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Topics - Mark L. Rivers

Stunts Chat / Goodbye...
October 04, 2011, 01:07:31 PM

"The time is the father of the truth".
Starting from this sentence, and without using too much words, it's by now clear that this community needs Peter Varga onboard. And for me it's by now clear that this community doesn't reflect part of the values I consider fundamental in my life.
So it was time for me for a clear choice, "in" or "out". And I chose "out".

I loved Stunts. Even I have an intense life and various heavy responsibilities, I did all my best efforts in order to give my contribute to keep alive the wonderful game we know, as many of you have recognized. And I still would give my contribute, but simply I can't be part of a community which does not consider important what I retain essential to keep healthy whatever relationship, that is respect, estimate, trust.
From this point of view, the full rehabilitation of Peter Varga after what he did, the joyful welcome the community reserved him without there was not any sign of attitude changes (as his comments on the topic "The announcement" in August and September attest) is a clear evidence of what this community reputes important and what not.

I sure don't blame anyone, and sure I don't judge anyone for their choices. Everyone chooses the values he wants to pursue, the kind of person he wants to be. And this forces a natural aggregation or separation between persons. In other words, I feel I'm not like many of you. Not best or worst. Simply different. Deeply different. That's the reason I won't be part of this community anymore.

Will Stunts suffer for this? Not for sure.
Since the return of Peter Varga, the community seems alive and kicking (sorry for a last reference to one of my favourite groups...) and sure ZakStunts will continue to be the backbone for all Stunts races. There's not need for ISM or other SDR events (that you can by now consider as something belonging to the past), as there's not need for my low activity on the tracks (mainly due to lack of time and cervical pains) or my low activity in the forum. About this last item, I only have to say that in early September I was starting a new topic about my new ideas related to the new palimpsest of Stunts racing world for 2012. I wanted to push for quick decisions about when the next ISM edition had to be planned. But, just when I was pressing "Post", I decided to still stay at the window for some weeks, in order to see how the community would have approached the return of Peter Varga. You know the rest.

I could avoid to tell you all this, I could simply keep silently myself away from here. But I like to be limpid in my conduct and I don't like to let pending questions in my life, if only I can.

Someone sure won't be unhappy about my decision, someone will be displeased, someone simply won't care about, someone will contest (privately or publicly) my arguments, maybe replying on this topic. I only want to tell you in advance that I won't write other comments on this topic, whatever thoughts will be eventual posted here as replies.

One more time, my last thought is for all of you permitted me to spend time in joyful and exciting moments in the last 5 years, during my second youth, and for who shows me sincere friendship. Thank you.

Mark L. Rivers

I thought a lot about what could be done in order to keep alive what has been built in the past. And I want to express my thoughts. I will use a quite high number of words, but, even if I hope you will read until the end, what I have to say can be summary in this way: STOP YEARLY CONTEST; ONLY EVENTS.

As Zak clearly said, one of the main problems of our days is the lack of time. This can be one of the causes about the decreasing passion showed in the races. I try to explain better this concept.

The passion and the desire to race can go on only when there's a sane challenge, when we can measure each other, exulting for a fantastic replay and result. Our or from our opponents. Sure all this can be amplified when we all compete in a championship, where the challenge goes on for a whole year, where drivers can alternate in the podium and bad results can be reversed thanks to the next races.
But the engagement in a yearly contest demands a huge amount of time. And when a driver realizes that he won't be able to aim to the final win, maybe he will decide non to put himself since the first race. And even who will start a championship with high motivation, maybe will decide afterward not to maintain high his efforts when he will understand that he's by now too distant from the vertex to aim at the final win.

When I link this situation (generated by the lack of time) with the concept I expressed previously in other topics about the lack of passion, I think it's natural going towards a slow decline. No engagements in the races, no challenges, no talking about respective results and poor scoreboard mean decreasing passion. And all this leads the community to survive only speaking about other arguments, often not very meaningful. And, as Zak said, after many years and due to be part of an online community (instead of a no-online community) unavoidably the links among members become more and more fragile. But the things would be really different if there would be the passion for the races and for the challenge.

