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Title decisions in ZakStunts

Started by Duplode, January 12, 2023, 01:34:07 AM

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When in the season are titles decided? That is an interesting question -- specially during the season itself! -- which isn't always easy to answer just by looking at the season scoreboard. Discards mean that pipsqueaks can have different amounts of points available from the final races of the season, so just looking at the Real score and the number of remaining races isn't quite enough to make projections. The experiments with point systems from a few weeks ago gave me a good opportunity to look at title decisions in past years.

Here goes a list of ZakStunts seasons, ranked by how many races were remaining when the title was mathematically decided. When it comes to tiebreakers, it makes sense to use the number of discards and the total number of races, in that order.

Three rounds early

  • 2008 (2 discards from 11 rounds)
  • 2010, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022 (3 discards from 12 rounds)

Two rounds early

  • 2004 (2 discards from 13 rounds)
  • 2009, 2013, 2018 and 2021 (3 discards from 12 rounds)

One round early

  • 2007 (2 discards from 9 rounds)
  • 2005 and 2006 (2 discards from 12 rounds)
  • 2003 (2 discards from 13 rounds)
  • 2011 (3 discards from 11 rounds)
  • 2012 (3 discards from 12 rounds)

Decided on the final round

  • 2001 (0 discards from 9 rounds)
  • 2002 (0 discards from 12 rounds)
  • 2014, 2015 and 2020 (3 discards from 12 rounds)

And here are the seasons sorted chronologically, with a few extra details. The Available columns show how many points were available to champion and opponent before the deciding round, and Gap is the difference between them. Note that, thanks to discards, the opponent in the strongest position isn't always who was in second place at the deciding race -- for this table, I picked whoever had the largest difference between their available points and their gap to the leader.

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A few notes on specific seasons:

  • Unsurprisingly, the most impressive early decision is 2008. After ZCT87, Ayrton would have won the title even with a non-discarded missed race.

  • While five seasons were mathematically decided in the last race, due to various circumstances only 2015 and 2020 really had a final round battle.

  • 2009 is a bit of a special case. While CTG wouldn't have been able to overtake me in the final two races, in the most favourable scenario for him we would end with the same score. Since there are no tiebreakers in the season scoreboard, I counted the season as being a two-rounds-early one.

  • You might be wondering why have I listed 2001 as being decided in the final round if the points available to Ben Snel were smaller than the gap to Roy Wiegerinck. The answer is that in 2001 (and 2002) average points over races joined were a major component of the season scores. That being so, a pipsqueak might lose points by entering a race and getting a sufficiently bad result in it. While the title wasn't mathematically decided before ZCT9, Roy could guarantee the title by skipping the race, which is duly what happened.