Meet Ivan Boyarinov and Vladimir Kamkin from Team Reactor – the champions of Phygital Games in drone racing.
No sooner had the winner of Beat Saber event Roman Konev left the stage with a trophy in his hands to talk to the press, then began the refurbishment of the Kazan Expo pavilion and it was made ready for the final day of competition – the drone racing event.
On the night of September 23, the scenery changed. The football goal disappeared to make way for hurdles, a pit stop zone and light arrows showing the route of the track. Everything is ready for drone racing.
Drone racing are compared to Formula-1 car race for a reason. Radio-controlled aircrafts accelerate to 150-180 km/hour and the pilots must complete the course following a certain trajectory. A lot depends on how cohesive teams are, how fast the mechanics at pit stops are and, of course, on the skills of the pilots. Their task is to cover a 100-lap track and finish first. Basically, the team work looks as follows: first, one pilot controls the drone and the second takes care of the pit stop, and after 50 laps they switch places. The sport quadcopter is controlled via a remote ground control system by a pilot wearing FPV-goggles which help him to track the drone and its flight in real time. A vertiginous picture.
Eight teams and top esportsmen from Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria were vying for the title of Phygital Games champion. The drone racing season has just finished, so the crème de la crème of drone pilots arrived in Kazan. However even for these highly skilled pilots the Phygital Games became quite a test, because usually contestants use analog FPV-goggles while here all flights were only digital.
The teams were split into two groups based on the draw results. The Team Reactor from Ekaterinburg, Drone Sports Global from Moscow, DRD from Krasnoyarsk and BalkansOp from Bulgaria participated in the first semifinals. Unfortunately, the team from the Balkan peninsula faced technical problems from the start, so the Bulgarian team couldn’t do even one lap. The duo DRD was out of the race after 20 laps while Team Reactor and Drone Sports Global were virtually neck and neck over the course of sixty laps but only the pilots from Ekaterinburg Ivan Boyarinov and Vladimir Kamkin managed to cover the full distance.
The second semifinals didn’t go without early withdrawals either. The drone of the Turkish team APX Drone Team did only two laps, and the performance of Quadro Team (Moscow) and DRT-52 (Nizhny Novgorod) was far from perfect as the race didn’t exactly go the way they wanted it to. And only the pilots Stanislav Kochkin and Viacheslav from Moscow’s team Overpass Racing were in full control of their quadcopter confidently guiding it along the racing track. As a result, the race ended ahead of schedule as Overpass Racing and Quadro Team booked a spot in the finals.
The final race was of 50 laps duration (instead of 100 laps) which added to the intrigue. Speeds have risen, so the sportsmen were taking more risks. And the race met the expectations. As many as three teams – Overpass Racing, Team Reactor and Drone Sports Global – were pursuing each other through the middle of the distance, so it was impossible to predict the outcome of the race.
After the fall of Drone Sports Global the pilots from Team Reactor moved to the first place, but after 25 laps their drone collided with the quadcopter of a rivalling team and was damaged. The problem was solved quickly but it seemed that too much time has been wasted. The pilots from Overpass Racing withdrew from the race after the 33rd lap, and on the 36th lap the leading drone from Drone Sports Global team piloted by Gennady Fomin got tangled up in the net and couldn’t pursue the race. So, the drone Team Reactor piloted by Vladimir Kamkin finished in solitude to become the first winner of drone racing at Phygital Games. Drone Sports Global was ranked second, the team Overpass Racing finished third.
Interestingly enough, Ivan Boyarinov had also won the individual race held in May at the Student Games in phygital format in Moscow. “Scale-wise here everything is much cooler. The track was harder than the one at the Student Games. The opponents were much tougher. So, it was more exciting to compete», – the winner shared his impressions. “It is my first tournament of such scale. It was worth it. It was cool”, – added Vladimir Kamkin, Boyarinov’s team-mate from Team Reactor team.
“When they revealed the track, 10 minutes later we built it live and began preparing for the Phygital Games, – says Kamkin. – That is, before the track was revealed, the guys were already in Zarechnoye where the main basis of our team is located and were preparing to practice” – Boyarinov explains.
“The final race was very tight, especially its first part. We made quick pit stops throughout the race, and it helped us. The first 35 laps of the final race were very hard, the gap we built barely reached half a lap. For several consecutive laps we were just a few centimeters ahead, I saw in the camera another drone pursuing me and trying to knock me down. The actual track was rather easy. The racers were struggling only with the equipment and those who managed to solve the technical problems were able to finish the race”, – Ivan commented on the course of the finals.