Updated: Jun 11, 2018
The UVify Denver Internationals, Race 4 of the IDRA 2018 Challengers Cup, at AUVSI Xponential was a tremendous success. Although we only had 18 pilots register, because most couldn't take time from work for a mid-week event, the competition was stiff and the pilots put on a great show for the spectators. Based off of the reactions and inquiries of some, we definitely succeeded in baptizing new members to the growing community. Big thanks to the pilots for making that possible.
So why have a 3 year partnership with AUVSI Xponential?
IDRA's main goal is to grow the international drone community, creating a platform to develop Drone Racing into the future of Motorsports. We accomplish this by bringing races to established, successful events to showcase the sport and its technologies to new demographics. With that in regard, what event is greater to partner with? AUVSI Xponential provided an amazing platform for IDRA to promote the sport to the great drone industry. With 7 out of 10 racing pilots, at IDRA races, being industry members, it was clear to AUVSI that we belonged at the event.
Our hope is that we garnered more support, from major drone companies, for IDRA and competing pilots. In addition to the valuable interests and inquiries we received, it was amazing to hear about the many job offers given to some of the pilots who were competing at the UVify Denver Internationals. Nothing can beat that.
Heading into the race, we were excited to see a strong, ranked match-up starting to form from pilots who competed well at the Phoenix Regionals, Race 1 of the 2018 Challengers Cup, with Flite Factory in February. #5 Ranked Shaun Taylor "Nytfury," from Albuquerque, NM, USA, was coming in as the Runner-Up in Phoenix, behind #1 Ranked Alex Vanover "CaptainVanover." #14 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV," from Scottsdale, AZ, USA, was the Top Qualifier and a Semifinalist from Phoenix. Other Phoenix Semifinalists, #17 Ranked Elio Mella "EM Drones," from Miami, FL, USA, #21 Ranked Seth Parker "PoisonPilot," from Fort Collins, CO, USA, and #22 Ranked Mackenna McClure "McFly FPV," from Dunedin, FL, USA, where traveling in to compete and earn more points toward the Top 32 Pilot Rankings.
Pilots got a ton of opportunities to fly the track on Day 1 and Day 2, the second being the first day that attendees had access to the showroom floor of AUVSI Xponential. That afternoon, we started qualifying and immediately noticed some key performances that would determine most outcomes during elimination rounds on Day 3. For all 4 qualifying rounds, #5 Ranked Shaun Taylor "Nytfury" had the lowest E.T., "elapsed time," for 3 laps on the track. Coincidentally, Dalton Cooper "FPVCaptain," was close behind Shaun with the second fastest time each qualifying round. The third fastest times were shared between #14 Ranked Dallas Kemp, "Murica FPV," #17 Elio Mella "EM Drones," and Chance Hartman "Freefall." To foreshadow eliminations, Jessika Farrar "Rotorgrrl" was the only pilot, other than Shaun and Dalton, who completed all 4 qualifying rounds. More interesting than that, Jessika and Shaun were the only pilots who bested their times each round.
The Top 4 qualified pilots, Shaun Taylor "Nytfury," Dalton Cooper "FPVCaptain," Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV," and Elio Mella "EM Drones," earned the opportunity to compete in the UVify Draco Stock Race during the morning of Day 3. After a practice session, the pilots competed, head-to-head, in a round-robin format. Shaun walked away with the most wins and a new UVify Draco!
Now for eliminations! Because of the number of registered pilots, the competition didn't really begin until the quarterfinals. However, it is important to note that Run 1 of the First Round was the only time that Shaun Taylor "Nytfury," crashed and didn't complete the 3 laps. Performances in the quarterfinals stayed true to season and qualifying rankings, eliminating pilots 8 through 16, except for Jessika Farrar "Rotorgrrl," who was qualified #10.
Semifinals was awesome! For Heat 1, Shaun Taylor "Nytfury" was untouchable; his fastest performances of eliminations. He needed to perform well, for being in such a competitive heat with #14 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV," Chance Hartman "Freefall," and #21 Ranked Seth Parker "PoisonPilot," but inconsistency plagued their performances. Chance had a solid 2nd Place finish, with a 40.39 sec E.T., for Run 1 but crashed out first in Run 2. Seth Parker "PoisonPilot" crashed out first in Run 1 and finished 2nd Place, with a 45.02 sec E.T., for Run 2. Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV" finished 3rd Place, with a 42.45 sec E.T., for Run 1 and then crashed out for 3rd Place in Run 2. The inconsistency equated a three way tie, at 2 points, between Dallas, Chance, and Seth. Fortunate for Dallas, being qualified 3rd was enough to break the tie and send him to the Final Round.