So, my formula to keep alive the community, better, to revive the community, passes through stopping yearly contest (even ZakStunts) creating instead events that can catalyze the attention of the members, concentrating, maybe in a month, all their passion and their desire to race, with results you can image.

Maybe there could be 4 ZakStunts' races in a year (one for season) or even less. In adding, there could be other events like ISM or SCST. Sure it would be great (not only to enact my won related to the 2007...) that special events came from Kalpen too.

Beside all this, forum could goes on in the same way it goes on now. After all, in the forum about the 95% of the words are related to something different than the races.

The only (apparent) negative side of this way, could be that more difficulty we will have newbie. But, frankly, it appears quite a lost battle attracting the new generations usually habituated to play with HD consoles and games light-years far from what Stunts is.

Anyway, my thoughts is that Stunts community have not to count on next young generations to keep itself live. The only true and costant "newbies" this community can attract, newbies which can stay here more than some months, are the old generations, who was a teen-ager in the eighties or nineties, who can feel the taste to retrieve the old toy he enjoyed a lot when he still was a "boy", who was a real passionate Stunts drivers. A person like me, for example who joined in 2006 when I was 37 years old. Or a person like AbuRaf70, with the sane desire to maintain alive the children inside him.

I really think that this community has to keep alive by his historical members, even who joined in last 4 years, members who showed to maintain unaltered his own passion through the years. Maybe only like a chess park club (as Zak said), where old men go there only in specific moments of the years to give life to a positive and galvanic events that make them satisfied and renew the passion through intense good feelings.
Yes, instead to drag on a complex machine as a yearly contest is, consuming and spreading day by day our passion, I think it's really better waiting for 3 or 4 months, with growing expectation, an event that can join all in a very intense short period, a period where we can really revive the intense emotions felt in the past, an injection of adrenaline that can makes satisfied and leading the community until the next event with new pleasant expectation.

Indeed, looking at the future, I don't see other way in order not to lose what has been built until here.

SWR and ISM / International Stunts Master 2011
December 13, 2010, 11:17:07 PM

According with the nature and the spirit of ISM, the event is open for a limited number of drivers, that is the strongest Stunts drivers on the stage, able to show the best skills for an exciting and serried competition.

ADMISSION. Differently from the last years, there won't be a qualify session or an eliminatory round. The selection will be done by the results obtained in the current ZakStunts championship. More precisely, ISM 2011 will be open to all the drivers have conquered at least a podium in ZakStunts season 2010.
Though, there will be 2 wild-cards reserved for two absolute starrings on Stunts stage: the hystorical pioneer of Stunts Racing world on the WEB and living legend between the Stunts contests' managers, Zak McKracken, and the Stunts driver who many experts consider the best one everseen, Ayrton, undefeated in the last years and double ISM champion. Obviously, the wild-cards will be assigned them if they won't climb on the podium in the last race of ZakStunts season 2010.

FORMULA. Even the formula of the race will be different. The competitors will have to race simultaneously with three different cars on the same track, which will be designed so to offer diverse solutions to reach the finish line. The winner will be the driver who will obtain the highest score, counting:

1) Race Points (earned by the final ranks of the three single races);
2) Provisional Standings Points (assigned for every race correspondently to specific checkpoints during the event);
3) Total Time Points (assigned for the two final best sums of times).

DATES. The ISM 2011 will start the 3rd of January 2011 and it will finish the 29th January 2011. There will be three checkpoints correspondently to the three Saturdays nights (8, 15, 22) among the start and the finish.

