What Is Teapot Racing?
Hello everyone. We are now in the middle of March and that means spring is just round the corner now. As well as bringing the warmer weather, spring also heralds the start of steampunk convivials, fayres, markets and other days out all across the country.
What goes on at steampunk events?
Mr A and myself are often asked this question. Most events are based around a daytime market and an evening event. The markets give steampunks the opportunity to sell a vast array of steampunk themed clothing, hats, curios, jewelry, models and other amazing items. Many of the stallholders sell items that are handcrafted. These items are always beautifully crafted and unique.
The evening events involve steampunk bands, dancers and other entertainers. There isn’t a specific steampunk style of music, entertainment and dance. Rather steampunks put their own twist on things.
Alongside the market there are often daytime family friendly entertainment put on. Sometimes the entertainers from the evening shows will perform during the day, but other forms of entertainment are put on as well. This includes many unique steampunk sports such as parasol duelling, tea duelling, coffee jousting and my personal favourite, teapot racing. This nobel sport involves participants driving a teapot racer around a specially designed obstacle course.
What is a teapot racer?
A teapot racer is basically a teapot mounted on a controllable vehicle. Most often these vehicles will be remote-controlled cars of some sort. Vehicles maybe controlled by one or more drivers. They can have wheels, tracks, legs or they can hover. They cannot however fly (no drone mounted teapots thank you very much).
Teapots must be prominently displayed on the racer rather than simply being a small part of the decoration. In addition to teapots racers can have coffee pots, milk jugs or kettles attached. They do not need to be or have ever been able to make a proper cup of tea, but they must look right with a handle, lid and spout.
Back last year Mr A entered a teapot racing tournament with the Oc-Tea-Pus, a racer designed by us but made by my dad.
This year I decided I wanted my own teapot racer. I was a bit hesitant in making one originally because the only craft I’m really any good at is crochet, and you can’t really have a crochet teapot can you? Well actually it turns out crochet teapots are quite acceptable so this is the racer I have come up with.
The driver of my teapot racer is called Monty. Based on the esteemed steampunk gentleman Mr Montague Jacques Fromage. The racer is called The Full MonTea (because it’s a teapot full of Monty….. )
As you can see from the clip bellow the real life Monty is an old hand at teapot racing, having judged events all the way from New Zealand to the UK.
The Rules of Teapot Racing
You might assume from the clip that there are few rules when it comes to racing. However this isn’t true. Each teapot racing organisation have their own set of rules so it’s very important for entries to find out who’s running the event and what their particular rules are. Mr A and myself are members of the Welsh Imperium Teapot Racing Association, based in Chepstow, and these are our rules (based on the rules of the Splendid Teapot Racing of New Zealand)
The rules are divided into different categories :-
1) Size of racer – All racers should be able to fit into a box 30cmx30cmx40cm
2) Appearance of racer – Must be based on a teapot and have the ability to move.
3) Power source – Battery operated unless an event specifically states otherwise.
4) The course – Should be clearly marked out with a start and finish line and obstacles to negotiate in between.
5) Obstacles – May include arches, archways, bridges, bollards, seesaws or moving obstacles .
6) Scoring – Each participant will be timed around the track. Failure to complete an obstacle will result in a penalty being added to the participants time. It should be noted that bribery is deemed an acceptable part of teapot racing, so it maybe possible to ‘distract’ a marshals attention while attempting an obstacle.
This is a very brief rundown of the rules. The full set of rules can be found Here.
Can Anybody Take Up Teapot Racing?
Yes!! The wonderful thing about steampunks is the way they welcome and encourage everyone to join in the fun at events. If anyone fancies having a go the next event being run by the Welsh Imperium Teapot Racing Association will be held at the Shrewsbury Steampunk Spectacular.
The spectacular is being held over the 24th and 25th of March. Teapot racing will ONLY be happening on the 25th. Anybody who wants to join in needs to come to the grounds of St Marys church ar 12 noon.
For those who have time to design and make their own racers brilliant they will be more than welcome to enter. However there will also be a bank of spare racers for anyone who wants to try their hands at teapot driving.
Potential entries shouldnt be worried about not being any good at controlling their racer. Mr A drove off the stage during his first attempt with the Oc-Tea-Pus, much to the delight of everyone who witnessed it. The emphasis of teapot racing is on taking part and just having a great time.
In short, teapot racing is a delightfully wacky fun sport that I would encourage everyone to take up. My fellow Chepstow steampunk Sara Long (twitter name @saralOng) designed this fabulous TeaBot poster which gives some handy tips for anyone planning on taking up teapot racing.
Do you think teapot racing could be the sport for you?
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Thank you, Mrs A Xx