SEPTEMBER 12, 2048, ASPEN, CO-- Nineteen competitors arrived at the Octagon to fight for the right to challenge Garth Anderson, reigning AADA World Champion, for his title later this week in San Antonio. The Octagon is designed to hold no more than eight duelists at a time, so this qualifier ran in three heats. Drivers were randomly grouped into two heats of six and a final heat of seven. The three heats were all exciting, but as different as night and day in style. Here are the highlignts:
HEAT 1: All of the heavy hitters seemed to end up in this round. Half of the cars featured large ram plates and were well equipped to handle them. Three targets of these plated ram cars were utterly destroyed and two others severely disabled. Norman McMullen (New Omaha, NE), Miles Messervy (Westminster, CO), and Ryan Wendlin (Boulder, CO) advanced from this heat.
HEAT 2: This heat was rockets vs firestarters, an explosive combination. Half the competitors were able to start fires and they all chose different methods. One used a venerable flaming oil gun, while another used three light, high temperature flamethrowers. Another used two equally high temperature, but much larger, flamethrowers. Two rocket users chose the laser-guided accuracy of the Bull's Eye, a trusted Division 15 model. The last duelist had a heavily armored Iron Sides and made a huge mess of things in short order with his Artful Dodger. Advancing from this round were Amit Sarkar (Littleton, CO), RMADA President Michael Fal (Boulder, CO), and Barbara Deis (Boulder, Colorado).
HEAT 3: The action here was less violent, but very exciting. Four of the six duelists passed through a 15' square area from different directions within an eight-second period. The leader of the group tried to break things up by trailing flame in a 'V'-shape from his cloud gas streamer. Despite his efforts, all of his targets managed to escape with only minor singe marks. Other exciting moments in this heat included two competitors expertly dodging oncoming ram cars, and watching a target get squashed against the outer wall. In the end, John Fiala (Denver, CO) and Philippe DeBernay (Boulder, CO) advanced to the final round.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2048, SAN ANTONIO, TX-- Eight of the world's top autodueling teams joined reigning champion Garth Anderson to fight for the AADA World Championship honors at the newly constructed Eye of the Pyramid, on the outskirts of San Antonio. Action was quick and varied and the arena floor quickly become obscured by land mines and flaming oil. Seventeen seconds after the start, Miles Messervy had risen to the top despite a penalty early on for violating the no-dropped-weapon zones. Three duelists relied on lasers for damage, and a fourth used a laser for targeting purposes. Napalm mines and burning oil made it a very tough day for tires, and several competitors eventually found themselves without wheels.
Other highlights included two blast cannon shells ripping open the fragile underbody on Michael Fal's jumping machine and Barbara Deis's stubborn determination to fight through fire. Her gas tank never exploded under the heavy assault, but her driver finally succumbed to the flames. Amit Sarkar landed a jump on the upper level, then turned for a second jump due to mines, but Michael Fal was waiting for him with more mines. Fal managed to claim two of Sarkar's puncture-resistant radials. This sent Sarkar skidding off the bridge and slamming into the wall near Gate 9. Though he was being harassed and pursued, Anderson attempted to get a shot off at Sarkar, but lost control of his vehicle, rolled over, and set off three of Messervy's mines. Dies took advantage of Anderson's vulnerability, but his armor held through the brutal ramming. Sarkar managed a late kill with a pair of laser-guided incendiary rockets.
Messervy won the title by dropping flaming oil under the remaining functional lasers, rendering them useless due to smoke. Finishing second was Amit Sarkar, followed by Garth Anderson. Watch for a full report with play-by-play and photographs of the finals in the coming weeks.