Over the years, we’ve established our name working with some of the UK’s biggest charities, corporates & events, as well as providing team kit for sports including rugby, hockey &
What about some of the more unique sports we’ve worked with?
As part of a brand new feature called ‘Time to Learn‘, we’re going to introduce an emerging sport with expert input from competitors themselves. We will explore the rules, the events, the equipment and even ways you can get in to this new sport yourself.
Today, we’re kicking off with Drone Racing. With substantial growth in three years, FPV (first-person view) drone racing has become big business. With professional leagues and prize pools of over $100 million dollars for international tournaments, the sport has quickly picked up a strong following.
We were approached by Adam Mackaroy to create drone racing t-shirts for Kwad Club, a competitive drone racing team. We asked Adam a few questions about the growth of the sport, how he got in to drone racing and how accessible the sport is. As a committee member of the British First Person View Racing Association, it’s safe to say he knows his stuff when it comes to drone racing!
Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! In a nutshell, who are you and what is it you do?
I’m Adam Mackrory, by day I’m 13 years deep into my career as a Finance Manager but in my spare time I am in and around the Drone Racing World. I’m a drone racer, co-founder of Kwad Club & a BFPVRA (British First Person View Racing Association) Committee Member.
Here’s the important question! What makes the sport so exciting?
These custom built racing drones are very agile through the air and aren’t limited to being on the ground. This means you can find yourself racing in and around castle turrets, bursting through a woodland canopy, blasting out of a stadium tunnel into a sea of roars or through a pitch black room with nothing but neon lights leading the way. All of this happens at 100+mph!
Organizer’s are working hard to safely and legally put on the most amazing races at such unique locations that you just wouldn’t be able to fly at otherwise. Complete agility, unique locations, speed and the best community you could ask for makes this one of the best sports in the world.
How did you (personally) get in to drone racing?
I got into drones by flying a small non-camera drone (the Hubsan H107) around the office, under chairs and through windows – all the while enjoying it way more than I should have! Then I stumbled across both Charpu (a big inspiration to a lot of the community) and DRL ( The biggest Drone Racing League in the world) on Youtube which pushed me to get into the bigger more custom racing drones and that’s when my ‘Quaddiction’ really started! It’s a journey that just keeps on giving.
My journey revolves around our very own Drone Racing Club, Kwad Club; from organising and running our own Drone Racing League – KCL, to starting our own club team to compete in the 2018 FAI World Cup – The Kwad Club Lions, to working with the BMFA and BFPVRA to help push the sport in the right direction. It’s been an amazing journey which has seen me meet some truly inspiring individuals and it’s only just begun.
How did you meet your teammates?
I work with Jon Totham (Vaxel) where we go fly at lunch or after work. He’s the technical brain behind everything Kwad Club! Anything he doesn’t know technically almost isn’t worth knowing.
My first memory of Chris Knight (Special K) is turning up to the flying field, and hearing a drone buzzing around and seeing some MINDBLOWING line of sight (no goggles) freestyle (acrobatic tricks). To this day he is still the most talented drone pilot I know and everything he does is just easy for him!
Mr Adam Gooch (GoochiFPV) is best known as the FPV Purple Bear. I can’t pinpoint how we met but we were instant friends where ever it may have been, mainly due to our mutual love of all things purple, he is one of the nicest guys I know!
Matthew ‘HellYeah’ Helier. We met at the brilliant Insomnia2016 iSeries Drone Racing event. What can I say about HellYeah that’s even remotely ok in an interview? He likes a nap, has a stash of cookie monster caps and still refer’s to me as Mr GoPro!
We are the Kwad Club Lions. Essentially, we are a group of best friends, flying together, supporting each other and pushing each other to go past the limit!
You’re heading to the Insomnia Gaming Festival next weekend. What’s happening there?
Insomnia Gaming Festival is one of the largest gaming festival’s in Europe and as of 2016 they hold an individual and team drone racing championships across the weekend.
The Kwad Club Lions are competing in the Team event on the Sunday and Monday. Around 200,000 people are expected to arrive at the NEC Birmingham to take part in the festival over the course of the weekend to watch Europe’s best gaming tournaments as well as the UK’s fastest drone racer’s for propeller to propeller.
Is the sport accessible to anyone, and what kind of costs are involved?
Absolutely accessible to anybody. Drone racing clubs like Kwad Club, Kent Quadcopter Racing Club, Delta Hawks and the miriade of other Clubs emerging across the UK. Do keep a keen eye on the BFPVRA club map to see the closest club to you.
A reasonable spec race drone will set you back around £200-300. To fly you also need goggles and a transmitter (controller) – You can spend anywhere between £100 – £700 for both of these items dependent on the quality you are going for. RadioC, quadcopters.co.uk and Make It Build It can help you with your first drone package offering ready to fly drones as well as goggles, transmitters and a multitude of accessories. Essentially, they are a one-stop shop for everything to do with drone racing.
Finally, what advice can you give to people looking to get in to the sport?
Personally, if I were to go back to the beginning, I would buy a Taranis (X9D+ or X7) and get on a simulator to practice the general controls of a drone. You have the DRL Simulator, Velocidrone or Rotor Rush as the industry leading drone racing simulators with varying price’s and features to fit anybodies needs. I’d keep practicing until I could fly a few laps confidently and then look to buy my first racing drone.
When you are ready to race, get in touch with a Drone Racing Club like Kwad Club and come to one of our races. Kwad Club run a beginners session at Popham Airfield in Winchester the first Saturday of every month.
The session is catered to brand new people to the sport, getting them off the ground and getting to grips with racing drone itself. Interested in a beginners session or drone racing in general? Then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So there you have it! Drone Racing has really picked up a passionate following in the short time since their commercial inception.
Are you part of a unique sport? All teams require kit, and we’re more than ready to meet that need for you! When you’re ready, speak to the sublimation experts today by filling in the form on this page, emailing us at email@example.com or by calling us on 01905 425324.