Fast And Curious: Twisting The Racing Prediction



After posting this, a magician friend let me know that Kimmo Magic Shop have already had the idea of doing a superhero angle for the race prediction. Well done them! One of the downsides to inventing a lot of magic is that sometimes you’ll find you’ve reinvented the wheel. Such is life. Anyway, since they got there first with the superhero race idea, you should definitely check it out:

Following on from last Friday’s post, here’s another superhero-inspired twist to an existing plot.

This time, we’re looking at the racing prediction. There have been a number of versions over the years – see Denis Behr’s invaluable Conjuring Archive for details.

We’re using the classic premise where you recreate a race, by turning cards face up and moving the racers accordingly, then show at the end that you’ve predicted the winner.

The Idea

Just as last week’s hook was about finding the ultimate superhero, this is a more specific variation, namely – finding the fastest fictional character.

And again, since this race is happening in people’s imagination, we can mix character from different creative ‘universes’.

The Trick

Pick any four famously fast fictional characters (try saying that five times quickly!), ideally ones that most audiences will have heard of.

So let’s say Sonic, Dash, Roadrunner and Captain Marvel.

Make them into counters, then draw a track with four lanes, each with five squares to move to reach the finish line.

You’ll also need a deck of cards. During the trick, you’ll turn the top card face up, then move whichever counter matches the suit forwards a square, and continue doing this until one character crosses the finish line.

You’ll need to contrive things so that the deck is shuffled but you control the ratio of suit cards so that your favourite character reaches the finish line first (use your preferred method from Denis’ list of racing tricks).

The reveal

After the race, you can reveal you knew the winner however you like, but here are five ways to get you started:

  1. Printed on the back of the racetrack – either the name of the winner, or their picture.
  2. Send to them beforehand by text/email/msg – again, either the name or a link to an image/clip/meme.
  3. A comedy reveal – showing horizontal cartoon lines as if the character has just run out of frame, then unfolding the prediction fully to show the character.
  4. Having a trophy cup with their name engraved or a plushy of the character stuffed inside (hat tip to Pete McCabe for the idea of using a trophy to produce an object, in ‘Fruit Cup’ from his cracking book, Scripting Magic).
  5. Wearing it – tear open your shirt to reveal you are wearing the winner’s outfit underneath.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve not tried a racing prediction routine before, you may be surprised at just how well it plays for an audience – they get really into it.

Happily, with a magnetic whiteboard, a few magnets, and a little thought, this can be adapted to zoom shows (method-wise, you could adapt the Tumble-Bored approach from my Tumble Shuffle post).

Another nice thing is that, provided you get the ratio of suits right, they can shuffle the cards and the race will run slightly differently each time, even if it always ends with the same winner.

Give it a go, I think you’ll enjoy it.