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SMK World Championship 2018 Results : Summary
            

For the first time in its history, the annual Super Mario Kart championship took place outside France, in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands. The organisation was in partnership with the Esport Games Arena, which was very welcoming.

This year, no less than 58 players in total participated in at least one mode, with 11 nations represented: the Netherlands, France, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden, Spain (hum...), Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Australia and Germany. Another record was beaten since with no less than 14 new recruits, the number of players having participated in at least one championship has just reached the symbolic bar of 200 people!

Big names from the community have returned or appeared, such as the Dutch Michael Jongerius and Edwin Peeters. MKDD's #1 worldwide Mike Koehoorn was present as well as #1 all Mario Kart Christian Wild who made a comeback after a year of absence.
Scoub returned to defend his title against Neo and Sami who were equally determined to take it back. The casting of the podium seemed certain from the first day, but what remained was to know who was going to occupy which step. Another eternal question concerned Battle Mode: would the curse last and see a champion different from last year be crowned or would Neo, honouring his Chosen One nickname, break this 17-year-old curse?

DAY 1 : Arrival and Time Trial

The first mode of the week delivered us a procession of surprises and reversals of situations!
With the arrival of new contenders who had improved their records throughout the year as well as the return of the specialists of this mode, the places in the top 16 in one-try were very precious and highly sought after.
Thanks to the continued implementation of a Google Sheet to encode players' times, we saved precious time and allowed Patrick to breathe a little.

As you would expect from him, Sami Cetin is at the top of the group. His compatriots Leyla Hasso and Conor Wood are also qualified. On the French side, Neo, Scoub, Guillaume Leviach, JDR, Jey and Champix also passed the first part of the event. The young American Lafungo is also on board. The Dutch who passed the first part of the event are KVD, Martin, Michael Jongerius and Aron. Christian Wild will defend the German team and finally after leaving the suspense far too long, Patrick will announce that Jarmou is the last qualified at the end of these pools! Six different flags will fight in the next stage!
But the Round of 16 will already upset the scenario that seemed pre-established. In order to better regulate the starts this year, it is decided to announce only one race at a time, and it is Ghost Valley 3 that the fate imposes on the 16 reckless ! And there, general amazement when the players raise their heads towards the giant screen that broadcasts TV number 1: Sami has made 1'44''49! Disbelief that increases tenfold when rumour has it that Scoub and Karel have also fallen (1'28''21 and 1'27''36)! We also learn that Aron will not go to the quarter-finals and that Champix and JDR would not have ensured their race either. Conor Wood also announces that he made a mistake and took 1'27''81 to finish the race at the 5 bridges. In the new generation, tension is rising a notch. And the name of the second race is now known: Vanilla Lake 2- one of the most merciless circuits in the game. During the following minutes, concentration fills the Esport Games Arena and the starting order is respectfully organized between the players. Less than 54 seconds later, we can see that Sami has arrived and remind everyone that he can return. Among the young sharks who see the magnificent opportunity to make it through to the quarter-finals, the calculations get confused and everyone holds their breath. Who did a sub-minute? Who fell? Who has 1'01 and can hope to come back to the score thanks to their place on GV3?

Here's Patrick announcing the results! The first qualifiers were Mario and Neo, who didn't crack in either race. The audience cheers for the two great players. But the applause doubled when the third person announced was none other than Leyla Hasso, overtaking her uncle for the first time in her career and becoming Britain's number 1 for the first time ever! The fourth qualifier was Jarmou and the two players struggled to realise that together they had reached their very first quarter-final. And while he thought he'd lost everything, the eighth arrival is none other than Conor Wood who almost falls to the ground when he hears his name! The other qualifiers are Jey, Christian Wild, and Lafungo, who already displays the enormous progress he has made in a few months of intensive training in the famous House of Gaming...
The first quarter-final race is announced and it will be Bowser Castle 2! Another track where all accidents are possible... The players throw themselves, and the results are sometimes only 0''08 apart! Everything will be played at the next race... Which is none other than Ghost Valley 1! A race that had already done some damage in the 1/8 finals of 2016.

