Char­iot rac­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - CLASSIFIEDS -

CHAR­IOT rac­ing was one of the most pop­u­lar an­cient Greek, Ro­man, and Byzan­tine sports and we all know how it goes. Char­iot rac­ing was of­ten dan­ger­ous to both the driver and the horse as they fre­quently suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries and even death, but gen­er­ated some strong spec­ta­tor en­thu­si­asm. In the an­cient Olympic Games, as well as the other Pan­hel­lenic Games, the sport was one of the most im­por­tant eques­trian events and each char­iot was pulled by four horses. In the Ro­man form of rac­ing, teams rep­re­sented dif­fer­ent groups of fi­nan­cial back­ers and some­times com­peted for the ser­vices of par­tic­u­larly skilled driv­ers. It is un­known when char­iot rac­ing be­gan, but it may have been as old as char­i­ots them­selves. The tech­nique and cloth­ing of Ro­man char­i­o­teers dif­fered sig­nif­i­cantly from those used by the Greeks. Ro­man driv­ers wrapped the reins round their waist, while the Greeks held the reins in their hands. Be­cause of this the Ro­mans could not let go of the reins in a crash, so they would be dragged around the cir­cus un­til they were killed or they freed them­selves. They also wore hel­mets and other pro­tec­tive gear, but in a big ac­ci­dent that wouldn’t help them much. In any given race there might be a num­ber of teams put up by each fac­tion, who would co­op­er­ate to max­imise their chances of vic­tory by gang­ing up on op­po­nents, forc­ing them out of the pre­ferred in­side track or mak­ing them lose con­cen­tra­tion and ex­pose them­selves to ac­ci­dent and in­jury. Spec­ta­tors could also play a part as there is ev­i­dence they threw lead "curse" amulets stud­ded with nails at teams op­pos­ing their favourite. Another im­por­tant dif­fer­ence was that the char­i­o­teers them­selves, the au­ri­gae, were con­sid­ered to be the win­ners, al­though they were usu­ally also slaves (as in the Greek world). They re­ceived a wreath of lau­rel leaves, and prob­a­bly some money; if they won enough races they could buy their free­dom. Driv­ers could be­come celebri­ties through­out the Em­pire sim­ply by sur­viv­ing, as the life ex­pectancy of a char­i­o­teer was not very high. For those that did well, a great deal of money was up for grabs. One such celebrity driver was Scor­pus, who won over 2000 races be­fore be­ing killed in a col­li­sion when he was about 27 years old, but most fa­mous of all was Gaius Ap­puleius Dio­cles who won 1462 out of 4257 races. When did you be­gin play­ing cricket? I started play­ing at 10 years old. Be­cause my mum said no more ten­nis rac­quets af­ter break­ing three in a month. ‘‘I am tak­ing you to play cricket.’’ Why did you de­cide to play? Friends are the big­gest part of cricket for me. Hot and windy up here makes for in­ter­est­ing chat be­tween balls and overs. Cricket ca­reer high­light? High­light of my cricket ca­reer was a premier­ship back in Mel­bourne in 1998-89 with the club I played all my cricket with, Keilor Park. Also all mates that I grew up with. Back in 1992 I got the chance to bowl to the West Indies. Brian Lara went out onto the nets at the MCG and I got one to keep low, he went back and across and he said that’s out, you got me. Not a bad scalp. Fav team mate? My favourite Mud­dies player would have to be Steve Doble for his un­ri­valled grace­ful­ness mov­ing across the out­field. How do you ex­pect the Mud­dies to fin­ish this sea­son? The Mud­dies this year af­ter a great start need now to fol­low up our bowl­ing per­for­mances with some great bat­ting to make sure we set our place in the fi­nals. Once we get there any­thing can hap­pen! Why should young­sters con­sider tak­ing up the sport? It’s a great game for kids. It teaches men­tal strength, hand/eye co-or­di­na­tion and it’s great to chat about af­ter the game.

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