Teapot Racing

Below are the guidelines for the Teapot Racing activity.

Teapot Racing Rules, Regulations and Guidelines

Version 1.1 (Release)

Teapot racing is a race for remote-controlled vehicles in the form of a teapot aimed at all ages. The race is carried out against the clock or in heats against other vehicles, over an obstacle course.

1. Vehicles

1.1. Appearence

The vehicle must be based on a teapot or a steampunk style of your choice, and must have the ability to move.

  • Based on may mean that the vehicle is either made from a teapot, or has the visual form of a teapot.
  • It is not required that the teapot is still functional, or has ever been functional.
  • ‘Teapot’ is taken to mean teapots, coffee pots, kettles, tetsubin, samovars and other like vessels, used for the heating or brewing of tea, fitted with a spout and an enclosed lid. Handles are required, except for samovars fitted with a tap.

1.2. Chassis

Movement may be done by wheels, tracks, legs, hovering, crawling, slithering, anti-gravity, teleportation or other means as yet undiscovered.

  • Movement must not be done by flight; either heavier than air, lighter than air, powered aircraft, powered rotary wing aircraft, drones, quadcopters, balloons, dirigibles.
  • Local rules may permit a flying contest, but this is likely to be a special event.

1.3. Control

Vehicles “may” be controlled by one or more drivers, or may be self-directed.

  • The Scrutineer should be satisfied that all vehicles can be adequately controlled by their drivers or makers.
  • Drivers are encouraged to provide vehicles that can be controlled across the range of the whole course, but drivers are also allowed to follow their vehicle around the course.

1.4. Size

All vehicles must fit within the scrutineering size box. This is 30×30×40cm (w×h×l). Vehicles may be taller than this, provided that anything above this, aerials, flags etc., is flexible and can pass beneath an archway 50% taller than the box.

The vehicle must fit into the test box during scrutineering. It is not required to remain the same size afterwards, provided that such a change is made by the vehicle itself (or under driver command), rather than by physical adjustment by a mechanic.

Vehicles larger than this may be permitted to compete, subject to the scrutineer’s opinion. Entrants are reminded that vehicles which do exceed this may be unable to pass some obstacles.

1.5. Power Source

The vehicle’s power source is up to the constructor’s choice.

It is expected that most vehicles will be powered by batteries. It should be assumed that methods other than this, particularly steam or pressurised fluids will not be permitted, unless specifically allowed by local rules. It should be assumed that they will not be, unless clarified beforehand. Batteries must not present a fire hazard or acid spill hazard.

All batteries must be fused to prevent fire, especially when powered by LiPo or NiMh.

1.6. Battery Charging and Fuelling

Charging of batteries will not be permitted except in designated pit areas, which may be provided but are not guaranteed to be available. Local rules may specify the details of this. Organisers should ensure that mains supplies provided are adequate, that mains chargers are safe to use with these and that any appropriate spill protection, fire protection and fire extinguishers are available.

Teams are advised to bring their batteries pre-charged, where this is practical, as organisers cannot promise the availability of charging. Teams should certainly bring their own chargers.

Likewise, liquid or gas fuels may not be filled, except in a designated pit area for refuelling. Such an area is likely to be outdoors.

1.7. Safety

Vehicles must not be too hazardous, to either themselves, other vehicles, spectators or the course. Organisers may withdraw a vehicle during the race if it becomes hazardous.

2. Scoring

Each obstacle will have penalty points assigned to it. Failure to complete the obstacle correctly will impose that penalty upon the competitor. Scoring penalties will be published before the start of the race.

For simplicity

  • The simplest form of penalty is a time penalty in seconds, which is added to the course time.
  • The penalty for an obstacle should be the same, for either a minor incident, total demolition, having to be manually released or simply ignoring it.
  • All obstacles should carry the same penalties as each other

These penalties could be adjusted by local rules for a particular obstacle, but organisers should not overcomplicate things.

2.1. Releasing

Vehicles may become stuck on an obstacle. To continue racing, drivers may physically move or release the vehicle from the obstacle. Doing so incurs a penalty.

