The Flame Pokémon-athon! (ほのおのポケモンだいレース！ The Great Race of Fire Pokémon!) is the 33rd episode of Pokémon: Indigo League.
Going to catch a Tauros, a lady named Lara stops Ash from catching, as he is in the Safari Zone, where people cannot capture any Pokémon. Later, Lara attempts to calm down her Ponyta, but gets wounded in the process, so asks Ash to participate in her stead. Meanwhile, Lara's main opponent, Dario, makes a deal with Team Rocket, which gives Dario a big (yet unfair) advantage in the race.
As Ash, Misty, and Brock continue on their way, they come into where they think is the Safari Zone. They are stopped from catching the Tauros there by a girl named Lara Laramie who tells them that it is not the Safari Zone, but the Laramie Ranch owned by the Laramie clan. Brock immediately recognizes the name of the ranch when Lara says it, snapping him out of his love-induced trance. He explains that the ranch preserves and raises wild Pokémon and that the Pokémon raised at the ranch are very strong.
She shows them around and tells them about the big race the following day at a nearby festival. Lara tells Ash and his friends that she plans to enter the race with her Ponyta. Ash tries to touch Ponyta, but his hand is burned by Ponyta's flaming mane and tail. He is burned so badly that Squirtle has to cool off his hand. Lara's main rival for the race is Dario, who is racing with his Dodrio. Lara explains that the winner of the race will be named an honorary member of the Laramie clan.
Dario wants to win, at any cost, and he hires Team Rocket to help him win and they start by firing globs at the Tauros. Lara comes and has Growlithe calm them. Another blob is fired and it causes Ponyta, who she is riding on, to get scared and throw her back. She breaks her arm and she can't race. She suggests Ash to take her place. Ash is hesitant, especially when Ponyta burns him again. But with Lara's encouragement, Ponyta agrees to let Ash ride it and they both train the whole night for the race.
At the race, there are many teams entered: Ash and Ponyta, Dario and Dodrio, Brock and Onix, Misty and Starmie, and Pikachu and Squirtle. When the race starts, Dario takes the lead while Pikachu and Squirtle quickly fall back. Team Rocket starts pulling various tricks to get all other competitors out of the race. The first was using a slingshot to hit Tauros in the forehead, making it go crazy and bump into Nidorina, and battle, as they disobey their trainers' orders to stop fighting. Soon the racers climbed up a hill and on coming down and briefly taking the lead the Electrode rider fell into a pit trap set by Team Rocket and exploded, taking out two more racers and Ash with Explosion. However, to Meowth’s surprise, Pikachu used ThunderShock to wake Ash and Ponyta. Later, they arrive at a river where the Rhyhorn trainer sank to the bottom due to Rhyhorn being too heavy and Onix began to cry due to its weakness of water.
Soon, only four teams are left: Dario and Dodrio, Ash and Ponyta, Misty and Starmie, and Pikachu and Squirtle. Thankfully, Squirtle and Starmie didn't need stones to cross the river as they swim across with Pikachu and Misty surfing. Dario is still ahead, but there's a part of the race where the competitors must stop and let their Pokémon eat before continuing. Since Dodrio's three heads start fighting over who gets to eat, the other competitors catch up. desperate to get rid of the other teams, Dario asks Team Rocket's help again in the form of a smokescreen and Team Rocket recite their motto. Ash tells Pikachu and Squirtle to attack Team Rocket, but they are frozen by Arbok's Glare while Starmie gets blinded by Weezing's Sludge.
Dario takes off for the finish line, as Ash knows Team Rocket is aiding Dario as Misty tells Ash to try to catch up as they try to keep Team Rocket busy. Jessie tries to attack Ponyta with Arbok's Poison Sting, but Ponyta's flames goes up, making Arbok back off. When Weezing tries to attack Ponyta with Smog, its flames ignite Weezing's attack, sending Team Rocket blasting off.
Ash and Ponyta race for the finish line. When they catch up with Dario, he tells one of Dodrio's heads to use Peck on Ponyta. The attack makes Ponyta falter, and then evolve into Rapidash. Ash and Rapidash quickly race past the finish line and they win the race. Furious at his loss (and even having a nerve to accuse Ash of cheating), Dario orders Dodrio to attack Rapidash, only for Rapidash to use its Stomp on them, sending them both flying high into the sky.
As the festival ends, Ash and his friends say good bye to Lara and they head off for the Safari Zone. Meanwhile, Dario yells at Team Rocket who are tied to a tree for not doing the job he paid them for. Jessie says they'll do better next year, James said Dario needs better clothes, Meowth says Dodrio needs a bath. As punishment, Dario uses Dodrio to Peck on Team Rocket as Meowth shouts; "James, stop this crazy thing!".
- "That's okay. We tried." - Brock comforting Onix
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Ponyta.
- This is the first episode that does not have the "Pokémon" logo. Instead, the episode name is written in letters.
- At the end of the episode when Meowth yells "James, stop this crazy thing!", Is a reference from the show "The Jetsons" "Jane, stop this crazy thing!".
- In the dub, despite that Ash and Co. are in the Laramine Ranch, the narrator points out in the beginning and the end of the episode that they are in the Safari Zone.
- A trainer is riding a Nidorino in the starting line, but after being hit with a slingshot, the trainer is seen riding a Nidorina.
- In the English dub, when Pikachu and Squirtle come after Ash, Squrtle's Japanese voice can be heard. The same thing happens with Weezing when it jumps in front of Arbok to protect it from Ponyta's Flamethrower.
- Dario calls Team Rocket by their names in the English dub while he calls them sensei in the Japanese version.
- In the Japanese version, Lara's arm is only said to be hurt, not necessarily broken.
- In the Japanese version, Lara never states that she is related to the Laramie family.
- In the dub, when Onix is unable to cross the water, Brock comforts it by saying that they tried but in the Japanese version he says that they can't go any further.
- In the Japanese version, after Ash wins the race, Dario doesn't call him a cheater but gets angry with him for "getting in his way".
- In the English version the argument between Team Rocket and Dario at the end of episode is very different from Japanese version.
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