There are only 4 places left to go to the semi-finals. The massacre of the great perpetrated in 1/8 will not happen again, and Neo and Mario arrive without problem at the end of the two races, without even needing a platform jump. The last two qualifiers are Jey and Christian Wild, which ensures at least one Frenchman in the final.

This year's merciless draw gives KB1 in the first race! The earth begins to shake on the side of Neo who touches the deep water three times and completes the race in 58''36, that is to say the last of the four with just 0''24 of difference ! But the race that will determine the two finalists is none other than BC3 and its evil thwomps! It was then catastrophe on Christian Wild's side, taking a time of over two minutes. Jey, for his part, is more than 7 seconds behind Mario, who himself is almost 4 seconds behind a Neo that has come a long way! The two finalists are revealed- were we going to get a remake of the 2013 final?
The small final is played between Jey and Chraizy, but this time the latter takes revenge on his disastrous BC3 and delivers a race without error, a time ahead of his opponent. He thus offers Germany its very first medal in championship!

The race which will give one of the two players the first gold medal of the week is drawn, and it is Vanilla Lake 1 which is revealed. Mario is delighted, having delivered a new world record on this track less than a week before. The players settle down, the audience is facing the screens. Unfortunately that night, it was the stream that was broadcast and not the live, so the audience suffered a delay of a few seconds, which resulted in the most hilarious minute of victory in championship memory...
Almost all eyes were fixed on the replay screens, when suddenly a long and improbable roar was unleashed. On stage, a shadow jumped and the cry renewed itself as the shape took a position alike the Saiyens in their transformation phase. Now ALL eyes, including those of the onlookers who were not involved in the championship, were turned to the source of this impressive bellow. In the midst of laughter and applause all the players now know the winner: Guillaume Leviach. All of them? No. Swinging on one of the very comfortable gamers' chairs provided by the Arena, Drew Blumfield, hair and beard in the wind, sunglasses screwed on his nose, seems to emerge from a mysterious adventure of which he was the only witness and candidly resumes contact with the real world by launching a "What happened?".

DAY 2 : BATTLE MODE

This year it was decided to play Battle Mode before the Match Race.
As the tradition has it, the Belgian system is operational and will control the destinies of the 47 participants and the inescapable Loser.
As in the previous edition for all two-player modes, the pools will consist of 6 matches + 8, followed by two knockout matches between the top 13-24 players!
Surprise at the end of the pools: it is Sami Cetin who achieves the perfect course with 14 victories! He is followed by Scoub and Drew. Neo, defending champion, is "only" fourth in this first phase. The 8 other people "sheltered" and able to take a break before the 1/8 finals are Jey, Karel, Conor, Champix (who for a second participation in the CDM achieves a very good performance there!), Kyle Randol, who learned the lesson of last year's play-offs and offers himself a comfortable 9th place, Lafungo, Salim and finally Tif.

As for the playoffs, there are some nice surprises! Florian Chollet, ranked 24th, eliminates Didier Bigot (17th) and Matt Ballard (16th) in turn! It is the second elimination at the gates of the qualifications for Matt, who had arrived 17th the day before in Time Trial...

But Flo Chollet isn't the only one to make it through to 1/8 of the finals! Thibault Terrasson, initially ranked 19th, defeated the Swiss Raphaël Braun and also released Jarmou immediately afterwards! The 1/8 see however a rather logical series of victories. The much-anticipated Scoub, Sami, Neo, Conor, Drew and Karel qualify for the quarter-finals. Jey takes his revenge on Tif, who had eliminated him two years earlier at this stage. The nice surprise will come from Champix, whom the draw had placed opposite Kyle. A nice opportunity for these two players whose speciality is Battle Mode, and a first quarter finals for Champix!

