It’s that time of year, the time to crown a new British Drone Racing Champion. The 2017 British Drone Racing Championships took place on Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of October at the BMFA Buckminster Headquarters. The pilots battled high stormy winds, a constant 30mph with 60+mph gusts giving the competitors an unusual challenge in the race to become champion. The BDR Championships consisted of 60 UK drone racers. They have all been invited to the Championships through finishing in the top 10 of a Qualifying Event held earlier in the year. Over the weekend, the pilots were split into 10 groups of 6 pilots and all pilots flew 9 races. The best 4 of those 9 races were used to seed each pilot into 10 final groups. Pilots with similar cumulative laps and time over their best 4 races were grouped together (6 fastest pilots are in Final-A, the next fastest 6 in Final-B). The final groups will ultimately decide what position a pilot will complete the Championship in. A-Final will be battling for Champion to 6th, B-Final can only fight it out for 7th to 12th and so on. All pilots are wanting to get seeded into the A-Final for a chance to get their name on the British Championship Trophy.
30mph crosswinds, causing havoc and creating interesting, unpredictable standings after day 1.Legit weather report.com
The track itself was a marvel to the eye. Built by AirDezign it was a completely custom track with 2 brand new feature gates being premiered at the British Championships. The new boost gates, these were used to force racers to gain height and to dive back through them to close proximity with the floor. It was the amazing debut of the 6m Cube which was the towering focal point of the track. It had 3 routes of traffic passing through it and was an stunning centre piece. The track was designed by Kwad Club’s co-founder Jon Totham, with sleek lines and compact features, keeping to the traditional UK track recipe and really making it a race track. If you fancied pitting yourself against the pro’s or just see if you can make it round the track – You can find the track on the Rotor Rush Drone Racing Simulator.
At the beginning of the day, the typical lap time was 30+ secs and by the end of the day. There was a fight to break the 20sec lap time by BanniUK (Luke Bannister, the 2016 British Champion) and MomentFPV (Alfie Mitchell) and Alfie was just pitched at the post with BanniUK being the only pilot to break the 20sec mark on the Saturday but Alfie missing out by only 0.04 seconds on a couple of occasions to join BanniUK in breaking that 20sec laptime.
The lap average by the end of saturday was at 26s laps. You’d normally see the first round time split in half by the end of the first day where pilots are really pushing to seed themselves in the A-Final. So you can see the wind was adding at least 10 sec’s to the top tier’s lap times and in some instances taking them out of the running all together.
Strategy played a huge hand in Saturday with a handful of pilots weighing down their quads making them less prone to getting blown around and being able to stay on their line through the stormy winds.
Alfie missing out by only 0.04 seconds on a couple of occasions to join BanniUK in breaking that 20sec laptime. Legit LiveTime Race Analysis
After the racing wrapped up for the day we turned to the Tiny Whoop Room to race some whoops around a track full of AirDezign Whoop gates and an open caravan with smoke and lasers to give the night racing something super special. During the championships the BFPVRA elected their new committee for 2018. Congratulations to the new chariman – Richard Bloxam, Secretary – Karl Eze, Treasurer – Richard Rowland, Membership Secretary – Adam Mackrory. Being part of the new committee I know we want to work together with the community to bring structure to the Qualifying process for the British Championships, help communicate the racing happening near you, bring you more local racing, create meaningful rules and regulations with the pilots in mind and to help clubs get the confidence they need to hold bigger and better races.
When the sun rose on the Sunday after a very destructive night, we saw a change of direction for the wind which left the pilots rediscovering the track with the new wind direction, in turn it benefited some pilots, putting in their fastest times of the weekend and banking the laps they needed to claw back up the leaderboard before the final groups are seeded.
There was a tense competition for the last place in the A-Final between Chris Knight (Special K) and Alfie Mitchell (Moment FPV) it came all the way down to Alfie’s last race where he HAD to do 5 or more laps (sub 25sec laps) to get the chance to become British Champion. Even with the pressure, he managed to put in a great last race and push a 5 lapper taking the last place in the A Final and the chance to become the 2017 British Champion and has been the only pilot to challenge BanniUK on his fastest lap of the weekend.
The finals consisted of 6 pilots and 3 races. At the end of each race the pilot gets awarded points for where they finished – 1st 10 points, 2nd 7 points, 3rd 5 points, 4th 3 points, 5th 2 points, 6th 1 point but if they failed to do a lap, the pilot would score 0 in that leg. After the 3 rounds, their cumulative points are added up and a champion is decided.
The A-Final saw Lee Underwood (FPVLee), Leo Whitfield (Leo), Alfie Mitchell (MomentFPV), Harry Plested (HarryFPV), Luke Bannister (BanniUK) & Brett Collis (CollisION) race over 3 races to decide who becomes the 2017 British Champion.
We had 60 pilots, 10 rounds, 111 individual races, 1,295 laps and a collective time of 12 hours and 55 minutes racing over the weekend.More Legit LiveTime Race Analysis
BanniUK, the reigning British Champion, bought his a-game and finished each race on top and showed the field why he is one of the best drone racers in the world right now and why he deserves to retain the British Championship Title.
The REAL fight was between Leo, Lee and Harry for 2nd and 3rd! They were all within seconds of each other in each and every race, it could have been any of them on the podium. In the end Leo Whitfield (Danish Champion) and Lee Underwood saw it through to take 2nd and 3rd respectively. We had 60 pilots, 10 rounds, 111 individual races, 1,295 laps and a collective time of 12 hours and 55 minutes racing over the weekend – Congratulations to all the pilots competing, well done for being in the top 60 drone racers in the UK and adapting to the conditions so well. It was incredible to see how you all adapted to the crazy conditions. A HUGE congrats to Luke Bannister for being the first pilot to retain the British Championships 2 years in a row.
The whole weekend wouldn’t have been possible without everyone who supported the BFPVRA and sponsored the event itself, so thank you to everyone who took the time to be there and especially the Sponsors of the event.
If you think you have what it takes to qualify for the 2018 British Championships. Then keep your eyes peeled on the BFPVRA website and facebook page for Qualifying event details which will be released early 2018.
If you think you have what it takes to qualify for the 2018 British Championships. Then keep your eyes peeled on the BFPVRA website.Lay the gauntlet down
All qualifying events are open to any pilot wanting to compete but if you feel like you want to warm up by visiting a few local events or joining a local club, there are plenty dotted all around the country – Kwad Club (Berkshire/Surrey), Kent Quadcopter Racing Club, Delta Hawks (Leicestershire), Drone Zone (Winchester), Hull FPV, Suffolk FPV, Hillbilly Hot Quads (Weston Super Mare) and many many more all over the country.
I hope to see a lot of new and old faces on the race track in 2018.