A story about Speed
After eleven months of watching my local Rocket League scene slowly die before my eyes a British player actually won an international LAN event, but when Bluey and PSG Esports claimed the DreamHack Leipzig 2018 title, English player Speed was barely on the radar.

Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke's story starts in late 2017, where after a spree of strong Gfinity Weekly placements he joined Reason Gaming as a substitute for Season 2 of the Gfinity Elite Series. On the second week he replaced Tigreee in a match against title contenders Endpoint, which Reason won 3-2. Reason would find themselves up against Endpoint once again in the best of 7 grand final, in which Reason edged out Endpoint 4-3, with their usual roster.

The new year rolled around with little to show bar a Rival Esports Cup win in February. Even Speed's tenure at UNILAD during Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 yielded no more than a group stage win over the Alpha Republic of Esports, which UNILAD placed behind anyway after round difference was taken into account.

Speed finally settled on joining The Bricks with Fruity and Shakahron. The roster placed second at the Ballistix Brawl and won a few Gfinity Summer Series events before he left to join Triple Trouble, replacing Andom.

Within 10 days of playing with the team he won Rocket Baguette: The Play, beating PSG Esports, which had since acquired his former teammate Fruity, WeDemGirlz and reigning world champions Team Dignitas. This was later backed up by wins over Team Vitality and The Clappers at Rewind Gaming's The Colosseum.

With results like these and a spot in the RLRS, it wasn't long before Red Reserve signed Speed and Triple Trouble. The team finished the season 6-1, losing only to Team Secret, and placed second on round difference. Later in October, they won the Rocket Baguette Grand Prix, booking themselves the first spot in the Renegade Cup Finals.

Red Reserve rounded out their 2018 by winning a quarter of the thirty-two Gfinity Winter Series events, placing second at Ballistix Brawl #2 and qualifying for the RLCS by beating Rival Series adversaries Savage! 4-0 in the upper bracket finals.

2019 kicked off with two qualifiers to international LANs, the fourth World Showdown of Esports and the first DreamHack Pro Circuit event in Leipzig. Speed participated in the former with Red Reserve, placing fifth when second was required to attend the WSOE LAN. In the week between the WSOE and DHPC qualifiers, FlipSid3 Tactics acquired Speed on loan. The future of the loaned Speed was put in to question almost immediately as the team lost to ZenoMoon in the first round of the upper bracket and eventually crashed out in Losers’ Round 4 against PSG. Red Reserve placed third while fielding substitute Kassio.

His last event while on loan to FlipSid3 Tactics, and his last chance to prove himself to the team, was the WSOE LAN. Despite initial concerns about attendance due to eleventh-hour flight bookings, Speed and FlipSid3 made it to Las Vegas in time to participate.

FlipSid3 faced Chiefs Esports Club in the first round of group stage matches, sweeping the Australians before facing American underdogs Afterthought, who proved more of a challenge. FlipSid3 found themselves 2 match points down after 3 games, two of which extended into overtime. A loss here would be fatal to both FlipSid3’s morale and Speed’s reputation as an RLCS quality player. Despite this, the team grinded back from the brink to win the series 3-2. In total there were four overtimes out of the five games in that series. Meanwhile on the main stream, Dignitas stomped RLCS Season 6 champions Cloud9 3-1 putting FlipSid3 firmly in the lead with two wins and no losses.

Despite their initial success, FlipSid3 fell to Cloud9 in the third round of group stage matches, narrowly missing out on completing a reverse sweep. With Dignitas and Cloud9 playing the group’s lowest seeds Chiefs and Afterthought later in the day, winning the fourth round match against Dignitas was crucial in order to avoid a quarter-final bout against a resurgent NRG Esports or ELEAGUE Cup winners Team SoloMid. FlipSid3 claimed the first two games 1-0 and 3-1. Game three went to overtime at 2-2, and by some miracle, miztik put the last goal in to secure the sweep and a group stage first place for FlipSid3.

Championship Sunday initially hit hard, with FlipSid3 losing their first semi-final game against Cloud9 in overtime under questionable circumstances, this seemed to have no effect on their confidence however as they proceeded to win the next 3 games 3-2, 4-0 and 1-0. After a great deal of discussion, the organisers, Cloud9 and FlipSid3 agreed that a lag spike during the Game 1 overtime rendered the result invalid, so WSOE decided to replay the overtime. This time it went in favour of FlipSid3, winning them the series 4-0.

Within half an hour FlipSid3 were back on stage to play the grand final against NRG. The Americans were quick off the mark, winning the first game 4-0, and held out in game two to reach overtime, however FlipSid3 scored their first goal of the series to tie the series at 1-1. FlipSid3 also won the third game 1-0 before falling to NRG in game four, who were now outscoring Speed and company 8-3. But statistics are for the weak according to FlipSid3, the team won game five 2-0 and game six 5-1 to claim first place overall, a majority British roster finally won a relevant esports event.

On January 31, Speed’s contract with Red Reserve expired, and as of this morning he left Triple Trouble. Although he is teamless once again, with the RLCS just around the corner and FlipSid3 a man down, I suspect Speed will be back on an RLCS team in no time.