This guy will show that his place was not due to a luck of draw since he even opens the score of his quarter against Sami and leads him 2 to 0! However, the Godfather will come to his senses and win 7 games in a row to ensure, as last year, a place in the semi-finals.
The second quarter is between Jey and Neo. In the absence of his master Harold, Jey is now responsible for the reputation of the Parigos and he puts forward all his anger to defeat the champion of 2017. But the hug must be fatal to one of the two and at the end of this dance with the balloons, the very close score of a 5 to 7 is displayed, and it is Neo who climbs into the last VIP semi.
On the other side of the board, Drew Blumfield shows his fangs and administers a crushing defeat to Karel: 7 to 2 . It was out of the question for the American to be eliminated in the quarter-finals as in 2017!
Finally, the duel between Conor and Scoub will have turned to correction in order, since the multiple champion has not conceded a single set and quietly wins his semi-final place.
Players get a well-deserved break with express pizza delivery! The amazement and incomprehension briefly reigned among the guests when they understood that the traditional peperoni war would not take place and that the meal would unfold in opulence.

Some crispy and cheesy bites later, the semi-finals begin. The duel between Drew and Scoub was very close since it ended in a 9-7 in favor of Scoub! As for the eternal rivals Neo and Sami, the latter was quickly overtaken by a very fit Neo who dominated 9-5.
Sami bowed out again in the small final to allow Drew to recover an additional bronze medal in his favourite mode after a game in which the British defended himself well, but it was not enough to win his first battle medal. The Mountain Yak offered the community one of its rare summits of ecstasy by pronouncing an almost euphoric "it's ok".

The final starts around 22:50 with the same two players as last year. Scoub knows he has to win this mode if he wants not only to perpetuate the curse, but especially to make up for the delay dug the day before during the Time Trial. The final begins and the shells are fired at a steady pace. Scoub starts strong and takes three points but soon Neo shakes and returns to 4-4. It was then that Scoub, full of this determination and turning into an invincible 5 star warrior, relentlessly defeated Neo on the score of 11 to 4! This victory re-launched the dice for the general ranking and delighted the public who were eager for suspense. After a few drinks at the bar, the community closes this festival of wandering greens and goes to sleep smiling as not one but two days of Championship remain after the Battle.

DAY 3: Match Race

47 karters and the valiant Loser are scheduled for this third day. The first 14 matches saw Scoub take first place in the group, followed by Neo and finally Sami. The leading trio is irrevocable and they play their own part of musical chairs. The 9 other players to get a ticket to the 1/8 finals are Jey, Aron, Conor, Karel, Leyla, Guillaume, Jarmou (one point behind...), Lafungo and Martin. The big surprise - without being one - on the side of the playoffs comes from Raphaël Braun, ranked 22nd but still solid in MR, who successively eliminates Adrien then JDR!

Four of the following matches were played without too much suspense, with Florian, Raph, Jarmou and Drew eliminated against Scoub, Sami, Karel and Neo. Inside the board, things were played tighter: Guillaume had some close races but finally eliminated Leyla. The Dutchmen Aron and Martin tore to the end but a well hydrated Aron finally had the upper hand on the decisive score of 5-4. Another fratricidal struggle took place between Jey and Salim, the second crashing against the first. Finally, Lafungo, like the day before against Conor, understood that he now had a new Nemesis and lost 5-1 to the English prodigy.

Sami and Neo win their games in record time (7-0 and 7-1), Mario resists a little better against Scoub but the level remains unequivocal.
The most incredible quarter-final match will have been served by Aron and Jey, who, having previously qualified for the semi-finals after eliminating Sami in 2015, probably underestimated his opponent this year. Serious mistake! Aron, carried by the support of his parents and a pint of flat water, widens the gap between them and flies into the semi-final with three points ahead! A first for him in this mode as he generally shines in Time Trial!

Exhausted by this feat, Aron has only time to score one last point in the semi-final before being ejected from the draw by Scoub, already champion in the final last year and determined to pocket a second gold medal this week.
On Neo and Sami's side, the match had many twists and turns, some spectacular shortcuts (including an absolutely impeccable feather on GV2) and a lot of suspense, but the Godfather was determined to return to the final this year too... Even if the defeat was not as bitter as in 2017, Neo had to give his place once again to a ruthless Sami who had the mistake of Time Trial to correct as well.

