Featured Commanders Featured Commanders - Alec Turner

Paige Harvey

Community Manager
Frontier
Hello Commanders, and welcome to the twenty-fifth Featured Commanders thread of 2019. This week we're talking to one of the speediest Commanders in the galaxy and multiple race creator, Commander Alec Turner!

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Hello Commander! It's great to speak to you about some of the great Elite Dangerous events you've worked on! So, what are you here to talk to us about today?

Hello! Today, we're going to talk about the The Buckyball Racing Club and the Planetary Circumnavigation Club!

Excellent, let's learn more! When were these groups first created?

The Buckyball Racing Club was started around October of 3301, and the Planetary Circumnavigation Club in November of 3303.

How did the groups come to be created? What was the idea behind them?

So, despite being one of the longest serving and most proactive members of The Buckyball Racing Club, I can't really take credit for creating it - that honor goes to Drakhyr, though I've created quite a few individual races including "Total Recall", "Kick the Alien (and run like hell)", "Falling With Style", "Tunnel Vision" and the latest one "Hot Off The Press". The Buckyball Racing Club was formed out of the ashes of a series of "Buckyball Runs", which was created by CMDR ElectricZ in the early beta era of Elite Dangerous. When CMDR ElectricZ went into semi-permanent retirement, a bunch of Commanders, lead by Drakhyr, took over to form The Buckyball Racing Club.

As for The Planetary Circumnavigation Club - after I completed my own SRV circumnavigation of Pleione 3A, I came to realise that it was something several other commanders had done. I wanted a place where everyone who'd completed a circumnavigation (or was considering doing one) could congregate and swap tales of their shared insanity bravura.

For those who might not know, could you give a summary of both events?

The Buckyball Racing Club

The Buckyball Race organisers take it in turns to create and host time trial races which typically run for about a week. These races are open to all pilots, on all platforms and the course can be run whenever is convenient, and as often as people like. The aim is as much about beating your own personal best time as it is about winning! A typical race might involve taking off from one station, and then flying to (and docking) at a series of other stations, before returning back to the start. However there's no end to the variations we can add to this theme. For example, another race might require you to fly a ship launched fighter through some installation tunnels, or to deploy the SRV and drive to a given location, or maybe to transport some cargo or dump it into a star. We can also add time bonuses for things like overheating, flying backwards through the mail slot or spamming local chat with Buckyball propaganda. Basically anything that can be captured on an in-cockpit screenshot. Evidence of your run (a series of screenshots showing either the station or HUD clock) are submitted to the race organiser, who maintains a scoreboard that's updated regularly on the forum. Sometimes we even have prizes!

Planetary Circumnavigation Club
As for the Planetary Circumnavigation Club, entry to the club is very simple. It just requires simple evidence (perhaps a video or blog or series of screenshots or social media posts) showing that you've driven an SRV around a planet or moon (any size) under its own power (no rides on the back of ships!). The journey should basically be around the full circumference of the chosen body, although it doesn't really matter which heading you choose to follow (many use the equator for the ease of tracking your position and heading). I try to follow the adventures of people currently doing a circumnavigation (which can often take weeks) in the forum thread and, upon successful completion, add an entry for them in the OP of the thread with details of their achievement. Commanders who use EDSM can also earn a unique "Planetary Circumnavigation Club" eBadge.

What is the coolest thing that has happened during the events?

Everything about a typical Buckyball race is cool (we share a lot of stories, screenshots, videos and general banter in the forum thread during a race) so it's very hard to pick just one thing. I suppose an obviously awesome memory would be what happened to CMDR Tannik Seldon during "The Aquarian Job". The race had an SRV stage and offered bonuses for maximum ship damage (did I mention that we're insane?). Anyway, Tannik pounded his hull down to about 10% and then did the SRV stage, but when he recalled his ship, it blew up! Rather than abandon the race he decided to drive to the nearest planetary port to get a new ship and thereby complete his run... however the closet port was on the opposite side of the planet. He finished his run in 5 days, 16 hours and 19 minutes while the winning time was 25 minutes. There's a tourist beacon near Cooper Arena on 241 G. Aquarii which commemorates this legendary (mis)adventure.

