“Race Against the Machine” – Martin Maes goes head to head with a racing drone

Human vs. remotely piloted high-speed flying object

April 16th, 2020 by | Posted in MTB | Tags: , , ,

Not all training partners are human. When you’re as fast as Martin Maes is on a bike, sometimes you need to get creative to be challenged on the bike.

Before the lockdowns came, Maes headed into the woods for a race against a new adversary. A FPV racing drone.

Martin Maes drone
On your left, a miniature FPV drone. On your right, a full sized racing human.

It was a simpler time. Driving to the trails to ride as fast as you could. Lining up against a miniature flying object piloted remotely by a friend with VR goggles. Recording all of this on multiple portable cameras. You know, your average, everyday mountain bike ride.

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For now, Maes is racing a different type of machine – training indoors with race simulators and computers. Soon, though, we’ll all be back out in the woods racing flying robots. And maybe other humans, too.

Martin Maes: Race Against the Machine

From GT:

For Martin Maes, whether in competition or on every training outing, there is only one thing that counts: speed. Going fast, as fast as possible. As an introduction to his project, Martin explains: “Recently, in addition to the stabilizers, action cameras and conventional drones that we were starting to get used to, we have recently seen the appearance of racing drones, so-called fpv drones. I was quite impressed to see how fast their pilots are able to make them go, and with what precision … It’s super impressive, especially at high speed!”

That’s all it took to give Martin the idea of an original racing format, which he filmed with the help of a small production team. Martin simply challenged the drone and its pilot, and suggested that they organize a race on a downhill track. After a few consecutive runs, Martin and the race drone, through the intermediary of his pilot, literally pulled the whip for a high stakes downhill race! Hence the name that was also given to this project: Race Against The Machine.

Martin Maes drone
Human race lines vs. drone race lines: Maes goes over, drone goes through.

“This project was really fun to work on. And the feeling of being chased by a drone was quite exhilarating too…! “, smiles Martin. And to conclude: “I hope people will have as much fun watching the video as I had making it.”

The story doesn’t say whether Martin has already decided to challenge another machine, for example on his simulator or at the controls of a console … before he finds his way back to the trails and the path of enduro competitions. In the meantime, he too is making the most of his time to stay in shape, respecting the confinement rules.

We can also specify, for all intents and purposes, that the filming took place before the directives dictated by the current health situation, and that Martin simply chose to publish the video at a time that seemed appropriate to him.