Norkia holds eleven vanship races per year (approximately one per month). The champion is decided on the total points earned through all races within the year. The most famous vanship racer, Hurricane Hawk, won every race until the seventy-fifth. The race is the biggest event in Norkia, and the profits earned from tourists coming to watch the race is a big part of the area's earnings.
Participants of the race must be registered with the Norkia Vanship Union and their vanships must be the same one they use to deliver mail. A vanship team may substitute their regular vanship for another, however the substituted vanship must also be registered with the Vanship Union and have undergone at least three delivery missions with a month before it is eligible for use. This is to prevent teams from entering vanships specifically fine-tuned for racing conditions. Boosters are permitted in the race and there are no penalties for obstructing an opponent's vanship in any way or causing another vanship to crash. However, the use of the tow cable in any way is not permitted under any circumstances. Also, racers are not permitted to overtake other races from above for safety reasons.
Before the main event, each vanship team must complete a qualification round, also known as a "time attack," to determine their starting positions. The qualification round takes place a day before the main event, warm ups start early and the actual qualifications begin at much later. For the 75th Norkia Cup, Claus Valca and Lavie Head missed out on the qualifications and were automatically slotted into the last position.
The 75th Norkia Cup Race
Fifteen racers took part in the 75th Norkia Cup; their starting positions were as follows:
- Hurricane Hawk
- Fat Chicken
- Sunny Boy
- Sky Magician
- Old Boys
- Lucky Condor
- Dandy Fly
- Yellow Typhoon
- Mad Goose
- Big Beans
- Slender Monkey
- South Dolphin
- Funny Savanna
- Bravo Turkey
- Claus Valca and Lavie Head
As the race starts, the vanships proceed from the main plaza of the town and work their way through the streets until they enter an underground canal system through an access tunnel. This section of the race is particularly dangerous due to a bottleneck where the canal suddenly narrows, stopping most vanship pilots from attempting to pass the vanship ahead of them. Immediately after the canal the vanships head into farm land which is a long and uneventful stretch. Though soon enough the farmland ends and the vanships cross into a rocky canyon with plenty of challenging twists and turns. After a section called the "corkscrew" at the end of the canyon is the final stretch back to the main plaza and the finish line.
While the race takes the vanships across many kilometers, there is a spotting system in place where race officials are placed at key locations to keep an eye on the progress of the race. Through a series of relay systems, from simple handwritten notes to light signals, the positions and locations of each vanship racer are communicated back to the main plaza where the crowd receives regular updates.
During the race there were several significant events which affected the outcome. In the first such instance, Claus and Lavie inadvertently caused Sky Magician and Lucky Condor to drop out of the race due to laundry which drifted onto the track. At the same time, Fat Chicken caused Big Beans to crash. Later, due to his own negligence, Fat Chicken crashed in the bottle neck area of the canal, however he was able to continue the race after losing his position to Claus and Lavie. Later on in the race in the canyon section, Sunny Boy's vanship nudged Claus and Lavie and as a result, disabled his acceleration booster. Finally, on the final stretch a near collision occurred between Claus and Lavie's vanship and an unknown vanship that strayed onto the racing field. Unfortunately for Hurricane Hawk, the reigning champion, he was also downed in the incident. With Claus and Lavie and Hurricane Hawk out of the race, this left poll position open to Sunny Boy.
Out of fifteen teams, seven finished the race with the last finishing vanship arriving at the finish line. The finishing positions were as follows:
It is possible that Fat Chicken retained second place by blocking access in the canal for other racers due to his crash in the bottleneck area.