I agree that the event isn't quite as exciting as it was last year, but it was kind of necessary. The rich teams had a huge advantage and the teams with smaller budgets were kind of stuck.
This way, you don't just go and buy the biggest 9V motor you can find and run it with 3000mAh LiPo
I have said this before and I will say this again, money does not buy a winning device. Instead, I encourage you to think of the issue this way: resources contribute to and enable performance. The distinction between money and resources is critical, money is a resource but it isn't the only variable. Teams with more resources like time, access to professionals/equipment, expertise, experience, etc will also produce a quality device even if they don't necessarily have large budgets.
Similarly, don't think of performance simply as the fastest/longest flying/lightest/whatever is relevant one year. Consistency is also a performance metric. A team that professionally mills their chassis out of billet aluminum and has a custom circuit trace etched for their motor/battery is going to have a much more predictable and consistent time than a team that duct tapes cardboard together and twists their wires. In the former case, resources help enable the creation of such a device.
Finally, I don't want to be difficult, but a 3000mAh LiPo means effectively nothing for overall performance, that's just how much charge the battery can carry. What really matters (or mattered) in this event is how quickly it can discharge and how evenly it can discharge. Those ratings are the "C" ratings on a battery. A tiny 100mAh battery rated at 70C would outperform a huge 3000mAh battery rated at 15C in a short race. However, you could get many more runs (30 more, to be precise) out of the big battery. The people who work on these rules do know what they're talking about...sometimes...