Another great race for the season, this time coming to you from SoCal with Race 6, the San Bernardino Regionals, at the San Bernardino County Fair with DroneX Technology. Big thanks to the SBC Fair for giving us the opportunity to bring the sport to another big event, to Flite Factory for supporting another race for timing and live streaming, and DroneX Technology for organizing this rendition of the 2018 Challengers Cup.
We had another major Ranked Matchup heading into Race 6. As discussed after Race 5 for the Genova Internationals, #3 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV" was looking toward the next race as a big opportunity to earn enough points to take the lead (taking it away from #1 Ranked Moritz Werffeli "Lazy" and #2 Ranked Shaun Taylor "Nytfury") in the points race. But, he would have to travel into SoCal, #17 Ranked Andy Marchilian "Dolma FPV," territory to do so. We got work that #21 James McGee "James the Ripper" was also going to compete, but he didn't show on race day. The hype would be all about Dallas and Andy. Now, don't let the rankings fool you; Andy is hot this year. In January, Andy went to the Las Vegas Finals and won the World Championship for the 2017 Challengers Cup, placed 3rd at Race 1 - Phoenix Regionals and was one of the top pilots at Sebring in February, and recently beat Shaun Taylor at the Open Grove Speedway. Even though Dallas is ranked #3, he is coming into Race 6 with less speed. Although Dallas hasn't won a race in 2018, he was the Top Qualifier and Semifinalist at the Phoenix Cup for Race 1 and Runner-Up, behind Shaun Taylor, at the UVify Denver Internationals at AUVSI Xponential for Race 4. In order to earn the necessary points to jump into #1 for the Top 32, Dallas would have to win his first race of the season and get past DolmaFPV to do it.
The track was huge! And, the track was pretty cool, just dirty. We were able to use the grandstand area, overseeing the big dirt track at the fairgrounds. Later that evening, on Saturday, the SBC Fair was hosting Monster Trucks, so our race had to be completed by 5pm PST. Another cool aspect for that was they had already begun prepping the dirt for the Monster Trucks, so we incorporated some of the jumps and their heavy equipment into our race track.
Qualifying. Performances for most were better in the first two rounds, as we started to see more crashes in latter two rounds with pilots pushing it to get better times. Only #3 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV," "Riden951," and Del Sutton "Noodle," completed the course all 4 Rounds of qualifying. All times were over a minute; closest to breaking a minute would come in Eliminations. Dallas was pretty consistent, registering times in the 1:10's to low 1:20's; but, #17 Ranked Andy Marchilian "DolmaFPV" was on fire and solidified himself as the Top Qualifier. Except for a crash in 3rd Round, DolmaFPV registered three of the fastest times (1:11.763, 1:11.341, and 1:13.398). The closest to Andy was Ashton Gamble "Drobot Racer's" 1:12.923 E.T. in 2nd Round and Dallas' 1:14.435 E.T. in 1st Round. Bonus points for top three E.T.'s were mostly distributed among these three pilots, including Del Sutton "Noodle," foreshadowing the Final Round of Eliminations.
Round 2, Quarterfinals. The city has a power outage, which set the race behind by an hour. With the pilots' approval, DroneX Technology had to skip Round 1 and condense the heats for Quarterfinals. Pilot E.T.'s slowed significantly heading into Eliminations. Only "Rider951," Anthony Knight "AyyyKayyyFPV." and #3 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV," maintained some consistency with qualifying performances.
Round 3, Semifinals. Because of the time lost from the power outage, the race was getting close to the Monster Truck event. In order to complete the race and not get stopped by the SBC Fair, we had to forgo the two runs per round for the Semifinals and Final Round. As stated earlier, most of the pilots, with the fastest times during qualifying, drastically slowed down in eliminations. During qualifying, #17 Ranked Andy Marachilian "DolmaFPV" registered a 1:11.341 E.T. as Top Qualifier. Now during eliminations, he couldn't seem to get out of the 1:30's. The same for Ashton Gamble "Drobot Racer." However, Dallas was speeding up. "Rider951" and Anthony Knight "AyyyKayyyFPV," were both solid in quarterfinals and struggled in Round 3, giving the go for Del Sutton "Noodle" and Ashton to advance to the Finals.
Round 4, Final Round. We apologize for not having times for the Final Round. On the start-line, Del Sutton "Noodle" was bleeding over onto #3 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Muric FPV's" video. As an awesome teammate, Del unplugged and told Dallas to "SEND-IT!" Dallas wasn't faster than #17 Ranked Andy Marachilian "DomaFPV" and Ashton Gamble "Drobot Racer" during qualifying, but he was consistently faster during eliminations. That's what counts, and that is what it takes to win. Andy was Runner-Up and Ashton finished in 3rd.
Dallas knew that he needed to win to earn enough points to pass #3 Ranked Shaun Taylor "Nytfury" and #2 Ranked Moritz Werffeli "Lazy," and he did after earning 154 points! His season total, and the total for #1, is now 420 points. Andy Marachilian "DolmaFPV" moves from #17 to #4 after earning another 130 points. Ashton Gamble "Drobot Racer," after earning 99 points, is now #27 Ranked. Del Sutton "Noodle" moves from being unranked to #10 after earning another 94 points. Lastly, after earning an additional 69 points, Devin Thompson "Dthomps" has moved up to the #21 spot.
So what does this mean? The San Bernardino Regionals is the third consecutive race where the highest ranking pilot won. Not only does this validate the Top 32 Pilot Rankings, but it creates a dilemma for pilots who are aspiring to climb the rankings. As top ranked pilots continue to travel, compete, and dominate in more races (San Bernardino being the third race for #1 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV"), it will be difficult for a pilot to consistently earn points as a Quarterfinalist or Semifinalist and take the points lead. To our knowledge, Race 7 at the St. Mary's Internationals (DroneX Maryland) is going to be another major Ranked Matchup. A lot of the Flight One guys are talking about going and trying to dominate another race in the United States. Will Dallas protect his #1 spot in the Top 32? Or, will another ranked pilot break the trend and take it from him?
As always, stay safe, have fun, and we'll see you at the next race!