Created By: neoYTPism on April 7, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 17, 2014

No Holds Barred Racing

Nearly (if not entirely) anything goes, in these kinds of races.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
There are no rules in this race, except to stay on the marked course.
- Snively, from Sonic SatAM

Do We Have This One?... oh and I am open to title suggestions.

This is for races that are hard to cheat at, simply because there are so many things one would expect to count as cheating do not! Things that would typically count as unacceptable tactics in real-life would in these cases be a part of the race itself. Sometimes you would even get rewarded for it in them!

Can but need not overlap with Blood Sport, since the lack of restrictions against cheating would not necessarily create dangerous forms of competition in and of itself... at the very least, it depends on the setting of the race.

The whole Vehicular Combat genre is a subtrope of this.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Many examples in the Speed Racer anime.
  • A two-part episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! involves King DeDeDe holding a race like this. Seeing as how he is the one that was holding the race and was competing in it himself as well, it was kind of inevitable that he'd try to sabotage everyone else with his extremely weaponized "monster" car. Of course, Kirby learns to fly his car later, and even later turns into a super fast car tire himself, which would probably break even bigger rules if there were any.

Film
  • Podracing in Star Wars is actually a subversion of this, as a lot of dangerous stunts are considered acceptable in the races. However, Expanded Universe materials imply that there are more rules to the race.
  • The Roman chariot race in Ben Hur might count, as it is fast and dangerous, and they certainly don't act like there are many rules.
  • The Mega Race from Spy Kids 3: Game Over. The race vehicles even come with an assortment of built-in weapons, mostly bizarre stuff like Rocket Punch gloves and pie throwers.
    Toymaker voiceover: "There Are No Rules in this race except—win at any cost!"
  • The Casa Cristo cross-country race in the Film of the Anime Speed Racer.
  • The movie Hidalgo is this trope but with a horse race in the desert.

Truth in Television

Video Games
  • The F-Zero series (especially GX) encourages you to knock your opponents off the racetrack. Instead of getting disqualified for it, you actually get rewarded.
  • The Mario Kart series has you throwing shells at your opponents' karts, though this is likely a parodical example.
  • Death Rally. The black market lets you add spikes, mines, and a rocket booster to your car, and sabotage other people's cars.

Western Animation
  • Sonic SatAM. The series has a race between Sonic and a robotic cheetah. Robotnik set it up to distract Sonic from a freedom fighter mission, and Robotnik's nephew and main minion Snively, who announced the lack of rules, also programmed the robotic cheetah to do what in a regular race would probably qualify as cheating.
  • Wacky Races

Community Feedback Replies: 52
  • April 7, 2011
    Rolf
    I dont know if it exists already, but the picture quality is really bad...
  • April 7, 2011
    INUH
    Seconding ^. I see a Sonic (?) getting attacked by a robot.
  • April 7, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Switched to the podrace one, then.
  • April 7, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    You might be looking for Wacky Racing.
  • April 8, 2011
    Acebrock
    Death Rally. The black market lets you add spikes, mines, and a rocket booster to your car, and sabatoge ohter people's cars.
  • April 8, 2011
    Arivne
    Compare:
  • April 8, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Hmm, the podrace image is not particualrly clear that it's a race.
  • April 8, 2011
    Speedball
    I swear I read a Harlan Ellison story about this.
  • April 8, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^^^ Wasn't aware of that Stock Phrase. I shall pothole to it.

    ^^ Propose an alternative then.
  • April 8, 2011
    captainbrass2
    Might the Roman chariot race in Ben Hur come in here? It's fast, dangerous and they certainly don't act like there are many rules.
  • April 8, 2011
    SquirrelGuy
    Movie: -- Death Race 2000 -- Grease (Thunder Road scene) Leo: The rules are, there ain't no rules.

  • April 8, 2011
    dalek955
  • April 8, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Vehicular Combat, heh ... I've heard Mario Kart described as being more of this genre than the racing genre.
  • April 9, 2011
    Arivne
    A lot of the examples in There Are No Rules could be copied over to this one, modifying them a bit to eliminate the Stock Phrase component.
  • April 9, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Many examples in Speed Racer, and the Casa Cristo cross-country race in the film
  • April 9, 2011
    AFP
    The Casa Cristo, of course, has rules. Nobody follows them, especially not the heroes.
  • April 11, 2011
    Ekuran
    I think Red Line counts.
  • April 12, 2011
    0dd1
    A two-part episode of Kirby Right Back At Ya involves King DeDeDe holding a race like this. Seeing as how he is the one that was holding the race and was competing in it himself as well, it was kind of inevitable that he'd try to sabotage everyone else with his extremely weaponized "monster" car. Of course, Kirby learns to fly his car later, and even later turns into a super fast car tire himself, which would probably break even bigger rules if there were any.
  • April 13, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ Did it count as cheating though? Part of the point of this is that the rules if any are so loose that it's hard to cheat because it's hard to come up with something that qualifies as cheating.
  • April 14, 2011
    CousinApril
    • Choose Your Own Adventure #17: The Race Forever
  • April 17, 2011
    JimCambias
    I think the term "Death Race" is much more appropriate to this trope.
  • April 17, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Except that it is not just about danger, but about how fair-game things that would otherwise be considered cheating are. Death Race would be misleading. @ Jim Cambias
  • April 17, 2011
    MetaFour
    This is unique, but it often overlaps with Blood Sport.

