Chase The Ace

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Written by Matt Ruddick The 2019 MultiGP International Open Feature As seen in the December 2019 issue of Model Aviation.

MultiGP Drone Racing International Open 2019 Recap

As the summer of 2019 moved into full swing, so did the MultiGP crew as its members took over the International Aeromodeling Center (IAC) in Muncie, Indiana, for the third annual MultiGP International Open. And although some things changed this year, such as a larger vendor village, the goal—to put on the biggest FPV event in history—had not.

Eight tracks returned this year, including a rookie, intermediate, micro, and two identical World Cup courses. Running dual World Cup tracks was introduced last year as a way to provide pilots with more practice time for the World Cup finals, and it was successful. Wait times were dramatically reduced for pilots who wanted to burn a battery on these marquee courses, even though the event had registered a record of 328 pilots.

colby curtola holds
02. Colby Curtola holds his winning Mega Class drone after placing first in the event.
top 64 pilots gathered
03. The top 64 pilots gathered before the start of the World Cup heat races.
lexi janson prepares
04. Lexi Janson prepares her quad for a practice round on the World Cup course.

By the end of the weekend, MultiGP officials announced that an astonishing 5,000 batteries had been flown by 195 different pilots on the two World Cup tracks alone. That averages nearly 26 batteries flown by each of those pilots during the June 26-30 event!

The World Cup finals looked to showcase the battle between Australia’s Thomas Bitmatta and Alex Vanover from the US because they had been the class of the field throughout the qualifying rounds. Alex was the top qualifier by only 2 seconds over Thomas.

Unfortunately, that matchup would never materialize; Alex was eliminated two heats before the "Great 8" rounds. Instead, fans were treated to a back and forth between Thomas and William "Billster" Schuette who traded wins during the final "Chase the Ace" round, until Thomas finally scored the two victories needed to take home his second MultiGP International Open World Cup title.

This year also saw the return of giant drones, this time in the form of MultiGP’s new Mega Class. Monster 800 mm to 1,050 mm-size drones qualified for the races, and once again captured the attention of all who attended the International Open.

Colby "SFPV" Curtola made up for last year’s hardware failure by taking home the top prize. Paul Nurkkala and Matthew Tickel rounded out the podium.

shaun taylor
05. Shaun Taylor (L) congratulates Jacob Schneider on an exciting heat race during the World Cup finals.
jesse perkins
06. Jesse Perkins, founder of Tiny Whoop, handed out water and soft drinks while sharing stories with other pilots.
top two qualifiers
07. Top two qualifiers Thomas Bitmatta (L) and Alex Vanover chat in between practice runs.

Also making its return to the International Open was the Tiny Whoop after-party hosted by Mr. Tiny Whoop himself, Jesse Perkins. As the sun set each day, the neon lights kicked on and the large tent adjacent to the World Cup 1 course began buzzing with the sound of micro quadcopters speeding through an elaborate course that was designed to be both exciting and technical.

Although a Tiny Whoop race was held throughout the event, that was the furthest thing from most pilots’ minds. The Tiny Whoop after-party was the place to come and relax with everyone after a long, hot day on the track. The Lady Luck bar served free water and soft drinks to anyone who asked—often by Jessie himself.

Everyone felt welcome at the Tiny Whoop tent, and Jesse would often announce through his bullhorn for people to "… come by for a stop and chat …" and "… let’s be friends …"

MultiGP can make many claims about the 2019 International Open. It can claim to have the most pilots at a single FPV event, as well as the most simultaneous tracks at a single event. It can tout the number of battery packs flown or laps run. These are impressive feats to any observer.

However, one cannot overlook the simplest claim of all: The 2019 MultiGP International Open was a blast from beginning to end. Through the heat and the mosquitoes, every pilot who came to the IAC during the last week of June felt as though he or she was taking part in a giant family reunion, where everyone got along and fun was the order of the day. In the end, isn’t that really what this hobby is all about?

led lit course
01. A Tiny Whoop zooms through the LED-lit course during the after-party.
knowitall and rotor riot
08. PV Knowitall and Rotor Riot team pilot, Joshua Bardwell, poses for a photo with a young fan.
top qualifier alex shows
09. Top qualifier Alex shows his game face as he prepares for a heat race.
open world cup
10. Thomas and his father, Paul, celebrate winning the 2019 MultiGP International Open World Cup.



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