Swoop racing was a high-speed spectator sport using modified swoop engines. The vehicles involved often reached speeds of 600 kilometers per hour.
In the days of the Jedi Civil War, competing swoop racers did not take to the track at the same time. Instead, each racer would race alone over a course filled with obstacles and speed-enhancing "acceleration pads". After all racers had completed one or more trials, the racer with the best time won. The swoop racing circuit at the time centered on Taris, with other tracks on Nar Shaddaa, Onderon, Telos IV, Manaan and Tatooine. Most famously, Revan competed in the Taris circuit shortly before that planet's destruction; using a modified swoop to gain the fastest time.
Though its hey-day was during the Jedi Civil War, swoop racing was always a popular sport both on professional and amateur levels. It enjoyed a resurgence in popularity when it became the Empire-sanctioned replacement of podracing.
Swoop Racing was often regarded as a safer alternative to podracing since the tracks were much less complex and the risk of injury or death was not as high as the faster podracing events. Its popularity may also have been helped by the fact that Humans could participate since swoop racing required less reflexes than podracing. That being said, swoop racing was not totally risk-free as evidenced by the extremely dangerous Agrilat-based illegal Dragonbane races which were organized by the Black Seraphs.
During his youth, Dengar was considered something of a swoop racing cult hero throughout the Corellian system for his successes on the professional circuit. But, tired of constant comparisons to another young racer from the private circuit named Han Solo, Dengar challenged his rival to an illegal, winner-takes-all race through the hazardous crystal swamps of Agrilat. During the race, Solo executed a maneuver that sent Dengar flying off his swoop head first into a crystalline plant, injuring him terribly. After the Empire restored Dengar to health and refitted him with cybernetics and assigned him to servitude as an Imperial assassin, Dengar would carry a burning, personal hatred for Solo for the remainder of his life.
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