For a more detailed explanations about the Formula and reading all the rules (English and Spanish) you can check the official site, already on-line: just click on the image below... ;)
SWR and ISM / ISM 2011?
September 12, 2010, 08:00:45 PM

It would be nice for me host the event for the 5th consecutive year. But, at this moment, no assurance about it. Let's see what it will happen in next months...   Btw: bye all!  :)
Stunts Chat / The amazing Ranger...
January 03, 2010, 02:08:27 PM

I'v just seen the replays of the Z102 race. Seeing how Ranger was faster than I had evaluate, I thought I was not good as Ranger's tester, but maybe I just didn't know that Ranger could be used to trepan the bridges' walls....  :D
Really a pity. I had hoped to see more replays like this one...  ::)

SWR and ISM / International Stunts Master 2010
November 12, 2009, 11:13:12 AM

I'm glad to inform you about the 4th edition of the International Stunts Master! :)

Like the past edition, ISM 2010 will be an open event which will start next December with a Qualify session in order to establish the list of drivers (max 8 drivers) admitted to the Race. The formula will be very similar to the last year (three simultaneous race) but with a different criteria to determine the winner.

In every single track, drivers will get a standard score as they would get in a normal race (8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1). The best sum of points will find out the winner. Leading Time Bonus rules will be the same of the past edition, but due to the different criteria aforesaid, for every new leading time, a driver will obtain a bonus pair to 0,2 points (instead of 0,05 seconds as it was last year). Bonus Points will be obviously added at the three scores, concurring so to determine the best sum of points.

Before to recap all the rules highlighting the modifies, I want to explain why the criteria has changed. Well, I think that there are good points for both systems, but I guess that rewarding the best sum of points instead to the best sum of times, permits to obtain almost three important targets:

1) Avoiding that a big and lucky bug in a single track could affect remarkably the final result of the event, twisting a more balanced and right ranking.

2) Keeping hot the Race until the end, not being drivers dispirited seeing an unreachable monster-time on the scoreboard of a single track: a big gap (around 5-10 seconds) could be impossible to recover in the other 2 tracks for the others.

3) Finally, the points system pushes the drivers to realize their real best time on every track and not only very good performances. Final scoreboard can in fact change a lot if a driver should be overtook on a single track (even only for some centiseconds) by 2 or 3 opponents: sure much more than the past year. And this will mean three real races for an exciting and open final standing until the end.

Just to take confidence with the new criteria, you can check the attached images that show the final score of the last edition and how it would be resulted applying the new criteria. As you can see, the positions wouldn't be changed, but it would be resulted a more sharp challenge: it would have been enough to invert the positions of the 3rd and the 4th in track B (divided by only 0,25 seconds) to see a different winner.

Anyway, here you can read all the info about the rules, the dates and other stuff. In red the changes respect the last edition.


All the tracks will be created from contest manager, but he won't be able to realize useful replays before the start of the contest. Just before the publication of the official tracks, I will ask to three participants to tell me a letter of the alphabet. I'll insert the three letters in the name of the track obtaining so new .TRK files, which will be the official ones used in the contest. For example, I create a track named A10.TRK. Subsequently, just before its publication, I ask to 3 drivers to tell me one letter each of them, at own their choice. For example, thinking that the 3 letters they tell me are B, G and X, I will rename the file A10.TRK in A10-BGX.TRK. In this way, whatever replay I had realized before on that track won't be utilizable.


Drivers will have two weeks to realize their fastest times on a single track in order to reach the qualification for the Race. There will be only two updates (the first one planned after the first week, the second one planned 3 days before the end) but a LTB system will push to discover own cards. A the end of the 2 weeks, only the fastest 80% of drivers (LTB included) will be qualified, until a maximum of 8 drivers.

For example:
1) If 8 drivers will send a time to qualify, only the fastest 6 (80% of 8 = 6,4) will take part at the Final Phase;
2) If 10 or more drivers will send a time to qualify, only the fastest 8 will take part at the Race;

Drivers will have to race simultaneously on 3 tracks for almost 4 weeks. The winner will be the driver who will obtain the best sum of points got on every track, including the sum of Leading Time Bonus got.


There will be two checkpoints where it will be relieved the positions of the drivers.
First driver at every checkpoint will gain 1"20 bonus on his final time.
Second driver at every checkpoint will gain 0"80 bonus on his final time.
Third driver at every checkpoint will gain 0"40 bonus on his final time.

Leading Time Bonus will be calculated in this way: 0,2 seconds for every new leading time sent on every different track. Anyway, there are some restrictions:

1) A driver can get the Time Bonus only one time in a day, that is only one time between 00:00:00 and 23:59:59 (GMT+1) of every day.