    I'm almost certain that the chariot race from Ben-Hur was a big influence on the pod race from The Phantom Menace. Heck, Messala and Sebulba's vehicles are both destroyed the same way.
  • April 17, 2011
    Sackett
  • April 17, 2011
    neoYTPism
    On second thought, this should be rewritten as not necessarily involving Blood Sport, so that things like the podrace from Star Wars would be a linear combination of this and Blood Sport.
  • April 21, 2011
    jaytee
    Podracing might actually be a subversion (or we can tweak the description a little). There are rules and if I remember correctly, you can be disqualified for cheating. The trick is to know the course well enough to only cheat in the blind spots created by the official cameras. Of course, the cheating and mayhem is part of what everyone loves about the sport, so there are bootleg cameras specifically set up to capture the blind spot action.
  • April 21, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Wasnt aware of that, grey areas may as well be removed. When in doubt edit it out.
  • April 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Some of the races in Wacky Races and Tom Slick would be essentially rule-less.
  • April 25, 2011
    LordAaronus
    I once saw on Youtube, the Nurburgring racerack in Germany was open to the public, turning into a real version of this trope. Someone drove a camper in there, I kid you not. Cars versus bikes is pretty tame in comparison.
  • April 28, 2011
    jaytee
    I think podracing should still go up (it's definitely the first thing I thought of for this trope), just so long as it is noted as a subversion. It has rules and they can be enforced from time to time, but functionally it still invokes the trope (and this trope is a massive factor in podracing's in-universe appeal).

    I should also mention that in the movie it's played deadly straight, so the subversion is All In The Manual (episode I supplementary books).
  • May 1, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Added again, then @ jaytee
  • March 10, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    Well, I've been digging through the YKTTW archives and I stumbled upon it. I think it still has merit. Hidalgo would be an example.
  • March 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Video Games
  • March 10, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    Honestly, I think this thing has enough examples for it to be launched. All it needs now are hats.
  • March 11, 2013
    JoeG
    • The qualifying race in Wreck It Ralph, and also the race at the end between Vanellope and King Kandy/Turbo.
  • April 11, 2014
    Noah1
    • An episode of Ed Edd N Eddy saw Rolf set up a foot race between the Eds for a much sought-after Jawbreaker. The race involved carrying a ladle containing three eggs and making a sharp U-turn. Double D and Eddy played every trick they had to beat one another. While the kids called foul, Rolf commended their "fine performance". Ed was declared winner, despite breaking his eggs and bypassing the entire racetrack.
  • April 11, 2014
    Antigone3
    It's similar to Wacky Racing, but it might be different enough to rate a separate trope.
  • April 11, 2014
    MetaFour
    This seems to be a subtrope of There Are No Rules.
  • April 11, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In The Cannonball Run the only rule is to go from the start to the finish line in the least amount of time. How you get there, including what type of vehicle(s) you use, is up to you. (Well there's an implied "no airplanes" since it's a road race.)
  • April 11, 2014
    jatay3
    While we're mentioning the Roman chariot race it might be noted that the chariot racing fans formed what amounted to four rival street gangs(if not organized crime syndicates) that ruled the streets of Constantinople) for many a year and at one time actually tried to take the Imperial throne. That is a side note and I don't know if it is related. But it is interesting.
  • April 12, 2014
    Arivne

    The Speed Racer, Hidalgo and Wacky Races examples are Zero Context Examples.
  • April 12, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
    Not quite, not all vehicular combat involves racing, thus Battle Tanx or Cel Damage would not be examples.

    Okay, Cel damage has a racing mode but that kind of proves my point, the main death match does not involve racing at all. I think the mistake is equating vehicles to racing, even though racing games do not always have vehicles.
  • April 12, 2014
    MetaFour
    Web Animation:
    • Ultra Fast Pony: In "Rocks, Clocks, and Two Stupid Ponies", it's explicitly stated that there's no rule against cheating in the Running Of The Leaves race. So no one objects when Rainbow Dash litters the track with obstacles for the other racers, Applejack hitches a ride on a hot-air balloon, and Twilight Sparkle wins by magically teleporting to the finish line.
  • April 13, 2014
    Dalillama
    • The third Tales Of The Ketty Jay book has one of the protagonists corralled into a flying race through a series of canyons. He finds out it's one of these when the referee finishes his recitation of the rules with "No weapons are to be used until the second lap. "
  • April 13, 2014
    foxley
    The race Mongul organises in the Batman The Brave And The Bold episode "Death Race to Oblivion!". Other than stay ahead of Steppenwolf and stay on the road, there are no rules.
  • April 13, 2014
    DAN004
    Add Crash Team Racing example plz.
  • April 14, 2014
    partner555
    In The Tainted Grimoire, there is a water race where participants are pulled by their animal of choice, the only rule in place is the ban on killing. Everything else however, goes and Vaan notes to Luso that the race can get violent and advices him to bring his weapons.
  • April 14, 2014
    Larkmarn
    How does podracing count as a subversion? From the example it just sounds like a straight example.
  • April 16, 2014
    partner555
    Bump
  • April 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Please someone add examples...
  • April 16, 2014
    MiinU

    Video games

  • April 17, 2014
    Boston
    Film!Up The Creek shows that this type of no-holds-barred racing doesn't apply only to car racing, but to white-water rafting as well.

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