The dozen competitors quickly winnowed down to six, and the six cut out two more. Eric remained in the running, along with Manhattan Matt--the New York City duelist routinely touring to cull up-and-coming talent that's said to threaten him--and the perennial Midwest arena regulars: The Chi-Town Twins, Aaron and Adam Lagoon. The Cowgirl Princess had her back tires shot off by the aforementioned twins, double-teaming her without any warning; she crashed into a wall and did not get out.
"Best bet is to join the twins against Matt."
"If they don't triple-team me." Eric said.
The three of them turned and jockeyed for position, with many of the obstacles recessed into the floor. Eric increased speed, popping the capacitors to dump power into the drive train and boost himself up to the cap, knowing that only thinking like an old-time dog-fighter would save him now. The Twins and Matt didn't adjust for Eric's sudden speed boost, missing with their rocket and cannon fire. Eric saw one of the Twins get behind him and the other coming around to directly intercept from the front, while Matt moved to box him in from optimal distance.
"Count it down!" Eric said.
"Five, four, three, two, one- GO!"
Eric simultaneously dropped his mines as he spewed fire from the rear flamethrower, and he spun up the minguns a second later. On the go mark, he threw up the handbrake and turned the wheel, drifting around a curve as he spin about in a Bootlegger's Turn. He did so on a long patch of oil left by The Cowgirl Princess previously, accelerating his turn by decreasing the friction, and instead of a 180 degree turn he spun a nearly-full 360 instead. The miniguns flared to life, tearing up the front Twin's armor, and then ripping up Manhattan Matt as well as the backside Twin; against the Twins he also nailed them with his flamethrower, and as he stabilized he turned just aside the front-side Twin and passed him by like knights at the list ages ago.
The flamethrower's burning fuel stuck to the Twins' cars, obscuring their vision just enough to cut into their reaction time as they dealt with Eric's unbelievable maneuver that should not have worked. It got them to collide head-on, killing them both instantly, leaving a 12-man field down to two.
"We're down to the real fight!" the arena announcer said, "The infamous Manhattan Matt, and our own boy-done-good- The 30 Second Ace!"