2) Time Bonus won't be assigned to a driver if he results already 1st with a leading time (realized in a previous day) that had permitted him to get Time Bonus

3) Time Bonus will be assigned to a driver if he results already 1st with a leading time (realized in a previous day) that had NOT permitted him to get Time Bonus

4) Time Bonus won't be assigned in the first day of race (5th Jan 2009 ) and in the last two days of Race (28th and 29th Jan 2009 ), which will be Quiet Days.

5) Contest Manager will get the Time Bonus only if his time will result the best at the moment of the update.


The site will be usually update daily, so to permit to the drivers to see the statement about positions and LTB got.


Drivers have to send own replays writing in the subject of the mail the following data:

1) Time(s) of the replay(s)
2) Track(s) related.

For example, if a driver sent a mail attaching replays realized on Track A and Track C, the subject of the mail should be: Track A: 1.10,55     Track C: 1.05,60
The time(s) written in the subject of the mail will be assumed as official time. This will permit a faster update consenting to postpone the check of the replays (with RPLINFO utility).

Replays will be checked as soon as possible with RPLINFO utility. The presence of divergences between official times declared and effective times relieved checking the replays, will comport a penalty time: 1 second if time sent was a leading time and 0,2 seconds if it wasn't a leading time.

Contest Manager replays
As usual in SDR, Contest Manager will publish his times zipped and protected by password contextually at the update of the scoreboard.


01 Dec 2008 - Contest Manager asks to 3 drivers to publish on the forum a specific letter of the alphabet, at own their choice, that has to be included in the name of file *.TRK which will be used for Qualifying. The 3 drivers will have to publish their own letter just in time for the start of the Qualifying.

05 Dec 2008 – Start Qualifying on a single track
12 Dec 2008 – 1st Checkpoint
20 Dec 2008 – 2nd Checkpoint
23 Dec 2008 – End Qualifying

27 Dec 2008 - Contest Manager asks to 3 drivers to communicate him a new letter that has to be included in the name of files *.TRK which will be used for the Race. The 3 drivers will have to communicate their own new letter just in time for the start of the Race.

05 Jan 2009 - Start Race on 3 tracks simultaneously
29 Jan 2009 - Finish Race


OK, hoping this could be a glad news for all Stunts drivers, the appointment is for next December, less than 4 weeks from today. 
Soon you can moreover visit the site, by now almost finished. :)

Hoping that at least half of the big involvement and passion seen for the wonderful race on ZCT100 could be preserved for the next two months, and in order to see realized this hope, I'm glad to invite you to watch and enjoy with this new video... ;)

Coming soon
Competition 2009 / ZCT100 - Analysis
November 02, 2009, 02:52:23 PM

Here it is the analysis of The Race!

Competition 2009 / ZCT100 - Tributes
October 06, 2009, 12:33:11 PM

Since Indy is out of the games for the win...
Not the absolute best performance (maybe it could be possible 2 or 3 seconds less), but a first way to celebrate on the WEB this special event... :)

ZCT100 Indy trial

Stunts Chat / Comments about races: why so poor?
September 18, 2009, 01:32:39 PM
Too much rarely drivers express their impressions about the track (for example about its crucial passages) and the races (for example their feelings about the challenge in act or about their thoughts about the final results).
It's true, the members of this community, like any other community, talk about a quite large number of topics, but I think that the comments about the races are too poor. Everyone has logically different interests and sure there's the pleasure (someone more, someone a bit less) to talk about that. But, I mean, we are here because we are Stunts [r]acers. It's the passion towars the game and the races that lead us to join in this community. So I think that everyone should focus a bit more on the races, not to let that passing weeks before public own thought about a track or a race. Otherwise the members of this community will live only expecting special events (as ZCT100) or mainly replying when "spammers" write.
Real sports lives on comments, reactions, dazedness watching amazing challenge and fantastic results. The passion is supplied by that. Since we are mainly and fundamentally [r]acers, the thing should be the same things even for us and our little world.
It's strange these args come from a retired or, maybe better, an "occasional" driver as I am. But that's my thought. I only hope that my passion, so faced by lack of time, won't be higher than the passion of regular drivers.
When the passion decreases, it could be really dangerous because keeping high the desire to race becomes very difficult, with logical consequences even on other community's activities...

