While Baker’s three inner planets may be useless in any formal sense, they have taken on new life as one of the galaxy’s most dangerous unofficial racetracks. The Able Baker Challenge, held once every six months on a date announced to the competitors only 24 hours before start time, pits pilots against each other and Baker’s innermost planets.
The challenge consists of three legs, connected by quantum travel phases which can only be initiated at specific locations. First, pilots must navigate the space that surrounds Baker III, which is filled with dangerous ice crystals that can impair instrumentation and severely hamper visibility. The second stage is called ‘breathing the vapors.’ This segment involves ring targets that are placed very close to Baker II’s toxic atmosphere. Pilots must navigate the course carefully to avoid hull damage. Finally, pilots must make their way to Baker I, where the final leg is a weapons-free race. Unlike more “civilized” events, racers are not immediately disqualified for the destruction of an opponent’s ship (although pilot kills are still forbidden).
This makes for one of the most dangerous competitions in the galaxy. Navigating the course is considered a badge of honor among underground racers, although official racing teams avoid the Able Baker Challenge for the most part. As it is an unofficial race organized by unknown concerns, the challenge has no rules concerning weapons or other safety procedures, other than the final weapons-free stage. Especially competitive racers have been known to gun down opponents even in early race phases in order to gain an edge.
Visitors should also be aware that the underground nature of the challenge has led to a significant number of casualties among amateurs. With Terra only a jump away, there tend to be far more of these amateurs than would typically be expected. Baker’s inner band is littered with the destroyed remnants of freshly purchased racing ships.