That said, there was no time to lose but time to chop Aron in the shredder (and making him the record-man for the number of games in a row lost in the championship)- Neo wins the bronze medal.

Scoub and Sami are going to the final, and what a final it was! Among the highlights of the match were a red shell thrown backwards by Scoub at the exit of the BC3 platforms that Sami did not expect; the shortest drowning on KB1 of all time, but also two consecutive lightning bolts for the Godfather and a third on RR, living up to his name of Captain Thunderbolt. The community of Super Mario Kart will remember that it was the year when Scoub saved no less than 4 match points, being led 10 to 6. Scoub heroically goes back to 10-8, and here comes the infernal VL2. After one minute where the room holds its breath and where Sami takes slowly but surely the advantage, it took only a last turn, a last jump that makes the British sink in the icy waters, giving Scoub another point ! The audience was delirious, the English in blackout, the commentators went hysterical. And at the end of this incredible epic, after an equaliser on an unforgivable GV2, it is still on the thread of Vanilla Lake 1 that the Parque decided the fate of one of the two players... And it is Scoub, true steamroller and hero of the day, who wins this well deserved gold medal!

DAY 4: THE 150CC GRAND PRIX

On this last day of competition, the 45 players are on the warpath. Loser is still on the board, but a mysterious and sneaky new opponent has crept into the community: sleep! He hit some competitors behind the head between games and killed several people. Florian Chollet suffered the consequences by falling asleep before the tenth match in one of the too comfortable sofas of the Arena. But he wasn't the only one! The defending Sleep Champion, Nhi, lost consciousness in the middle of a Star Cup! This year's pools will have their share of surprises in store as well as the now clasico Tanatix-Big Mountain. But with The Boss having goals this year, the game ended before all the players could gather behind TV 22!

For the first time after the pools, the top three are disturbed! Sami remains the great master of the morning with 14 wins, and he is followed by a solid Karel in 2nd position! Scoub closes the top three, Jey comes in commendable 4th place, and Neo ranks 5th. Leyla hangs a very pretty sixth place of which she is the first to be surprised, Guillaume remains at his 7th place fetish, and here that a hold up operates in the top 12! Martin Van Haasteren, Matt Ballard and JDR are in 8th, 9th and 10th place! Salim, a little disoriented by these newcomers, arrives "only" 11th, and Conor comes to close the top 12, this time not to a point, but to one decimal place in front of Jarmou, who finds herself in playoffs!

These play-offs will once again offer a bunch of unexpected cups, and definitely put pressure on the initially higher ranked players. Indeed, Christian Wild, after having suffered the wrath of a capricious and deficient pad, returned from the surprising 17th position to eliminate the Australian Michael Sumner and then a Lafungo who was very disappointed but probably little aware of the past prowess of his opponent.
Drew Blumfield also woke up from his 19th place in the group to take out Raphaël Braun and Michael Jongerius, the latter well preserved despite years of absence. Last but not least, Adrien Garreau managed the feat of eliminating Aron Langerak who had obviously given everything the day before. This incredible exit definitively closes the doors of the top 10 to the Dutch player. Unfortunately this epic act will be the last committed by the president of the FFSMK since Didier Bigot stops him and flies into the 1/8 of finals.

The majority of the 1/8 happen without surprise, except for Salim (11th) who eliminates Leyla with aid from the trolls of CPUs, poor items for her and deceits of which he and his bad jeynie possess the secret.
A very nice match took place between Matt Ballard and Martin Van Haasteren, the American Muscle-Man finally qualifying in final phases after having been the eternal 17th of the competition! But the dream came to an end as the king of balancing and juggling won both cups and reached the quarter-finals for the first time!

