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I've noticed that sometimes when I crash into other Karts, we both spin out -- but then I get a speed boost, and continue flying past them.

What factors are at play here? Should I always try to be ramming my opponents? I seem to have noticed this mostly when the Karts are in anti-grav mode -- is that a requirement to get this speed boost?

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If you run into another driver with a boost you can steal it from them by colliding with their kart.

The final speed boost is to just steal a boost from someone else. When you see a driver with three mushrooms or the Crazy 8 circling their kart, you can physically collide with an item to get its effects.

While in zero gravity mode, crashing into any kart will give you a boost.

When in zero-G, any kart you hit -- and certain glowing posts in the road -- will give you a speed boost

Quotes from an IGN article.

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    It's like when someone has Shells or Bananas circling them. If you bump into the bananas, you'll get hit as though the banana was on the floor. If you bump into a mushroom circling someone, you'll get the boost as though the mushroom was on the floor
    – 3Doubloons
    Jun 1, 2014 at 21:14

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