Australian Army drone racers have placed third and fourth in the world at the inaugural X-Class World Invitational Championships held in Dallas, Texas, in November.

Communications officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Captain James Jenkins, and former 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment combat engineer, Corporal Zakariah Martin-Taylor, spent four days at a Texas ranch battling it out for the title of X-Class World Champion with drone racers from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Corporal Martin-Taylor described the experience as an amazing way of pursuing his passion of flying drones and also meeting racers from other parts of the world in a competitive but welcoming environment.

“It was fantastic to go to Texas and race against the best in the world. There was certainly lots of friendly rivalry and banter with the team of US military veterans and our Australian Army drone racers,” Corporal Martin-Taylor said.

“There are people from all different walks of life involved in drone racing. It doesn’t cost much to get started and is really fun. I have met some great friends through drone racing.”

The X-Class World Championships has been the culmination of a busy and rewarding year for the Australian Army Drone Racing team.

President of the Australian Army Drone Racing Association, Lieutenant Colonel Keirin Joyce, said he was thrilled by the ever-increasing excitement and interest in drone racing and credits this largely with the drive and passion of the drone racers in the team.

“There are people from all different walks of life involved in drone racing.”

“The team has had an amazing year building the profile of the sport and these racers just keep going from strength to strength,” Lieutenant Colonel Joyce said.

“In 2019, the team have been involved in two air shows, numerous Army cadet camps, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) expos all over Australia, Army demonstration days in the Pilbara and Far North Queensland and the PACMIL Cup Rugby, just to name a few.”

Another exciting year is expected for 2020, with the team lined up to deliver its first ever drone racing course to Army cadets in Brisbane in January, followed by the Melbourne Career Expo and New Zealand Opens in February.

“There is so much happening in the sport and the industry of drones and it is just getting bigger,” Lieutenant Colonel Joyce said.

“I encourage anyone in the Australian Defence Force who is interested in drones and drone racing to get involved. Anyone is welcome and there are no skill levels or age requirements to join the team.”

Drone racing is rapidly emerging as a growing sport, largely due to its accessibility and low-cost of equipment and first-person pilot view of the race action. Drone racing is an authorised and encouraged adaptive sport in the Australian Army.

For more information, visit the Army Drone Racing Facebook page or email adra.secretary [at] defence.gov.au