Three different flags in quarters carried by 8 players, and 3 different flags that will also be in semi-finals!
Three of the scores are without appeal since one, and two, and three cups to zero are won by Scoub, Sami and Neo. The battle will have been closer on the side of Karel and Mario, since it was also the battle for fourth place overall ! But the VL1 champion bowed to a mushroom cup. We will salute the mind of Karel who defeated his worst enemy: himself!

This championship, like last year's, had the particularity of maintaining the suspense of the general classification until the last four games. Everything was still possible for Sami, Neo and Scoub. However, the first two had to secretly dream that the third would be bewitched in the semi-final against KVD to have a chance to steal his crown. This witchcraft did not occur since Mr. Holmière easily defeated the Dutch champion. The overall title was now irrevocably his, which was well worth the sipping of a beer while watching the second semi-final.

The fight between Neo and Sami was of another invoice and the suspense to know the future finalist was maintained until the fifth cup! Godfather finally won 3 cups to 2, and is back in the GP final for the first time since 2012!

The small final between the old friends Karel and Neo offered the latter the very last medal which was missing from his list of achievements, to wonder if all this was not foreseen in a plan of a much larger scale started in 2005... Karel will have saved the honour by winning the first cup of the game.
As for the very last game of the competition, the show was up to the expectations of fans of great game and even beyond! We had to play 7 cups to finally slice and give us the new GP champion, which changes every year since 2015. This time, Sami Cetin, who bends but does not break, has wiped out the storm from Toulouse before tearing the oak and pocketing a gold medal that rewards his excellent championship.

From there to say that the Super Mario Kart Championship spoilt us the end of Game of Thrones a year ahead of time, there is only one step that the author of this summary happily takes to be able to proclaim when the time is right: "I told you so! »

EPILOGUE... DAY 5: Closing ceremony, freeplay and N64 Challenge!

The evening of the competition’s completion ended at dawn, with a procession of events as funny and unexpected in this magical community- in particular a flash mob, singing along until voices broke, many beers and yoga balls- it is with tired eyes and slow steps that the fifty karters meet at the end of the morning to attend the closing ceremony of the CDM 2018. After presenting a special trophy to the manager of the Esport Games Arena, who was very moved and enthusiastic and immediately invited the community back to take possession of the venue next year, Jarmou could finally begin to reveal the overall ranking. And posterity will remember that Scoub snubbed his own coronation, preferring to enjoy a coffee on the terrace! It seems that at the end of the third in a row he must have been blasé...

This year has seen very good progress, first of all Jey who did a coup d'etat within the Parigo team by finishing 5th in the ranking. But also Leyla who for the first time in her career jumped into the top 10 and came looking for 9th place! Martin Van Haasteren, still smiling, came to close the top 10. To Lafungo's great displeasure, who already saw himself there, but who nevertheless received the Merit Award (and a banana case) for his impressive progress. We will also note a famous rush at the end of the top 16, since only two points separated JDR, top 16, from Champix, top 17! The two best rookies of the year, Jérémy Edline and Michael Hutchings, were also very close together. Daddy Narnet Gomez symbolically closed the top 50 by participating - who would have thought? - only at Battle Mode, devoting all week to supervising French commentary. How many matches took place under his watchful eye! As for The Boss Big Mountain, he solemnly handed the wooden spoon to SuperNarcoleptic Nhi Tran and flew towards new objectives since he reached and closed the very closed top 40. Patrick Wessels, with his GP participation in disguise as Loser, was the last name in the overall ranking, but a much bigger mission awaited him that afternoon: he achieved his great epic of completing absolutely all the Nintendo 64 games and was able to celebrate this huge accomplishment with the community by finishing this great adventure in an Asian restaurant !

Alphen aan den Rijn was an extraordinary edition of the Super Mario Kart Championship.
The community will have discovered the Netherlands during one week and will have worked to create memories as always unique, whose anecdotes will be narrated in several voices in the years to come.
Elsewhere on the internet, it seems that blue birds have since a new anthem entitled "#MakingHistory"!

Summary written by Jarmou   
a.k.a Sophie Jarmouni      


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