• Matthew Rondina

25 Years of Bandicoot - Crash Team Racing IRL

As we celebrate 25 years of Crash, I recount my favourite memory of the marsupial - racing him in a real life showdown.

The Rise of a Champion


I’ve been a big PlayStation fan since the console launched in 1995, Crash smashed onto the scene at the same time and really shook things up. He challenged everything and everyone he came across, dominating the platformer genre. Most would have called it career after that, but Crash was different. He soon began looking for the next big challenge and it would come on four wheels.

It’s no wonder with his fiery competitive spirit, he eventually found himself in the driver seat with Crash Team Racing. Most people would prefer not to be stuffed into a high-velocity go-kart with explosives and other death-defying elements to contend with, not Crash. Our beloved orange mascot relished the opportunity. CTR went on to be a big hit, again Crash challenged the status quo and power slid through it with explosive, nitro-based ferocity.


Over twenty years later, he’s back with Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled, looking to claim more championships.


Crash Team Racing: In Real Life


Do you ever wonder what it would be like to battle Crash Bandicoot for the podium in real life? No? Okay, maybe it’s just me. What if you were given a shot to be one of those drivers and beat the bandicoot?


Me and four other racers were given the opportunity to race against Crash in order to try to claim the CTR championship. We all came from different walks of life, united by one goal: beat Crash Bandicoot on the race track. We trained both on the grid and on-screen, testing our reflexes and mettle to prepare for the big race.


Could mere mortals snatch glory from the giant hands of the legendary Crash Bandicoot?


Well, wonder no more as I give you the tell-all about Crash’s latest escapades while competing in the Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled showdown at Canada’s Wonderland. Our motley crew was put behind overpowered go-karts, amped up on wumpa fruit and unleashed on the track.


Looking for a punchline…?


So, a bandicoot, 2 WWE wrestlers, and 3 gaming influencers walk onto a racetrack… Ok, I’m still trying to think of a punchline but it’s coming. All joking aside, the competition was fierce come race day.


I was pitted against Tyler “Prince Pretty” Breeze, Johnny “Overtake” Gargano, Marissa “Turbo” Roberto and Camille “Slingshot” Salazar-Hadaway.

All smiles, but after the photo racer Matthew (Dapper_Tux) Rondina was suplexed by Johnny Gargano (left) and Tyler Breeze (right)


Each of us wanted the championship but we knew all roads to victory went through Crash Bandicoot himself. Crash seemed more relaxed about the entire competition, let’s be honest, he was completely cocky, showed up late, smack talked everyone! I’m pretty sure he stole a candy apple from a child, but I can’t 100% confirm it.


The race was a dramatic affair, it must have been because we needed to walk through a smoky tunnel and look serious. I have to say, we totally nailed it!

Camille Salazar-Hadaway (left) and Johnny Gargano (right) after an initial warmup lap.


We got to the track early, posted great lap times and prepped for the race of a lifetime.


Crash on the other hand, slept in. Once he actually arrived at the track he was so busy showboating and eating, he forgot about the actual race. As Marissa “Turbo” Roberto recalls,


“Crash was as annoying as I thought he would be. Showed up late, steals all the glory, and ate everything at the snack table before any of us could get to it. He’s better in the digital form IMO.”


I’d be lying if I said that the other racers on the track weren’t intimidated if not a little starstruck when Crash finally arrived. “Racing against Crash on a real-life racetrack was like my childhood dreams coming true. I used to spend hours playing CTR and the experience of doing it IRL was unreal. It's unfortunate my pro CTR skills didn't really transfer over IRL.” Confessed “Slingshot” Salazar-Hadaway.


Crash Team Racing IRL Video


Here it is, the results from Raceday with Crash tearing up the track leaving the rest of us in the dust, check it out:

Crash’s skill was undeniable, even though we had a massive head start, he was able to catch up! He was a little too distracted off track with wumpa fruit and totally missed the start of the race. Through pure racing skill and other questionable tactics he was able to catch up with us, it was completely unreal! He wasn’t the cleanest, or most honest racer but there is no denying that bandicoot’s skills.


It was an incredible day on the track, one that I won’t soon forget.


Dapper Tux's memories of Crash on and off the track


What a dream come true to actually drive alongside such iconic talent, and even Crash Bandicoot himself! Growing up I loved Crash’s smart-mouthed commercials that aimed to give the competition a run for their money. Here we are a decade later, all getting smack-talked by Crash himself, what an honour!