For Heat 2, Jessika Farrar "Rotorgrrl's" consistency was the story. As the #10 pilot from qualifying, Jessika stood no chance against Dalton Cooper "FPVCaptain," #17 Ranked Elio Mella "EM Drones," and #22 Ranked Mackenna McClure "McFly FPV." In Run 1, Dalton registered a solid 1st Place finish with a 34.74 sec E.T, Mackenna crashed out first, Elio Mella crashed out for a 3rd Place, and Jessika, staying in those high 40s, laid down a 49.55 sec E.T. to get 2nd Place. Run 2 was even more dramatic than the first; Dalton Cooper, runner-up in qualifying, crashed out first, leaving him with a total of 3 points and at risk of elimination. Elio Mella then crashed out for 3rd Place, saving Dalton's position in the Final Round, and Mackenna McClure ended just short of completing the 3 laps. With another consistent finish at 48.55 sec, Jessika Farrar advanced to the Final Round, with 5 points, and channel choice after Shaun Taylor "Nytfury."
The RF environment, on the showroom floor at AUVSI Xponential, was tough with all the digital interference from other aircraft and exhibitors nearby. We were very happy to find 4 flyable channels before eliminations. With that said, environments can change and affect any channel. Our format tries to reduce the probability of "chance" or "luck" as much as possible. First Round is seeded by your qualifying position. Each elimination round has two runs to redeem shortcomings and unfortunate events around racing (IDRA's version of double elimination.) A pilot's performance in the previous round, qualifying position being applied to the First Round, will determine the order for Channel Choice. Lastly, all tie breakers are determined by qualifying position. Some of these aspects came into play during the first three elimination rounds, but were most evident in the Final Round.
Final Round! Shaun Taylor "Nytfury" had another solid performance in Run 1, registering a 36.79 sec E.T. and securing 1st Place. Dalton Cooper "FPV Captain," after switching back to Channel A1, experienced some issues and crashed out first. Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV" laid down his fastest time of the day, with a 41.19 sec E.T., and finished in 2nd Place. Coming in 3rd Place was Jessika Farrar "Rotorgrrl," with another consistant 45.82 sec E.T. Heading into Run 2 for the Final Round, the points were Shaun (3 pts), Dallas (2 pts), Jessika (1 pt), and Dalton (0 pts). In Run 2, Dalton experienced more issues and crashed out first. Dallas came in a slow 3rd Place, with a 55.28 sec E.T., and Jessika registered another solid 47.15 sec E.T. for 2nd Place. Needless to say, Shaun Taylor finished in 1st Place, with a 41.45 sec E.T, and as the clear Race Champion with 6 points. Dallas Kemp broke a 3 point tie breaker, his 3rd qualifying position coming in handy again, with Jessika Farrar to earn Runner-Up and she in 3rd Place.
The UVify Denver Internationals, Race 4 of the 2018 Challengers Cup and second race in the United States, plaid a significant role in creating a block of American pilots in the Top 5 of the Top 32 Pilot Rankings. Now #1 Ranked, Shaun Taylor "Nytfury" is far in the lead with 393 season points, followed by the other pilots who also competed in Phoenix and Denver, #2 Ranked Dallas Kemp "Murica FPV," #3 Ranked Elio Mella "EM Drones," #4 Ranked Mackenna McClure, and #5 Ranked Seth Parker "PoisonPilot." The other two pilots to make notice of are #10 Ranked Dalton Cooper "FPVCaptain" and #11 Ranked Jessika Farrar "Rotorgrrl," both who have climbed near the Top 10 after one competition. These rankings will continue to change as the season progresses, but these names will likely remain. After this weekend's race, Genova Internationals, in Italy, several ranked pilots from Switzerland will threaten to take positions in the Top 5 and even the #1 spot. However, it may not last. The majority of the FlightOne crew are competing in the San Bernardino Regionals, and are considering the St. Mary's Internationals in Maryland, to further defend their positions in the Top 5. We know Jessika Farrar "Rotorgrrl," will compete in Maryland! So look out for her consistency, as she aims to move up into the Top 10.
Join Justin Haggerty live, at IDRA's Facebook Page, on Monday at 4pm EST, for the release of the new Top 32 Pilot Rankings after the Genova Internationals, Race 5 of the 2018 Challengers Cup.
As always, stay safe, have fun, and we'll see you at the next race!