For the Planetary Circumnavigation Club, for me, the coolest thing that came out of it would be the First Great Planetary Expedition earlier this year. We had several dozen commanders (some former members of the Club and others completely new to planetary circumnavigation) embark on a multi-month long expedition to circumnavigate Kumay in the Chi Herculis system. It was a fantastic experience akin to the great galactic expeditions like Distant Worlds, but conducted on a single (and astonishingly beautiful) planet by commanders in SRVs. We used Discord as our primary means of communication with several small groups of commanders forming up who managed to stay together for much of the expedition. We also organised a number of events during the expedition including a "Twin Peaks" mountain climbing challenge, an Easter Beer Hunt race along a canyon, and a Big-Air crater mound jumping festival (actually it's name was slightly more fruity than that but I'll keep this clean).

And do you have any future plans for events?

Always.
At the time this goes to press the Buckyball Racing Club will probably already have hosted the "Hot Off The Press" race, but I'm sure there will be more events in the future! Planetary Circumnavigation is an ongoing activity, although there is talk of doing another mass planetary expedition at some point in the future, so let us know if you'd be interested!

Since writing that interview the Buckyball Racing Club have actually added two more standing time trial challenges.

There's the Colonia Trophy Dash which, as the name suggests is based out in Colonia for those folks who otherwise tend to miss out on our events (which are typically based in and around the Bubble).

And there's the Iron Bucky Challenge which is a deliberately gruelling 3-stage race (a fast circuit of some nearby stations, a larger circuit of some further flung stations, and a 50km SRV rally between two settlements on Wasat A 2 E) all of which has to be done without performing any repairs.

Do you have any stats you'd like to share about the events?

The Buckyball Racing Club

  • We have some (slightly out of date) statistics for past Buckyball Races, taken from a total of 62 separate races between August 3301 and August 3304.
  • CMDR Aken B. is our most active racer with 71 individual entries.
  • Our most successful racer by a mile is CMDR Cookiehole with 43 individual wins. Joint second are CMDR Furrycat and CMDR Aken B with 13 wins apiece.
  • 21 races have involved some kind of planetary landing.
  • The most popular racing ships (in descending order) are:
    • AspX (145)
    • DBX (117)
    • Cobra Mk III (91)
    • Imperial Courier (78)
    • Hauler (68)
    • Imperial Eagle (36)
    • Viper Mk III (34)
  • The most successful ships are:
    • DBX (15 wins)
    • Imperial Courier (14 wins)
    • AspX (10 wins)
    • Hauler and Viper Mk II (6 wins each)
    • Cobra Mk III (4 wins)
    • Imperial Eagle (2 wins)
Planetary Circumnavigation Club
  • The Planetary Circumnavigation Club (whose records don't currently include the First Great Planetary Expedition) has 53 successful circumnavigations recorded.
  • CMDR Timmy Brabston has taken part in three circumnavigations. CMDRs Tannik Seldon, PrimetimeCasual and Straha Yeager have each completed two.
  • The longest completed circumnavigation was around 10,000km, driven by CMDR DalAdamant, circumnavigating Europa in Sol.
The First Great Planetary Expedition
  • 67 Commanders signed up for expedition.
  • 23 Commanders are registered as having completed the circumnavigation.
  • 25 Commanders are registered as missing in action.
  • 9 Commanders explicitly dropped out of the expedition. We don't know where the rest of the Commanders are.
  • The Commander with the largest SRV distance travelled was Tannik Seldon with 0.19 LS. Second place goes to CMDR Timmy Brabston with 0.13 LS and then yours truly with 22.2Mm.
If you could give one piece of advice to every Commander, what would it be?

Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. It's very easy to get lost in the obsessive pursuit of credits, rank and reputation. Ultimately these things are meaningless (just numbers in a database). Look for fun - you really can't put a number on the value of that!

Are there any other events you'd like to shout out?

I'd like to give a shoutout to the Elite Racers, who are to high-octane live racing what the Buckyballers are to organised time trial racing! We also have a lot of love for The Buur Pit whose ethos of pure unadulterated joy epitomizes everything I said in my advice above about smelling the roses. If you're looking for fun in game then they're a great place to find it.

Do you have any events or activities on the horizon you’d like to share?

We have no firm dates for future races or circumnavigation expeditions yet, but The Buckyball Racing Club have two standing time trials which people can take part in whenever they fancy. The first is the legendary A* Challenge (a hugely popular one way time trial race from Sol to Sagittarius A*) which can be found here. The second time trial is the Pomeche Ridge Challenge (the ultimate SRV time trial, which involves driving along one of the ridges of the notorious ice world of Pomeche 2C). This is run by yours truly and can be found here.

