Your first FPV Drone race day, what to expect!?
Your first race day
You’ve seen the cool videos, you’ve heard about the grind, and you love the competition. FPV racing has caught your eye! So how in the world do you actually get into this stuff? I’d say it’s as easy as pie, but I’m not a good cook so making pie falls in the too hard basket. Let’s say it’s as easy Duck a l’orange!
Now days it’s simple, find your local racing club on Facebook (RSFPV BLOG on each Club), post a question and the lovely folk in the group will guide you through the whole process of getting your MAAA and registration for the racing season. For me, I was lucky enough to meet some mates who lived in my area who were already balls deep in the racing scene, making the transition super simple. After you’ve got your registration and MAAA stuff sorted through the club, you’re off to the races, literally!
What to bring
I was super anxious about my quad on my first race, I was worried it wasn’t going to live up to the standards of these cool racer dude pilots I was about to share the skies with. But legit, it doesn’t matter. As long as your video transmitter is set to 25mw, your RC link settings are suitable for flying with other pilots and your quad is mechanically safe (failsafe) then no one cares about how clean and pretty your quad is, soz xoxo.
Unlike your regular park flying day, races generally involve a fair bit of crashing into gates, the ground and the other quads in the air, so bringing spares is always a good idea. Personally, I always have a spare of every component with me, or a backup quad that is ready to fly, plus a bucket load of props! Having a spare quad is really handy as you may have some issues that require too much time to fix and having another quad ready to rip will make the day run a lot smoother for you and everyone else.
A regular race day should consist of anywhere from 10-20 races depending on how many people rock up and the race format of your club. With this many races its key to have enough lipo power to get you through the day. To combat this, you can either; bring enough lipo batteries to finish all your races or, bring a few batteries and a charger with a power supply (if the field you fly at doesn’t have access to the mains). I like to just bring a heap of batteries; I find it’s better on the batteries health cause they’re not getting charged and drained over and over again in a short time span and it’s just one less thing to worry about on the day.
Apart from that it’s just all the normal things, a nice comfy chair, a dank sandwich for lunch, hat, cool sunnies, a pocket full of jokes to whip out to entertain the crew and a damn positive attitude! Every race day I’ve been to have been so much fun, if you head to a race knowing it’s not the world championships and you’re actually just cruising around a random field with your dawgs then it’s inevitable you’ll have a sick time and enjoy your day that much more. Unless you’re like full hectic into it and really wanna push your limits then by all means, go nuts.
Race quads are pretty similar to any other type of quad you’ve seen or had before. The only real differences are weight and power. If you’re coming from just a casual freestyle background, then you’re probs not that fussed about saving grams with pretty TPU mounts and all that jazz. On a race quad though, to get max performance and send it flack bickies Ricky Bobby style, you’re gunna wants a relatively light weight setup. Anywhere around the 300gram mark without a battery is pretty decent and will really help the quad lock into those tight turns.
As Jeremy Clarkson once said, “power!” and I couldn’t agree more.
Conveniently, your standard electronics and motors that you’d use on a freestyle quad can become rather lively on a lighter quad, so crazy high kv motor setups isn’t always the be all and end all when it comes to pure speed around a track. When starting out, I definitely find it way more beneficial to have a lower kv 6s setup (1700-1800kv) or a mid range 4s setup (2400-2500kv) to help you lock in your turns before going full send it mode with the jacuzzi jay stoke motors with 1969kv!!!!
Now, something that doesn’t get spoken about enough… goggles. When flying by yourself in an open park you could pretty much use any set of goggles, goggle module and antennas. But when you’re on the track at 25mw with 5+ other pilots, having the right goggles, module and antennas can make a huge difference. I use the Fatshark HDO with a rapid fire module and two omni directional antennas and when I look around the pits, that seems to be the go-to for everyone else as well. Why? Having a nice set of goggles like fatshark, orqa or skyzone gives you a heaps clearer and often times bigger image that makes you feel so much more apart of the quad. Also, they have the option of adding on these hectic goggle modules like Immersion RC rapidfire or TBS fusion. These modules do some wizardry stuff behind the scenes to help get you the best-looking image, plus, they make changing channels and analysing rf interference so damn easy. Then for antennas, using two omni directional antennas is the way to go for racing as patch antennas are generally stronger and often pick up other pilots’ video when they fly past you.
Process of the day
It’s pretty straight forward honestly, rock up early, help set up the track with everyone, walk around and make note of how to get around, couple practice laps, a bunch of qualifiers, finals and then the glory and honour of winning. Nah if I could suggest anything for what to do during the day it’s to communicate and interact with everyone else there. You’re all into the same kind of stuff, even if it’s nerding out over the latest express LRS stuff. Talk about gear, talk about race lines, talk about life, talk about your feelings, just get into it. From all these conversations you’ll either learn something about fpv, learn something about the people you’re talking with or make some solid bros and that sounds like a win to me.
Written by Jacuzzi Jay (Jay Bellwood) Check out his RSFPV Pilot profile here