Firday, July 1
The day has arrived. Hour of the meet: 7:00AM, place: the UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). This means the sun hasn’t even risen. All the team members are finishing the last details of their luggage. Quads, lipos, props, battery chargers… Everything’s in the suitcase and ready to be used in the next few hours.
Once in the meeting spot, we rearrange some of the bags and some members to travel moe comfortably in the cars, respectively; as we now face more than 6h of journey before getting to our first destination, a very special place that all FPV junkies will probably recognize.
The journey is quite enjoyable, we’re all anxious to get to our first destination, some abandoned hospital; but before that we have to make a short stop to refill the gas tanks and get something to eat. After that we’re all ready to go back to our cars, and in a matter of minutes we’re already there.
Indeed!!, it’s the abandoned hospital where Charpu flew in one of his most popular freestyle. And of course, if we went to Madrid we couldn’t let the opportunity pass and we went flying there, even if we only did a couple of batteries. There was only one problem: we couldn’t risk too much, as some pilots only had one quad, which means that any crash will mean having to repair tha quad overnight, in order to have an operative quad for the weekend. And even knowing this, some don’t think about it twice and risk it all to get some incredible shots such as going through the same hole Charpu went through in his video.
The place has plenty of possibilities, corridors, columns, holes in the walls… (in the video you can see some of the shots of the place), but we don’t have much time, as we have to be where the event takes place at 17:00, to be able to register and to get our quads checked for safety reasons. When we get there we start meeting friends we had already seen in Mollerussa or Roses.
Finally, and after a fair bit of waiting, we’re able to register ourselves and they give us the key of our bungalow where we’ll spend the rest of the weekend. We leave all our belongings there and we head to the track for the technical verifications.
As expected, all pilots pass the verifications without major issues, and we get to see the place where the track will be set at for the first time. It all looks awesome, we start getting more and more nervous, as it’s the first event of this size that the team goes to, and we all want to give our best out there.
Now it’s time to go back to our bungalows and cook dinner. Here’s where our friend Diego (Sportingolas) comes into the equation, and pulls out nearly 100 botifarres (catalan sausages) that he has brought specially to share with all the FPV community members. A lot of guys come to enjoy the delicious dinner we had prepared. That was useful not only to create a good vibe between the pilots, but also to put faces to all those buddies who we only knew from the forums and chats.
It’s already 1:00 AM in the morning, and we’re really tired; which means it’s time to go to bed and rest a bit in order to have energy enough for the whole day that awaits us.
Saturday, July 2
Just as it had done the day before, the alarm goes off quite early, as we have to get ready to be in the pilot briefing that will take place in a specially dedicated conference hall at 8:30, where all the bells and whistles of the event will be explained.
After the briefing, we head towards the area where both the F3U circuit and the freestyle structure are. It’s the first time we get to see the track (which is good, to avoid any advantages between pilots). To make the first rounds a bit easier, the staff lets us take a walk around the track to understand and inspect every single turn of the circuit.
It’s a very complete track that has a bit of everything: a fast zone inside a forest, a more technical zone with a 5 flag slalom including a fast change of direction and a long straight, that involves going under a tunnel, and ends with a high gate, where you have to do a 180º turn to go through a lower gate and immediately regain altitude to go through another high gate. A very technical but extremely fun track indeed.
At around 11:00 the open practices are started, where we’ll test the track ourselves for the first time, to try to memorize and interiorize the track. The first thing we can tell is the outstanding video quality in our goggles, and it’s all thanks to a diversity system provided by ImmersionRC, that avoids nearly all interferences at any point in the track.
Heats go by; there are so many pilots and the schedule is quite busy. During these practice runs some pilots stick out, such as the Tornado X Blades and some other highly skilled pilots. The pace at which they do the laps is impressing.
