous spectacle was created.

In the waning years of the Republic, when prohibitive laws failed to extend to the rambunctious Outer Rim Territories, Podracing was still quite successful despite being banned in the central systems.

While Tatooine's Boonta Classic may have been the most popular (it did boast the highest mortality rate), it was just one of many tracks scattered on distant worlds. The frigid planet of Ando Prime featured an icy racecourse sponsored by the Bendu monks; the watery world of Aquilaris had a track that cut through the sinking relic of the Old City; the gaseous planet Ord Ibanna had a foolhardy course that spanned the connecting bridges and pipelines of floating mining platforms; tropical Baroonda let Podracers scream through the swamp world's ancient ruins; the industrial wasteland world of Mon Gazza opened up its spice mines for races. Perhaps the world best known for Podracing was Malastare, whose methane lakes and mountain ranges hosted such notable courses as the Malastare 100 and the Vinta Harvest Classic.

Eighteen Podracers entered the fateful Boonta Eve Classic that saw the liberation of young Anakin Skywalker; only six emerged intact. The starting grid doubled as a who's who in Podracing at the time, with many famous competitors and a handful of newcomers. In the frontline pole postions were Aldar Beedo of Ploo II, Sebulba of Pixelito, Ratts Tyerell of Aleen, and Mawhonic of Hok. In the second row were Dud Bolt of Vulpter, Anakin Skywalker and journalist Clegg Holdfast of New Plympto. In the third row, Ebe Endocott of Triffis, Gasgano of Troiken, Boles Roor of Sneeve, and Teemto Pagalies of Moonus Mandel. In the next row were Wan Sandage of Ord Radama, Mars Guo of Phu and Elan Mak of Ploo IV. Bringing up the rear were Ben Quadinaros of Tund, Ody Mandrell of Tatooine, and Xagobah's Neva Kee.

Podracing has seen a decline in recent years, and many of the galaxy's most famous tracks are now vacant or have been converted to other amusements for a fickle crowd.

Behind the Scenes

In the revised rough draft of Episode I, Boonta Eve was referred to as "Donic Day." The name Boonta finds a history in the Droids animated television series, where the planet Boonta hosted a famous speeder race.

The revised rough draft also had a different line-up of pilots competing in the Podrace, including several that originated from planets found in expanded universe fiction. Teemto Pagalies came from the Moons of Iego; Clegg Holdfast was racing for Sullust; Slide Paramita called Tund home, while Wan Sandage came from Umboo; Dud Cullindaros was from Chuba and Aldar Beedo from Kamar; representing Kessel in the race was Bozzie Barada, while Neva Kee flew for Aquilae; Marso Guo hailed from Ophuchi, Toy Dampner from New Cov, Boles Roor from Ord Padrove and Ody Mysturall from Tatooine.

Keywords: Databank - Episode I, Databank - Expanded Universe

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