A childhood dream of flying model aeroplanes has translated into a State Championship for Thornlie’s Jared Gould.
Two weeks ago, Gould was crowned the best drone racer in WA after two days of intense competition.
To compete in drone racing, you can’t be susceptible to motion sickness, with a camera fixed on top of the drone relaying vision to a headset, helping pilots navigate through a series of gates at ridiculous speeds.
A large part of the appeal of motor sports is pure speed, but drone racing is on a different level.
The first time Gould saw a racing drone in action, it blew his mind.
“I was in a park in Canning and my friend had one of these five-inch racing drones, he fired it up full throttle and it just disappeared, I thought nothing could move that fast.
“The one time we got a speed-gun on one, a few years ago, it registers 170km/h before it was out of sight, and that was in two seconds.
“We estimate the top speed is somewhere between 170 and 200km/h, the acceleration is crazy.”
As a child, Gould dreamed of flying model aeroplanes, but the prohibitive cost made him give up on that dream for years.
Now he has a first-person view at a cost that is absolutely affordable.
“You can get them relatively cheap, but you get what you pay for and if you get a base model you’ll be constantly paying for parts.
“My set-up cost is a grand, so it’s really only a touch above a cost of say a PlayStation Five, and it comes with the advantage of competing and being a part of a sport that is constantly growing.
After coming second in the State Championships last year, Gould’s consistency paid off, recording the fastest lap time in qualifying at Rhodes Park in Kwinana.
On day two, he won seven of his eight head-to-head races, moving him into the five-person head-to-head battle for the championship, with thee wins required to clinch the title.
“I won the first two then probably got a bit comfortable and made a couple of errors so I came in third in the third race.
“I got back into form and clinched it on the fourth race.”
Gould spends his days as an automotive trainer for the Motor Trades Association, and his win didn’t escape the attention of his co-workers.
“I’m always trying to get them to try it out, it’s a bit like a cult, come join me.
“When I posted about the win I got a fair few congratulations which is nice, a lot of people said they didn’t realise I was so good, but I put it all down to practice and knowing the line you want to take.”
Next up for Gould will be the National Championships, if and when that happens.
“I’m involved in the organising and we’ve put it off for the last two years, and depending on the situation next year with COVID we’ll definitely have a good look at nationals.
“The last time I competed in nationals I came 26th, I was happy with that but I’d like to think I can beat that this time.”