The qualifications start in the afternoon. Each pilot will have 2 heats of 4 laps each in order to try and get the best lap out of the 64 pilots that will move onto the finals of Sunday. It’s the time where we have to get the best of us. The best laps are set by Mac Poswald with an amazing 19.14s closely followed by the Dubai World Champion Luke Bannister with an impressive 19.63s. Well after the last heat has been flown the results are published. Our team’s results are quite satisfactory, as 5 out of the 6 pilots that took part in the event classified for the finals of Sunday. Only one hasn’t been able to set a time due to technical probems with his setup.
It’s time for the team race. The rules aren’t too precise, given the new race format presented, but after a short meeting with the rest of the teams and the organizers the rules are a bit more clear to everybody. When the race starts, the wildness starts as well: pilots running from one side to the other for the pit stops, everyone shouting and laughing… Finally, and as it was expected, the Tornado X Blades takes the victory. Our team finishes in 4th position, out of the 8 starting teams, which is quite a good result for us.
After the race has finished it’s time to regain energy with another round of botifarres from Sportingolas. This time around a few “pros” join us, such as MetallDanny, BannyUK or Kent; but it has been a very long day and it’s time to go to bed not too late in order to be able to race at our maximum on Sunday.
Sunday, July 3
It’s the last day of competition, and if we were nervous the day before, today we’re even more. There’s no margin for error anymore.
The lists of the different rounds are out, and unfortunately for us, it’s quite a letdown: three of the five classified members of the team are placed in the same round, and they must fight between each other to pass to quarters. This is not the ideal situation, but we have to accept it. The other two members of the team are in different rounds.
First round starts, with @armengol13, @MIJABA and @JR_acro. The horn sounds, and all pilots are up, with the intention to finish between the first four, to be classified for quarters. The race is very intense, and there’s a frantic duel between @JR_acro and Dani Pacha (Tornado XBlades team pilot) in the lead. Finally, the three members of the CameraCopter team land in the mat, with their corresponding laps, which means they are classified for quarter finals, as the 4 other pilots had crashed and didn’t manage to finish.
In the next rounds, @EAM5892 and @GASGAS crash, which is a pity, but that’s what racing’s all about. Anyway, the results are still positive, because 3 of 6 pilots of the team are classified to quarter finals. Or at least that’s what we thought.
After the last qualifying round, the corresponding lists are printed and we get the huge disappointment of the weekend. Because of an error with the timer, @armengol13 is out of the quarter finals, and we wonder why. We discuss with the organizers, just to clarify the issue but we get nothing. We must recover from this and support the two remaining pilots. They will race in the same round in quarter finals.
It’s almost 15:00, and the rounds of quarter finals are about to start. The qualifiers for the next race turn out to be a bit complicated. Our pilots are now in the same heat as BannyUK and JusticeFPV.
The race starts and doesn’t look too good, @JR_acro has some problems with the video feed, and he cannot fly like he had done in the other heats. Finally, after an important video loss, he falls down, and it’s impossible for him to recover. @MIJABA is still racing and he manages to finish the race in a well-deserved 5th position.
Sadly, the participation of the CameraCopter team in the event has ended. None of our pilots are classified for semifinals.
It’s time to congratulate all of our brothers, and time to take some pictures with the friends we’ve made throughout the weekend. Even though it’s late (we still have 6h of driving to get back to Barcelona), we decide to stay and see the semifinals and the final, as it isn’t a day to day thing to see top pilots like MetallDany, BannyUK, MAC, etc… racing at their max to battle for the win.
The final is disputed, and as expected, BannyUK wins with no difficulties whatsoever (Watching the recorded DVR video it seems like he does the first lap mind-blowingly fast, and then he slows down a bit).
It’s time to gather all of our stuff and start the journey back home. It has been an intense weekend, and we’ve learned a lot of things, such as the importance to have control of yourself and your mind to try to neglect the external pressure that’s implicit in this kind of events.
It’s already 01:00AM of Monday. We’re all quite tired, but the feeling of the whole weekend is that it has been a sensational one. We’ve laughed, we’ve made good friends, enjoyed the flight of some pilots. We’ll just keep training to be even better next time to try to stand up against the big racers.
As usual, we leave you this video where we’ve compiled the best moments of the weekend, lived by the CameraCopter team. We hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did.