How can players learn more about the events and when they are?

The Buckyball Racing Club has its own website at http://www.buckyballracing.org.uk/, where you can find a link to our Discord server.
The Planetary Circumnavigation Club can be found on the Frontier Forums at https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/the-planetary-circumnavigation-club.390451/. You'll find a link to our Discord in the OP. The First Great Planetary Expedition (which shares the Planetary Circumnavigation Club Discord) has an interactive map of the route we took around Kumay which can be found here at http://buckyballracing.org.uk/kumay.html (we're very proud of that).

Well, this has been fantastic, and we look forward to taking part in some more races in the future! Thank you to CMDR Alec Turner for joining us, and be sure to check out the trials listed above!

If you'd like to be our next Featured Commander, apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/yvgC2QXaECxZdq1r1
 
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Ozric

Volunteer Moderator
Alec Guinness, Frank Turner... No I must be getting confused :D

Obviously I'm going to be a big advocate of Buckyball Racing having done my first one during the original Beta, been part of many since and hosted a couple in the new era. Such an amazing bunch of guys and girls. And Alec himself, well his rise in notoriety on the forums over the last couple of years, to the point where he was even an ambassador at the Frontier Expo running the Buckyball Race there (which they wouldn't allow me to change the controls to full range throttle on, which is what I'm blaming for not winning ;)) is a story worthy of being made into a film! Well maybe a BBC Drama? No... Channel 5 documentary then? Sorted.

Lovely bloke too, who I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few times now.
 
Since writing that interview the Buckyball Racing Club have actually added two more standing time trial challenges.

There's the Colonia Tropy Dash which, as the name suggests is based out in Colonia for those folks who otherwise tend to miss out on our events (which are typically based in and around the Bubble).

And there's the IronBucky Challenge which is a deliberately gruelling 3-stage race (a fast circuit of some nearby stations, a larger circuit of some further flung stations, and a 50km SRV rally between two settlements on Wasat A 2 E) all of which have to be done without performing any repairs.
 
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Alec is good spirit of the game and forum. I'm glad I have him on my friends list.
The First Great Planetary Expedition was great fun and adventure. He somehow manages to gather around him bunch of nice, friendly people, who can have great time doing weird, fun things.
(y)
 
Never heard of him. :D
Surprising, given how much he spams the forums :pwith good stuff.

I learnt of Buckyballing from watching the Elite Racers, and google instead throwing me links to the ballers. With one of the most inspirational videos being CMDR Alot's video showing planetary braking, and my mind was blown:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07ZahZGaKqs


Not that my attempts at Buckballing have been very successful* :love: thanks for your efforts Alec Turner!

* but it is a laugh:
Last Gasp race, lateral thinking:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh98ajCzgng


Pomeche Ridge challenges haven't gone well so far:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE_DWYWegTc


getting lost during the Seven Sisters Speedway:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TxM6ld-cak
 
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Surprising, given how much he spams the forums :pwith good stuff.

I learnt of Buckyballing from watching the Elite Racers, and google instead throwing me links to the ballers. With one of the most inspirational videos being CMDR Alot's video showing planetary braking, and my mind was blown:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07ZahZGaKqs


Not that my attempts at Buckballing have been very successful* :love: thanks for your efforts Alec Turner!

* but it is a laugh:
Last Gasp race, lateral thinking:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh98ajCzgng


Pomeche Ridge challenges haven't gone well so far:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE_DWYWegTc


getting lost during the Seven Sisters Speedway:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TxM6ld-cak
Ha haaa ... brilliant clips all!

By the way, in my shoutouts and mentions of future events I forgot to name Speedbowl 3 which is happening next month (not an official Buckyball event but still one that's very close to our hearts).


Shooting packhounds at the base while travelling at 3800m/s is an optional extra ... smell these roses suckers!

 
Actually ... while I'm "spamming the forums" :LOL: ... here's an example of the joyous fun to be had by hanging out with the Buur Pit (not to mention their flippin' awesome camera work!) ..


.. and here's a collection of glorious images taken from the screenshot competition we hosted throughout the First Great Planetary Expedition ..

 
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