Arc 400

The Arc 400 is the oldest, longest, and most dangerous motorcycle race in the Manifold.


The goal of the Arc 400 is to travel all the way around the Medial Tesseract in more or less a straight line until one arrives back at the starting line. The '400' in the name of the competition indicates a rough estimate of the number of miles a competitor would travel to complete the competition under idealized circumstances.   Because the Arc 400 traverses an active war zone, participants are required before the race to temporarily renounce all obvious allegiances to any nation involved in it. Typically, contestants will simply declare themselves to be non-partisan citizens of the Manifold Conservation Society, members of the Burning Hearts Social Club or Sorority of Solace, or even ride under the protective banner of membership in the Navigator's Guild. In fact, the Guild is the single most major sponsor of the Arc 400, as the race serves a dual purpose as an opportunity to update ground route maps.   On the first day of the Arc 400, contestants line up at a flag pole on main street in the city of Craterhold in the nation of the same name. When the master of ceremonies (usually a buxom woman) drops her end of the starting line rope, all contestants immediately set off on their own routes. From there on, contestants are allowed to traverse the tesseract as they see fit, so long as, in doing so, they cross the tesseract's cubes in only one direction. This means there are several available routes to pick:
  • From Medial C, traverse to D, A, B, and back to C
  • From Medial C, traverse to E, A, G, and back to C
  • From Medial C, traverse to F, A, H, and back to C
  • Any of the above routes, but in reverse
  While many competitors choose to follow the traditional route (C, B, A, D) to foster a feeling of excitement through direct competition with other riders, the real challenge of the Arc 400 is to beat the standing time records. Odometers are measured at the end of the competition and spotters (usually officials from the Burning Hearts Social Club or the Navigator's Guild) wait in the safer parts of the tesseract to record the progress of the riders. Spotters along the route also remain in radio contact with one another and with the racers' teams to keep the riders abreast of any hazards ahead of them (police speed traps, belligerent patrols, etc).

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Because the goal is simply to beat a time record rather to establish skill based on a set displacement, there are no restrictions on what sort of motorcycle the participants chose to compete with in the Arc 400. The only real requirement is that the full course must be completed on a vehicle which could be traditionally described as a motorcycle - a self-propelled ground vehicle with only one forward and one aft wheel in line with one another, along with the possible addition of a single-wheeled sidecar for one passenger or additional supplies.


The Arc 400 has been in some form or another since the year 9850. Every year since, on Iksunten 20th, motorcycle racers from across The Human Arc have gathered in Craterhold for the Arc 400 starting pistol shot. Since the beginning of the War, however, every year has also brought fresh debates about whether the format of the Arc 400 should be trained to reflect the dangers involved - is the chance at racing glory really worth being detained as a prisoner of war by members of the Grand Army of Voxelia or kidnapped and enslaved by the Intercostian oligarchs? Despite the danger, the race is run every year with at least a few participants - and miraculously few of them suffer a fate worse than mechanical failures or traffic delays.
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Cover image: by Royal Enfield


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