Stunts Chat / Most winning cars for driver
September 07, 2009, 05:33:12 PM

Another interesting statistic, I think...

The table below includes the races competed in two contests where all cars are used, that is ZakStunts from 2001 to 2007 and USC from 2003 to 2008. I didn't include the ZakStunts results after the introduction of the formula that always permits to use every car (bonus system) because I think it alters a bit the meaning of the statistic.

Anyway, keeping in count that DB reports only one-car-for-track races, you can see:

1) The percentage about the cars used in the 146 races included. For example, the most used car is the Indy (23 races, 16% of the races competed) while the car used for the lower percentage of races is the LM002 (7 races, 5%), excluding some cheated cars (Skoda, Knight R., Lada Niva)

2)  The car mostly winning for every driver. For example, it's confirmed that Jaguar is the favourite car of CTG (4 wins on 22 races, 18%), while Bonzai Joe seems to prefer Acura, Countach and Porsche 962 (3 wins for every three cars, that is 9 wins on 18 races competed, pair to the 50% of his total wins in this table).


1) No one has been able to win more than 2 races with Indy. It seems that, obviously, there are a quite high number of specialists with it.

2) Ayrton has won with 8 different cars but not with Acura, Audi, Corvette and Ferrari.

3) Bonzai Joe has won with 10 different cars but not with Corvette.

4) CTG has won with 12 different cars but not with Countach

Stunts Chat / Winners
August 24, 2009, 12:21:08 PM

An interesting statistics based on USC "Stats Corner" page (+ last results still not added in USC statistics).

Sure, there could be many points of view about the meaning of this ranking due to some valid reasons (mainly the different periods of racing, the different quality of the contests and the different number of races competed). Anyway, I think it could be a captivating source of arguments for the community... ;)

In every case, here it is some highlights:

1) Between drivers who raced at least 25 races, high percentage of wins for Roy Wiegerinck (41%, 2nd best percentage), Mark Nailwood (31%, 4th best) and Renato Biker (30%, 6th best)

2) Between drivers who raced at least 75 races, astonishing percentage of wins for Ayrton, and very high percentage for Duplode (18%, 5th best) and Akoss Poo, (17%, 6th best).

3) Between drivers who raced at least 100 races (that is only 10 drivers), 1st best percentage for Gutix (40%, definitely fantastic), 2nd best for Alan Rotoi (31%, absolutely great) and Bonzai Joe (28%, really extraordinary keeping in count the very high number of official races).

4) Overall, impressive and apparently unreachable percentages of wins for Ayrton and Gutix compared with their high number of races competed.

5) Excluding drivers who took part in only one, two or three contests, Bonzai Joe is the unique driver who has been able to win in every competition he raced.

Stunts Chat / Dual way switching
May 21, 2009, 11:19:54 PM

Since there's a current crosstalk about dual way switching, maybe a specific topic could be useful.
And I think it could begood highlighting this 2007 SDR's track named X-change.
So, see the picture below and then....

