The 2017 MultiGP Drone Racing National Championship in Reno, Nevada
Nationals has come and gone again this year putting the cap on another drone racing season. TN had four pilots competing this year after a grueling qualifying process that stretches back to April. Music City has had a presence in MultiGP almost two years now and had five pilots attending last years Nationals.
Alex “captainvanover” Vanover became the 2017 MultiGP Champ, coming out ahead in a convincing final heat. A relative new comer to the scene he made a name for himself pretty quickly, also having a strong run at this years first International Open in Muncie. Part of the young gun crew at just 17 years old he is the youngest MultiGP Champ to date. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. DRL birth? DR1 maybe?
On to Music City, there was a lot of hype surrounding this group of guys here in TN. They were in it to win it, hard, sharp, focused practice was the name of the game leading up to Nationals for the TN pilots. The competition is ever growing in the new sport of drone racing and TN pilots want to make a name for themselves.
Aaron “BumpyFPV” Bigger made the cut for Serious 60 this year finishing 5th during the 2A Regional Finals, he also won the Music City Local Qualifier. Bumpy has made a name for himself being on a very short list of pilots competing at a high level on a micro class quad (3” prop diameter). These are very tiny quads that most pilots assume just can’t compete with their larger 5” cousins. Bumpy has been proving them wrong time and time again. He had 3 rounds of qualifying in Reno in order to advance to the next round. His first attempt was picture perfect setting a good pace to make the show but ran into some bad luck in later rounds. With three round qualifiers everyone in the racing community knows you need a little lady luck on your side and he just didn’t have enough this time. If anyone will be back for more though its Bumpy.
All in all though Bumpy has came out on top this year, being one of the most respected pilots in Music City. Leading the charge to make drone racing a thing in TN, he built and maintains one of TN’s only permanent fpv tracks and is the first guy to offer a helping hand if someone wants to learn to race. We now run bi-montly racing at his park thanks to him.
Blake “Nubb” Sams Also got his ticket punched during the Peachtree 2A Finals this year for a chance to go to Reno. He finished 2nd at the Peachtree Cup 2A Regional Final and won the Atlanta DRC local qualifier. He avoided needing to run in Serious 60 by becoming a finalist (top28 qualifier) and automatically advanced to Fast56. He would go on to advance out of Fast56 in a last round cut throat effort to occupy the 16th and final spot. He had some early bad luck during the Final 16 bracket races and would finish 14th overall. Blake has finished top 16 in the only three major events this year for MultiGP. He ran 6th place in Sebring, 11th place at International Open, and finally capped it off with another hard run at this years Nationals securing his spot as a top racer in MultiGP. More to come this year for Blake as well, because he attended the first MDX last year he is also guaranteed a spot for that race coming up in November inside the Mega Cavern in Kentucky.
Alex “The Cheif” Campbell is relatively a newcomer onto the racing scene getting his start earlier this year during the Music City Local Qualifier. After advancing from the Local Qualifiers he would go on to run 4th during the Peachtree Cup securing a Serious 60 birth in Reno. Alex has made drone racing look easy the past few months showing signs of being a top contender. He would go on to leave little room for doubt about that after his performance in Reno. After setting an early fast qualifying time Saturday evening, qualifying was cut short until the next day with Alex on the #7 spot going into a final round of qualifying Sunday morning. Only to watch the bubble creep and creep on his position making it clear he had to step up what was already a smashing heat to get the #7 seed. So his last run came under serious pressure if he wanted to make top 16. And pressure might be his new middle name, he came out and smashed his previous mark by over 6 seconds grabbing the #3 seed. His day was not over either, you don’t get the nickname “The Cheif” by giving up or thinking good is good enough. He overcame some bad luck and pulled out a heat win over some good competition in his first high level bracket race. Then finally some mechanical trouble in what would be his last heat was enough to finally take down The Cheif. A valiant effort on his part finally ending up in 11th place at this years MultiGP National Championship. What is next for The Cheif?
Evan “headsupfpv” Turner another guy getting thrown into the young gun category at 14 years old from TN. Evan burst onto the scene during a run at Joe Nall taking down some pretty big names. There were still naysayers though even after that, warranted or not. Evan was being asked to prove himself again during the run up for MultiGP Nats. Drone racers are hardheaded by nature, people would say things like “He’s good, but he ain’t that good”, and “ He’s only 14”, and the ever popular “Yeah but he can’t beat me”. All silenced in just a few short work days for headsupfpv, After making the Huntsville Local Qualifer look easy with a 2nd place finish, Evan would shock the drone racing world with an upset victory at the Peachtree Cup 2A Regional Final. Pulling out the upset victory over Nick Willard, and Blake Sams, securing his spot in Fast56 for the Reno Championship. All the while mumbling things under his breath like “I just go fast” and “I’m just gonna send it”. The intimidation factor had been dialed up to 11. But still… He was asked to prove himself one more time in Reno. Like the other two guys that made Fast56 from TN, he was forced to make a near perfect run during the last round of qualifying on Sunday just to make the show. He was plagued with bad luck during the first two rounds but quickly redeemed himself with his last run. The stage was set, he had made top 16 in the worlds most competitive drone race to date. It was time to have fun at that point, and fun he had, advancing enough rounds to come out 10th place overall and to be the best finish to date a Tennessee pilots has had for MultiGP Nationals. Hard to say what the future holds for Evan but I think we all agree now, “its gonna be fast”.