DSI International Drone Sports Championship 2018
For the third time around and for the first time under the DSI (Drone Sports International) title, the global drone racing competition IDSC took place in Korea to enormous success. Unlike the previous two IDSC's, this year was not an open race; participants were selected by DSI member organizations through an official qualification process to gauge the most skilled pilots of each country - and as a result, 48 pilots from 14 countries, i.e. the "fastest pilots in the nation" were hand-picked to be the elite competitors vying for a prize fund of 24,000 USD at the DSI International Drone Sports Championship.
Another significant difference for this year was the race was held indoors. A decision made in consideration of weather vacillations, mostly, it turned out to be a key in making the race a huge success, both in terms of the compactness of the track as well as visual production quality, not to mention popularity with the spectators.
There were a LOT of spectators. An audience of unprecedented size filled the stands, cheering the pilots on and gasping and groaning at the thrilling overtakes and spectacular crashes that continued throughout the two days that the race took place.
After a day of preliminary rounds, the competition started off with a bang on September 15th – an elaborate Opening Ceremony filled with a red-carpet walk by all the participating teams, welcoming speeches from Korean local government officials and decision makers, followed by flashy K-pop performances. It was a small taste of the professionalism and visual quality of the races that would follow.
The first race was a demo division called Drone Slalom, an exciting weave through the slalom section of the track – short it may be, the total prize on which the pilots’ performances depended amounted to 6,000 USD.
This was followed by the first half of the Clubs Division, a team race between the 16 “clubs” – teams of three pilots formed by the 16 DSI member organizations. The Clubs Division continued on to the next day, with teams battling it out fiercely for their part of the18,000 USD that was on the line.
It was a race of unexpected surprises and excitement – the spectators, pilots, and the millions of fans around the world watching the livestream on social media (Joe Scully was back this year as well to do the online live commentary with a “guest commentator” accompanying him), held their breath as the ratings changed minute by minute.
The Clubs Division continued on to the next day and was followed by the Nationals Division, which was an FPV race in individual format. 42 pilots wearing their national flag on their uniforms fought it out for the title of World Champion.
At the end of the day, the results were surprising. In first place for the Clubs Division was Team DR1, composed of pilots Luke Bannister (“BanniUK”), Shaun Taylor (“Nytfury”), and Alex Vanover (“Captain Vanover”); in second was Team FPVR from Australia, made up on Luke Godeassi (“Tilted FPV”), Michael Douglas (“FPVDoug”), and Sam Heeps (“Heepsy”). And close in third was Team AstroX from Korea – pilots Youngrok Son (“Rock FPV”), Sang Hun Lee, and Joonweon Choi.
In individual race – Minchan Kim (“Minchan FPV”) in first, Jerrod Quillen (“Jrod”) in second, and Changhyeon Kang in third. The slalom winners were Minchan Kim, Luke Bannister, and Alex Vanover.
The winners were all crowned and celebrated at the Award Ceremony. With streamers flowing through the air and lights flashing as each pilot mounted the podium, the Award Ceremony was duly the highlight of the production of IDSC2018.
Thus the two-day race of international scale came to an end. It was a race of unexpected endings, spectacular crashes here and there (and a few big scares as quads wildly sailed off course), heated quarrels here and there. Everyone agreed that all in all, it was an amazing time.
- Juan Juan Garcés, Team MQRC (Colombia)
“IDSC was not only a spectacular experience, but a stellar production!”
- Jerrod Quillen, Team MultiGP (U.S.A.)
“It was an unforgettable experience.”
-- Noah Schnapp, Team DSC (Canada)