take a time for a lap with the Melange XGT-88... ;)
Stunts Chat / A dream come true
March 27, 2009, 12:34:04 PM
Stunts. Default. Indy.
There're not many words to describe what this three terms mean for a Stunts driver. The most exciting and neverending game he played ever... The first track where he felt the emotion to race, the track onto all the Stunts drivers in the world have raced more than whatever other track, the default (yes, with the lower case) track... The absolute fastest original car he drove, with its magic grip, its boost, its wonderful powergear...
Stunts – Default – Indy: it's the Origin, where all has begun for all of us. How many races, how many trials... Impossible counting them!  :)
So, how many Stunts drivers wouldn't be, at least for a moment, the fastest man on the world on Default with Indy? I think a very low number...
Well, when I discovered the Stunts community on the web, and especially ZakStunts' site, I didn't knew neither what Replay Handling was. And I didn't knew exactly how dual way switching worked too. So... it's easy to imagine my surprise when I saw the scoreboard of Default track on Permanent Tracks' page! About 35 seconds, if I'm not wrong. "How can approach it starting from my 1:07,xx ?? ???", I said. But then I started to learn, improving gradually, until a decent 42", lowered to a quite good 39". And then, in December 2007, the great kermesse on ZCT79 and a sane agonistical atmosphere permitted me to improve again until 32"85. Anyway, I finished that race "only" 4th... I chose a known way, turning left at the first switch in 5th gear, without leaving the gas, reaching the Powergear jumping down the hill and rejoining the conventional track in its final part, just after the bridge. Duplode (2nd) choose instead a very innovative and suggestive path reaching the finish in apparently absurd way, but really a great way! But Ayrton (1st) and his teammate Chulk (3rd) made the best choice: 360° before the start, Powergear reached at the first hill and then the same known way I had chosen. So, Ayrton, with his 31,25, became the new leader of the most filled Stunts scoreboard ever!
But, very recently, after my retirement from the offical races, I read what BJ said about to keep alive the permanent competition and this, jointly to reading my profile on WikiStunts (as someone wrote it seems I have an "extensive Indycar racing skills"... ;)) I try to give my contribute to lower the permanent track records. So after having concentrated my efforts on Skids closed reaching the new record, an "insane" old thought re-started to circle in my head: "Why not Default?". Moreover, I saw that BJ had realized a new personal best: 31,55 only 0,30 seconds from the absolute record.
So this week I tried to attack the most aspired record. And this morning I've reached my target.
I've just sent my "precious" .rpl file to Zak. You'll see soon my 30,90 on the official scoreboard.
Maybe I'll be on top for a long time, maybe only for few hours. Anyway, let me say that there's really a special feeling realizing to be, even if only for a moment, the fastest man in the world on Stunts Default track!

As it happens sometimes, a dream come true.  :)

February 03, 2009, 10:27:54 PM

I think it will sound quite unexpected and strange, but, without many preambles, I announce here my retirement from all the official Stunts races.
It's not easy for me finding the right words to explain the reasons, and maybe I would need a lot of time to express correctly my thoughts. Anyway, even finding time and words, I think I wouldn't be able to explain the thing so to be comprised, and the guilt wouldn't be mine or yours.
I can only say that, as I recently realized, it's time for me to spend more time for most essential activities related to me and my family. This would reduce drastically the time I could dedicate to the races, not enough to obtain results paired for what I'm able to do. I'm not able to race as someone does, that is racing often just to write own name on the scoreboard. I like that spirit, but I haven't it. I want to give my best, and when I can't, I prefer not to take part in a contest.
But, anyway, this is only a side of the issue, the most explicable one. The other one is that would result only partially comprehensible.

As it's usual for a non affected "good-bye", I wouldn't like spending many speeches, but let me spend only some words as compendious of this extraordinary period of my life.

Well, it has been really a wonder ride, three years full of emotions, a joyful dive in the past, an inimitable way to keep alive the children inside me. I found special people, students, fathers, retirees, jointed by an unwonted passion for an old-new toy, as if they had inside a special material so to be attracted by a unique magnet.
I'll bring with me, the consciousness to have lived a very special experience, matchless with any other one. And I'm very happy to have given my contribute with my presence, and all my actions (SDR, SWR, born of the Official NORH contest and Speedgate XSD) to fillip and preserve this magic world.

Will I succeed to stay away from all of you, Stunts drivers? It won't be easy, that's sure. Stunts is, in a certain way, inside me. But, anyway, I'm not thinking to cut every bridge behind me. I think that between whiles you'll see me appearing suddenly and unexpectedly in a certain race, or maybe as designer afterward a kindly invite. And it's not sure that it won't be a certain contest in 11 months... ;)
But if, for any reason, all this won't be possible, I hope that my name will sound good when you'll remember it.

Thanks all for the emotions all you permitted me to live, and... long live to Stunts!


Waiting for the results...  ;)

Waiting for the results... ;)

Waiting for the results... ;)

Waiting for the results...  ;)