2.2. Mandatory obstacles

One or more obstacles may be declared as mandatory. Failing to complete the obstacle will be seen as failing to complete the course.

The purpose of mandatory obstacles is to ensure that courses, such as U-shaped courses, can’t be ignored entirely by taking a short-cut from start to finish. Their use should be minimal, but U shaped courses may include one of them, such as a bollard, to define the U.

3. The Race

3.1. Master of Ceremonies

A Master of Ceremonies will be appointed by the organisers. Their role is to conduct the event, to organise competitors, to commentate upon the heats, to score competitors and to judge the winner(s). Their decision is final. An Authoritative Hat may be useful.

3.2. Marshals

Assistant marshals may be appointed by the Master of Ceremonies, as necessary. Their roles may include:

  • Assisting with the course, clearing any blockages, damage, releasing stuck vehicles.
  • Scrutineering
  • Timekeeping and scoring
  • Judging
  • Awarding of prizes

3.3. Heats

Races may be conducted either by one vehicle against the clock, or vehicles racing against each other. This is the organiser’s choice, depending on the course and the number of contestants.

Heats will be conducted between a number of vehicles, typically two. Large courses may permit more vehicles than this simultaneously.

3.4. Racing

Drivers may follow their vehicle along the course, or may control it from the stands. Drivers must not impede other vehicles or drivers. Penalties may be awarded for this. Drivers should also not disturb the course obstacles, and penalties may be awarded for this also. Timekeeping, and counting of obstacle penalties, will be done by a designated course marshal as timekeeper.

If available, a large and well-visible clock should be used as a stopwatch. Per local rules, there may be a time limit on each heat. Vehicles unable to complete the course in that time may be disqualified or given a time penalty.

3.5. Starting

The Master of Ceremonies, or their deputy, will call the drivers and vehicles to the start line. Vehicles should be ready to start in a reasonable time, those that cannot may be allowed to start in later heats, may be withdrawn, or may be disqualified if they are unlikely to be available without delaying the event.

Vehicles must start from behind the start line, alongside each other, but there is no “grid” or starting order.

A clear countdown and the command “Race!” will be given, ideally accompanied by a flag.

3.6. Obstacles

A sufficient number of marshals (depending on number of vehicles, obstacles and size of course) will be available to check, score and rest obstacles during the race. Marshals should be clear as to who is counting what, to avoid double-counting.

Penalties are awarded for obstacles on the basis of:

  • Omitting the obstacle
  • ‘Knocking down’ the obstacle.

The course diagram will indicate the necessary route to pass an obstacle, such as through an arch, across a bridge, or between bollards. It will also indicate if the direction of travel is significant. Some may be designed as ‘either way’, others as ‘one way’. There is no penalty for passing the wrong way through an obstacle, but it does not count as a pass. Driving partway into an obstacle and then driving out the same way does not count as a pass.

‘Knocking down’ an obstacle depends on the type of obstacle. Some types, such as bridges, are effectively impossible to knock down (although drivers will still try). ‘Knocking down’ should have the obstacles behave in a clear manner, i.e. an egg balanced on a candlestick.

Marshals should agree beforehand and may note on the course diagram if an obstacle is to be reset during the race, once knocked down. If not, the penalty can only be awarded once (to any competitor). If reset, the penalty may be awarded repeatedly, to either the same competitor or different. If competitors may correctly pass the obstacle before it is reset, they avoid the risk of the penalty for it.

3.7. Finishing

Finishing will be determined by timing the front of the vehicle crossing the finishing marker. A course marshal will flag the first vehicle as it cross the line.

To be a valid finish, the rear of the vehicle must also cross the finishing marker, within a reasonable time of the front. The majority of the vehicle, by weight, must cross the marker as a single, functioning vehicle.

Failure to complete all the mandatory obstacles will make the finish invalid.

3.8. Scoring

Scoring will be based on the combination of performance in the heats, winning each heat and judging the qualities of the vehicle. Local event rules may weight the various parts of this.

Prizes may be awarded. There may be more than one set of prizes per event, such as best competition results, best vehicle, or separate prizes for each of the entry classes.